Top Bar Mite Treatment Options
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    15

    Default Top Bar Mite Treatment Options

    I will have two top bars next year where research would indicate that my mite treatments options may be limited. Many on the forum have expressed concerns with the use of MAQS, thymol, Apivar, etc. although I recognize there are individual success stories with these products in top bars. OAD and Hopguard II seem to be solid options during broodless periods, while OAV may be a possibility outside of those times.

    I have two questions which may or may not be related - if it was mid-August/early September and your mite count was above thresh hold levels, what treatment would you use in a top bar? Also, do you preemptively treat in early August (even in the absence of high mite counts) to stay ahead of the mite curve and, if so, how?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

    Kevin

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Toms River, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    39

    Default

    I have tried three methods so far in my too far, hopguard 2, formic pro, and oav. Hopguard was a bit annoying because hanging it between two frames created a gap, I also think it's just not super effective unless done in a broodless period. Formic I was worried about because it claims to be dangerous in a non ventilated hive. That being said I used it on a hive just behind the lastcomb and attached to the wall of the hive, there were no discernable negative effects on the hive. It didn't lose its queen or brood, and there was no excessive bearding. Oav I do in the dead of winter. My main issues I have with it is the pan has to go through the entrance, and it's hard to form a good deal because of the slanted wall. I find that it doesn't evenly travel though the hive. I think ideally I would use a band heat vaporizer through a small hole on the brood chamber if I get the funds. Next year, my plan is formic pro in August or September, and one dose oav between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That's just three visits to the bees for treatments which o think is reasonable.it would be lovely to get resistant enough bees that I could get away with just one one winter treatment, but I'm a few years away from that

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Top Bar Mite Treatment Options

    Thanks, NJBeeVet.

    Regarding the gap created by the Hopguard II - could you lay a quilt, board, or other obstruction above the top bars while the Hopguard is on to limit light and prevent bees from getting up into the cover area?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Toms River, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    39

    Default

    Sure you could do that, but they will fill that gap with propolis which you have to scrape out. Other option is just attaching it to the side walls. Its very sticky and messy and will kill whichever bees directly contact it. I do think it's disruptive to the hive environment

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Top Bar Mite Treatment Options

    OAV with the provap gun. The gun is expensive, but if you have several TBHs the convenience is probably worth it. I'm beginning to see some cheaper alternatives to the provap which have a similar technology. (Spray the vapor through a small hole in the side of the hive). I don't use the other methods, and have never really needed to. I like to treat dead of winter (around new years day), but will treat in the fall if counts are high. I seem to have around a 5-10% abscond rate with this treatment, but I'm not sure my sample size is high enough to tell for sure... it may have been just an unlucky day.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,834

    Default Re: Top Bar Mite Treatment Options

    I have used Apivar in my topbar hive.
    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.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,191

    Default Re: Top Bar Mite Treatment Options

    A fumigant (MAQS, Thymol, etc) are typically not very effective in a TBH purely due to the design, I would not recommend these. An oxalic vapour could be the exception simply by virtue of the fact you can up the administered dose to whatever you want, until you feel you have achieved good penetration.

    Hopguard has been found to be pretty ineffective, in any hive design. Wouldn't recommend that either.

    Apivar strips are very effective and that is what I have used in TBH's owned by friends and random people who call me about their TBH issues.

    Yes they require the top bars to be seperated by a small amount. But this is no issue. The bees typically propolise the gap by the time the treatment period is over, but all that is needed is to remove the apivar strip, scrape off the band of propolis, and push the bars back together.

    Basically apivar strip treatment is simple, idiot proof, and effective. Highly recommend.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Top Bar Mite Treatment Options

    I've never had to up my OA dose when I've treated. The typical 2 gram / 1/2 teaspoon dose fills the hive nicely, leaks out any loose bars, and kills a lot of mites. (I've seen hundreds on the bottom a few days after treatment, and my rolls are always down around the 1% level). I always harvest honey before treatment, so I'm fogging only a broodnest and a few frames of stores... not a huge colony. OT, I appreciate hearing about your Apivar experience. I've been interested in trying that, but was always concerned about the lack of airflow through my hives. I may give it a trial this year.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    1,202

    Default Re: Top Bar Mite Treatment Options

    I currently have 6 top bar hives. I use the Provap 100 for treatment. I separate the treatment for each hive and do a 1/2 dose about 1/4 of the length from each end. The fumes do not travel very well horizontally and treating this way works great. Treating with a wand takes a bit more work. The heated pad will be touching wax comb when inserted. You will want to see where the wand reaches to and slide the combs over and put 2 empty top bars where the heated pad will be. That way you will not melt the wax or possibly start a fire.

    Apivar works well too. DO NOT USE MAQS IN A TOP BAR HIVE!!! The product is not designed for a top bar hive and there is not enough air flow. You will either not kill most of the mites or you might kill most of your bees. I am told that Hopguard works OK when the hive is broodless but not well with brood. I used it once and will never do it again but that is another story for a different thread.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: Top Bar Mite Treatment Options

    I've never treated a top bar hive... but if I wanted to (which I don't) I would probably do OAV.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,834

    Default

    Topbar hives do not require treatments. They have natural size cells making them resistant to varroa mite. I wish I could figure out why the two I have die out every year or two.
    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.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,474

    Default Re: Top Bar Mite Treatment Options

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Topbar hives do not require treatments. They have natural size cells making them resistant to varroa mite. I wish I could figure out why the two I have die out every year or two.
    No need for this, odfrank.

    As far as I am concerned, the shallow topbars are disadvantageous for a variety of very general issues in my area.
    Natural cell, TF/non-TF, and all that "yadda yadda" are largely irrelevant and a moot point - due to more basic issues.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    1,202

    Default Re: Top Bar Mite Treatment Options

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Topbar hives do not require treatments. They have natural size cells making them resistant to varroa mite. I wish I could figure out why the two I have die out every year or two.
    Apparently, all that old school learning isn't working. If you would start reading, watching YouTube videos and start reading internet sites, you might be able to figure out why they keep on dying.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Top Bar Mite Treatment Options

    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    Apparently, all that old school learning isn't working. If you would start reading, watching YouTube videos and start reading internet sites, you might be able to figure out why they keep on dying.
    Cell phone towers or high voltage power lines. I unfortunately have both near my hives but have built a huge geodesic Faraday cage over them (using only "Made in USA" steel coat hangers I buy at yard sales). No worries now except for bears. Darn bears....

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