MAQS in spring
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Thread: MAQS in spring

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lambton Shores, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    251

    Default MAQS in spring

    I am exiting my first winter as a beekeep (so far both hives are alive...but there's a month of winter left to go). I'm planning my spring regimen in terms of feeding, treating for varroa, and splits, and have a couple of questions.

    In terms of "back story", I treated my hives in mid-September with MAQS (sub 1% infestation rate after treatment), fed 2:1 until they had backfilled the nest, and did a December OAD. I've not had enough dead bees outside of the hive for a proper alcohol wash, but I've done a few over the winter with ~50 bees/wash, and not found any varroa. I'm using valvaldi boards which currently have sugar on them; until last week the bees ignored the sugar, but recently started consuming small amounts of it.

    My plan is to add feeding shims + pollen substitute patties and hive-top feeders with 1:1 syrup once daytime highs are hitting 10C/50F (probably late march or early april). My goal is to split both of my hives before the main nectar flow in late May/early June, so I am shooting to create a bit of a "population boom". What I am wondering is when I should treat with MAQS - do I want to do it as soon as its reliably warm enough (e.g. peak feeding time), or should I be waiting to let my bee population grow a little and I stop feeding before I treat?

    Thanks

    Bryan

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    1,104

    Default Re: MAQS in spring

    Every location is different but since you have cold and long winters in your location and you did an OAD in December, I believe you should be just fine until the end of July or early August to do the MAQS treatment.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    washington, vermont, USA
    Posts
    367

    Default Re: MAQS in spring

    You could just do an OAD or OAV when you split. If done right you can get a broodless period on both the Q right and the side making a new queen. If your fall treatments were good then your numbers are most likely fairly low. However I understand the urge to genocide varroa at any and all opportunities so if you want to do a spring MAQS go for it. Or Maybe do a half dose for a knock down treatment. Good luck bud

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    1,765

    Default Re: MAQS in spring

    Quote Originally Posted by SuiGeneris View Post
    not had enough dead bees outside of the hive for a proper alcohol wash,
    ??????
    My knee jerk is I would not rely on picking up dead bees on the ground for a realistic sample
    Never heard of this method, do you have a source ?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lambton Shores, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: MAQS in spring

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    ??????
    My knee jerk is I would not rely on picking up dead bees on the ground for a realistic sample
    Never heard of this method, do you have a source ?
    I read about someone doing it here on BS. I doubt it is as accurate as using live bees from the brood nest, but you'd think it would be at least as accurate as a wash done on a dead-out. These are generally bees that have died in the last few hours, after a recent snowfall.

    Quote Originally Posted by vtbeeguy View Post
    You could just do an OAD or OAV when you split. If done right you can get a broodless period on both the Q right and the side making a new queen. If your fall treatments were good then your numbers are most likely fairly low. However I understand the urge to genocide varroa at any and all opportunities so if you want to do a spring MAQS go for it. Or Maybe do a half dose for a knock down treatment. Good luck bud
    Last year I did a a flyback split and used the broodless period for an OAD - it worked well, but my plan this year is different as I am planning on buying queens for my splits and introducing them as early as posible - thus I'm not expecting a broodless period. My goal this year is growth, ideally splitting both my hives and potentially generating a breeding nuc or two for future queen replacements. As I learned last year, letting them raise their own queen doesn't lend itself well to a large-growth plan...and queens are relatively cheap.

    I don't do OAV as its hard to justify the equipment cost given the small size of my operation, and the remote location of my hives which means I have to lug everything in/out by hand. My plan this year is a pre-split MAQS treatment to knock-down varroa, perhaps a summer oxalic shoptowl treatment (still debating on this), a fall MAQS and December OAD. This mirrors what I did last year, and last year it did a great job of limiting varroa.

    My concern is that using MAQS when the population is still quite small and coming out of winter may kill or slow the growth of my colonies...but if I wait too long varroa will also slow their growth. Essentially, I'm trying to optimise spring growth with feeding and mite control, and don't want to f it up.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: MAQS in spring

    Having a low mite population in the spring is a good idea. I did that last year but i used Apivar strips the mite count was so low after that I couldn't find a mite all summer. I didn't have any other hives around me that could reinfest my hives "mite bombs". MAQS can be hard on brood that's why I chose Apivar .

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
    Posts
    496

    Default Re: MAQS in spring

    Quote Originally Posted by SuiGeneris View Post
    I read about someone doing it here on BS. I doubt it is as accurate as using live bees from the brood nest, but you'd think it would be at least as accurate as a wash done on a dead-out. These are generally bees that have died in the last few hours, after a recent snowfall.
    this is highly inaccurate. phoretic mites are mostly on nurse bees, the youngest bees in the colony. the ones flying out in the cold to die are generally older bees at the end of their life. additionally, mite washes are tough this time of year because most of the phoretic mites are itching to reproduce and jump into the first available brood cells they can find. in a dead out where there is little to no brood, all the mites are right there to be counted.

    more constructively, due to MAQS potentially being hard on brood and queens (i have not experienced problems), consider waiting for this treatment until you have drones available. this way the colony has already completed its spring turnover and queens are easily replaced should anything detrimental occur. if you do not want to wait that long, apivar may be your next best option.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: MAQS in spring

    I should mention that you can use Apivar early in the spring when it is too cold for MAQS just be sure its out of there two weeks before your honey flow.

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