Anecdotal Varroa Control
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Bellflower,Montgomery County, Mo
    Posts
    100

    Default Anecdotal Varroa Control

    I live in a small (400) town in mid Missouri, about 120 miles West of St Louis. There is one other fellow in town that had bees until last year. I had a small swarm that moved into honey supers that I was cleaning out on 9/10/19. I treated them twice with OAV near Christmas. They are doing OK (5) frames. I talked to his wife a few weeks ago and she mentioned that he didn't have any hives left. I asked if he was treating with anything for varroa and she said no.

    I have a friend who lives 60 miles or so from me who kept bees until 1990 when varroa wiped him out. Since he ran into me a few years ago he decided to keep bees again. I just talked to him this morning and he asked me where he could get packages or nucs. He said he had 20 hives at his house and he lost them all this winter.

    I only have 4 colonies at present and I have lost zero over the winters in the last 8 years. I have done oxalic treatments every winter near Christmas. I did lose 8 hives in 1918 in June and July.

    It seems to me that there may be a correlation between what I did and what they did. What do you think?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,653

    Default Re: Anecdotal Varroa Control

    I think your success in light of your friend's failure may be attributable to a couple of things: (1) your willingness to treat your bees, though treating only twice during Christmas with OA will not work for most of us, and, I suspect much more important, (2) your remoteness from other beekeepers. A town of 300 with no other beekeepers present? That sounds like beekeeping nirvana to me. The fact that you only need a couple of treatments of OA during the winter to keep them going somewhat proves that concept in my mind. Though, as your title states, we are only working off of anecdote.

    Sounds like you have a good situation dialed in with a good balance of treatment for your particular environment. That is where we are all trying to get.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Bellflower,Montgomery County, Mo
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Anecdotal Varroa Control

    Right now I am starting OAV three times every 5 days. Then monthly OAV until August. Then three times every 5 days. The winter OAV proved to be insufficient in 2018.

    Where my bees are located 3 miles from my home I've seen at least 3 other beekeepers. So I expect at least drone drift if not robbing.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,623

    Default Re: Anecdotal Varroa Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Braun View Post
    Right now I am starting OAV three times every 5 days. Then monthly OAV until August. Then three times every 5 days. The winter OAV proved to be insufficient in 2018.

    Where my bees are located 3 miles from my home I've seen at least 3 other beekeepers. So I expect at least drone drift if not robbing.
    I would suggest that with the shorter interval that you do at least one more time to be sure you cover the whole time span of all brood. Some operators in heavy infestation areas are suggesting they have to go for 7 shots at 3 day intervals.

    The failures in 2018 might have had to do with virus loads. It can take several rounds of brood AFTER the mites are all dead before the virus levels drop. Guess it depends from year to year what is going around and what your bees went to bed with besides the mites. Mites are easy to test for; the viruses, not so much.

    It sounds like you have been having good success.
    Frank

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Bellflower,Montgomery County, Mo
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Anecdotal Varroa Control

    Good point crofter, maybe I'll move 4 times to give me 20 days.

    Yeah my viral load must have been high in 2018. So far I was at 0 or 1 last fall and I'll test at the end of my 20 days.

    Up until now I've used double screen boards for splits. This year I plan on moving the queen into a nuc and having the remaining 5 frames of bees start my queen cells. I'll do that near the 1st of April which is our first swarm date here in mid-Missouri. I'll see how many nucs that gives me before I try my hand at queen rearing.

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