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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This question is not directed to the treatment-free beekeepers and it is not intended to stir up a debate whether one should treat or not treat.

A lot of advice I have read says a beekeeper should have equipment and supplies on hand so you have them when you need them, e.g. an extra hive for a swam and extra supers for when you need to expand the hive.

What should a beginner do to be prepared for mites? I plan to begin with five nucs in April. Should I go ahead and buy an OAV set-up and a supply of oxalic acid so I will have it when I need it? Is there some other method better suited to a new beekeeper?
 

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learn to test for mites and do counts. that's all you need to start. join a local club and learn from other members if possible. good luck
 

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If you plan to treat and that is the method you plan to use then yes, if you plan to use a different method then no.....Treatments are like fire extinguishers.............better to have one on hand and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
 

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Before spending money on that device, I would just plan to treat with either apivar (amitraz) or apiguard (thymol) for the first year. I also advise that you learn to count mites. However, for the first year, I'd recommend that you treat every hive for mites that first year. If you see a high mite count or symptoms of mite problems, treat then. Otherwise, just treat them around July or August.

I'm sure lots of people will disagree and say "why treat if the mite levels don't justify it." Other people may say "why count mites if you are going to treat anyway." The simple answer, IMO, is that you can have a mite explosion from August to September. A new beek has plenty enough to learn without having mite-related problems. So just prophylactically treat all the hives on a schedule that first year, and worry about IPM and/or treatment-free ideas later, if you want. You should still count the mites to get a feel for what is going on in your hives, how the mite levels change, make sure the treatments work, and to learn to count mites so later on you can have more confidence to take a more IPM approach.

Do a mite count with either a sticky board or sugar roll when within about 2 weeks of getting the hives set up. Then check them about two months latter. Do it again before and after you treat. Then do it again going into winter (October).

If you do have a substantial mite count going into winter, and assuming OA become legal as people seem to think is about to happen (hope so), then you could do an OA dribble in November/December if you want to use OA. You need to wait until they are broodless to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. Neil, your advice makes sense and sounds like a good way for me to go my first year. I know I will need to learn how to gauge my mite load and how to manage it and that will only come with experience.

I have joined a bee club and a few experienced members live relatively close to me so I may be able to solicit their help if my mite problem becomes more than I can manage.

Thanks again for the advice.
 

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Hobo,

Some great advice given here. It appears you have done your homework and want to be prepared for the long haul. It sounds like you already understand that there is a 99% probability that you will run into mite problems, and want to be prepared when you face it.

Over the years I've tried just about everything out there to treat for mites. Some were disastrous, others effective but with limited windows for application. Formic and Thymol products work very well, but ambient temperatures dictate when you can use them and it is not always the ideal time of year.

If you are planning to stick with it, and don't mind making the investment, go with OAV. If you are purchasing 5 nucs and extra equipment, another $150 for a vaporizer is good insurance.
JMHO
 

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I'm a newbee and looked at the cost of mite treatments over the long haul. Then determined that a vaporizer would be a worthy investment. It seemed fairly easy to do and appears highly effective!

Just my $.02

Good Luck!
 

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Mite development is not a linear progression, it is more of a doubling (geometric) progression. Mite population may be low initially, but with every life cycle that is allowed to occur (in a worst-case scenario) the population can increase exponentially. If uninterrupted and uncontrolled, at some point the mite load can reach 'critical mass' and become overwhelmingly large. It is far better to attempt to control them earlier rather than later.

Regardless of what method(s) you choose to use to control them, you should assume that you _will_ need to control them and be prepared to do so beforehand.

I've been following the OAV and FGMO discussions with much interest, as I find the time/scheduling constraints imposed by Formic Acid and other treatments unsatisfactory. At this point, it _appears_ to me that the OAV method, applied early and regularly, may be better than waiting for some particular level of mite-load to occur before treating with some other method (MAQS, etc.).
 

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Maybe 5% of the beekeepers in the US use OAV, so the answer to you're question is no. You don't need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to all for the replies. I know this is a hot topic. I have decided to treat when the time comes.

If you are planning to stick with it, and don't mind making the investment, go with OAV. If you are purchasing 5 nucs and extra equipment, another $150 for a vaporizer is good insurance.
That's what I was thinking. It's pretty much a given that my bees will get mites at some point and I want to be able to react quickly when I need to.
 

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As Swampsquash eluded to .... using traditional mite treatments can add up ... $. The investment in a good vaporizer will pay for itself very quickly. After that, the actual cost of Oxalic Acid per treatment is insignificant.

I'm in that 5% group, and it's been serving me very well for about 7 years. I have no real personal interest in promoting it, but after trying many of the other mite treatments, it's what I've settled on. Cost effective, minimal negative impact on the bees (specifically the queens), and it works.

It's a little time consuming so it might not be the answer for everyone, just my 2 cents
 

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What's worked best for me is ...

3 treatments - 7 days apart
I usually start the treatments mid to late August and then into September.

That time period seems to be when the mite count skyrockets as brood rearing slows down during the late summer drought. By then I've already pulled my spring supers off. That series of treatments cleans up a lot of the mites before the bees start raising their winter brood.


1 Treatment - sometime just before or after Thanksgiving, when the colony is broodless.

I don't have to worry about any more treatments the following spring during the flow because the bees are outbreeding the mites and they are not presenting a problem yet.


I use a Varrox vaporizer with about 2g. per colony without supers. (3 mediums). Maybe I'm just one of the lucky ones, but it doesn't seem to impact my queens at all, and my overwintering losses are very low.
 

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I started using OAV last fall when I realized my hive was loaded with mites. Killed just over 1,700 mites by the time the treatments were done. Yes, I counted them daily. Little effect on the bees and I was in an out of the hive in no time. I am getting 2, 3 pound packages of bees this spring and was considering vaporizing them once or twice along with my current hive before production starts rolling. Maybe a few days after they are settled in but before the queen start laying. The way I look at it the new packages won't have brood so it seems like a win, win situation. Would be interested in opinions for myself and Hobo. Certainly something to consider if feedback is good.
 

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This question is not directed to the treatment-free beekeepers and it is not intended to stir up a debate whether one should treat or not treat.

A lot of advice I have read says a beekeeper should have equipment and supplies on hand so you have them when you need them, e.g. an extra hive for a swam and extra supers for when you need to expand the hive.

What should a beginner do to be prepared for mites? I plan to begin with five nucs in April. Should I go ahead and buy an OAV set-up and a supply of oxalic acid so I will have it when I need it? Is there some other method better suited to a new beekeeper?
I have to confess, I bought the OAV set up to have on hand "just in case". I tend to be someone the would rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

It might be just another one of those "mint in box " items laying around here,but it makes me feel better.:eek:
 

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I am getting 2, 3 pound packages of bees this spring and was considering vaporizing them once or twice along with my current hive before production starts rolling.
The packages will probably already have been treated for mites. But with that said, 1 treatment of OAV can't hurt, just to be sure.

It would be the perfect time to treat. No sealed brood, so you will get almost all of the phoretic mites with just one shot. I would wait until the queen is out of her cage and laying, and you have some "uncapped" brood. The brood will keep the colony fixed, and there will be less of a chance that they would abscond after treating.
 

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I am getting 2, 3 pound packages of bees this spring and was considering vaporizing them once or twice along with my current hive before production starts rolling. Maybe a few days after they are settled in but before the queen start laying. The way I look at it the new packages won't have brood so it seems like a win, win situation. Would be interested in opinions for myself and Hobo. Certainly something to consider if feedback is good.
That's a very good idea. Wait until the queen is laying just a bit b4 vaporizing. The queen you're getting with your packages is probably foreign (to the workers with whom she is placed) and so you want to make sure she is accepted an laying (just a bit) b4 vaporizing.
 

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Thanks Mike and SNL. You both had some very good points. Will definitely wait a bit till the queen starts laying. This forum has been awesome for getting good ideas. I had thought to be sure the queen was out of the cage but being sure she's accepted and laying is definitely the way to go. Thanks :)
 

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You have less than 5 days before the 1st round of broods are capped. So
treat them before the mites have a chance to go inside the capped broods.
 

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There is also the first 3 days of the egg stage, prior to larvae. But that's good advice, plan to treat 5-7 days after the first eggs have been laid before any worker cells are capped.
 
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