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Discussion Starter #1
I do not have my bees yet. They are late coming from GA due to the weather. I am just wondering for future reference;
How could I dust a hTBh with powdered sugar for varroa mite control? I will have a screened bottom on the hive. Would the sugar bellows from Brushy Mnt. work for this hive?

Your suggestions are appreciated as always.
 

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That would be pretty tough. I've heard some frustrated reviews of the duster... seems a little gimicky but I haven't personally tried it. I suppose you could invert all the combs (top bars down) and then dust over them. But the whole point is to do something effective that isn't prohibitively intensive. I'd start with drone comb culling instead and be sure to monitor so you know if and when to move to treatment mode.
 

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Some people apply sugar dusting not by shaking sugar on every side of every frame, but rather by sifting the sugar through a screen onto the tops of the frames of each deep, then brushing it around so it rains down between the frames and in the process, coating most of the bees on each frame. If you look at youtube videos, some sue a window screen laid on top of the hive box and just sprinkle the sugar over that, and others use a flour sifter to apply the sugar to the tops of the frames. Then you can brush it around so it fall down the sides of the frames. I'd think you could do that with a top bar hive?- perhaps creating some gaps between the frames as you work your way along the tops, sprinkling and brushing as you go?
 

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I would love to see video of turning over top bar frames without them snapping off. A study of sugar dusting at the University of Florida showed only short term results. They used sugar dusting in their apiaires before the study. You can view the study at EDIS.
 

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How short term does the dusting work? Does that mean you have to dust often or that it will only work for a while?

Also please explain the drone comb approach. I read some university paper on how it might work in theory, but does it work in practice and how specifically do you do it?

thanks
 

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University had used sugar dusting as a natural control in hives dedicated to other studies. They discovered that dusting reduced the mite count for several weeks. Mite loads gradually increased and exceeded previous levels.
Varroa prefer drone brood because of the longer pupal stage. Getting the queen to lay most of the drones in one frame allows the frame to be removed before the drones emerge. If the drone frame is not removed in 22 days or less the Varroa population will explode. Is this the study you referenced?
http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/theses/available/etd-04292009-134358/unrestricted/etd.pdf
 

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How short term does the dusting work? Does that mean you have to dust often or that it will only work for a while?
Sugar dusting has worked for me for 5+ years. As it is an entirely 'mechanical' treatment, there is absolutely no reason why it would not continue to work indefinitely. It causes bees to groom each other to remove the sugar powder, and in so doing the mites are removed. Their grip on the bees is loosened by the powder sticking to the adhesive pads on their feet - like when you get dust on sticky tape - so until the mites evolve another way to hang on to bees, it will continue to work.

You do need to do it several times over a short period in order to have a significant effect on the mite population, as it only affects phoretic mites and not the ones already in cells.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for all of the replies. I believe I will find a way to powder them and cut out drone cells as needed. Although I hate the thought of killing the guys.
 

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Just read the dron removal study and that doesn't seem like a very effective treatment either. so maybe all of the above? I'm also wondering about the smoke treatment. It sounds like it does the same thing as the powder treatment.
 

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Drone removal is very effective in reducing mite loads. You are killing the mites, the drones won't really be missed.

I would not put anything toxic in a bee smoker, especially not tobacco! Nicotine is poison! Stick to burlap, or pine needles.

If you want to poison the mites, use something better, like apilife var (thymol based) and won't kill the bees.
 

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So unless you powder the bees bi-weekly its a waste of time? So the dron cells are the ticket, right?
That's not what I said. You need to interrupt the varroa's lifecyle and hit the adult mites at least twice within the cycle to be sure of making a significant difference.

You will never get 100% kill, whatever you use. Just aim to reduce the load well below the level where it threatens the colony's survival.
 

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If you have a screened bottom in the top bar hive, just sift the sugar through a screen on top. That's how most of us do it with lang's.

No mater what treatment you use the mites come back. It doesn't take long. Sugar, a break in the brood cycle, & drone cone removal can keep mites under control. Add a resistant queen & you have it made.

You need to monitor the mite population, so you know when its getting out of control.
 

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The easiest method is to have genetics that are mite resistant so you don't have to treat at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
No mater what treatment you use the mites come back. It doesn't take long. Sugar, a break in the brood cycle, & drone cone removal can keep mites under control. Add a resistant queen & you have it made.

You need to monitor the mite population, so you know when its getting out of control.
My understanding is that I should powder them three days in a row and then repeat in 7 days until I get a scant amount of mites. I will place a sticky board under them to monitor the mite fall.

It was recommended to me(not by my teacher) to give them a dusting while they are still in the package. My teacher said they will most likely arrive with some mites. What do you think of this advice? I question it because I am concerned it will further stress them out after their long trip.

Thanks
 

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From what I read in bee culture this month, if you're bees come from the south they'll probably have mites on them. In that case it couldn't hurt to powder them in the beginning.

You're bees probably won't have a mite problem in the first couple months. They will be broodless a week or so when you install them.

You can put a white board in when you powder the hive. not a sticky one. remove it 10 minutes after you powder.
When I see over 12 mites I powder more often.
Its called an accelerated sugar drop. www.scientificbeekeeping.com

The stickboard is for 24hr natural drop. don't use it after you sugar them, you will get a number higher than the real number.
 
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