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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm not new to bee keeping, nor are these my first hives. In my 3.5 years of beekeeping I've never had a hive survive winter. This year I have 3, 10 frame hives, 2 deeps on all and one nuc only one brood box. All boxes are deeps. The 3 10 framers are very strong. The nuc is ok, could be better, could be worse. This year we (my sister, bro-in-law and I) had decided to not harvest to give them the best chance of survival. All have been treated with apivar strips already. I am thinking of an OAV treatment before it gets too cold.
Is this a good move? Bad move? Or really doesn't matter.
 

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I would think Apivar to be enough. If it was applied early enough.
 

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What do you think is happening in the winter?

My winter losses were mainly due, I believe, to excess moisture/poor ventilation. Another was a very small hive that died in -20 degree January and couldn't reach stores. Every winter loss so far has had honey left over, so it wasn't simply lack of food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What do you think is happening in the winter?

My winter losses were mainly due, I believe, to excess moisture/poor ventilation. Another was a very small hive that died in -20 degree January and couldn't reach stores. Every winter loss so far has had honey left over, so it wasn't simply lack of food.
My logic to this move was to eliminate the worry of food stores and honey is better than sugar syrup. I have feed the hives twice this year and will probably do so one more time. From what I,ve been told honey is a better insulator than empty comb. My first year loss was hive beetle infestation. Really wet summer. Second year was warm snap back to below 30 degrees in 24 hours in February. Third year was loss of honey stores. These three years where all 5 frame nucs and strong hives. Built up fast and all had 4 to 5 boxes on them by the end of fall. They were harvested though.
 

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I'm a little confused as to the configuration of the hives going into Winter. Were they two deeps only or did they have a honey super also? Down here where I live, they Winter in two deep brood boxes only, no supers. We have enough warm days during Winter to allow the bees to move laterally to their honey stores and they don't require as much. I would think in your location they would need honey above. It sounds as though that is what your plan is for this year. Good luck.
 

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6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
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AR1;1755055 My winter losses were mainly due said:
I'm in Sisters Oregon. Had moisture/condensation issues too. Ventilation is major for me this winter. They must stay dry or they will freeze. Have upper entrances and a vivaldi board type box above (quilt box design). Other beekeepers in the wetter parts of Oregon swear by the Vivaldi Board for moisture control. No need to spend that money though. You can make something with a similar design (super with holes drilled with #8 hardware cloth covering them).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I made my own vivaldi board for one of the hives just modified it a bit. Used and inner cover for the bottom and basically built a 3" box above it with 3/8 slits on the sides. this way I can flip the inner cover for upper entrance choices and flip the vivaldi box for summer or winter ventilation. I'll be putting burlap in the top with fondant in a 2" high 5" wide "food box" I guess to call it. It is screened to allow ventilation. I basically copied Vino Farms on Youtube just with with more options. I need to build 2 more. just haven't found the time.
 

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So glad you're following VinoFarm. Me too. FWIW- I added another 3 inches of height to the Mannlake Wintering Inner cover along with 1 inch vent holes covered with #8 hardware cloth and viola- Vivaldi Board. And believe me, I have rudimentary carpentry skills. Thought I'd mention it in case you run out of time and need something fast for your 2 remaining hives. Hoping for your success on over wintering this year.

I also bought 4 X 8 coroplast from HomeDepot and plan on doing the hive sleeves from one of his vids.
 

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So I'm not new to bee keeping, nor are these my first hives. In my 3.5 years of beekeeping I've never had a hive survive winter. This year I have 3, 10 frame hives, 2 deeps on all and one nuc only one brood box. All boxes are deeps. The 3 10 framers are very strong. The nuc is ok, could be better, could be worse. This year we (my sister, bro-in-law and I) had decided to not harvest to give them the best chance of survival. All have been treated with apivar strips already. I am thinking of an OAV treatment before it gets too cold.
Is this a good move? Bad move? Or really doesn't matter.
Did you do a mite count?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Did you do a mite count?
No I didn't. When I was treating them I accidently cracked open a drone cell and there were about 3 mites in there. I'm not sure how accurate something like that would be. I've never seen any hive beetles in my hives roaming around. I have seen several in my cd case traps tho. I've never done a mite count before. I've seen the the jar and alcohol on YouTube but I've also heard of powdered sugar in a jar too. Has anyone tried both? Is the sugar just as effective as alcohol?

To Lalldredge, My next vivaldi board I will be adding about 2 inches to expose more of the ventilation slits. I too have coroplast, blue, 2 4' x 8' sheets. got em free at work. I was thinking about skipping these and going straight for the 2" foam. What are your thoughts on that?
 

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If I found three mites in one Drone cell yesterday, I would be treating today.

Alex
 

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If I found three mites in one Drone cell yesterday, I would be treating today.

Alex
Gotta say. I'm with Alex on this one. 3 mites in a drone cell is a big number. I treated with Apivar early too, but I'm continuing to hammer them with OA shop towels and will later finish with one OAV in late fall. Still seeing some mite drop. As few mites going into winter is Priority 1 for me.

PS- on your q about going right to the foam board. The hive sleeve has appeal to me because it's the first stage of winterization and a great wind block. In my area winterization will be done in stages. We also have wind storms and snow. Your winters are more mild for sure. For that reason I would think the sleeve would be even more valuable. I'm watching the weather carefully and will likely build and add those in October when nights start dipping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well dang. I pulled the strips on Aug 31st. I still have enough for another round. Should I treat with that again? If so when? I'd love to get some sort of OAV treatment system going but cash is a little tight right now. Any ideas?
 

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.........I'd love to get some sort of OAV treatment system going but cash is a little tight right now. Any ideas?
OAV applications reportedly are dirt cheap per few BS members.
I don't know how true and what are the actual details.
Up to you to find out.
 

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Well dang. I pulled the strips on Aug 31st. I still have enough for another round. Should I treat with that again? If so when? I'd love to get some sort of OAV treatment system going but cash is a little tight right now. Any ideas?
The drones under cappings must have been cooking and didn't get the full effect of your treatment. Yes, I would put them through another round of Apivar to really knock them down. Another thing I do is move the strips around every couple of weeks to be sure I'm tracking the brood nest. The OA shop towels are a cheap way to get a treatment in.

The recipe is in the American Bee Journal and thoroughly discussed on Randy Oliver's website. To my knowledge it hasn't been officially approved for use so please read thoroughly about it if you decide to proceed. I bought mine premade from my mentor to be sure the mix was spot on. Also just invested in a Varrox wand. Once the initial investment is made it's pennies to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The drones under cappings must have been cooking and didn't get the full effect of your treatment. Yes, I would put them through another round of Apivar to really knock them down. Another thing I do is move the strips around every couple of weeks to be sure I'm tracking the brood nest. The OA shop towels are a cheap way to get a treatment in.

The recipe is in the American Bee Journal and thoroughly discussed on Randy Oliver's website. To my knowledge it hasn't been officially approved for use so please read thoroughly about it if you decide to proceed. I bought mine premade from my mentor to be sure the mix was spot on. Also just invested in a Varrox wand. Once the initial investment is made it's pennies to do.
I noticed the mites under the capped drone when I was installing the strips. I have a good amount of shop towels so I don't need to invest in those. I'll do more research on that way of application. I've seen a few wands hand built on Youtube and was going to try my hand at that in the winter. I'm pretty handy when it comes to building things I need.
 

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OA is also called wood bleach. Available at your local hardware store for about 10 dollars. You can combine that with a 1:1 sugar syrup and that's called an oxalic acid drip. YouTube videos or a quick internet search can give you the ratios/recipe. One oxalic acid tub will last you several years. Or, on Amazon you can get a vaporizer for around $30 or $40.
 

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Get the shop towels on soon. Once it gets colder the bees ignore them, and the oxalic only contacts the bees when they're in the process of removing the towels.
 

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As some others have suggested, you need to do a sugar roll (or some other method) to get mite loads on your hives. It's possible the Apivar has corrected the problem, but there are only a couple ways to find out--see if they die over the winter or test them now. It's also possible, if you've only been treating with Apivar for the last few years, that those mites in your hives aren't responding to it.

If you end up having to treat, I'd personally stay away from the shop towel method because my experience is that it's way too slow-acting to correct a problem this late in the year. Instead, find a local bee club that offers free or rented use of an OAV kit and do it that way. You may have to do it a couple/few times depending on how subsequent mite tests come out.
 
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