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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have always done OA treatments in the fall, but what about now, in early March (I'm in Seattle area). It's in the mid 40s on most days now which is a little cooler than I'd like for a hive inspection. So if I do it, I'll be doing it without a mite test.

Yea or nay?

Thanks,

Paul M
 

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In my opinion OAV will do no harm except to any phoretic mites that are around and any phoretic mite that is taken out will slow their increase in spring. Also your sticky boards are as good as a mite check anyhow.
 

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A treatment this time of year will not do any harm and as Johno said, any mite taken out now will slow their growth through the spring and summer. I am just a couple of miles south of you and have found the best treatment schedule for this area is OAV for 3-4 treatments in early August and 1 treatment just before Christmas when the hive is broodless.
 

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A treatment now will be feedback about how well your mite treatment(s) over summer/fall worked, if you check the mite drop. No screened bottom board? Try putting a cheap placemat into the bottom of the hive after you have finished with the OAV.

Couple tips about OAV in non-flight weather.... yes to 40 degrees, and 30-40s after that. No to 35. Block the entrance (I use a towel) because the ones that fly out may die of wind chill.
Use a flashlight to see if the cluster is on the bottom of the frames, use the smoker lightly to force it up if so, to prevent bees balling the OAV wand.
I have worried that disrupting the bees when it is 40 would be costly to them, but I find they are back to normal sounds etc after about 15 min post treatment. And hives make it to Spring!

Be sure the well of your OAV device has no residue left after the 3-10 min post initiation of the "burn" - if there is, it means you did not get a complete burn and the bees did not get a complete dose. Only my car battery delivers a complete dose with one click of the wand, and I am not driving my car back to my apiary!!! So I make do with the lighter/cheaper battery and more than one click...

I am a big fan of the "clean slate" approach, as in doing mite treatments during broodless periods to the point that fewer than 50 dead mites fall within a few days after starting the treatment. This can mean doing more than one OAV if there is a higher than 50 mite drop. I did this last fall/winter, and had mite counts of 2/300 in SEPTEMBER! the year before, I was trying to wait until the bees crossed a threshold - 3% or 9 mites - and I lost 3/6 hives after their mite counts ramped up so fast from their July/Aug "acceptable" mite levels. 2 years ago I was seeing fall mite counts of 20+/300 bees... it was nice to see that this fall, after following the clean slate approach to mite management, that the Sept numbers were so much lower. It worked!
 
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