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I was looking in a catalog, and was going to oder foundation. I don't think I want the plastic type because I have "heard" that the bees prefer the wax type. Can you give me advise as what type is preferable? They also show a wire embedder for the foundation wire type which I also no nothing about. I also saw a bottom board with a screen, with a tray. I could probably build that if I had a drawing. Where can I access the plans to build it? What about the strips, for the mites, wax moths, and the trackiel mites?

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There are plans on the main page of bee source. I would suggest getting a book such as beekeeping for dummys and reading through it.

Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>I was looking in a catalog, and was going to oder foundation. I don't think I want the plastic type because I have "heard" that the bees prefer the wax type.

They do but so do the wax moths and the SHB. plastic has advantages and disadvantages.

>Can you give me advise as what type is preferable?

Type is a wide open description. First make sure you are buying the right size for your frames or you are prepared to cut it to fit.

Second you need to make a lot of decisions on what you believe. The Lusby's have done a lot of research and many of us have duplicated a lot of their results that would show that the natural size for European Honey Bee worker brood comb (EHB) is between 4.6mm and 5.0mm and Dee Lusby's efforts have resulted in Dadant offering 4.9mm foundation in both wax and plastic. Personally I would buy that in wax. It only comes in deep so if you need medium you'll need to cut it down. Personally I'd cut it in half and leave a gap at the bottom or just cut strips and leave most of the frame open with just a strip at the top.

>They also show a wire embedder for the foundation wire type which I also no nothing about.

If you decide you want the small cell (4.9mm) then you will need to wire it. If not, you can buy foundation that is already wired from Walter Kelley and I'm sure other suppliers. I don't wire, but then maybe it doesn't get as hot here. If you don't wire, then you need to put the foundation in the frame immedieatly before you put the frame in the hive so it won't have time to buckle or warp before the bees work it.

>I also saw a bottom board with a screen, with a tray. I could probably build that if I had a drawing. Where can I access the plans to build it?

>What about the strips, for the mites

I don't use them, but whatever you do you need to learn to monitor the Varroa mites. There are many alternatives to apistan strips (which no longer work here anyway because the mites are resistan). There is FGMO fog, Oxalic Acid, Small cell (4.9mm cell size greatly reduces the mite reproduction) and other alternatives.

>, wax moths,

There are no strips for the wax moths and the only thing you can put in the hive with bees and honey in it is Certan. look for wax moth control

>and the trackiel mites?

FGMO fog, small cell and Oaxlic acid will all help. The "Standard" treatment is menthol and/or grease patties, but I've never used the menthol and don't use the grease patties anymore. I would use one of these at least.

Here's more detail:

Varroa mites (Varroa destructor previously called Varroa jacobsoni which is a different variety of the mite that is in Malaysia and Indonesia ) are a recent invader of beehives in North America. They are like ticks. They attach to the bees and suck the hemolymph from the adult bees and then get into cells before they are capped and reproduce there during the capped stage of the larvae development. The adult female enters the cell 1 or 2 days before it is capped. Being attracted by pheromones given off by the larvae just before capping takes place. The female feeds on the larvae for a while and then starts laying an egg about every 30 hours. The first is a male (haploid) and the rest are females. In an enlarged cell (see cell size section) the female may lay up to 7 eggs and since any immature mites will not survive when the bee emerges, from one to two new female mites will probably survive. These will mate, before the bee emerges and emerge with the host bee. Varroa mites are large enough you can see them. They are like a freckle on a bee. They are purplish brown in color and oval shaped. If you look at one closely or with a magnifying glass you can usually see the short legs on it. To monitor Varroa infestations you need a Screened Bottom Board (SBB) and a white piece of cardboard. If you don’t have a SBB then you need a sticky board. You can buy these or make one with a piece of #8 hardware cloth on a piece of sticky paper. The kind you use to line drawers will work. Put the board under it and wait 24 hours and count the mites. It’s better to do this over several days and average the numbers, but if you have a few mites (0 to 20) you aren’t in too bad of shape if you have a lot (50 or more) in 24 hours you need to do something.

Several chemical methods are available. Apistan (Fluvalinate) and Checkmite (Coumaphos) are the most commonly used acaracides to kill the mites. Both build up in the wax and both cause problems for the bees and contaminate the hive. I don’t use them.

Softer chemicals used to control the mites are Thymol, Oxalic acid, Formic acid and Acetic acid. The organic acids already naturally occur in the honey and so are not considered contaminates by some. Thymol is that smell in Listerine and although it occurs in Thyme honey, it doesn’t occur otherwise in honey. I have used the Oxalic acid and liked it. I used a simple evaporator that Dennis Murrel had on his web site.

Inert chemicals for Varroa mites.

FGMO is the most popular of these. Dr. Pedro Rodriguez has been a proponent and researcher on this. His original system was cotton cords with FGMO, beeswax and honey in an emulsion. The object was to keep the FGMO on the bees for a long period of time so the mites either get groomed or they suffocate on the oil. Later using a propane insect fogger was used to supplement the cords in this control system. The other up side of the FGMO fog was it killed the tracheal mites also. He is now adding thymol to this system.

Inert dust. The most common inert dust used is powdered sugar. The kind you buy in the grocery store. It is dusted on the bees to dislodge the mites. This method is not very effective unless you remove the bees from the hive and dust them and then return them. It is also very temperature sensitive. Too cold and the mites don’t fall. Too hot and the bees die.

This information is according to studies at the University of Nebraska.

According to Jim Fischer and TopBarGuy just dusting it on the frames works. Here's TopBarGuys method:

Physical methods.

Some methods are just hive parts or other things. Someone observed that there were less mites on hives with pollen traps and figured maybe the mites fell in the trap. The results were a screened bottom board (usually abbreviated SBB). This is a bottom board on the hive that has a hole covering most of the bottom covered with #7 or #8 hardware cloth. This allows the mites that get groomed off to fall down where they can’t get back on the bees. Research shows that this eliminates 30% of the mites.

What I recommend:

I use the small cell and Screened Bottom Boards (SBB) and I monitor the mites with a white board under the SBB. If the mites start going up while the supers are on I fog with FGMO. If they are still high after fall harvest, I use Oxalic Acid. Probably some FGMO fog would be a good idea anyway just to make sure the tracheal mites are gone, but the small cell will usually control both mites and cause less general stress which causes most of the other diseases.

Tracheal Mites
Tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi) are too small to see with the naked eye. If you want to check for them you need a microscope. Not a really powerful one, but you still need one. You’re not looking to see the details of a cell, just a creature that is quite small. Tracheal mites reproduce in young bees 1 to 2 days old. A common control for them is a grease patty (sugar and cooking grease mixed to make a patty) because it masks the smell that the tracheal mites use to find a young bee. If they can’t find young bees they can’t reproduce. Menthol is commonly used to kill the Tracheal mites. FGMO and Oxalic acid will also kill them. Breeding for resistance and small cell are also useful. The theory on the small cell helping is that the spiracles (the openings into the trachea) that the bees breathe through are smaller and the mites can’t get in. More research is needed on this subject.
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