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Discussion Starter #1
First time keeper - top bar hive. I just returned from two months away and checked my hive - I spotted a few bees with shriveled wings and visible mites. Other than that everything looks ok to my first time keeper eyes. It's been unseasonably warm (high 50s to 70) but still cool enough that I don't want to disturb them too much. It's a small hive to begin with so I'm concerned about them making it overwinter.

Is it too late in the year to treat them?
If not, any recommendations on the type of treatment?

Thanks!! Meredith
 

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If you see a mite on a bee you have a major infestation. You can treat with OAV anytime when the temperature is over 37 degrees. If your colony is broodless, 1 treatment is enough. If there is a lot of brood, treat 3 times at 7 day intervals.
 

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Meredith, the best option is probably OAV at this point. I'd do one immediately as your colony is probably ramping down on brood now with possibly only capped brood left. Then I'd do another in a couple weeks or so. Maybe a bit after Thanksgiving. Know that this treatment will only be helpful to the bee health starting next spring (if they survive), but knocking down the mites now helps by not having so much mite irritation which folks on here have speculated contributes to burning through more stores (makes sense).

dsegrest is right though.. it's pretty late now. Even if broodless I would do OAV twice one to two weeks apart... 'just in case'.

Treating in a TBH might be a little bit tough to do, but hopefully you can figure something out.

Otherwise the option is to ride out the winter and see what happens.
 

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If your daytime temps are above 50, you can also treat with formic acid. Since FA is generally a 7 days initial treatment and will penetrate brood caps, one treatment can be enough. The nice thing about it also is that you can leave it in the hive if temps crash and you aren't able to get into the hive right away.

As far as OAV, since many keepers overseas treat when in July & December/January when hive is broodless, its not necessarily a matter of "too late" for it.
 

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I have read that formic acid can kill the queen.
What to do when the queen accidentally died?
This is the coming of winter now.
I have only used oav on my home made oav gadget.
 

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At this point the damage is done as she is probably near broodless. Formic might make sense if she had a round of brood to go yet, but I doubt she does.
 

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I have read that formic acid can kill the queen.
What to do when the queen accidentally died?
This is the coming of winter now.
I have only used oav on my home made oav gadget.
Any treatment can kill or injure the queen and the brood.

No treatment at this point will kill everything
 

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Yes, any treatment has the potential to hard the queen.
Some are more lethal than the other. No matter what treatment we use the
mites are here to stay. We only treat to control the mites so that the bees can
survive the winter months. Some will agree that formic is more harmful than oav. And oav
dripple is more harmful than oav.
So the beekeeper has to choose the most appropriate treatment regimen according to
the hive situation and local environment. I only treat enough so that my bees can survive here until the Spring expansion again.
Oav gadget that I use has the potential to treat a double deeps and 3x the effective delivery rate of oav. We're in
a mild winter climate so I can treat them all year long. It is safe for the queen and broods so far. No dead queens found!
Choose what works for you with less harm is good enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
There is a very small brood so I'm not expecting much.

From my research it seems as though most beekeepers use a vaporizer to administer the OA but I've also read in some places that the dribble method is safe(r) if applied properly? I only have one hive at this point so a time consuming method isn't a problem - however, if there's a chance I'd like to keep the queen alive! Any thoughts on method of delivery for the OA?
 

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In order for this queen and the broods to survive your
winter the mites must be under control. Without the bees the
queen cannot stand a chance. Feed them the winter patty
subs and Lauri's sugar bricks through out the winter months.
Reduce the hive entrance to only one bee space when it is cold
and snowing outside. This queen is not the mite survivor or resistant
type of queen. Get the mite resistant queen is better for your next
queen purchase or bait hive trap for some.
In case this hive cannot make it
use the equipment and frames for another hive the next Spring. This time
buy more than one hives because if one develop a problem then other other hive
can help it out. For example, you can take a frame or 2 of bees and capped broods
from a 2nd hive to support the dwindling hive. Without a 2nd or 4th hives then you
are stuck in a situation like this. I use 4 support hives to fix problems when they arise without weakening the other hives too much. Just the fixing of problems is worth the initial cost already.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sure enough, I checked the hive today (it's a balmy 67) and all the bees were dead. I've already put in my order for two new hives but I want to make sure I take care to prep the hive for next year. What are your thoughts about cleaning out the dead bees, slurry of mites and mold? How about the comb? I'm finding some white clumps (possibly a mold) in cells where the bees collected the syrup feed. Is it best to just trash all the combs where this is present?

Thanks,
Meredith
 
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