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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am an organic gardener. I keep fish mainly organically, very few meds, no additives (except in my reef tank and they are necessary there) I cannot bring myself to order a product I have to wear a breathing mask to use, so that knocks out mite away strips. Apiguard sounds too much like an insecticide, bees are insects, and I've read threads that suggested the queen takes off after treatment. I'm having enough trouble, have had enough trouble.

I found 5 mites on my sticky after my last powdered sugar treatment, which is pretty low. But the bees are low on provisions, I will be feeding, and that is not the same nutrition as real honey and real pollen. So I would like to take them into winter without the mites. I want the BEST treatment to be effective and not harm my bees.
Dadant of course says Hopguard doesn't make a difference, but they don't sell it either.

So I'm looking for a few product reviews, and I'll bet I'm not the only one wondering. Does it work, how were the bees afterward?

Gypsi
 

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Gypsi, I was seeing deformed wings in my hive and it is late in the year so I had to pull out the big guns and ordered the MAQS off of Dadant Supply, I am not to concerned about loosing my queen. From what I was reading in the threads it sounded like some of the beekeepers might not have followed the instructions as closely as they should have, or might have misinterpreted them. My bees could have been facing CCD this winter if I don't do something quick, and MAQS sounds like the fast and natural way to go. It will be this weekend before I can get you any feedback on how it went. I hope your bees do well.
 

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Apiguard sounds too much like an insecticide, bees are insects
I haven't used hopguard but can tell you that all of the inhive pesticides are insecticides. I think the issue is can they be toxic to mites and have an acceptable toxicity to bees. I am usually cautious about using the newest, 'latest-greatest' compound. I'm choosing to wait until next season to try hopguard. I'd rather someone else determine in their hives if it lives up to the distributor's claims.
ps I'm using Apiguard and AplifeVar this season.....so far without any significant problems.
Good luck.
 

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I used MAQS and was impressed with the mite drop. Man, it really did a number on the mites. The hives came through strong with no loss of queens. I would use the product again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I will check my sticky in the morning and decide whether to treat. I think MAQS is winning.
 

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Hopguard works well on the mites that are on the adult bees. The working life of the strips appears to be short, just a few days, but the nockdown numbers are good. The best time to use Hopguard is when the colony has little sealed brood. This is usually in the early spring or fall. If you have a colony that you make queenless so that there is no brood, and then you treat, you will kill most of the mites in the colony.
 

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Problem with waiting until there is little capped brood, more damage might and will occur. If the loads are high, get er done now. The problem with formic applications, thymol, and i am not sure on the hop guard, but the problem is they are very temperature dependant. IF the mite loads are high and the temps drop below threshold, the treatment will not work. Might get some, but not enough of a knock back to save the hive from further damage.
When mite loads are above 4% brood damage occurs. This can and WILL affect hive mortality in the late winter and early spring. Damaged bees will not survive the winter. A mite drop of 18 per day will be at the 3% mark. The below link is a good read on varroa.
If you are above the threshold and live in a colder climate, a harsher treatment might be needed. Winters are hard on bees struggling with varroa.
Remember, it only takes three weeks for the numbers to double. The problem with that is, when you test, you don't know if you have three weeks before they double or if when you tested you were in the home stretch of those three weeks and the doubling will occur any day. Clear as mud?
To clarify what i mean...
If you test today and your test brings a result of 2%, do you still have the three weeks before it jumps to 4%? Or was your test done near the end of the three week cycle, and if you go back and test in a week, will they be at 4%...still clear as mud?

Economic Treshold for Varroa
 

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as to the point that apiguard sounds like a pesticide and bees are insects...
the level of pesticide in the product is sufficient, if applied properly to get in the range of 70-80% of the mites. However, the pesticide is low enough to do none to minimal damage to bees. I think, and this is just a guess, but because of the size between mites and bees.
Here is the kicker. And this is the reason harsher chemicals need to be applied as directed...with the proper amount of product. Since 80% of the mites died, leaving 20% alive, there is a higher risk to mite reisistance to the harsh chemical used. This is why the directions are so important. Putting in less will leave more live mites behind speeding up the resistance and shortening the life span of the chemical.
The nice thing about formic and the softer chemicals is, they get more percentage of the mites, and there is less risk to resistance. The draw back is most softer chemicals are very temperature dependant so the lower the temps, more mites left in the hive.
Softer chemicals like formic have another draw back. That is, formic works best on lower mite loads. I do not know about thymol or hop guard, but i assume since they work in the same manner this would be true....assumptions though.
When mite loads are low, a beekeeper has more options. When they start to climb, the options start to drop off.

Almost Finally, is good to get the mites down hard in the spring. Good for the bees, good for the crop and good for winter. Then in the fall, with lower counts, only a clean up is needed. It make the job formic has to do easier.
Finally, when the mites get knocked back hard in the spring, with say a harsher chemical, it provides a longer window of protection. The treatments are usually 45 days in duration, so the hive is protected like a shield during those 45 days. It is that much longer then before the mites can bounce back. Before you know it, you are into fall prep with lower mite loads and more options
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all. I still didn't get to check my sticky - will go get it in a few minutes. Lots of work to do now that weather is breaking. I knocked down mites with powdered sugar when it was 100 degrees out, really haven't seen many since the 3rd treatment. (the robbers knocked out part of my bee population in between too, so fewer bees, fewer mites). The gal I got the hive from just fed hbh, didn't medicate for anything. I did see the JUMP in mite counts, from around 30, to around 100, which prompted the last sugar treatment, then they dropped down to less than 5. I haven't had time to check more than weekly in a couple of weeks. Will check tonight, clean the board, and check tomorrow night, somehow.

Thanks again,
Gypsi
 

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Mann Lake sells hop guard. I just put in an order the other day.

If it only helps with mites on adult bees, then following up with a second treatment 3 weeks later might be a good idea? I purchased a treatment because I noticed population dwindling on 1 of my hives. When I looked at the brood it was a shotgun pattern. So did a mite drop and found I'm dropping quite a bit of mites. Better treat it. But what about my other hives? Should I just treat them all as part of my winter prep? Or should I do mite drops on all my hives with SBBs? What about Nuc's and hives with solid bottoms?
 

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We put 3 hopguard treatments on 1 week apart and dropped a bunch of mites. We did not get all of them. We had one scare with it. We treated 15 hives, 10 full sized production hives and 5 nucs. In two of the big hives and one nuc we apparently lost the queens. A week after treatment we had capped queen cells, and apparently missing queens. Two weeks after the first treatment and a week after the second treatment the queen cells had been torn down and the old queens were laying again.
Dave
 

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>I found 5 mites on my sticky after my last powdered sugar treatment, which is pretty low.

After a powdered sugar treatment 200 would be very low. Without the powdered sugar, just natural drop, 50 in 24 hours would be low. 5 on the sticky board AFTER powdered sugar is nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Guess I don't need to treat. Thank you.
Gypsi
 

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Mike,

So is a mite count of 200 is ok? In the past my threshold was 30 in 24 hrs. My mites counts this year are off the charts. One hive is up to 306. I believe the reason is a migratory yard moved in down the road. The hive with 306 has numerous deformed wings on workers and they are trying super the queen.


What is your powder sugar process?
 

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We used 2 strips/ deep box. The queens have recovered andare laing well. I have not done mite counts since the treatment. The counts before treating were from capped drone. They ranged from 17-0 per 100 pupae.
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I know you were asking Mike, but if you have a crisis, I've powdered sugared before.

The reason 200 is low after powdered sugar is that the sugar makes the bees clean everything up, themselves, empty comb cells, and the mites land in the sugar pile in the floor, or thru the sbb on the sticky. So after sugar it is more than an average day's drop.

I think you are supposed to gently sift the sugar down onto the bees while they are on the frames.
I lacked a sifter and had a cooking paint brush, so I lifted each frame out and painted powdered sugar on bees, some did get into open brood or open honey (but not much), but I made snowy bees, put them all back in their hive working steadily across, and closed it up.

I did it 3 times. And my mite count is now zip. I'm sure they'll be back next year. And if I catch these robbers and tame them, I'll probably have to treat with something. Some of those bees are ornery.
 

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>So is a mite count of 200 is ok?

I'm talking about a mite drop from powdered sugar, not a natural 24 hour drop from nothing.

>In the past my threshold was 30 in 24 hrs.

I'd say 50 natural drop (not using anything to treat, including not using powdered sugar) in 24 hours in the fall is not bad at all.

>My mites counts this year are off the charts. One hive is up to 306. I believe the reason is a migratory yard moved in down the road. The hive with 306 has numerous deformed wings on workers and they are trying super the queen.

Probably is the migratory yard. Bees drift a lot, rob a lot and bump into each other when foraging.
 

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I have used the hop guard strips on three different hives. The first time on 7-15-11 the mite count was 62 for a three day count. I applied the strips and the next time the mite count was done on 8-2-11 it was 6 for a 2 day mite count. While the egg laying did slow, she did not stop. I am pleased with the product. Also the temps during this application were in the high 90's and 100's.
The second time I used the hopguard strips was in September. I had a mite count on those hives of 70 for a 3 day count and 108 for a 3 day count. I am going to do another count later this week. But, I can tell that one of the hives has really taken off and done better since I treated. Will post those counts later. I didnt see the queen slow or quit laying on the treatment of the last two hives. It was somewhat cooler weather by then also. Temps in the high 80's and low 90's.
These are all natural mite drop counts done with sticky boards.
 
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