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I have 8 hives, with one hive having high varroa counts. In Aug., the count was 5, so I started weekly OAV, for 4 treatments. I was unable to repeat the count, after treatment, until middle of Sept, and the count was 15, and started 3 more OAV treatment. My count last week was over 25!!! Yicks, I have never had such a high count. I gave that hive a formic acid treatment, and have now treated the other hives, which have between 1-6 mite counts. Is the hive worth saving? I have read that some BKs cull hives that have counts over 15. Also, does OA loses its potency over time, my package of OA is 5-6 years old. Thanks for any advise.
 

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I a first year Beek so take this for what it's worth and I can assure you there will be contradicting replies. I got hit with a mite bomb in August after having zero alcohol washes two weeks prior. Emerging bees had DWS, I had supers on the hive and FA was the only option. August 30th, temps under 80 F as early cold front went through- double pad treatment on both hives, first week, lots of dead bees, larvae and pupae, diminished activity on both hives. Second week, infected hive still light activity, other hive booming. Removed strips 15 days out, both hive 4-5 plus full frames of brood, open and capped. Month out, full hive activity, working a strong flow like gangbusters. Tested yesterday, zero counts, OAV 4 x 5 day treatment started (belt and suspenders approach for winter). Heavy population in both double deeps, 4-5 plus brood, saw queen in originally infected hive looking good. With that said, without a brood break, FA does get under the capped brood and kills off a lot of the problem right away. Effectiveness is said to be 85-90%. Follow up with OAV to maintain hive during the fall flow, keeping in check any mites brought back by the foragers until freeze and protect winter brood from any late mite bombs. To answer your question if the hives worth saving-why not? FA is like $6 a treatment and while I think OA is a salt which can't go bad, it's only $20 a pound for apiary grade product and that should last at least a whole season with active management plans.

Whatever you do to one hive, do it to all your hives. Most likely there is drift and pollination contact between all of the hives so it's just a matter of time before the other show the same symptoms.
 

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Drmimiky;

There is quite a few comments to the effect that spacing the treatments much closer together is necessary to get control of the mites especially where mite load is high in your surroundings. Next to zero reports of mortality even with 7 X 3 day schedule and continuing till the mite count is at target level.

Partial quote from Larry Bud is good advice. "Follow up with OAV to maintain hive during the fall flow, keeping in check any mites brought back by the foragers until freeze and protect winter brood from any late mite bombs."
 

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To my knowledge, OA does not degrade appreciably if kept dry in a sealed container. I believe some have reported a change in color (to more brown) as it ages. If you are storing it properly, and it is a lab grade OA (rather than "wood bleach"), and there is no color change, clumping, etc., I would continue to use it. Contrary understandings, please speak up, as I would be happy to know where this is wrong.

I do not consider higher mite counts at this time of year as indicative of defective genetics or any reason to cull hives. The bees are single-mindedly trying to get ready for winter, which may include robbing behaviors. Meanwhile there is a perfect storm going on with mite numbers and reproductive rate, and bee reproductive activity, that causes a spike in mite numbers. And there may be more going on that we are not aware of, which have effect as well.

I affirm you for doing the washes, but at this they time are more disruptive than I would want for my hives. So I suggest you stop doing them, leave the hives sealed up, and keep hitting them with OA until the 2-3 day mite drops (if you have screened bottom boards) become low single digits. Treat all hives in the same apiary the same, on whatever 3-7 day schedule works in your life. Don't stop at any particulat number (such as 4), but keep going until you see the result you need. I have done as many as 12 treatments in a series.

I like to hit them again sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when brooding is low. One hit, not a series, no checking if it worked. After that, I generally don't treat again until after the honey supers come off in July.

That is what works for me, good luck.
 

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I tread all my hives in August with Formic acid pads and last month decide to treat with OAV 4 days x 5 round. Thinking I was good did not do a alcohol wash. So on the Oct 1st I decided to check for the hell of it, did a wash's and what do I see, mite counts up to 22 -28. So I'm hitting all hives in my 7 yards with heavy OAV 3 days apart x 4. After the 4th round I will do random wash checks in all yard. I also will be treating again before December. Going to treat in the spring about April and will be doing random monthly washes so I know exactly what's happing with the mites.
 

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Sounds like a good proactive approach to the mite situation. One thing I would suggest is that when you shorten the time between vaporizations you should extend the number of applications to cover the same time period. Though they should be long gone now, drone brood is under cappings for ~ 16 days. With worker brood you are just barely overlapping the capped period with 4 treatments.
 

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Great advice has already been given. Echo yes, worth saving. Strong hives may rob and become infested very quickly from external pressure. Don’t read too much into it this time of year beyond needing to treat longer.
 
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