Treating to Become Treatment Free
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    South Hamilton, MA
    Posts
    184

    Default Treating to Become Treatment Free

    Share your experiences and advice on using treatments to become treatment free (TF).
    David Smolinski USDA hardiness zone 6b

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    South Hamilton, MA
    Posts
    184

    Default Re: Treating to Become Treatment Free

    I have not overwintered yet. Swarms and packages have died in previous years. Typically the population goes from high to 0 in < 1 week in the fall.

    I am using strong treatments (oxalic acid vaporization) for the first time this year. I have 3 packages. I treated them in spring

    Treatments so far (done on all hives):
    1. 1 in spring
    2. a round on days 0, 2, 7, 12, 17 and ending on 7/19 (Without counting, each hive appeared to drop thousands of mites.)

    My bees:
    1. went from 0 hives to 3 packages this spring
    2. I'm not doing mite counts right now, and assuming they are not hygienic.
    3. After 1 month, they replaced all their queens.
    4. look Italian: I plan to steal honey boxes and give them back at the right times to control winter eating.
    5. all foundationless mediums
    6. small top and smaller bottom entrance
    7. insulated top cover
    8. screened bottom boards
    9. no excluders

    plans:
    1. Be TF in 3 years.
    2. If hives do well, order TF queens for the spring.
    3. Breed those queens and use excluders to include my bad drones.
    4. Treat next year's hives if they fail tests, and use the untreated hives for breeding and requeening treated hives.
    5. not treating swarms unless they fail a test
    David Smolinski USDA hardiness zone 6b

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,560

    Default Re: Treating to Become Treatment Free

    David, start your next treatment round of OAV this weekend. You should be able to count the drops this time around.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Fultonville,New York,USA
    Posts
    689

    Default Re: Treating to Become Treatment Free

    Small time bee keeper only 10 hives. I run all screened bottom boards. This time of year after i pull my last honey for the season i go into brood chamber and cover bee's with powdered sugar. They clean each other and mites fall off. So i guess i am chemical not treatment free lol. All my hives made it through winter last year knock on wood.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    507

    Default Re: Treating to Become Treatment Free

    I plan to steal honey boxes and give them back at the right times to control winter eating.

    So this sounds hokey. how do you know when they are Hungary? if they want food and do not have it , it will end bad. opening them several times in winter is not advised. I have never heard of this kind of winter food management. My best suggestion is to find some one wintering bees in your area and talk to them about what they do to be successful. maybe start at a local Bee Club. the temperature is what controls winter eating, bees use the carbs to shiver with the wing muscles to produce heat. the word "Control" in this statement has me "concerned for your bees"
    GG

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,560

    Default Re: Treating to Become Treatment Free

    I suspect that in MA you will need two 10 frame mediums of capped stores per hive going into winter. If your bees store more than that, maybe save it for spring but do not try to "manage" their carb intake. I missed a feeding on an overwintered nuc that had run out of stores and and they starved to death in four days.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Fultonville,New York,USA
    Posts
    689

    Default Re: Treating to Become Treatment Free

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    I suspect that in MA you will need two 10 frame mediums of capped stores per hive going into winter. If your bees store more than that, maybe save it for spring but do not try to "manage" their carb intake. I missed a feeding on an overwintered nuc that had run out of stores and and they starved to death in four days.
    I have similar climate. Mine survived last year on 1 deep and 1 med super full

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    South Hamilton, MA
    Posts
    184

    Default Re: Treating to Become Treatment Free

    Thanks for advice. I won't steel the honey. I thought Italians ate more. The colonies are about equal strength. They filled 27 frames 2 weeks ago, so I added boxes, and moved 1 brood frame up in each 4th box. After 1.5 weeks I checked the strong colony. It made 2 frames of new comb in the top box. I think they are in a dearth. We had record rain this whole season, and it rained heavy during the typical drought. I should probably feed now.

    the spring supersedures:
    They were foraging heavy in the spring, I open fed some honey and they ignored it for >3 days. The queens died in May or June. I swapped brood and queen cells 2 or 3 times at weekly intervals. I cut the walls of a small number of eggs/larvae cells on the bottom of comb, so they could make queens there. The queen cells were huge. The new queens made lots of brood.

    Treatments:
    The last round ended 7/19. I am definitely treating at the winter broodless time. Until then, I might do one more round.

    Some desirable features of the possible fall treatment round:
    1. low brood production (after the period of max deceleration)
    2. low rate of immigrant mites coming in
    3. low mites when winter bees are made

    Advice on when to treat and feed helps.
    David Smolinski USDA hardiness zone 6b

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