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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?
I don't think anyone can answer that. There are posts on here of colonies surviving crazy high mite loads. Some would say those are worth saving.
I would see what your counts are in the rest of your hives tomorrow and report back. If just these 2 hives are high, I would consider treating them and getting robber screens on all hives if there are no signs of virus. That they were removing brood may be hygienic behavior, a good thing. I would consider combining the two hives and treating them. If you have the option of segregating them somewhere else, I would do it. The spread of viruses is the biggest risk. J
 

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Did a mite check today and was 6 per hundred, four weeks ago it was 1 per hundred. Treated 5 weeks ago, doing another treatment
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
I compared a mite wash to a mite drop to determine the approximate %, and so far, most of the colonies I sampled indicate levels below 2% infestation rates.

A few of them are quite a bit higher.

One of them, which I confirmed had a 0.5% infestation rate after treatment, is back up above 2% right now...in one month. Another, that I confirmed had zero mites, is around 2% infestation rate right now as well.

The 5%+ ones...even if mites stop dropping, I have my doubts that those colonies will be OK.
 

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I compared a mite wash to a mite drop to determine the approximate %, and so far, most of the colonies I sampled indicate levels below 2% infestation rates.

A few of them are quite a bit higher.

One of them, which I confirmed had a 0.5% infestation rate after treatment, is back up above 2% right now...in one month.

Since most of the colonies are below 3%, I suspect the apiary will be OK with heavy treatments until they are no longer dropping any mites.

The 5%+ ones...even if mites stop dropping, I have my doubts that those colonies will be OK.
I wonder if the increase in mite numbers after you treat could be due to a shrinking brood? As the brood cells open up the mites have no where to go except onto the bees.
The more I look into Formic Pro and Apiguard the more I think I will start using those as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
One zero mite count colony had no brood (re-queened). They had a zero mite count after treatment (broodless). Now that colony is around 1-2%, based on the mite drop.

Those mites weren't hiding in the brood, so they could only have come from an external source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
I took another inspection of the 30/300 colony, and yes, they're definitely selecting and uncapping larva. I opened up the still capped larva, and could not find any mites, so somehow they're finding the brood with the mites, and uncapping them, and removing them from the colony.

Seeing this "hygenic" "mite resistant" behavior, I decided to keep that queen around, and see if I can save the colony.

THANKS @Fivej for pointing that out.

Also treating the brood nest with Apivar.
 

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My area is blessed with a abundance of spring swarms. My hives are healthy enough to swarm also. So when the term "mite bombs" came into use, it finally made sense what was going on in my bees and area. Over my career I have had several years where my losses were extreme. Each extreme loss season was one where the bees the bees were able to build to a swarm level, then a lot of swarms, then a extremely good honey season. What I believe is the swarms in my area collapse around late August and my bees were robbing them out. At the tiime, the idea of treating the bees before the winter bees were produced was unknown. For the last few years, we have gotten the honey off and applied Apivar. The winter losses have been in a downward spiral since. The last three seasons I have applied OA during October. Most of my losses now are a mixture of late season queen failure, a few starve outs, and mite infections. My losses are trending below 20%.
 

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Mite bombs are a thing. Any hive dying of mites and being robbed transfers a large number of mites to the robbing hive.

But having said that, it is tempting to blame ones mite problems on the guy down the road, when you really need to look at your own management.

Mite populations in fall can appear to explode. The reason is first off, that mite populations grow parabolically. But second, a test in a hive may find a low mite %. But a couple of months later when brood rearing has been curtailed, find a lot. This is just natural growth in the mite population combined with a lot more mites being phoretic due to less brood, and available to be found in a mite wash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Well, I washed a hive below 1%, and I check back and it's 6%.

That was in about 25 days.

This was true for about 4 of them - the rest stayed below 2% or so....

So how is it that a handful of colonies mysteriously jumped from below 1% to above 6% in 25 days?
 

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Well, I washed a hive below 1%, and I check back and it's 6%.

That was in about 25 days.

This was true for about 4 of them - the rest stayed below 2% or so....

So how is it that a handful of colonies mysteriously jumped from below 1% to above 6% in 25 days?
What's the worry, Shouldn't that "local survivor stock" you tout be able to handle the local conditions?
 
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