Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spring Lake MI USA
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    109

    Default Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    First a brief background. About 5 weeks ago I tested hive with an alcohol wash and came out at 3% mites. I treated them with Formic pro 2 sachets for 14 days following all instructions. Had sticky board in after treatment was complete and saw mite drops of (10-12 mites per day). So it has been about 3 weeks since treatment ended now. Tonite I went out and did another wash. I suspected I did not have a good solid half cup of bees (300). Therefore I counted the corpses and only had 196 bees. Mite count was 12. That gives me 6.1% according to my math. So as you may imagine this creates a lot of questions, having fewer bees should not matter should it? How can I possibly have double what I had before Formic Pro in just a short time like this? Am I correct in thinking OAV once a week is now in order for a few weeks? Any thoughts on the whole situation would be appreciated, this will be my first winter and have been trying to do thing rite, this setback is a little depressing. Thankyou Tim

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Folsom, California, USA
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    37

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    Some possibilities:

    - Formic Pro application was only partially effective? If you can go into details on your setup and how you applied the sachets, that would help. For example, do you have solid or screened bottom boards (and for screened was the bottom open or was a sticky board in place)? How big and how many entrances or other ventilation? How many deeps / supers are in place?

    - Mite distribution is not even throughout the hive, and tends to be concentrated on nurse bees actively attending larvae. If the two samples are from different areas, the results can be quite different. I have heard the suggestion of using a frame of pollen right next to one with larvae as the sample frame, as that one will likely have lots of nurse bees. Don't think this could account for all of the discrepancy, but it could be one factor.

    - You had a heavy influx of mites from somewhere else (a nearby hive crashed and sent you a "gift")?

    ---Robin

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spring Lake MI USA
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    Have 8 frame medium setups. Closed screened bottom boards. 4 boxes with honey on. All counts were from sane brood area. Small top entrance and smallest bottom entrance. Put 2 sachets on top of main brood chamber. Thinking OAV mite best best option thist time of year

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA, USA
    Posts
    406

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    You can check -- my memory is the bottom entrance is supposed to be open during treatment. Your results do sound surprising.
    8 years, 8 hives

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
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    5,243

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    since pro has only been out a couple years, I assume it wasn't expired?
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,534

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    Mite numbers are quite dynamic at this time of year. The slowing down of brood means more of the total number of mites in the hive will be phoretic and thus detectable using an alcohol wash.

    Your hives could also be getting a lot more mites coming in if your hives are robbing out a collapsing colony outside of your yard. (I assume you hives isn't being robbed?)

    If you live near an area with migratory bees that have recently left, you could be having above average drift from bees left behind.

    Or you could have had a less effective kill From the FormicPro. I sometimes have had mixed results with its forerunner, MAQS.

    But you were smart to keep monitoring after treatment because now you have the data needed to take action.

    Personally, I would switch to a series of OAV as it supplies the most flexible dosing at this time of year. I would start with a series of four treatments, five days apart and see where that gets you. And definitely plan on a broodless period clean-up in December. (Though I wouldn't wait for that. - I'd start a series right away.)

    And continue monitoring. With sticky boards you can keep right on doing that all winter long. Though even in WI, you should be able to get one more alcohol wash or sugar roll done.

    Don't feel the earlier treatment was a waste - it wasn't. It just needs to be augmented with another round of something.

    But truly, huge props to you for having assessed again after treating. Far too many people just assume that they've treated and nothing more is needed. I recommend continued monitoring until I''m blue in the face. Your situation is exactly why.

    Nancy

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spring Lake MI USA
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    Well to a answer a few question. Formic Pro was not expired, in fact I think longer shelf life was one of the new selling points. I would have to go back an look again but am 99% sure screen bottom boards were to be closed per instruction sheet. I have seen no robbing between my 3 hives but don't know about other locations they visit. I keep a printed copy of your instructions for sugar roll Nancy. It has been very helpful and I would like to thank you for the time and effort you put into all of your replys on this board. My low number of bees on this last wash should not matter should it since they are actual counts? I was going to build a vaporizer but found a nice looking one for 69 on eBay think I will get that on the way today. Just a side note the reason for only 196 bees in jar was at that point is when they said enough, well I don't like wearing the hood on my suit, after 7 stings on my face,ears and neck I suddenly agreed with the girls. You can laugh with me but not at me. ��

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,170

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    with no hood i would consider at least having some eye protection in place.

    finding a bargain on the vaporizer is one thing but don't skimp on a quality respirator.

    beekeeping is great but not worth risking life or limb.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spring Lake MI USA
    Posts
    109

    Default

    Good point. Should have put hood up after I located queen

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    woodland, wa usa
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    My only suggestion is take bee samples every time from off the brood area. It does make a difference.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spring, Texas
    Posts
    271

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    Look at the OA device the guy sells here on the board. I have the cheap one and it does the trick. The question with OA tmts is what to do with the supers.

    I am just north of of Houston and we do not have much of a winter. The norther blew thru and it is a low of 64 on the way to work at daylight.

    Look at how Nancy does her OA tmts. She has a nice way to do it and block off the supers iirc she was doing summer tmts early in the post but doubt that you are that warm right now.

    Here and my cold weather I could if needed I would shake the super's bees down into the deeps and put a solid divider between the deeps and supers and treat but up there I am not sure what you would do for the best results to treat all the bees and your weather situation.

    good luck with them. Jim

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spring Lake MI USA
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    109

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Personally, I would switch to a series of OAV as it supplies the most flexible dosing at this time of year. I would start with a series of four treatments, five days apart and see where that gets you. Nancy
    I plan to do as Nancy suggested. I am curious about the different time recommendations 4 times every 5 days vs 3 times every 7days. I am not questioning the advice, just want to know when one vs the other should be applied. Did my first treatment yesterday, all seemed to go well.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    4,809

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    Both 5 day and 7 day frequency are recommended by different people.

    The seven day frequency recommended on the approval label also recommends the treatment on broodless hives. I have not done controlled tests one way or the other when doing treatment courses on brood rearing colonies but was an early adoptor of the 5 day spacing and continue for as many individual treatments as it takes to bring the mite counts down to near zero. I notice no harm to bees or brood and have not read about any here on BS in the past 5 years.

    Do a test both ways and let us know the results!
    Frank

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spring Lake MI USA
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    109

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    Thanks Frank
    I went out and just took a look at my sticky board after 24 hours of first treatment. 122 mites in an 8 frame medium setup 3 boxes tall. I am going to start logging my numbers. Still kind of surprises me its that high after coming off the FPro treatment only 3 weeks ago. I realize my "winter bees" are probably already comprised but I am still holding onto hope they can make it thru a Michigan winter.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    I just finished an extensive series of OAV treatments on a hive, counted the mite drop for seven day treatments and then shortened the treatment time down to 4 days. The four day treatments had a major improvement in mite kill (33% decrease between treatments) when compared to a seven day treatment ( 15% decrease between treatments). I ended up treating the hive four times four days apart and ended up with two more treatments two days apart. My mite drop 24 hours after the last treatment was only 55 for a double deep 10 frame. The hive started with a 250 mite drop after the first treatment and was showing DWV bees out front.
    Last edited by Beeboy01; 10-13-2018 at 08:24 PM.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    4,809

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeboy01 View Post
    I just finished an extensive series of OAV treatments on a hive, counted the mite drop for seven day treatments and then shortened the treatment time down to 4 days. The four day treatments had a major improvement in mite kill (33% decrease between treatments) when compared to a seven day treatment ( 15% decrease between treatments). I ended up treating the hive four times four days apart and ended up with two more treatments two days apart. My mite drop 24 hours after the last treatment was only 55 for a double deep 10 frame. The hive started with a 250 mite drop after the first treatment and was showing DWV bees out front.
    Thanks beeboy;

    I started out with a lower mite count than you obviously had. When I start treating them I continue repeats ever 5 days max and sometimes 4 days depending on weather, until the mite counts show up zero or only 2 or 3 on the sticky board on the third day after the last treatment. I think I did 8 reps till the mites stopped dropping. End of Oct. or first week in November I will do a final single shot.

    Some people are having satisfactory survival with 7 day periods but I think enough results are starting to come in that closer together is better. I am not keen on allowing the mites to regroup after a series of treatments while I wait to see if the mite drop numbers rebound. I stay on their case till they are all accounted for!
    Frank

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Skewed test result on alcohol mite test?

    I think I ran 4 seven day treatments and 4 four day treatments along with the last two treatments 2 days apart. I wanted to hammer them before the short Florida winter hits. My numbers showed the seven day spacing wasn't really knocking the numbers down, maybe because I started with such a high mite count to begin with and couldn't reduce the breeding mite population effectively. The four day treatments seemed to allow enough OAV residual to remain in the hive so the breeder mites were exposed as they moved from brood cell to brood cell which is where the main mite population is found.

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