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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been digging through hives this past week....pulling supers, testing for mites and general conditions. I've found most colonies have very spotty capped brood. The queen is laying a solid pattern but sometime after capping....a significant number of pupae are uncapped and removed. Spot checking mite counts....and all are high. Except one. If I had any doubt about it being mite related...this one is the convincer. The hive I used this year for a queen bank. It went over 45 days without a laying queen. The capped brood is solid. Mite counts are below treatment thresholds.
For reasons I don't understand, this appears to be a major mite year in my yards. As you might imagine.....I'm doing something about it.
Good luck to all.
 

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d semple touched on it in another thread, not much of a dearth this summer, and probably not much of a mid season brood break. this may be a good (bad) test year for mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It has been an exceptional and strange year. I had multiple hives that produced over two hundred pounds. Never before. Some were drawing comb through the end of June and still putting up honey in July. I have no idea what and have never seen it before. So...yeah.....a blessing and a curse all in one.
Are you seeing spotty capped brood? I usually see it in a few hives this time of year....but this year it is nearly every one.
Good luck with yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Most have enormous populations. I'm leaving extra honey....as I don't see any way they'll make it without. Hives that I'd usually leave as double deeps are now double deep and a medium and a good number as triple deeps....and will likely go into winter that way. And, yeah...the mites have thrived too.
 

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Are you seeing spotty capped brood? I usually see it in a few hives this time of year....but this year it is nearly every one.
to be honest dan the only ones i have been into lately are my starters from june and as expected no problems there. i still have a lot of honey to pull so i'll be going deep into those soon and let you know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What are you going to use to treat?
I did an OAV treatment last winter and will likely do so again. But....to knock down the mites before they start winter brood....I'll be treating with apiguard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I also have not seen a single instance of DWV. So for those who use that as an indicator....if you see it you probably have a mite problem....if you don't....you still may have a mite problem.
 

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I have been doing checks for the last week and a half and finding at least 3/4 above the 3% threshold here. Even hives that have swarmed are high. After finding almost no mites last fall and this spring, it looks like a good year for the mites.
 

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Are they unwrapping them and causing the spotty pattern because they know there over populated or am I over thinking on this? I have a few hives like this as well.
 

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I treated the end of last year with OAV and had 1000s of mites dropped .
This year I tested late JULY with alcohol washes on 20 hives and no mites at all . I have most my hives brood nest on 4.9 cell I don't know if it make a difference but I had no mites as of 2weeks ago.
I'm going to test again in mid. SEPT.
I know it sounds to good to be true but it is what it is and I am very happy .
I have not seen a mite all year and I been digging in the drone brood and no mites.
I have seen no PMS / DWV/ no crawlers and my brood for the most part is looking great hoping for a easy winter .
Hoping not to treat this year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are they unwrapping them and causing the spotty pattern because they know there over populated or am I over thinking on this?
I believe that you are over thinking this. If they were removing larvae.....I might consider it.
 

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The queen is laying a solid pattern but sometime after capping....a significant number of pupae are uncapped and removed.

It went over 45 days without a laying queen. The capped brood is solid. Mite counts are below treatment thresholds.

For reasons I don't understand, this appears to be a major mite year in my yards. As you might imagine.....I'm doing something about it.
Spotty capped brood pattern indicates hygienic behavior.

Low mite counts in a hive which went 45 days w/out a queen has low mite counts because it went 45 days w/out a queen.

If I understand correctly what I learned over the weekend, your major mite year may be due to how effective your last mite treatment was. Basically you cleaned out the hive and new, perhaps more virulent mites moved in and are having a field day.

If you look on my Facebook page and look for the NY Bee Wellness Workshop you will find a photograph of a chart which shows an example of annual bee population growth and decline in a hive and annual varroa mite population growth and decline in the same hive. We need to treat as soon as possible in the Spring when a certain threshold is apparent to knock down what mites are there which should bring the Varroa mite population curve down lower and maybe postpone its rise until later in the season, giving us a better chance of treating w/out supers on hives, yet early enough to be effective at having young undamaged bees in our hives going into Fall and Winter.
 

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We need to treat as soon as possible in the Spring when a certain threshold is apparent to knock down what mites are there which should bring the Varroa mite population curve down lower and maybe postpone its rise until later in the season, giving us a better chance of treating w/out supers on hives, yet early enough to be effective at having young undamaged bees in our hives going into Fall and Winter.
It does seem that certain conditions seem to work for or against the mites, be it weather or the bees reaction to weather conditions. We could hardly find any mites last or this spring. Less than 1% or 0 in all the hives checked so we didn't treat. I started checking again a week ago and I am mostly seeing levels of 3-12% with an overall average in around 4%. I think as mentioned earlier, the lack of dearth is significant.
 

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How are you doing your sampling to come up w/ those percentages? Are you putting a measure amount of live bees gathered from capped brood comb into a jar and doing a powdered sugar test or an alcohol wash or and ether roll? Do you later on check to see how many bees you had in your sample?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Spotty capped brood pattern indicates hygienic behavior.
That's my thinking.


Low mite counts in a hive which went 45 days w/out a queen has low mite counts because it went 45 days w/out a queen.
My thinking too....again.


If I understand correctly what I learned over the weekend, your major mite year may be due to how effective your last mite treatment was. Basically you cleaned out the hive and new, perhaps more virulent mites moved in and are having a field day.
I will have to look at your facebook page and try to understand this.


We need to treat as soon as possible in the Spring when a certain threshold is apparent to knock down what mites are there which should bring the Varroa mite population curve down lower and maybe postpone its rise until later in the season, giving us a better chance of treating w/out supers on hives, yet early enough to be effective at having young undamaged bees in our hives going into Fall and Winter.
I'm not sure about the early spring treatment. I usually treat in late summer/early fall after removing honey supers. That way the mite population should be low when they begin winter brood production. Last year I also did a midwinter OAV treatment.....which, I suppose, would substitute for a Spring treatment. And, of course, the hive dynamics will vary considerably depending on where on the continent or in the world your hives might be located.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Mark, I've seen the chart...or at least one like it, that shows the bee/mite population relationship. It is one of the reasons that I've recommended and perform late season mite treatments.

If I understand correctly what I learned over the weekend, your major mite year may be due to how effective your last mite treatment was. Basically you cleaned out the hive and new, perhaps more virulent mites moved in and are having a field day.
I'm not sure that I understand this. If my treatment is very effective...there'll still be some mite survivors. Next season's mite population will be based largely on the genetics of those survivors.
I don't understand the association of treatment survivor/more virulent mites. I figure that it is a crap shoot. Maybe more virulent mites survive the treatments in greater numbers...but it is equally possible that the less virulent ones do.
And all of that presupposes the existence of more/less virulent mites. I know it has been speculated but I don't believe any research supports it.
 
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