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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. The last couple of winters I’ve had a bit of a fall decline in my hives. I’ll have three story eight frame brood boxes full of bees but by November they’re in trouble. I winter indoors and have had multiple very successful winters doing this. But something has clearly changed. So I’m looking for some insight on a few things.

I’ve got two theories. First is protein reserves. I don’t routinely feed pollen sub. When I’ve tried in the past the patty dries up and goes to waste. I tried sourcing hfcs close to me a number of years ago and was unsuccessful. I bought some pro sweet from Mann lake but not sure if it was cost effective. I’m a hobby beekeeper and I’m cheap. So I’m looking for a way to feed my pollen sub to my bees in a way that’ll help with their intake and reduce waste. I’ve tried open feeding with no success. I’ve used a floor/shim/roof and one of those pvc feeders. I’ve tried enticing them in with lemongrass oil and a dab of honey. It still goes untouched. So feeding inside the hive still seems the best. Maybe I’m looking for something that’s not there but maybe somebody has a creative way. Was thinking maybe just brushing it into a comb and putting that into a hive would be an option. Or maybe I just need to buy prosweet every year.

My second theory, and most likely theory, is varroa. Some years back I built a oxalic acid vaporizer. I treat when I take my bees out of the shed and in august. If I get time I usually treat before I put them away for the winter. I used to treat in spring and fall with apivar. I’m wondering if I need to utilize a summer treatment in between my oxalic acid treatments. I’m thinking a formic acid treatment in June/July. Anybody that uses oxalic acid have a similar experience?

Any thoughts/suggestions on the matter? Thanks I’m advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So I’m going to assume that you are advising me to start the summer treatment. Is the difference the potency of apivar vs oxalic acid what gave me better outcomes? As in I knocked more mites down with apivar in the spring that allowed my bees to do well until fall treatment? I’m also going to assume that a formic acid treatment is still advised for treating during a flow. I’ve not done much research recently but last I did that was the advised flow treatment.
 

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There are some fairly serious rumors that Apivar is losing effectiveness in some areas. Perhaps the mite load on surrounding bees has changed. Fall dwindle sure sounds like it could be mite related.
 

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I was treating my hives with Apilife Var in July - August for 7 years. This past season, I notice that some hives still had varroa issues after the Apilife Var treatment so I had to treat again. This season, I will be switching to Apivar to make sure the mites are not developing a tolerance. I think Crofter is correct that a treatment loses effectiveness, but I wouldn't limit it to Apivar. I think all treatments will lose effectiveness over time.
 

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82 colonies +/- mostly Langstroth mediums, a few deeps for nuc production
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A couple general comments - OA application method and timing could be an issue. Depending on the style of applicator you built it is one thing to eliminate. If it is temp controlled or electric powered probably not an issue but if heated in such a way that could overheat to a point where the vaporized OA breaks down rendering it ineffective it could cause undertreatment. Not likely but still something to cross off the list.

More likely is timing - not having bees clean of mites during the development of winter bees in your area.
Robbing and drift of mite laden bees can undo the best treatment plan.
OA will be legit to use with supers on shortly - label change request is in progress should be signed end of April if all goes well.

Some recent research showed no benefit to open feeding pollen sub for storage in the fall. Patties inside to keep up population going into winter weren't part of that study.
Nosema ceranae could also be a possible issue.
 

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I have a recipe From Kamon Reynolds That I use.

2,6 lb of sugar
1 lb of hot water (slightly less is better)
1/4 cup veg oil
1.7 lb of pollen sub.
Add sugar to hot water in mixing bowl, add oil, then as it mixes slowly add the pollen sub.
Mix well and store in an air tight container.( I also use cling wrap on the top of the mixture)
Use folded wax paper and spread it out to thickness you want (I go to 1/2")

I put a portion in each colony. I just did this last week here in mid - Missouri. The maples just opened up this week.
I split a bag from Dadant with another club member. This made enough for all of last year. I just made a new mix this week.

FYI This last year I moved to doing OAV monthly with August getting 3 treatments of OAV 4 days apart. Most of my hives were from splits so they were now local. 7 out of 8 made it through, 1 was always puny so the -4F here got that small cluster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorry for the late reply. I am in west central Minnesota. I try to keep my shed just north of 40 f. I circulate air with a ceiling fan and have an air intake fan that brings in fresh air a few times a day. It’s a sectioned off section of one of my sheds. 100% pitch black. I hope that answers your shed questions.

About the oa. Ya it’s electric and temp controlled. I forget what the setting is offhand but went based off of recommendations here. If there’s brood Ihit them three times one week apart. If they are broodless I just do it once. I forget what to call the design but it’s not the one that’s an open pan. Looks more like a watering can.I have small holes drilled in my hive bodies. I stick the spout in there and let it sit till all has vaporized. Would be nice if it’s certified with honey supers on.
 

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Hello all. The last couple of winters I’ve had a bit of a fall decline in my hives. I’ll have three story eight frame brood boxes full of bees but by November they’re in trouble. I winter indoors and have had multiple very successful winters doing this. But something has clearly changed. So I’m looking for some insight on a few things.

I’ve got two theories. First is protein reserves. I don’t routinely feed pollen sub. When I’ve tried in the past the patty dries up and goes to waste. I tried sourcing hfcs close to me a number of years ago and was unsuccessful. I bought some pro sweet from Mann lake but not sure if it was cost effective. I’m a hobby beekeeper and I’m cheap. So I’m looking for a way to feed my pollen sub to my bees in a way that’ll help with their intake and reduce waste. I’ve tried open feeding with no success. I’ve used a floor/shim/roof and one of those pvc feeders. I’ve tried enticing them in with lemongrass oil and a dab of honey. It still goes untouched. So feeding inside the hive still seems the best. Maybe I’m looking for something that’s not there but maybe somebody has a creative way. Was thinking maybe just brushing it into a comb and putting that into a hive would be an option. Or maybe I just need to buy prosweet every year.

My second theory, and most likely theory, is varroa. Some years back I built a oxalic acid vaporizer. I treat when I take my bees out of the shed and in august. If I get time I usually treat before I put them away for the winter. I used to treat in spring and fall with apivar. I’m wondering if I need to utilize a summer treatment in between my oxalic acid treatments. I’m thinking a formic acid treatment in June/July. Anybody that uses oxalic acid have a similar experience?

Any thoughts/suggestions on the matter? Thanks I’m advance.
With all of the devastating viruses brought by Varroa, treating when mite infestation levels reach 2% is manditory in SE Michigan, even though that may mean 3 or more treatments in a season. I follow the mite numbers, they don't lie. This year, I will hit them with OA sublimation in a week, find my varroa levels on each hive by a Dawn detergent wash & put a shop towel with OA/glycerine (Thanks Randy) in each hive that needs it. I'll monitor each month & treat accordingly. I will use Hopguard 3 for a month in June, July (if necessary) & hope to get some weather under 85 F so I can hit the *****es (female mites are the enemy) with Formic Pro. I may also use the shop towels in July/August if Formic can't be used because of the heat. I have found that every year is a challenge dealing with mites & I had to be willing to change to keep my bees alive & happy.
 
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