Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?
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  1. #1
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    Default Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    Hi All,

    Another question. So I did a sugar shake on both my hives back in July with minimal mite load. Last week I forked a bunch of drone brood and again saw no mites. I don't want to contribute to treatment resistance. If I'm not seeing mites via these methods should I still do a fall treatment?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    Do a sugar or alcohol roll to get a proper mite count. If you counts are actually low with one of these methods you MAY be ok without treating. Keep in mind that the bee population is going to keep dropping for the next few months and the mite population is going to keep climbing, so if you have a few now you will have a lot more in a few months.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    It sounds like you might have just a slight shadow of a doubt that your shake results are totally reliable, or you wouldn't have posted this. Everyone has their own level of tolerance for risks, personally I prefer to err on the side of caution.

    Along with continued monitoring you my want to consider doing one treatment this fall and closely check your mite fall on a sticky board. This will either confirm your shake results, or let you know that treatment was actually needed. One Formic treatment will not be contributing to treatment resistance or alter the queens genetics, but you will have reassurance one way or the other how much to rely on your monitoring methods.

    Those are my thoughts on it, I don't like taking chances. If you would happen to be wrong and rely on shake results that might be erroneous, you could find a dead or very weak hive next spring if you don't treat.
    To everything there is a season....

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    Its funny how some beekeepers with a few hives think they cant produce a quality queen (not referring to the OP) but yet think they will instantly produce weak bees or treatment resistant mites by treating.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    Unless you want to be a biennial bee colony customer, I would say fall effective varroa treatment is mandatory.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    Mike Gillmore, interested in your thoughts on acceptable mite count three days after OAV. If one does an OAV and installs a sticky board what is tolerable level of mites.

    A guideline from our past Provincial Apiarist was 30 mites over three days for naturally dying mites was a threshold to indicate treating was required. So is 50 or say 100 dead mites, over three days, after an OAV, an acceptable number for this time of year.

    I also plan to do a one shot treatment of OAV when near broodless in late October.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    I use vaporized OA every fall and spring, nothing else, four days apart six times.
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post

    Mike Gillmore, interested in your thoughts on acceptable mite count three days after OAV. ...
    So is 50 or say 100 dead mites, over three days, after an OAV, an acceptable number for this time of year.
    This time of year my sticky board mite counts can be deceiving after an OAV treatment. If I had 50-100 mites following my "broodless" OAV treatment after Thanksgiving I would be satisfied and consider it acceptable.

    But in Aug-Sept there is no way to know how many mites are under the cappings and unaffected by the OAV treatment. I've had colonies explode with mites in a very short period of time in late summer.

    I don't rely on counts to determine if my colonies need treatment, but rather rely on an understanding of the mite life cycle and my local seasonal mite load shifts in the colonies. Treatment is performed by calendar at the correct time of year. They "always" seem to have needed treatment, so counts for me are nothing more than information. No decisions are made based solely on counts.

    I wish I was in an area where I could manage treatment free but unfortunately this area is flooded every year with packages and queens that were not bred for mite tolerance. There seems to be no way around treatment. I've tried it in the past with colonies that "appeared" to be hopeful, but it never ended well.
    To everything there is a season....

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    I'm using OAV. I might do another 5x round (day 0,2,7,12,17) in the fall. I did one round ending 7/19. Ian Steppler ("a Canadian Beekeeper’s Blog") treats in September. Being more south, I might start this in early October. In January, I will do the broodless treatment. Should I do the fall treatment? I have mystery package bees, and hope to get to treatment free by getting good queens and breeding.
    David Smolinski USDA hardiness zone 6b

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    David, I do not understand your reluctance to continue treating NOW while the bees are raising the bees that will raise the winter bees. You need to be mite free at this time to have the strong healthy bees needed to make it through winter. Waiting to kill mites in Oct., in a hive full of weak bees, is no plan for success. I do three rounds of treatments through the fall and two single treatments while broodless, one on Thanksgiving, the other on Christmas. Last year I had 0 winter losses and my March apiary inspection showed 0 mites at that time. Other beeks that follow a similar regimen have similar results. Those that don't are the ones that complain that OAV is not effective.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    David, I do not understand your reluctance to continue treating NOW while the bees are raising the bees that will raise the winter bees. You need to be mite free at this time to have the strong healthy bees needed to make it through winter. Waiting to kill mites in Oct., in a hive full of weak bees, is no plan for success. I do three rounds of treatments through the fall and two single treatments while broodless, one on Thanksgiving, the other on Christmas. Last year I had 0 winter losses and my March apiary inspection showed 0 mites at that time. Other beeks that follow a similar regimen have similar results. Those that don't are the ones that complain that OAV is not effective.
    John, what do you mean by "three rounds of treatments through the fall". Do you mean like a treatment in Aug, in Sept, and Oct?

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    You have mites. Why waist your time killing bees to test for them.
    If you're going to treat, then treat. If you're not going to treat, then don't.

    But if you are going to treat, the "generally accepted" OAV schedule that I've gleamed from the OAVers is...

    1) Treat in July/August when the supers come off. I treat in August on the 1st, 6th, 11th, 16th. 21st and maybe the 26th.
    2) Treat in late fall. For me that's around Thanksgiving on a warmish day. Maybe twice.
    3) Some people treat once in January on a warmish day or two. I did.
    4) Treat in spring before the supers go on. I haven't decided if my schedule will be 3 or 5 treatments 5 days apart.
    I think I did 5 this past spring.

    For me, following this above schedule yielded a %100 winter survival rate for my hives.

    As a wise old Dr said @ the bee meeting last week, "Varroa becoming immune to OAV is like a lamb becoming immune to the wolf."

    So if you're going to treat with OAV then do it... "all out"... "shock and awe."
    Last edited by R_V; 08-18-2019 at 03:20 PM.
    Started April Fools Day 2017

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    Quote Originally Posted by dddillon View Post
    John, what do you mean by "three rounds of treatments through the fall". Do you mean like a treatment in Aug, in Sept, and Oct?
    Yes. But to be fair, I typically do a 3 x 7 day program due to work. The goal is not to kill every single mite with a single round, but to keep the mite load low enough that they are not a problem. This would equate to a 0 or 1 count per 300 bees in a wash. The Tday and Christmas treatments are meant to get the last of them during the broodless period so I go into spring with 0.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Yes. But to be fair, I typically do a 3 x 7 day program due to work. The goal is not to kill every single mite with a single round, but to keep the mite load low enough that they are not a problem. This would equate to a 0 or 1 count per 300 bees in a wash. The Tday and Christmas treatments are meant to get the last of them during the broodless period so I go into spring with 0.
    I did Apivar in June- middle of July, I'm getting 1 mite in the 3 different alcohol washes I have done in 3 out of 13 colonies, should I start OAV now? There's 150 or so mites in there at 1/3%
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  16. #15
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    Default Re: Is fall treatment for varroa obligatory?

    Quote Originally Posted by ifixoldhouses View Post
    I did Apivar in June- middle of July, I'm getting 1 mite in the 3 different alcohol washes I have done in 3 out of 13 colonies, should I start OAV now? There's 150 or so mites in there at 1/3%
    I personally do not think it would hurt. Clean the inserts and give them a very light spray with Pam. Do a single OAV treatment and count the drops after 3 days. That will tell you if you need to keep treating or not. The biggest problem with controling mites is not just their ability to reproduce, but their ability to move from a crashing hive to a healthy one on the forager (robber) bees. Your mite counts can be very low in August, and the hive can still crash in October. That is why I like to keep treating throughout the fall and why I do not believe in trying to kill every last one in a single round. There is a steady influx of new mites until the bees stop foraging.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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