How I treat and what works for me
When I pull my honey supers after the nectar flow has ended but no later than late July, early August, I begin an OAV treatment regimen. Why? Because, for me, at that time, the mites are either just beginning or are already outbreeding the bees. Since OAV only kills phoretic mites (not mites in brood under cappings) you need to do multiple treatments to kill those mites that were in those capped cells during the treatments and will emerge with the brood. You need the OAV treatment to cover that emerging brood cycle. A regimen of treating every 7th day for 3 weeks is ok for many. Better yet is a treatment every 5th day for 4 weeks. Outstanding is a treatment of every 5th day for 5 weeks.
A 1% infestation based on a wash or sugar roll in mid- July left unchecked, is a dead hive in October or November, they just don’t know it yet.
You may say some of those regimes don’t cover the brood cycle. You’d be correct IF OA only killed on day of treatment. However, OA has a lingering effect. OA will continue to kill until the bees (who see the OA crystals as trash) carry them out. Studies have shown that OA resides in the hive for + -3 days when bees are flying. OA lasts and kills mites much longer if applied in cooler weather when the bees are not flying to carry the OA crystals out.
Mites do not immediately emerge with brood and re-enter a cell about to be capped to breed. They remain phoretic 4-14 days. During this time, they get their hair curled and nails painted in preparation for breeding! Not really, this time of the mites outside the cell gives an OAV treatment the opportunity to destroy them in a phoretic stage. Once you’ve completed the treatment regimen you need to test that it was effective enough. A single OAV treatment within days (maybe 5-7) after your last OAV treatment (this time with a sticky board) will show all you need to know after looking at the resulting mite drop. If that mite drop is heavy, you need to continue with OAV treatments until the mite drop is extremely low.
A question you might ask....
Why, when I did my sticky board test, am I (if you are) still seeing a high mite count? Didn’t OAV work? A mite coming into contact with OA will die. That’s a known fact. So why are you possibly still seeing a high mite drop?
Two very probable answers.
- Drift from untreated hives and
- (which is really a part of answer 1 and is what Randy Oliver and others call “mite bombs.”
What are MB’s? They are collapsing nearby hives. Your bees are raiding them for honey stores (thus picking up and bringing back mites) AND/OR the bees from the collapsing hive(s) are absconding from their dying, mite infested hive and entering yours with mites attached. Unfortunately, neither of these events can you control. Thus if in your test, you see a heavy mite count, continue to treat.
Ok, you’ve treated until you have a very low mite count. Now what?
You do another treatment in very late autumn or early winter when your hive is at its lowest brood point. Studies have shown treating one time at this time when all or almost all the mites are phoretic (since there is no brood for mites to enter and breed) will kill an astounding 97% or better of ALL the mites in the hive! Why not 100%. There are always those mites that manage to avoid coming into contact with OA.
Ok, now what? You’ve this basically mite free hive. The NEXT treatment is what I call my “feel good treatment.” In spring, with a great queen and tons of bees and brood ready to collect nature’s bounty and right before I place my supers, I do my “feel good treatment.” It’s a one OAV shot, that just makes me feel good that I’ve done all that I can to keep my mite count on bees low.
This OAV schedule works for me and OA is all I use to control mites. The key is multiple treatments and doing them timely. You miss a day or days during a multiple treatment regimen, you’re giving mites the opportunity to enter cells about to be capped to breed.
If you’ve not treated at all, have a full hive & are just now purchasing a vaporizer. Start NOW with a 5 or 7 day regimen. (Remember, per the EPA, you cannot treat with the supers on.) If you’ve supers in place either remove them for the treatment (replace 10 minutes thereafter) or place some newspaper between the brood chamber and supers. You need not remove the newspaper as the bees will discard it for you!
If you’ve just purchased a package, best practice is to hive it and vaporize one time when you see eggs/larvae but before the cells are capped! That’ll kill the phoretic mites and you’ll have a “mite free” hive to start.
OxaVap.com “Where the only good mite is a Vaporized one!!”