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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Up here in the cold mountains, I am seeing evidence of robbing, and mite bombs. Has anyone else seen evidence of mite bomb robbing events? I did mite washes on a number of my colonies about a month ago, and all my infestation rates were 0-0.5%.

Now I am seeing evidence that a couple colonies are spiking in mite populations. I will carry out another series of washes to see how bad it is, but I am concerned about the robbing activity I'm seing.

I carefully checked my apiary, there's no obvious signs of robbing (like between my colonies). I'm seeing colonies go absolutely nuts at 8-9AM - I look in the apiary, and it's just a couple of colonies going absolutely nuts, the rest are totally quiet.

Any thoughts? I know there's a backyard guy like not too far down the road from me, with a handful of colonies. Could they be robbing that out?
 

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In years past I have seen one and sometimes two colonies gain weight and draw new wax in Feb. I assume they found a dead-out bee tree somewhere, managing to rob it out before the others caught on to what was happening.
There was no mite bomb effects due to the time of year, I suppose.

Alex
 

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Interesting article in the August ABJ about a study done by the Bee Informed Partnership "Exploding the Mite Bomb Myth", written by M.E.A. McNeil.
I've always been a bit skeptical about the mite bomb theory, but I'm a natural born skeptic and have nothing else to base that on.
 

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I jumped from 1s & 2s to 8s & 10s per hive from june to sept so would deffinately agree with the "mite bomb" being a thing
Unless you successfully treated recently, your numbers would be expected without any mite bombs. Mite populations grow exponentially and when the bee population naturally declines before winter, the mites have the advantage. This causes unhealthy winter bees and the classic mite dead outs and the booming spring colony collapsing suddenly.
In climates like mine in Vermont, it is a must to check mite population at or near the end of brood production/ flying weather. I am confident my August Formic treatment was successful. However, if I relied on that, I would be fooling myself. At this time of the year, they are desperate to get every last drop of carbs wherever they can find it. I just assume they are robbing somewhere.
Next month I will do a shot of OAV and count mites on a sticky. If need be, they get a series. The benefit of this method is I don't have to break propolis and risk chilling brood or killing the queen. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Unless you successfully treated recently, your numbers would be expected without any mite bombs.

Yep, a 2/300 colony in June is a dead colony by December, around here at least.

Mite levels go vertical around now, at least in this area.
 

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LOL

* grumpy
 

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I keep my notes on the back side of the hives, some are marked with a frown face

🙁

Means the gals were a little on the mean side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My apiary is in huge trouble. Colonies that were 2/300 a month ago are at 5% infestation rates right now.

Never seen anything like this before. I have to actually euthanize a colony due to mite levels. Something I've never done before. 10% infestation rate, no way I can get that one through the winter. Brood is getting uncapped, like typical PMS symptoms - something I have literally only seen in pictures from beesource in the past.

The rest are 2-6%, with many pending mite drops I'll know the damage tomorrow.

I washed one with 20/300, next to the 10% infestation rate colony. TWENTY.

this is after a full summer treatment, and mite checks to make sure I got them all.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, I feel really depressed...
 

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With little to forage on, bees that tend to robbing, along with surrounding colonies that may be collapsing from mites, you may have the perfect storm scenario. I had a similar mite influx last year despite not seeing one mite from drone brood pulled from time to time all summer.

Will treating OAV more frequently help an infested hive? might be a thought there about a large emergence from under cappings but I cant see it suddenly going to the levels you are seeing.
 

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My apiary is in huge trouble. Colonies that were 2/300 a month ago are at 5% infestation rates right now.

Never seen anything like this before. I have to actually euthanize a colony due to mite levels. Something I've never done before. 10% infestation rate, no way I can get that one through the winter. Brood is getting uncapped, like typical PMS symptoms - something I have literally only seen in pictures from beesource in the past.

The rest are 2-6%, with many pending mite drops I'll know the damage tomorrow.

I washed one with 20/300, next to the 10% infestation rate colony. TWENTY.

this is after a full summer treatment, and mite checks to make sure I got them all.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, I feel really depressed...
I'm going through something similar with 2 colonies in a yard of 17. One had light pms and mite counts of 4,5,4,6 done over a 8 days towards the end of August. I removed the queen, treated with full dose of FP and checked for mites/pms on September 16 -1 mite with no brood present. I did an oad and added a small queen-right nuc to the colony. All seems to be good now.
Another colony is showing light pms but the mite counts are 15,17,17,19. Treating it currently with FP. They're not getting robbed out as both colonies had 60+lbs of stores when I weighed them last week. That one may not be salvageable to overwinter, but trying to keep it from becoming a possible infestation feeding station.
 

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Username, I don't think you have much choice but an Apivar or Formic Pro treatment. I am a fan of formic but would go with apivar this late in the season. Classic mite bombs that supposedly don't exist. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
What is an "acceptable mite count" for this time of year?

What is a dead colony this time of year?

30/300, or 20/300 is it worth saving either of those?
 
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