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Good info. I treated my three hives with OAV in August (4 times over 3 weeks). Opened them all up today to put on feeders. One is dead. Pretty sure it was a mites as it matches the description on the initial post. Gonna zap the remaining two again.
 

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I have been taking brood samples of pink eyed pupae and pulling them out one by one to get a sense of fall brood infestation levels when things should be at their worst. I am TF. I have some brood infestations of less than 2 percent, have a 0 number, lots in the 8 to 10 percent range with a couple in the 40 percent range (still not in the 100 % range described). This means the bees are altering the excellent description of this mathematical model. I have robbing screens on all my production hives as I harvest them to reduce mite transfer.

Doing some selection and using resistant bees, even if one treats alters this model greatly, opening up management options.
 

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iharder, does your sampling tell you you have to treat? I would say yes. Anything over 3% needs treatment, ASAP. Like Stat!

No reason or excuse to wait. Treat.
JMO, Brian
 

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No, anything I have to treat I don't want. Its a propaganda point that a universal threshold exists. Lots of my hives survive with phoretic fall counts in the 10 percent range. The ones that don't have virus issues probably and I don't want those either. But you don't know until you go tf and see how colonies respond. I am not worried so much about the hives with brood counts in this range. I am worried about lots of expression of dwv and the higher counts. So I put on robber screens on all my production hives to protect the better hives. I will make queens from productive hives that have lower mite counts and survive 2 or more winters.
 

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No, anything I have to treat I don't want. Its a propaganda point that a universal threshold exists. Lots of my hives survive with phoretic fall counts in the 10 percent range. The ones that don't have virus issues probably and I don't want those either. But you don't know until you go tf and see how colonies respond. I am not worried so much about the hives with brood counts in this range. I am worried about lots of expression of dwv and the higher counts. So I put on robber screens on all my production hives to protect the better hives. I will make queens from productive hives that have lower mite counts and survive 2 or more winters.
I agree. My mite counts tell me my mite threshold is much higher than the local average of treated hives´mite infestation when they should be treated.

I have only a small enterprise so I will treat those showing the first virus bee ; and mite count over the threshold. After 4 years tf and using resistant bred stock, all others I tested gone, I claim to know the threshold exactly.
I claim to be able to evaluate the colonies by counting dayly for ten days the mite drop and going on after every two days. This I will do twice in future, once in spring before splitting and once in summer and compare this to the developement and broodcomb pattern. This overviewing gives me a much better information than two times alcohol wash and does not disturb the colony.

I use robber screens for 2 seasons now. I claim I have almost no drift and I have had no robbing, not even my queenless small splits were robbed. I place the hives apart some m too. I try not to move combs to other colonies except with splitting. I try not to boost weak hives except by feeding. I don´t want to spread disease ( no brood disease so far) and I want to evaluate the developement of each single colony.

My mite counts range from 1-zero to + - 30 a day in the same beeyard.The one treated had 70 a day and two virus bees. With that colony there was a constant rise of mite numbers for one week as the others have the same numbers or the numbers went down. I started treating when I saw one virus bee. If I see 1 mite a day and some virus bees days apart I will treat.
I have two survivors which had + - 200 mites dropping some weeks long last year. This year the mite numbers of these colonies are lower. Now I´m microscoping the mites dropped to see if there is mite biting.
If I have to treat before winter bees are bred I pln to do it without chemicals, oils or acids, by taking brood comb to freeze.

There are many factors to have colonies survive though. We have only corn pollen now which is sprayed and claimed to be not very good for bees.
So as always in the last years I have to wait for the overwintering results.
Still, if I´m as lucky as have the low mite colonies survive I know I will breed from them. They are not of the same generation coming from F0 or F1, one or two are local mutts now and still low mite counts and no virus to be seen.

I´m treating the susceptibles because they will become so weak they are the mite bombs then, being taken by the others when they crash in season. I can´t afford this under my circumstances, having no reserve colonies.
The treated ones will be castrated and shifted to a new queen next season if they survive.

The robber screens will not prevent this crashing mite bombs. The robber screens prevent silent robbing and drifting as long as there is entrance defense, because it hinders the speed of robbers trying to get in and gives the watchers time to defend.
 

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Grozzie2, I appreciate your taking the time and posting up the information regarding mites and their detrimental effect on the colony. As a beginner beekeeper this explains exactly what happened to my first year hive.
 

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Thank you for the post. I was guilty of the "treatment free" mindset when I started. I even posted one of those "Why did they abscond" posts in Nov 2016? or 15? And you all said mites because the crash looked exactly like your scenario here.

I've seen the graphs but never seen it explained like this in PSA form.

So I started treating. I've had a lot fewer crashes! Thank you for the post. Well timed :)
 

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"Anatomy of a Mite Crash"

This is a really interesting topic!

But you know I was looking at this video and I can't tell which ones are the Varroah and which are the foulbrood crashing the hive (see link below)? I'm still new to this and figuring out the different bugs from each other.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ6MrDO0kgY
 

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If you use OAV, you can use newspaper to separate the supers. Just remember, though, that OAV won't kill mites under brood cappings, where at least half the mites are hiding. There are treatments like Formic acid that you can use with supers on that will kill capped mites.
 

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I like your "freezing brood frames" approach and agree with watching phoretic mite drop as an indicator. I also do brood removal and varroa -capped cell inspections. I have been thinking of doing this, brood removal, to all hives after supers are removed, induce a brood break, OAV, feed syrup and feed thawed frames to chickens. I tested one large hive in mid-Sept and got a low Varroa dead drop account, 291 Varroa, 5 days after OAV treatment. My winter, brood-less OAV treatments apparently clean up pretty well. I then watched for phoretic mite drop. Unfortunately my strong Fall hives find a lot of weak hives to rob in October. I experience a huge Varroa spike in all foraging / robbing hives due to Varroa migration for 3-4 weeks. Exception - one hive out of nine has consistent low varroa dead drop counts this year. The hive seems to either not rob(??), has very high VSH characteristics ( I do not see larva), prevents "silent" robbing (strong guarding character) or some unknown in-coming grooming (unknown method) or something is removing Varroa (sticky board is enclosed) . This is a strong, productive, New World Carniolan queened hive which is an obvious exception for an unknown or specific reason I can identify. I plan on breeding her in the Spring.
 

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I think the disinclination to rob is quite possibly the reason why that one colony would be such an exception. I have had bees that just did not rob. Definitely Carni type habits. Due to some unusual events the last year and half I had a big change in genetics and saw the start of a bit of robbing. I requeened the worst of the pirates. With my isolation I can control genetics a bit but most people have to put up with robbing.
 

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Bees dont abscond due to a mite load, they die.

Very informative write up: however, in my climate the bees will abscond when the problems arise. The difference may be that they are responding to hive beetles taking over and sliming the hive as it weakens due to the failed or failing queen. This occurs primarily in the mid summer to fall time frame, fwiw.

I don't see dead or sick bees before this happens. I will grant that the problems start with the mite build up, but I think the end comes sooner in tropical climates where the SHB thrive year round.
 

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"Anatomy of a Mite Crash"

This is a really interesting topic!

But you know I was looking at this video and I can't tell which ones are the Varroah and which are the foulbrood crashing the hive (see link below)? I'm still new to this and figuring out the different bugs from each other.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ6MrDO0kgY
Wrong link?
 

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Grozzie,
Fantastically written anatomy!
And fantastic reminder it is "conservative".
May I/do I have your permission to refer other beeks to your article by simply giving out the URL, or google reference finder, or whatever it is called. Will not give any of the article out, only the Beesource tag to find and read it from your own post.
Pretty please.
This is info that every beekeeper needs to be aware of.
Not everyday I read something on beekeeping with as much emphasis, importance, and simple ringing of raw truth throughout, and timing matches the general dates here in SW WA.
Combined with the fact the startling resulting info is a conservative reporting. Wow!
Whether I can post the URL or not. Thank you for the anatomy lesson.
 

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Awesome explanation of a mite crash--not overwhelming with detail, but enough to remind us all of the basic math involved if we hope to pre-empt a hive disaster. Thank you.
 
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