Treat Package Before Installation?
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  1. #1

    Default Treat Package Before Installation?

    I don't have any bees yet, but am thinking about next year when I will....

    A beekeeper suggested that I treat my package of bees next year with OAV prior to installation. The suggestion was to remove the queen cage, apply OA to the workers only, then immediately go through the normal installation process.

    Does this sound reasonable or are there potential issues regarding queen acceptance, absconding, etc.?

    Thanks,
    Kevin

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    283

    Default Re: Treat Package Before Installation?

    You have like 9 days before it's needed, the dust needs to be all over the hive, then they pack it out, which gets the mites into it.
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,421

    Default Re: Treat Package Before Installation?

    I personally like waiting until a week after install. Install your bees, feed them. a week later OAV. The mites will still be exposed and the colony will be locked in as a colony and not a bunch of freaking out bees newly installed. Also, OAV does not do a very good job when the bees are in a tight cluster, so bees in a package will affect the percentage of kill.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,791

    Default Re: Treat Package Before Installation?

    I have been treating all new swarms, packages, purchased nucs, and divides with Apivar immediately upon starting them. And feeding them one gallon Prosweet. The effect of these two crutches is dramatic. $7 dollars invested returns a few boxes of honey in return. Just had a 94 pound average crop off one overwintered hive, one package and three swarms treated in this manner. The overwintered hive was treated in fall, the new four in spring.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    St. Charles, MO, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Treat Package Before Installation?

    Treating bees while still in the package is sometimes done, but mostly in other countries. No, there are no issues with absconding or with queen acceptance that I am aware of. I have done it and then repeated the OAV treatment 7 days after installing the package. If you are set on doing it, put the package in an empty hive body and then treat it. The issues you can encounter are: poor penetration of the OAV into the package because a lot of it will solidify and collect on the screen. The oxalic acid residue on the empty hive body and on the package can be an issue when you install the package. You would be well advised to wear your protective gear when handling either.
    But, as others have said, treating the package after installation and before there is any capped brood will be effective and require less work on your part.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Turnbow Hollow, Tennessee
    Posts
    455

    Default Re: Treat Package Before Installation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee's Bees LLC View Post
    I personally like waiting until a week after install. Install your bees, feed them. a week later OAV. The mites will still be exposed and the colony will be locked in as a colony and not a bunch of freaking out bees newly installed. Also, OAV does not do a very good job when the bees are in a tight cluster, so bees in a package will affect the percentage of kill.
    Totally agree.

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