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Discussion Starter #1
One overwintered hive, two carni packages from this spring. New hives showed minimal mite load, but the old hive had significant numbers (7/300 from a sugar roll). I treated all with Apivar per instructions.

At that time the overwintered colony was thriving. Now the packages are going full blast, and theold hive is dwindling. One or two workers coming and going at any time. Fewer bees than three weeks ago. The queen is still laying, but not much. I’ve added a feeder and some brood. My mentor suggests it’s probably a lost cause. possibly because Apivar, possibly because of... who knows? No sign of disease other than dwindling. Anyone care to chime in? Thanks!
 

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did you check the manufacture date on the side of the container ? only good for 2 years if not open. are you sure it's the same hive, didn't swarm? Since you did a sugar roll I would suspect the mite counts were actually higher, if high enough the hive will dwindle down for a while but should recover.
 

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I have never known Apivar to be that harsh on a colony. I would have used the same treatment. The queen will only lay according to her population so if her colony is small she has cut back on purpose. I would not give up but that’s my personality. There are a few strategies. You must reduce the mite load. I would do an OAV to see what your dead drop count is. If it’s low then I would consider boosting it by either giving it a frame of capped brood from the others or using a QE and newspaper and set it over the top of one of the others for a couple of weeks to mingle the population, then take off to operate on its own again. I would only do that if the old queen has merit. If not you could requeen and treat and boost. Just saying the colony is a lost cause does not rate high on my list unless other measures are considered and evaluated.
 

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Apivar does not cause a crash in bee colonies. It may be losing effectiveness against some mite populations but I do not believe it caused your problem.
 

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When I have used apivar it appeared that the queen slowed down, but the hives remained at about stable population when this happened. I have not seen it cause a hive to crash. I think adding food should help.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, sorry. The original post title didn't accurately reflect my opinion. My instinct and the reports of others tell me that Apivar timing is probably a coincidence.

My mentor called me back and re spoke more in depth about options. I'll probably try to let them raise a queen from eggs from another hive.

If this were a commercial operation, I'd probably just write it off. But I'm trying to learn strategies in this hobby, and observe how these hives ebb and flow. Five years in, and I'm still very green.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Didn't you say you had a laying queen? How many frames of bees do you still have in this hive? If they are weak, they will not be able to raise a good queen, better to give them a capped queen cell if you want to replace her. I would add another frame of emerging brood and give it three weeks. The mites have probably done a number on the health of the older bees and things should turn around once you have more and healthier nurse bees to tend to any brood.
 

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Well, that didn't work.

I put a feeder on, inspected for ropey brood, sunken caps and other AFB symptoms. Nothing to see other than lethargic bees, and very little brood. I could not find the queen, but she was still laying, just not much.

A few days later they had taken some feed, but not a ton. Still the same story.

Today, they left. I just caught site of a cloud of bees heading over the yard, out into the forest north of us. There are a couple hundred left now in the hive. I hope they do not spread disease to neighbors - I do not know of any beekeepers within a few miles.

About 1/2 inch of dead bees had piled up on the bottom board, a smaller amount in the feeder.
The remaining frames had scattered brood - maybe twenty capped cells in a medium frame. There was a similar amount of scattered uncapped of varying ages. (I did not see eggs, but I rarely do - my eyes just don't pick them out.) I watched a couple adults chewing their way out through cappings. There were several cells with adults, uncapped, but dead. I found a couple dead larvae that had been removed from their cells, brown and dried. I opened a dozen cells, nothing was visually unusual. Larvae seemed solid and good colored. Still nothing ropey.

Thoughts?
 

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Could be they absconded because of mite overload.

A 7/300 bees mite load from sugar roll is likely higher. It isn't a bad idea to do a OAV treatment in the early spring. My guess is that there was significant mite counts going into the winter. If you don't have a sublimator then maybe a local BK would help you out. It is often the strong hives that collapse because of mite loads, because as the bees begin to die there are more mites to prey on what bees are left. July is a critical month because as the queen reduces laying going into a dearth, the mite population is ramping up. This is the opinion I have come too based on what I have read and learned from others and my own experiences, which are still on the steeper part of a learning curve.

I found a few dozen mites on a tray under one of my hives this year (early June) so I treated all of them with MAQ's as a precaution. I didn't see significant mite drop so I will be doing alcohol washes on the 2 larger hives soon to get a better idea of counts. As soon as I pull supers I will be treating with Apiguard if needed. Otherwise if counts are lower I might try HopGuard2 or OAV. I'm talking 2-3/300 counts. Losing 7 hives last year to varroa has changed my approach.
In late September or October I will be doing a series of treatments with OAV. It just depends on the weather.

Here is some links to the subject of varroa management; I would recommend keeping a log book of mite counts and treatments with any observations. You can set up a calendar to help get the issue corralled for the future.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DK2Xi0ST4rA

https://pollinators.msu.edu/resources/beekeepers/ You can look up varroa related stuff on this site.
 
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