Varroa in drone brood
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Washington, D.C.
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    16

    Default Varroa in drone brood

    So I treated three times since the end of summer - once with formic when the weather was good, and twice with OAV, once in Jan. and once in Feb.

    I broke some drone brood yesterday, and I saw drone larvae with varroa on them. A few had one or two, and one had about 4.

    Should I be worried? I feel like we all know that we are raising varroa with our bees, but I don't know if this is evidence of being over threshold.

    I guess i really just need to do an alcohol wash to find out...

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    1,634

    Default Re: Varroa in drone brood

    An alcohol wash is certainly the next step to determine if you are over threshold. From your account of mites on your drone larvae, I am going to make a guess that you are at or over threshold. Good news is that your bees are alive and you have time to treat before honey supers go on in your area.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
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    4,960

    Default Re: Varroa in drone brood

    While an alcohol wash can give you a baseline, it is likely to simply confirm what you already know to be true. You are over the "threshold" and need to treat NOW. You have time to do a full OA series before you need to have the supers on.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
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    6,598

    Default Re: Varroa in drone brood

    Yeah, I would be worried. I suspect you are too since you made this post about it. Removing full frames of capped drone pupae can be effective this time of year for reducing varroa mite loads. Otherwise, pick your poison as the saying goes.
    Live real time bee chat, most evenings...
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  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
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    576

    Default Re: Varroa in drone brood

    thats too many mites for this time of year. remember where 1 goes in a cell on average 4 come out. if you have frames that are all drawn comb, removing those and freezing wouldnt hurt. i suspect in your area you will be putting supers on in 3-5 weeks? maybe i am too early with that figure, but something liek apivar would take 8 (6+2) weeks to run its course. have a look at MAQS for treatment. i think the continued increase in brood is too much for OA to be effective this time of year. any way about it you should do something to avoid a crash. good luck!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Jackson, TN, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Varroa in drone brood

    I treated for mites last fall with mite away quick strips. Day before yesterday I also noticed varroa on both my adult drone bees and in the drone larvae. I am at a loss as to how to treat them. I have already added a honey super to the hive because the population has exploded. The mite away quick strips say that they can be used with honey supers. However, I don’t want to cause mite resistance since I treated them with it in the fall. Does anyone have any ideas? I also have not done an alcohol wash yet but the population of varroa so early in the year really startled me.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
    Posts
    576

    Default Re: Varroa in drone brood

    thats really your only option with the supers on. the reason i save it for a spring treatment. use it again and follow up with something else when you pull your supers.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Pleasant Valley, NY
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Varroa in drone brood

    I would hit with formic pro and knock those mite populations down especially under capped brood. If you are seeing this
    many with just the few cells you have uncapped, then the mite population will explode as they are ramping up for the flow.
    Even if a queen is damaged, new queens should be available for sale by early April if you can't make your own.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
    Posts
    385

    Default Re: Varroa in drone brood

    The description given tells me that drone culling is good prevention method to stop Spring horizontal spreading or within hive growth. I have not seen Varroa-drone numbers as reported. Is Varroa resistant drones the way to go?

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    1,836

    Default Re: Varroa in drone brood

    The idea of "thresholds" is an obsolete concept.
    With the ever increasing threat of multiple viral implications, varroa loads must be addressed regularly.

    >Should I be worried?<

    Only if you disregard the signs that you saw.
    I have exactly ONE more hive than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,468

    Default Re: Varroa in drone brood

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdee View Post
    I treated for mites last fall with mite away quick strips. Day before yesterday I also noticed varroa on both my adult drone bees and in the drone larvae. I am at a loss as to how to treat them. I have already added a honey super to the hive because the population has exploded. The mite away quick strips say that they can be used with honey supers. However, I don’t want to cause mite resistance since I treated them with it in the fall. Does anyone have any ideas? I also have not done an alcohol wash yet but the population of varroa so early in the year really startled me.
    Formic acid is not considered to be one of the treatments commonly associated with the development of resistance so I would not give a lot of weight to this factor.

    I did not catch exactly when, last fall, that you treated; Formic affectiveness is temp. dependent. It is also possible that your bees were reinfected after treatments.

    In any case you now need mite control; if you can actually see mites on the drones their numbers are very high.

    With supers on, I think formic acid is your best option. The thymol, eucalyptal,etc. treatments will taint the honey (to some peoples tasters anyways)
    Frank

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,478

    Default Re: Varroa in drone brood

    I will also throw in for formic asap. Its likely your hive was repopulated with mites through robbing after you treated. I have been seeing a lot of posts like this. This has happened to me so I followed up with an OAV series late fall and then I do a "one shot" around Christmas. This year, its was a 2 shot based upon some recent study I read about on here. Not much you can do about it except do a wash as late in the season as possible and treat accordingly. Good that you caught this now. Good luck. J

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