RIP little bees... - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    An interesting observation is that most of the beekeepers who seem to be having trouble with OAV treatment effectiveness in the fall months are in the more southern states. I went for many years exclusively using a series of 3 or 4 OAV treatments 7 days apart in late August/early September with pretty good results. The winter broodless treatment cleaned up the hives and they were good to go in the spring with no additional treatments needed again until late summer.

    With that said, the past couple of years I have been using formic treatments in late summer-early fall, when temperatures are acceptable, rather than the fall series of OAV. The initial switch to formic was due to time constraints, with Formic appearing to be the best option for me knowing I would not be able to keep up with a full series of OAV treatments. I've noticed now that the colonies seem to be more robust in the spring months than they were with exclusive OAV treatments, and I plan to continue using a dual approach with treatments.

    I'm sure that in milder climates, where brooding days in the season are much longer, these kind of results are probably amplified in a negative way. It's amazing just how much of beekeeping is regional. No doubt there are beekeepers in Canada who are having a difficult time with OAV, but on the other hand there are beekeepers in the south who are doing well with no treatments at all.
    To everything there is a season....

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    I went for many years exclusively using a series of 3 or 4 OAV treatments 7 days apart in late August/early September with pretty good results. The winter broodless treatment cleaned up the hives and they were good to go in the spring with no additional treatments needed again until late summer.
    Mike i would propose that you either had bees that were at least partly varroa tolerant, or, that the 4 x's weekly treatments knocked the mites back enough to get enough healthy bees pre winter, and then the broodless OAV finished the varroa population.

    My own work has convinced me that when a good amount of brood is present, vaporisations at 7 day intervals just do not cut the mustard for getting a 98% kill, even if repeated a multitude of times. And a 98% kill is what we should be aiming at.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  4. #23
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    OT, my experience so far is that a once every seven day treatment program will work, provided you do it every 7 days as long as the bees are foraging. Granted, I missed a few weekends due to either weather or work, but essentially every week from mid August to the first killing frost. When using a band heater vaporizer(Provap110) the amount of time to treat the 20-30 hives is not bad and I have to be out there to feed them anyhow. Helps that the bees are only 100 yards from the house. My most recent treatment was done earlier this month and most boards were zero on the DDC. A few had a light sprinkling like maybe as many as 15-20 from a time when they were broodless. They will all get their last treatment tomorrow. I wont treat again until after the supers come off next summer. 24/25 so far of hives that were expected to make it. The two nucs I lost awhile back were weak and should have been combined.

  5. #24
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    What do you think your survival would have been had you not treated at all JWP?
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  6. #25
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    Suffolk Co, NY, USA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    The 4x weekly or 4x every 5 days had worked for me for many years as well. Aug treatment time is when the colonies are broodless or nearly so following dearth and late summer drought. No treatment until late Dec 1x clean up, then no spring treatment necessary, nor summer until late Aug again.

    But in my location-
    Wet years it didn't work as well. Many other beekeepers in area it didn't work as well. Hives gaining abnormal late season weight without any feed on it didn't work as well. So brooding hives in wet years, mite bombs and robbing limits effectiveness of that treatment method now.
    Late July treatment regimen and the timing was all off. Sept is too late for a healthy winter bee population.

    My view for effective OAV treatments is broodlessness, low colony density in flight range, limited robbing. All need to be achieved nearly completely or a additional treatment product will be necessary or should be substituted for OAV to control the mite population in late summer in time for healthy winter brood rearing.

  7. #26
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    I know I would have lost the hive that was dropping hundreds of mites earlier. My guess is I would be at 50% now and maybe 25% by spring. Hard to say. My first year I lost 50% before I knew what Varroa was. I treated with Apivar mid October that year and was able to bring the remaing colonies through. I would like to move a couple of splits to an unused out yard and see how long they can make it TF. Almost all my bees are from a single swarm I captured, and which survived that first year despite my ignorance, and most have not had significant mite drops throughout the fall treatments.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #27
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    JW how many treatments does the come to ? 9-10?

  9. #28
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    I think tomorrow's treatment will be the 12th application this season. First application was end of July but the drop was so low I waited about three more weeks before #2. Then it was most weekends through October. The Thanksgiving day treatment was postponed until December and the Christmas treatment is what they are getting tomorrow. My aim is not to get that 97% kill, but to maintain enough pressure on the varroa that they do not cause the bees much harm. I cringe whenever someone talks about their 5x3 treatments and how the hive is supposed to be mite free and then they don't treat again for a month or two. When they get a huge drop, the OAV did not work. Mites are coming into the hives every day the bees are foraging. If they rob out a crashing hive like one of mine did, the mite load spikes into the thousands seemingly overnight. As in all things beekeeping, YMMV.

    Wanted to add that the one hive that died was not the high mite load hive. That hive is looking healthy ATM and is expected to survive.
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 12-28-2019 at 06:41 PM.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #29
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    I am sorry you lost your hives. I can only offer my experience and I am in a MUCH warmer, dryer climate, we have drought again. Winter drought which will affect my spring forage situation.

    I am in an idyllic zone I guess. Have had a lot of family issues, went to the fogger last year, which promptly fell apart (as the last one did after being used in 2017) had to order a battery that would let me do all hives on the same day, first one was defective, finally got one treatment in on November 22nd or thereabouts.

    BUT. I don't think any beekeepers within flight range, I quit doing removals except I got the big one out of my neighbor's house in May greatly reducing robbing. If I can only treat once I hope for broodless, 3 out of 4 boxes had less than 10 brood cells when I treated.

    I held off feeding until I could treat to hopefully keep them from laying. This means in this warm winter, I have small clusters. Which has reduced my winter feeding. The queens are now laying based on action at the pollen sub station. Which makes it too late to treat for varroa again.

    I also get my queens from Beeweaver, they are working on varroa defenses, and have been for years. I prefer VSH queens to constant mite battles.
    Last edited by Gypsi; 12-29-2019 at 09:02 AM. Reason: queen source is important
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Paul, I am just south of you in Bridle Trails. It has been a very bad year for mites. I have not lost a single hive to mites over the last 2 years. This winter I have already lost 3 to mites. I did treat but the build up this year seemed much later than usual. Do an autopsy of the hives and see what you can figure out.

  12. #31
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    I would like to move a couple of splits to an unused out yard and see how long they can make it TF.
    Will you be out sourcing TF queens, or?
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsi View Post
    I also get my queens from Beeweaver, they are working on varroa defenses, and have been for years. I prefer VSH queens to constant mite battles.
    Curious of your mite counts, that would lend you to treat Beeweaver queens?
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  14. #33
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    Will you be out sourcing TF queens, or?
    Using my own stock for this experiment. Again, all I wish to determine here is IF they show some restistance. Making no claims that they already do. Returning the bees to the banks of the James River where I caught the original swarm three years ago and will allow the walkaway splits to open mate in that location.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    It's so frustrating when we do things we think are working... and the bees die anyways. It's not much solace to say "you're not alone".

    Keep in mind, it is possible to answer for yourself whether mites played a role - do an alcohol wash on the dead bees. Mainly for the mesh - I guess you could use water. More than 20/300 - mites played a role.

    There will be lots of mites on the bottom board too - might have to sift that somehow if you don't clean regularly, which I don't in summer. Sometimes people chuck the dead bees without realizing there is information there.

    So how could a hive die of mites if one treated in summer and early fall? Well, the mites came in to the hive AFTER you treated. I saw this with my own eyes this year - it started the second week of October in these parts, and continuned through early Nov. By my count, from the mite drop post OAV in my apiary and one down the road, at least 10000 mites came into our (clean) hives during that stretch of time.

    Since we caught this infusion of mites, no deadouts yet. Had I experienced one, I would have check the mites in the dead bees, AND checked for evidence the mites reproduced in the hive. If they did, they leave mite frass behind - tiny white pellets on the ROOF of the cells. The mite frass will be most concentrated in the center of the hive, since that's often where the queen last laid brood.

    No mite frass, yes lots of mites in the dead bees? The mites came from away. Yes mite frass, yes lots of mites in the dead bees? Mite treatments through the summer were not effective.

    Takes the guesswork out, allows a path forward for next year. Good luck... all their work is not for nothing. Protect the comb well.

  16. #35
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    An interesting observation is that most of the beekeepers who seem to be having trouble with OAV treatment effectiveness in the fall months are in the more southern states.
    You got it Mike! As a stubborn southern beekeeper who wanted nothing more than to go straight OA, after about 3 years I knew it just was not going to work. The reality is that OA is not as effective with capped brood in place (you know, what the literature has said for years, but I refused to accept). I ALWAYS have capped brood in my hives.

    Add to this that my bees fly all year round. So they can rob out infested neighbors all year round.

    I am now attempting to work in artificial brood breaks. In the spring, I split all of my hives in such a manner that the new hive is broodless on the day of the split and the parent hive is broodless 21 days later. I OAV at these strategic times. I am also experimenting with caging my queen for 14 days at the end of the nectar flow for a single OAV treatment. This winter, I have built a ridiculous looking caged frame that has drone brood foundation on one side and is surrounded by queen excluder. The thought is that I will place my queen in the caged frame and hopefully force her to lay drones in the drone cells. As soon as this is capped, I will release the queen back into the hive, do an OAV and freeze the caged frame with capped drones. This works in my head. I will see how it does this fall.

    Until I figure it out, I will continue to use Apivar as my primary treatment in the fall.

  17. #36
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    Jun 2019
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by trishbookworm View Post
    It's so frustrating when we do things we think are working... and the bees die anyways. It's not much solace to say "you're not alone".

    Keep in mind, it is possible to answer for yourself whether mites played a role - do an alcohol wash on the dead bees. Mainly for the mesh - I guess you could use water. More than 20/300 - mites played a role.

    There will be lots of mites on the bottom board too - might have to sift that somehow if you don't clean regularly, which I don't in summer. Sometimes people chuck the dead bees without realizing there is information there.

    So how could a hive die of mites if one treated in summer and early fall? Well, the mites came in to the hive AFTER you treated. I saw this with my own eyes this year - it started the second week of October in these parts, and continuned through early Nov. By my count, from the mite drop post OAV in my apiary and one down the road, at least 10000 mites came into our (clean) hives during that stretch of time.

    Since we caught this infusion of mites, no deadouts yet. Had I experienced one, I would have check the mites in the dead bees, AND checked for evidence the mites reproduced in the hive. If they did, they leave mite frass behind - tiny white pellets on the ROOF of the cells. The mite frass will be most concentrated in the center of the hive, since that's often where the queen last laid brood.

    No mite frass, yes lots of mites in the dead bees? The mites came from away. Yes mite frass, yes lots of mites in the dead bees? Mite treatments through the summer were not effective.

    Takes the guesswork out, allows a path forward for next year. Good luck... all their work is not for nothing. Protect the comb well.
    Great post, I found this also. I did Formic Pro late August-early September as my mite count jumped drastically in about a week. The treatment took the mite drop back to almost zero then in early November it shot up again. I just finished my 10th oav on them and think this should be the last one before spring as there's 0-3 mites every 3 days now. The folks I got the bees from mentioned they had a really bad mite year up here. I'm pretty sure my neighbors who also have backyard bees didn't treat enough and that's where the late bombs came from. It'll be interesting to see if their colonies make it...

  18. #37
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    Curious of your mite counts, that would lend you to treat Beeweaver queens?
    Accurate mite counting - I haven't done in years. I use screened bottom boards with sticky boards, If I see mites on the sticky, I think one good OAV when little or no brood is warranted.

    My hives were built from cutouts and removals after 2012, I had some really nice local survivor bees but lost all trying to save them. (moved to an outyard, with homeowner instructed to feed, she didn't they were nearly starved when I picked them up), and 2nd one daughter of the first, in a different outyard, brood hatched, hard freeze that lasted a bit too long, they died below a box of honey. I had a large wild hive living in a house kill about 5 of mine last year, I'd moved my favorite bees to protect them and lost them all. Removed and requeened the wild bunch this summer, now they are beeweaver. But I lost my survivor bees

    so now I have Beeweaver queens, but it hasn't always been that way. If I see mites, I treat, I will hold off feed (on a healthy hive with some stores) to create a broodless period, and they get a dose of OAV. If I saw a higher mite count or with brood in hives I'd try to do more. I've been buying VSH queens since 2012, and even the breeder of them said they needed some kind of treatment to assist. Mites are that bad.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  19. #38
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    i'm still wondering why the dead bees were soggy...

  20. #39
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    I questioned that as well which is why I did not proclaim mites as the culprit. I imagine that Paul is using solid bottoms and he did mention lots of rain. Could be the rain blew in and soaked the dead bees laying on the bottom already. I have seen beeks using migratory tops that did not fit well end up with dead soggy bees but I don't think was Paul's issue. Hope he does an autopsy and lets us all know the results.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  21. #40
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Post #9
    I felt like the insides of the boxes were too wet. The heat from the bees would collect on the inside of the top of the boxes and rain down on the bees. Quilting boxes kept that from happening.
    Maybe not .. this time.

    Seems like most of the time mites can be blamed for a hives demise. That makes it too easy to quickly pin all of the blame on mites as the culprit for a dead out. But it can also hinder us from keeping an open mind and looking at other possible options.

    If a beekeeper says, I didn't treat because I didn't see any mites, that's one thing. In this case treatment was performed at the right time. Not excluding a possible post treatment late season re-infestation, but I would bet something else might be going on here. Could be mites, but I would be looking closely at moisture and ventilation issues. Maybe both.
    To everything there is a season....

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