Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.
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  1. #1
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    Default Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    I recently rescued some hives from a commercial beekeeper. He had obviously stopped caring for the bees so it's been a bit of work to get than back to full health.

    The real issue is the amount of mites! Nearly all the hives are two deep with LOTS of bees... But also lots of DWV, and who knows what else. (LOTS of bees crawling around in front of the hives)

    I started with OAV treatments as soon as they settled in. (Using Johnos Easy Vap) I did a few treatments 7 days apart and kept getting MASSIVE drop on the mite board (thousands). After another mite check I could tell the mite count was still climbing so decided to go nuclear.

    I've now done 8 treatments, 3 days apart. Some would say that's excessive but the bee numbers are still very high and still plenty of brood, etc. Also, 24 hours after each treatment I've still noticed a TON of mites on the boards of a few of the colonies.

    I did stop treating the hives that only showed a few mites after the 6th treatment, but after 8 treatments some still have a huge amount of mites dropping.

    As such, should I use a different method on these hives? Apivar or other? The OAV is obviously killing a lot of mites, are there really so many emerging, and heading back into cells between treatments, to keep these kinds of numbers up?

    My main hives have nearly zero mites as I've treated them during low brood months, I'd just like to knock these numbers down in these new hives to get them through spring, where I can treat in the summer when they have far less brood.

    I also plan on requeening the really problematic hives with daughters of my best stock. Always low mites and resistant to local issues.

    Anyone else had similar issued with OAV? What did you do to resolve it?

    Hive #5, 24 hours after 8th treatment:
    Attached Images Attached Images

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnmyke View Post
    I've now done 8 treatments, 3 days apart. Some would say that's excessive but the bee numbers are still very high and still plenty of brood, etc. Also, 24 hours after each treatment I've still noticed a TON of mites on the boards of a few of the colonies.

    I did stop treating the hives that only showed a few mites after the 6th treatment, but after 8 treatments some still have a huge amount of mites dropping.

    As such, should I use a different method on these hives?
    If you continue to get large amounts of mite-drop after each treatment - then VOA is obviously working - so keep going ....
    Suggest you do ALL the hives each time, to minimise possible transfer of mites between hives.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
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    Default

    If it was me, I would try a dose of something else, yes it’s working but maybe you need a swipe at something gets below the caps. If it’s approaching a flow where you are maybe give Formic a shot while you have honey supers on. Good kick.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    Personally, I'd abandon any thought of getting honey from these hives this year -- they've been hit too hard by the mites. If you have the equipment, and you think the bees are strong enough, I would force a brood break. Remove the current brood frames and replace them with new ones, or shake them into a new hive. Then hit them with OAV, and sanitize the old equipment. All of the mites will be phoretic this way, and you'll have better impact with the OAV.

    On the bright side, if these bees have been able to keep going in the face of this mite count, the genetics might be worth culturing, and all of this effort to save them worth the time in the long run.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    I'd throw in some apivar. Thanks for sharing this goes along with what I have found myself. OAV is a very short lived treatment. Some say it kills with a great kill rate for days but I have seen nothing to prove there is truth to that in my trails. It definitely has it's place in our treatment options but like everything it isn't perfect. I'd drop some strips in and feed the colonies if they have nothing incoming. Keep up the good work!
    Feeding early patties. https://youtu.be/bUDd3vk7bgY

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    You obviously have a high mite load and a large amount of brood under cappings; perhaps also a high mite load on bees surrounding you which could be drifting in as well. As has been mentioned that ~80% of the mites under cappings are unaffected and the OA vapor dust does not stay active very long leaving unprotected gaps between treatments. Formic acid and some of the others mentioned have some effect on mites under cappings and a more continuous affectiveness so would be better in your situation.

    OA vapor in that situation would need much closer together treatments and more of them to be effectiv, and then you are into off label recommendation territory.

    You have to work around Formics maximum temperature limitations and if you have supers on or will place them soon, some of the others are not allowed.
    Frank

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee's Bees LLC View Post
    I'd throw in some apivar. I'd drop some strips in and feed the colonies if they have nothing incoming. Keep up the good work!
    I agree Kamon. I used OAV for three years. First two years in November when the colonies were broodless. The following summer, the mite counts were 20-25. I vaped three times, seven days apart. Had no effect on the population of mites in the colonies. I almost lost my apiaries. I no longer bother with OAV. Too time consuming with a thousand colonies, and the efficacy is way too low.

    With the mite loads the OP is experiencing, you need to use something that will knock the mite loads back to near zero. Then perhaps you can maintain low numbers using OAV

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    Have you considered pulling the queen for a few days to impose a brood break while you are using OAV? Also, I would look into a formic flash treatment if you are ready to try something else..

  10. #9
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    Default

    Thanks everyone for the replies. It's always reassuring to hear you're on the right track.

    Our main honey flow has already passed, being in Coastal CA, so no worries in contaminating honey. I may just have to order some Apivar for these hives as that seems like a better solution to catch the mites between the three days I'm not catching them.

    I'm not a fan of formic acid. I've had local friends use it who experienced huge brood loss and queen loss. I may have misspoken in saying I went nuclear as formic acid may be the true nuclear option. Maybe they used it wrong, but it's not like it gets very hot or cold here.

    I don't really have the time to remove the Queen's to cage, then treat, then release, for my 30+ hives, but could definitely work. It only takes me 20 minutes or so to treat all the hives. The Easy Vap sure makes things... Easy.

    One things for sure, OAV definitely kills mites, but when the load is this bad it definitely doesn't knock the numbers down quickly. I'm tempted to keep treating one or two of the really bad hives to see just how many treatments it takes to knock them down. Could be interesting. Yet, will also be interesting to see just how many more mites fall after treating with Apivar... Following 8-10 OAV treatments.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    Are you sure these hives are worth saving? Every treatment you perform negatively affects the queen and the those effects are cumulative. Most of these treatments are considered safe since the worker bees die off in 6-7 weeks, but the queen has to take the brunt of the chemicals multiple times throughout her life. I am by no means treatment free, I say this as someone who use synthetic miticides too (I'm not a fan of formic either), but I would be worried about the long term health of the colony. It doesn't matter if you save them from the mites if they dwindle and die from overexposure to miticides. If the infestation is this advanced, personally I would use formic as it nukes every mite in the hive, phoretic and under the cappings. I would take the queen/brood loss as an necessary risk. Apivar is great (I use it all the time) but it has almost zero knock down, its a very slow acting treatment over a long period of time (42 days).
    USDA Hardiness Zone 7A, Hobbyist, First Hives in 2017

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    What do you use to treat mites Mr. Palmer?
    I very much like what how instructive both Mr. Palmer and Kamon are. Kamon's YouTube channel is great. And any video that Michael Palmer is in is worth about 50 watches to get everything he is saying.
    I think I would try apivar also just to try and get a more sustained kill. Also with OAV I think I have heard to do every 5 days instead of 7, but i dont know if that makes a difference.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShelleyStuart View Post
    Personally, I'd abandon any thought of getting honey from these hives this year -- they've been hit too hard by the mites. If you have the equipment, and you think the bees are strong enough, I would force a brood break. Remove the current brood frames and replace them with new ones, or shake them into a new hive. Then hit them with OAV, and sanitize the old equipment. All of the mites will be phoretic this way, and you'll have better impact with the OAV.

    On the bright side, if these bees have been able to keep going in the face of this mite count, the genetics might be worth culturing, and all of this effort to save them worth the time in the long run.
    I think removing the brood frames and sacrificing one round of brood-rearing is a very good idea under current circumstances. Seeing as the hives are 2 deeps with LOTS of bees, it might also be worth treating each box separately, to ensure maximum circulation of the dust. My guess is you'd only need to do this once - bit of a hassle, sure - but as these colonies have survived such high mite loads thus far, I'd say they're well-worth saving. You've nothing to lose, anyway
    LJ.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    Well, now I'm a little torn on what treatment to use. Formic Acid will kill all the mites, or darn close to it. It is the nuclear option but the brood loss, or even the queen loss, may be worth it.

    That leads me to the queens and thoughts on keeping them:
    Yes, the hive has survived with a high mite count - thriving with this mite count, no. The amount of bees walking around on the ground from DWV is a huge issue. One of the worse hives, in regards to mites, had a small case of EFB pop up (I knocked it down with rounds of OTC) That could be from something else, genetics?, but I can't image this many mites living on the bees is a good thing. I'd much rather breed bees, like the ones I've been raising for years now, that maintain low mite counts naturally - and I'm only needed twice a year to knock them down.
    Thoughts?

    I do raise all my own queens and have quite a few ready to be moved (quickly outgrowing their queen castles). I could always do a formic acid round, then requeen to prevent the issue in the future?

    Lot of good advice, lot of ways to go about it. Trying to find the best one for me.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    Have you considered doing the liquid formic on meat pads? I used it a couple of times and it can lend itself to doing a lower dose and three applications if you are getting up into the upper range of recommended temperatures. If using the patent applications of formic use the divided treatment with two applications. A lot of people have used them and far the majority experience no losses if they follow the recommendations on entrance openings and not on weak colonies etc.

    I have only used the meat blotters and bulk. Having only three colonies at the time and being nervous about it, I was dosing with a syringe onto the blotter on frame tops; about 8 or 10 cc each morning and night for 10 days. Was playing with the wick type slow dispenser idea. Not something you would want to mess around with 30 hives though for sure. That did the trick for me that season but I went to OAVapor since then.
    Frank

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
    Have you considered pulling the queen for a few days to impose a brood break while you are using OAV?
    In a thousand colonies?

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    Quote Originally Posted by SS Auck View Post
    What do you use to treat mites Mr. Palmer?
    Apistan in early spring, amitraz after harvest in August/September. Very low mite counts last summer. So far this spring, all rolls were zero.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    OAV is no silver bullet as it only remains active within the hive for around 3 days. Doing 3 treatments every 7 days if you have a high mite count is much the same as putting Apistan or Apivar into your hives for 3 days then removing it and putting it back 7 days later for 3 days and then removing it again. In the early years I did the 3 treatments every 7 days waited a week and did mite counts which were just as high as when I started, plenty of mites fell but counts did not go down. Formic and meat pads were not much better either. So I dropped the time to 5 days apart and up to 6 treatments per session. Wait a month and do it all again and then over the winter period at least 2 treatments when broodless and if the weather co operates even a 3rd treatment. I have found that if you get on top of your mites you still need many treatments to stay on top. The treatments with OAV are cheap and quick without having to open up your colonies. Once my honey comes off by late June I am going to try out treating on Mondays and Fridays for 3 weeks at a timeand see how that works out. I must admit that I am in an area where there are no migratory beekeepers and not many other beekeepers close enough to create mite bombs so I just have to keep up with my mites and not someone elses.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    There seems to be some confusion on how often I'm treating. I guess everyone can't read everything.

    I started out doing it once a week, but that only lasted for a couple weeks. It just took took too long with my little wand type vaporizer. Since getting Johno's Easy Vap it's been way easier to treat! Since receiving the Easy Vap it's been every 3 days for 8 treatments on the worse of the colonies. There are probably one 3-4 colonies where this still wasn't enough to knock down the numbers to a reasonable level. These are the ones I'd like to try something else on.

    Being in coastal CA we don't have a lot of broodless times. I'd say my colonies are the smallest at the end of summer, near the end of the dearth. That's when I usually treat which has worked out well. I may end up using OAV only during this time and using something else right after our main flow which hits Dec - March. There are a lot of beekeepers around here and many commercial operations move in temporarily to pollinate, or to park their bees between pollination and moving them up North for honey production.

    Learning a lot though and have definitely shifted my thinking. Thanks everyone for the replies. Keep them coming.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    I had to do 12 treatments (OAV) on some hives in the fall to get the drops low enough. I think in the future I will switch to formic if I don't see what I want after 3-4.
    So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Mites Won't Stop! Using OAV.

    Quote Originally Posted by bushpilot View Post
    I had to do 12 treatments (OAV) on some hives in the fall to get the drops low enough. I think in the future I will switch to formic if I don't see what I want after 3-4.
    I'm at 8. We'll see how long it takes for mine to get down.

    Definitely going to order some different mite treatments for future situations like this though.

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