This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    Default This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    I have 11 colonies of various configurations in my one apiary. Some of the queens are this year's locally raised mutts, a couple are saskatraz, and who knows for the rest (I got them "used").

    Here is my fall OAV treatment schedule this year, all colonies treated the same - August 11, August 31, September 7, September 13, September 20, September 24, September 30, and October 5. I shoot for 5-7 days between treatments (other than the one on August 11), but you will see some variance.

    My OA is sourced from Florida Labs, and is "in date" and kept sealed, and looks clean. My OAV wand is a cheap one I bought from ebay, but seems to work fine. I see vapor when I treat, and mites die.

    Most of the hives have mites largely under control now, as I am seeing just low double-digit drops after the last couple of treatments. But 3 colonies are dropping far more than I care to count, posssibly in the low hundreds 3 days after the September 30 treatment. Pulled the boards out for a glance today, and it looks like we are tracking for about the same this time as well.

    At this point I suspect that I should have done something other than OAV, possibly Formic Pro, so that the treatment would be more prolonged. But each time I think "this is likely the last time for this year," and then it is not.

    All colonies are strong and active. I suspect they may be robbing someone else's hives, otherwise I cannot explain what is going on.

    Anything else I can do, or anything I have missed, that I can do better next time?

    For those who might want to suggest just letting them die - it's not gonna happen as long as I can help it. I am solidly on the treatment side of the fence in my location and circumstance.

  2. #2
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    Greenville, NC, USA
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    Everyone who keeps bees has mltes. You may have colonies close by that were "mite bombs"; either wild bees or a treatment free apiary. Keep treating and talk to local beeks to see what they are doing. It wouldn't hurt to try formic or something longer lasting on the worst hives to compare the results but be aware of the temperature requirements.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    Quote Originally Posted by bushpilot View Post
    Anything else I can do, or anything I have missed, that I can do better next time?
    Be prepared for selective treatment in fall. Do at least two (OAV) unselective treatments in winter (when colonies are brood less).
    Expect (aim for) 10 to 20 % of losses.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    If you're killing large numbers of mites with VOA - then that method is clearly working as intended, so why change to using something else ? The wand is working and the OA you have is working - the problem appears to lie elsewhere, such as bringing in mites from outside the apiary - and that won't be solved by changing treatments.

    You could try a series of doses every (say) 4 days, to provide an overlap to ensure you catch all the phoretic mites, and maybe increase the amount you're using by (say) 50% - but other than that, I'd say just keep doing what you're already doing. A couple of doses in mid-Winter is certainly a good idea - that's the treatment I tend to rely on most during the year.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  5. #5
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    I've always been a little perplexed by the robbing out a dying mite bomb theory. Two things are missing from the telling (or hearing) of the tale. Robbing is a relatively short lived event, it is over when the the honey is gone and the hive is frequently close to dead. To have a yard heavily infected all would have to do the robbing and there would have to be a very large donor hive or hives. Do the receiving hives have an uptick in weight from stealing all that honey?

    A more likely scenario is mites of a certain density in a hive follow a similar reproduction method as bees; dispersal. In mites that method is to hop on a flower being frequented by many colonies and wait. In this scenario the mite bomb is not the dying hive, it is the hive functioning well under a heavy mite load.

    One theory does not preclude the other.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    A more likely scenario is mites of a certain density in a hive follow a similar reproduction method as bees; dispersal. In mites that method is to hop on a flower being frequented by many colonies and wait.
    Is there any evidence - however slight - to support that idea ? I would have thought it far more likely that mites would transfer directly from one bee to another, as the bees brush up hard against each other.

    I've nothing to offer in support of this, other than whatever the attractant is - it's far more likely to be present on the bees themselves, rather than on flowers.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #7
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    The ready to produce evidence is only lurking in the back corners of my mind as something I read. That is a rather cluttered space.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Is there any evidence - however slight - to support that idea ? I would have thought it far more likely that mites would transfer directly from one bee to another, as the bees brush up hard against each other.

    I've nothing to offer in support of this, other than whatever the attractant is - it's far more likely to be present on the bees themselves, rather than on flowers.
    LJ
    There is some video evidence showing a mite on a flower and when the bee lands the mite runs ( amazingly fast) onto the bee. I'm not sure how I interpret that video, but it is there, and it's kind of neat, or spooky, to watch.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    I've always been a little perplexed by the robbing out a dying mite bomb theory. Two things are missing from the telling (or hearing) of the tale. Robbing is a relatively short lived event, it is over when the the honey is gone and the hive is frequently close to dead. To have a yard heavily infected all would have to do the robbing and there would have to be a very large donor hive or hives. Do the receiving hives have an uptick in weight from stealing all that honey?
    Agreed, and most beekeepers who treat or who are TF, doesn't just watch a hive get robbed & definitely doesn't let it go to the brink of death or getting robbed out
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    if you get a 2-3 days stretch of rainy no-fly weather OAV them before and after. your drop count after can give you an idea what sort of mite drift you may be dealing with.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    bushpilot: You are experiencing exactly what I went through in 2015 and 2016. I switched to Apivar for my late summer/early fall treatment. Trials at Auburn University and the University of Georgia have shown inferior results with OAV series treatments with brood present. Jennifer Berry of UGA maintains that OAV is merely a "flash" treatment and does not have lasting mite kill effects beyond the initial sublimation.

    I love OAV and I use it in spring and late fall and winter. I wanted very badly to avoid all synthetic miteicides, but OAV in series treatments just does not give me a high enough percentage kill at this time of year. No doubt it kills mites. Just not enough of them.

  12. #12

    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    I, too, have had inconsistent results with oav. I use Apivar if daytime temperatures will be above 90F or the colony appears to be weak. I use Apiguard otherwise. I do a single mid winter oav treatment when my hives are broodless or nearly so.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  13. #13
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    Quote Originally Posted by psm1212 View Post
    bushpilot: You are experiencing exactly what I went through in 2015 and 2016. I switched to Apivar for my late summer/early fall treatment. Trials at Auburn University and the University of Georgia have shown inferior results with OAV series treatments with brood present. Jennifer Berry of UGA maintains that OAV is merely a "flash" treatment and does not have lasting mite kill effects beyond the initial sublimation.

    I love OAV and I use it in spring and late fall and winter. I wanted very badly to avoid all synthetic miteicides, but OAV in series treatments just does not give me a high enough percentage kill at this time of year. No doubt it kills mites. Just not enough of them.
    Bingo! Amitraz is a dirty word to many beekeepers, but it's deadly to mites. It is advertised to kill 99% of mites in one treatment. Put them in, take them out in 6 weeks. I'll take that all day long.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    If you're killing large numbers of mites with VOA - then that method is clearly working as intended, so why change to using something else ? The wand is working and the OA you have is working - the problem appears to lie elsewhere, such as bringing in mites from outside the apiary - and that won't be solved by changing treatments.

    You could try a series of doses every (say) 4 days, to provide an overlap to ensure you catch all the phoretic mites, and maybe increase the amount you're using by (say) 50% - but other than that, I'd say just keep doing what you're already doing. A couple of doses in mid-Winter is certainly a good idea - that's the treatment I tend to rely on most during the year.
    LJ
    I agree with this post.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    I agree that if you are getting large drops, the treatment is clearly working. The fact that the issues keeps on going just confirms that the hive is bein reinfested from somewhere else. A single treatment with Apivar or MAQS or Formic pro will not stop a hive from getting reinfested once those treatments are finished. You still need to stay on top of monitoring afterwards.

    On a humorous note, I finally found out where the mites in my hives are coming from...
    Capture.jpg

  16. #16
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    On a humorous note, I finally found out where the mites in my hives are coming from...
    Capture.jpg
    Free delivery with Amazon Prime!
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  17. #17

    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    The fact that the issues keeps on going just confirms that the hive is bein reinfested from somewhere else.
    Although this is a popular opinion in some circles it is far from a slam dunk.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  18. #18
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    I agree that if you are getting large drops, the treatment is clearly working. The fact that the issues keeps on going just confirms that the hive is being reinfested from somewhere else.
    If I have 6,000 mites in my hive (60,000 bees with a 10% infestation, both phoretic and under cappings) and I get a 2,000 mite drop from an OAV treatment, I still have a problem. Even if I get that same drop once a week every week for three weeks.

  19. #19
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    Default

    Interesting discussion. Clearly we still have a lot to find out about mites....
    So conjecturing here based on a few assumptions (worst case scenario?) about mite bombs.
    1. Mites live for 6 days without a host.
    2. Bees emerge for 3 days after colony dies.
    3. A weak colony succumbs to robbers after 3 days of pressure.
    4. A booming colony that is crashing because of mites has 20000 "phoretic" and 10000 under cappings, only 50% of which will emerge because not all capped brood will....
    5. Robbing takes 6 days (3 days slow robbing while colony is still fighting and 3 days after). I think a colony would get robbed out more quickly but this gives the emerging bees more time....
    So about 24000 mites available to be transfered in 6 days, 4000 mites per day (it probably is not evenly distributed), going to the strongest colonies in the area, say the 4 strongest as they will be most effective robbers. This is a potential mite load of .5% returning to your hive every day.
    If an apiary in your area has 1 mite bomb per week for 4 weeks (and of they have more than 4 colonies and they have mite bombs, they probably have more than 4 more bombs....!) your strongest hives could see an increase in mite load of 14%.
    People: don't let your bees succumb to mites before winter. (If they succumb after flying and robbing has stopped for the year that's on you. If they succumb during robbing season that's on your neighbors....)
    Last assumption: mites transfer effectively this way.
    Does anyone have better numbers on this? Has anyone done a sizeable scientific study of how mite bombs work?
    Happy beekeeping everyone!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: This is getting ridiculous (Varroa and OAV treatment)

    I agree with the process you have outlined, but you may want to look over your numbers in item 4.
    Mite bombs can and do happen. There are also a fair number of beekeepers who do not recognize how quickly a low mite count hive can become reinfested. These are often the ones who say they treated their hives but the treatment didn't work.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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