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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, starting right off and saying that I KNOW late dates for either of these aren’t ideal, BUT I do struggle with some time limitations and I’m trying to make the best of things while being a very imperfect beekeeper. This is my third year and my first having any real honey harvest to speak of. I am doing the beekeeping thing totally solo and trying to work it around a full-time job and being a mom, so especially things like honey harvest where I like to have a few days in a row to do it, really challenging for me to fit into a very specific time frame.

I have, shamefully (!), put off the season’s mite treatment for too long after having virtually mite free hives in the spring. I don’t really have a period where my supers are off, harvested in June as well as August, and was thinking I was going to leave all the honey on for the winter but now thinking I might do one more small harvest. I have three hives, details in a comment below.

Is the weekend of October 13th (in Ohio) just too out of the question late to harvest? I’m not sure I can really devote the full time to it before then and also don’t want to take off the supers and store them before extracting?

Also, I am planning to do a mite treatment in the near future and will also do OA dribble between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Is sometime shortly after harvest (so, after I put the wet frames back on to be cleaned and then later remove them), possibly the weekend of October 20th, also out of the question too late to do my autumn mite treatment? I am thinking MAQs but would also consider Apivar, so suggestions pros/cons to one vs the other appreciated. Looking at the weather, it should still be warm enough for MAQs during that time frame.

Any input or suggestions appreciated - thank you!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
(Extra info, in case anyone wanted more details: One hive is really struggling and has not full enough deeps and a filling but still mostly uncapped super, and I’m planning on leaving that super and possibly also adding add some stored frames on unharvestable honey (honey that was on but during a treatment last year, so I froze, then stored it). Hive 2 is picture perfect, two nice full deeps, and two mostly full supers, and I plan to harvest most of the frames but probably leave a full super (or equivalent) on. Hive 3 is in between. It also has a full super that I’d like to harvest some from, but also probably leave the equivalent of a super on for the winter too, between what they can clean from wet frame and stored frames.)
 

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It is getting real late for thinking about mites. I ran a bunch of mite away strips July Aug. Finish pulling the last of the honey a couple a weeks ago. Just finish my last treatment of something else. I Will do Oxalic acid Nov-Dec. Beekeeping is planning if you are short on timing. I would plan on some Drone frames next year and pull them when cap. When you do your weekly inspections.
 

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Hi. We still have supers on 2 of our 4 hives. I was thinking about extracting last weekend, but the bees are still blowing up on the asters and goldenrod, half my yard stinks like socks day and night. I'm planning on extracting this weekend, or maybe middle of next week, depending on what the bees are doing. The weather looks good for at least a week or so. In years past, after our Oct. extraction we feed syrup until it gets too cold. We also make sure everything has a robber screen before we start feeding.

Since we started, we've used a single MAQS in late summer and then OAV later on in the winter. We've never had any problems with the single MAQS strip, I've never tried 2. Since we stopped using Italian queens from down south and switched to local Carniolan queens, we haven't lost anything in the winter.

In case you didn't know too, you can buy most everything locally from Conrad's in Canal Winchester and it's basically the same price as the catalogs, but no shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! Yes, I try to plan everything ahead, but it can be tough, especially since this is my first year harvesting and I wasn't sure about some of the timing. I'm hoping to do a much better job next season (assuming I haven't doomed my bees for the winter :eek:) now that I have another year of beekeeping and a season of harvesting experience.

I'm thinking of trying to remove my supers this Wednesday, let them clean off the wet supers over the weekend, and then remove the (hopefully) cleaned supers next Wednesday and place the MAQs. Not ideal, but maybe a tad better than as late as I was thinking I'd have to go, though it will be a time crunch for me.

Scurgey, yes, still SO much goldenrod and aster going on here!!! I'm hoping they can put aside some more for winter stores. I got my original bees from Conrad's, but he's still about an hour and a half round trip for me.
 

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I'm thinking of trying to remove my supers this Wednesday, let them clean off the wet supers over the weekend, and then remove the (hopefully) cleaned supers next Wednesday and place the MAQs. Not ideal, but maybe a tad better than as late as I was thinking I'd have to go, though it will be a time crunch for me.
What about putting the MAQS on this week and wait a week to harvest the honey? It only takes a few seconds to put the strips in, just pry open the boxes from the back and slip a strip in, maybe a puff of smoke. If you pull your supers in 2 days, you're going to miss the end of the asters/goldenrod. Plus they are probably still going to be curing honey and you might pull out supers with a lot of nectar in them.

If it were me, I would put the MAQS on asap with the supers still in place- as directed by the MAQS.
Wait a week for the treatment, then remove the MAQS and pull the supers around Oct. 10th, put on the robbing screens, and get to feeding until it's too cold. That way you can extract whenever you have time and the bees can finish up with the fall flow and curing. The weather looks fine for treating from now until at least Oct. 10.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I would put the MAQS on asap with the supers still in place- as directed by the MAQS.
Wait a week for the treatment, then remove the MAQS and pull the supers around Oct. 10th, put on the robbing screens, and get to feeding until it's too cold. That way you can extract whenever you have time and the bees can finish up with the fall flow and curing. The weather looks fine for treating from now until at least Oct. 10.
I know that this is the recommendation, and I do realize that MAQs are even considered organic, but I just personally don't like having treatments on with supers and honey in place. There is just SUCH a crazy fume smell when you so much as open the MAQ bin that I don't want that hovering below my honey, especially within a week or two of pulling the supers. I know that it is probably completely fine and wouldn't affect taste/quality/health, just personal preference since I'm doing this on a small scale.

I was in the hives yesterday, and almost all the frames of the 3 supers I plan to pull are capped, and I will not extract the others. I'm hoping that they can set aside more of the last of this goldenrod and aster surge for winter stores! I also have some really full and mostly capped deep frames of honey from this spring when I was unable to get in my hives due to some personal health issues and they got honey-bound, so I plan to supplement their stores that way too. Really, I'm just hoping that this late of a full MAQ treatment won't do them in :pinch:
 

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You have time to pull honey frames. But, since the aster bloom has come on strong I would be prepared to extract those frames within a day or two. Aster honey crystallizes very quickly! I will be pulling honey supers within the next few days. I shoot for before the aster bloom but, it doesn't always work that way.

I tend not to leave many, if any, full honey frames. I will feed 2:1 syrup. I will do an OA dribble between Thanksgiving and Christmas depending on the weather. I did a formic pro treatment at the end of July.

I don't think just an OA dribble during winter is enough to control mites year after year. I would probably hold off on the MAQS strips until spring, if you need them. Brood rearing is winding down and your OA treatment should be effective.

Tom
 

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clarekate - my Winter preparation is centered around having a strong bee population and two US standard brood boxes + 1 honey box weighing 130 lbs, and mite free going in about now.

If you do an alcohol wash according to Randy Oliver's latest instruction and find a very low to no mite count, go ahead and risk not treating them. If 300 bees in an alcohol wash yeild more than 3 varroa mites, I'd consider treating them at least gently, leaning toward harsh if there are quite a lot of mites.

Randy Oliver's website is www.scientificbeekeeping.com/an-improved-but-not-yet-perfect-varroa-mite-washer . (I gave the whole link)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks to everyone for their insight!

Just wanted to stop back in with my updated plan, based on a fair amount of reading (Randy Oliver, Bee Culture, etc.), obsessing over the crazy unseasonal weather in Ohio, and trying to work around my work and family schedule. I was able to get my supers off and extracted last Wednesday (thank goodness for upgrading to a motor for my Maxant extractor - hallelujah!) before we left for a long weekend of camping. My plan was to put in my MAQs yesterday, but who would have guessed that the second week in October would be above the recommended temperature for application?! Even if it was right at the limit, didn't seem prudent for day 1 of application when it's already too risky.

After reading and mulling it over, I am going to go with a single strip MAQ treatment in each hive, with each having two deeps and a super which I'm leaving on for some extra winter insurance. It looks like this had good mite drop, though imperfect, and I'm hoping this will be effective enough while still being a bit more gentle at this time in the season. I still plan to do an OA dribble before the year end, so my hope is that this combo will be a good fit for my less-than-ideal situation.

I still have so, so much to learn as far as planning for honey harvests, making adaptations to working the hive alone, and looking into other options for next season too. One frustrating aspect has been getting nectar in my sugar rolls no matter how I try to get my sample, so I have not done a great job at monitoring at all. In inspecting brood, I did observe mites in my capped pupae and have 1 of my 3 hives with very poor brood pattern, so I'm considering this indicative of a fairly severe mite load without actually quantifying it. Considering an alcohol wash for monitoring next year (thank you for the link, kilocharlie, as I was looking at some of the commercially available mite washer things but will look at his suggestions), but still kind of hate the idea of it! I am also going to consider OAV, though I have fairly serious respiratory problems and I know a respirator makes this safe, but I just haven't been quick to jump on this method.

Crossing my fingers for this season and lots to learn for the next!
 

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It is difficult juggling family time, work time,play time and bee time. You will get the hang of it. A couple of suggestions/comments. A proper respirator will protect you. If you can do OAV, this will allow you to do a formic treatment when your honey supers are on. Again, a balancing act. Consider treating much earlier next year so you have healthy winter bees. I know the hot weather has been a challenge for many of us this summer. Finally, when you do a sugar roll or wash, be sure you are selecting nurse bees from brood frames. If you shake those frames straight down into a pan, you will have little to no nectar. Best of luck, J
 

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Spring counts are almost always low so are irrelevant. Its those fall counts that matter, specifically brood samples.

Again, mite resistant bees are the backbone of having healthy hives. You can make management mistakes because the bees are doing most of the managing. Perhaps locating mite resistant stock should be on your to do list for next year. Then do your late summer counts and if your counts are low and the hive is productive, then consider taking daughters from her the following year. If all beekeepers started doing selection health outcomes would improve dramatically.
 

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How much honey did you end up harvesting??
I've got 34 frames to extract sitting in my kitchen right now.

I've got robber screens on and will start feeding 2:1 until it gets too cold now.

I have never used 2 MAQ strips in a hive, always just one for the last 3 years and never had any issues.
I also use OAV a couple times in the winter/spring
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Finally, when you do a sugar roll or wash, be sure you are selecting nurse bees from brood frames. If you shake those frames straight down into a pan, you will have little to no nectar. Best of luck, J
Yes, I think my one hive just seemed to have uncapped honey on the edges of most of the brood frames. I think I was probably doing a hard shake at a bit of a diagonal, like corner of the frame aimed at the bin, so I will keep in mind making sure to shake straight down next time. Also, I should just get a bigger bin instead of the one my testing kit came with, and that should make it easier to not go at an angle as well.

Perhaps locating mite resistant stock should be on your to do list for next year. Then do your late summer counts and if your counts are low and the hive is productive, then consider taking daughters from her the following year. If all beekeepers started doing selection health outcomes would improve dramatically.
Yes, I agree! I got some mite resistant queens last year (my second season), and this was one of my queens that was recently superseded, and the other two hives were from a split and I think were ultimately daughters of one of my purchased queens. I'm hoping to add some new mite-resistant genes into the mix next year, or I have one hive that is just amazing, so I might try my hand at raising some of her daughters in nucs and requesting myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
How much honey did you end up harvesting??
I've got 34 frames to extract sitting in my kitchen right now./QUOTE]

Wow - that’s great! Right now my kitchen island is still full of the bottled batch of honey and my garage has tables of my cleaned equipment that I just haven’t found the energy to put away yet!

I have three hives right now and they were just BOOMING this year! Wonderful but also overwhelming! I didn’t have a solid frame of reference since it’s my first year harvesting (apart from two years ago when I took 2 frames for myself, haha) but it seemed above average given my small bee yard. I took off 82 pounds of gorgeous, light early season honey in mid-June, had a whopping 142 pounds at the end of August, and I got 49 pounds off this round (weight/amount calculated from the number of size of filled bottles). I sell it at work since I’m a nurse at a big hospital downtown, and my coworkers are my best customers :) I take fairly pretty pictures that I post when I’m bringing it into work, so I will post them here. Honey is just beautiful!

This round I took off three supers, but I only extracted the frames that were nearly fully capped and didn’t touch many of them. I’m overwintering my 3 hives with 2 deeps and 1 extra medium each, so that’s currently on them now. I have a super that I didn’t extract from earlier in the season (a hive had overwintered with it, it had brood in it in spring, and then they refilled it, so I just put it aside for winter extras). I also have a 14 deep frames of mostly capped honey that I froze then stored. I was hospitalized for part of May for asthma issues, and of course was right in the middle of attempting a vertical split, and my hives got insanely honey-bound in my absence, so I pulled a bunch of the full frames off to give them some brood space. Next week, weather-permitting, after I pull my MAQs (put a single strip in each this morning), I’m going to make sure I’m still queenright in all 3 and then distribute some of my saved honey frames where the hives need bulked up.

Pictures are June harvest, a comparison of the June and late-August honey (so pretty!), the August harvest, and lastly the most recent batch pulled/extracted last week and bottled Monday:

1june.jpg 2compare.jpg 2summer.jpg 3fall.jpg
 

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That's really cool. for your reference, we got about 180 lbs of honey from 2 hives this year and about 75 lbs from one hive last year. so your 300 from 3 hives doesn't seem unreasonable, especially if you didn't lose any swarms or splits.

We have 4 hives going into winter this year, 2 purchased vsh carniolan queens and 2 queens they made themselves.

I bet the people who laughed at you when you said you were going to become a beekeeper aren't laughing anymore...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Somehow, miraculously, and to my relief - all three hives were queenright after my much too late MAQs treatment, even with the absolutely crazy Ohio weather shifts of the past week! It went from too hot to do the treatment 9 days ago to probably too chilly to have been taking the hives apart today. Distributed my stores honey frames from earlier in the season and all three hives are super heavy with stores, put in my entrance reducers and mouse guards, and placed my winter inner covers.

Just thought I would update since I was terrified the late MAQ treatment would cause me to lose a queen or queens. Next year I will be able to look at my timeline of ready honey harvest and better be able to plan treatments around times the supers are already off!

winter.jpg
 

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Spring counts are almost always low so are irrelevant. Its those fall counts that matter, specifically brood samples.

Again, mite resistant bees are the backbone of having healthy hives. You can make management mistakes because the bees are doing most of the managing. Perhaps locating mite resistant stock should be on your to do list for next year. Then do your late summer counts and if your counts are low and the hive is productive, then consider taking daughters from her the following year. If all beekeepers started doing selection health outcomes would improve dramatically.
Not entirely disagreeing, please note that Iharder is from up North, and thus his experience tends toward mite resistant bees. I really only disagree that Spring counts DO matter - you need to keep whacking them back throughout the season - its really best if the entire colony runs at peak efficiency throughout the year in order for the Winter bees to make it over Winter.

Until one has colonies with the traits that tolerate / fight the mites, IPM (Integrated Pest Management) is what works - just enough mite torture to keep them from getting a foothold. They're here, they're here to stay, so the beekeeper must intervene and kill mites. Once the effective combination and level of traits are present so that bees are surviving Winter and producing satisfactory amounts of honey, THEN let the bees do the mite fighting.

BTW, Congratulations, ClareKate! :applause:
 
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