Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?
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  1. #1
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    Default Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    Background
    I've had bees for six years now. My hive count has steady increased to 12 production hives and about 12 nucs. Production hives looked great during the flow and produced 120 pounds of honey per hive.

    Treatment method
    I treat with OAV only with a ProVap 110, solid bottom boards and seal the entrance with a cloth for 10 minutes. I use 1 gram of OAV per brood chamber. I always treat during the winter broodless period.

    I did 3 OAV treatments at 7 day intervals in July as I always do. One month ago all hives looked great. Solid brood patterns and lots of bees. I didn't do an alcohol count before starting but began treating with OAV again two weeks ago, about the same time I do each year. I'm in the middle of 5 OAV treatments, 5 days apart. I've inspected the hives over the treatment period and have been alarmed at the loss of population, suddenly horrible spotty brood, and more and more deformed wings. I did an alcohol count yesterday of a hive after three OAV treatments. Mite counts are still at 30 per 300 bees. I'm starting to think some of my production hives are a lost cause at this point. After my 4th OAV treatment last night, I installed a screened bottom board on a hive and got about a 400 mite fall overnight for one hive. Very discouraging. I'll keep hammering them with OAV though.

    For whatever reason it seems to me that OAV is tougher and tougher every year to control mites. I know the Europeans say no resistance developed over 30+ years. What's everyone else's thoughts on this?
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    No issues where i am. However for me anyway, i found from the gitgo, that treatments 5 or 7 days apart were ineffective, to get a good result I had to do 7 treatments 3 days apart.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    No issues where i am. However for me anyway, i found from the gitgo, that treatments 5 or 7 days apart were ineffective, to get a good result I had to do 7 treatments 3 days apart.
    Interesting. Thank you for the reply Oldtimer, sir. Do you use any other treatments or is it OAV exclusively?
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    No i rotate several treatment methods including synthetic strips, formic acid, and thymol. One treatment spring and one treatment fall. Right now the hives have cardboard strips soaked in oxalic acid / glycerine mix.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  6. #5
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    Another poster had better luck with a new bottle of OA. It is hydroscopic, any chance you are just dosing with more water?
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    Another poster had better luck with a new bottle of OA. It is hydroscopic, any chance you are just dosing with more water?
    I am using the Florida Labs oxalic acid with the bag sealed up and stored inside. It seems to be working - I had a 400 mite drop overnight.
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    What kind of mite fall did you see in July? Has anything changed in the numbers of surrounding colonies. A 400 drop tells you the OA is working but also tells you that there is a heavy load under cappings. Either the July treatments left too many survivors or you have had a heavy influx.
    In any case I would continue the treatments every 5 days till the drops are close to zero.

    I dont subscribe to the philosophy of mercy for survivors: take no prisoners! Actually, being quite a distance from other kept bees and no ferals I have an easy time keeping mites very near zero. If the numbers start to sneak up on you even a bit, the effort to control them is exponential.

    Different weather patterns year to year could make a considerable difference. Like whether or not they are on a brood break from dearth at the summer treatment.
    Frank

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    What kind of mite fall did you see in July? Has anything changed in the numbers of surrounding colonies. A 400 drop tells you the OA is working but also tells you that there is a heavy load under cappings. Either the July treatments left too many survivors or you have had a heavy influx.
    In any case I would continue the treatments every 5 days till the drops are close to zero.

    I dont subscribe to the philosophy of mercy for survivors: take no prisoners! Actually, being quite a distance from other kept bees and no ferals I have an easy time keeping mites very near zero. If the numbers start to sneak up on you even a bit, the effort to control them is exponential.

    Different weather patterns year to year could make a considerable difference. Like whether or not they are on a brood break from dearth at the summer treatment.
    All good points - thank you for the reply. I didn't measure the July drop. One lesson coming out of this is to do better monitoring, not rely on the calendar because, as you said, every year is different. Agreed about continuing the treatments until the count is close to 0. What treatments do you use?
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    Quote Originally Posted by e-spice View Post
    I know the Europeans say no resistance developed over 30+ years. What's everyone else's thoughts on this?
    VOA only for this European. Until this year, 1x treatment in late December kept Varroa in check. This year I've added a 4x 5-day program (last dose tomorrow), as a 'belt and braces' measure. This may not be strictly necessary, but as it's so cheap and quick to do - why not ? Zero winter losses for the last 8 years or so (haven't actually been counting), so for this apiary Varroa no longer presents as a problem - a nuisance, but not a problem.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    I used formic acid on pads for several years then switched to OA wand vaporization and last few years band heater external vaporizations. I had 5 or 6 years no winter losses with average 6 to 8 colonies. (until European foulbrood) I have been only putting a sticky board on one or two hives and pull some drone brood to examine. One round of treatments in springtime and have not had to treat till honey off around end of August Then do a round of about 5 treatments every 4 - 5 days without doing any counts aside from examining pulled drone brood.

    We do get a brood break from mid Nov. till probably February. Three miles to the closest bees and that only a handful at that. Not an even playing field compared to someone far to the south and surrounded by kept and feral bees.

    You want to follow some of the New Zealand beekeepers and see the uphill battle they have with mites!
    Frank

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    Espice:

    I tried the OAV-only route for a couple of years and found it just did not do the job in a climate that has 11 1/2 months of brood a year. For 2 years now, I have been putting in Apivar strips in July or August the minute I get my supers off of my hives. Spring OAV series, Fall OAV if needed after Apivar strips come out (usually not needed) and then a single-shot OAV between Thanksgiving and Christmas in an attempt to catch them with very little brood.

    This is what works for me. I really wanted (still want) to go exclusively OAV. I have the ProVap 110, so I have already made the investment. Apivar strips are expensive, while OAV costs virtually nothing for me now. But it just didn’t get the job done.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    I believe you are experiencing a "mite bomb" year. Last year did your area experience heavy swarming. If so, your bees may be robbing those feral hives out and that is why you are having problems with mite levels. This is what I have dealt with here in Indiana over the last 20 years. It has taken me this long to figure out what what was going on. I use Apivar during this time to help control the mite influx.. In late October I will hit with OA.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    e-spice. This is exactly why I changed my fall treatment from OAV to a thymol based product. My first year, I had great results with OAV but after that my losses were over 60%. I still do a winter treatment with OAV but my fall treatments are with a more effective product.
    Last edited by ericweller; 09-08-2019 at 06:28 PM.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    Randy Oliver is doing an approved trial of the Oxalic acid / glycerin solution soaked into cellulose material an placed on brood nest frames. The product is approved and in use in Argentina and I believe in European countries. Correct me if I am wrong on this. Oxalic adid vaporization is virtually a flash treatment with effectiveness for only a few days and only on phoretic mites whereas the OA/glycerine strips affect hangs around for a month on bees and surroundings so the mites cannot avoid exposure at some point in their cycle.

    You will be hearing more about this in the future.
    Frank

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    e-spice. This is exactly why I changed my fall treatment from OAV to a thymol based product. My first year, I had great results with OAV but after that my losses were over 60%. I still do a winter treatment with OAV but my fall treatments are with a more effective product.
    Eric: I am a little surprised you are not having some issues with thymol treatments in Georgia. I lost a couple of hives with Apiguard while trying to treat in the high 80s and have not gone back to it. Have you had any trouble with heat and thymol?

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    Randy Oliver is doing an approved trial of the Oxalic acid / glycerin solution soaked into cellulose material an placed on brood nest frames. The product is approved and in use in Argentina and I believe in European countries. Correct me if I am wrong on this. Oxalic adid vaporization is virtually a flash treatment with effectiveness for only a few days and only on phoretic mites whereas the OA/glycerine strips affect hangs around for a month on bees and surroundings so the mites cannot avoid exposure at some point in their cycle.

    You will be hearing more about this in the future.
    Frank:

    You are correct about Randy’s work with extended-release OA treatments in hives. UGA and Auburn University have done some studies with Randy’s formula in the Southeast. Randy is in arid Northern California. Auburn University and the University of Georgia are in the humid southeast. I have not seen anything published yet, but I have talked to some folks about the study and it did not go well.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    i can't speak from experience, but i can't help but come to the conclusion after following threads like this one and comparing this discussion to what i remember reading 10 years when i first joined beesource, that mites are indeed getting harder to control as time goes on...

    i.e. it sounds like more treatments and varying kinds of treatments are becoming increasingly necessary to keep mite levels down now compared to 10 years ago.

    for those of you who have been around for awhile and have been treating for mites is this a fair statement?
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    I agree with Old timer. OAV does not kill effectively for more than a few days. We also know it does not kill 100% of exposed mites during the prime effective time of the treatment. Another thing to consider is that OAV (like most treatments) is not great once the mite levels have spiralled out of control. Even if it is killing alot of mites it is missing some and the higher the mite load the more it misses. Alcohol washes are invaluable in my opinion.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i can't speak from experience, but i can't help but come to the conclusion after following threads like this one and comparing this discussion to what i remember reading 10 years when i first joined beesource, that mites are indeed getting harder to control as time goes on...

    i.e. it sounds like more treatments and varying kinds of treatments are becoming increasingly necessary to keep mite levels down now compared to 10 years ago.

    for those of you who have been around for awhile and have been treating for mites is this a fair statement?
    My guess is that it's the old chestnut of Local Conditions. For someone who experiences all-year-round brood I can see huge problems there - likewise those who live in a high-density beekeeping area, or where significant numbers of ferals exist. I'm like Frank - located in a fairly isolated area, and in my case one in which I'd bet my pension there are zero ferals within range.

    So - my money would be on three things: firstly, that re-infestation is a major factor; secondly, that the mode and technique of applying OA needs to be efficient; and lastly, the increased number of people now using OA - and perhaps expecting it to be a simplistic 'magic bullet' - could explain the higher number of 'reported failures', and so rather than mite resistance being the cause, it's simply a function of higher numbers of users, many of whom will not yet have had extensive experience in it's use.

    I'm fairly sure that if I only possessed a varrox-style vapouriser, then I could return to just the one winter application, and continue to 'get away with it' - but the current band-heater designs (I apply via an existing feed-hole) are so convenient to use that multi-dosing now presents as being a time-effective methodology.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Is it tougher and tougher to control mites with OAV?

    ,Snip> and lastly, the increased number of people now using OA - and perhaps expecting it to be a simplistic 'magic bullet' - could explain the higher number of 'reported failures', and so rather than mite resistance being the cause, it's simply a function of higher numbers of users, many of whom will not yet have had extensive experience in it's use.<Snip> [QUOTE=little_john;1753661]

    This, and the intensity and cross country transportation of pollinating bees may have increased. A lot of these colonies get broken down and become the nucs shipped all over to start new colonies and replace deadouts. There seems to be more acceptance that deadouts were caused by mites and not excused as starved, froze to death, absconded or poisoned.

    I think these factors are enough to explain the perception that the mites may be getting harder to deal with.
    Frank

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