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Is it good practice to OA vap a new package before they start sealing up brood? Could it trigger absconding? I have two packages scheduled to arrive early May.
 

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Personally I have no experience with OAV, but when I received new packages last season, I powdered sugar dusted them and got rid of mites that way. I know of no down side to PS dusting and the mites never get to see the inside of that nice new hive.

JMO

Rusty
 

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One method of ridding packs of mites that I have so far had good success with is to freeze the first capped brood. All the mites are on bees in a pack and they want to reproduce, but need brood to do so. So as soon as brood is available they move into cells that are ready to cap. last year I did a trail run by installing a pack and then removing the first couple of frames of brood once capped. The package did fine and alcohol rolls for mite counts were 1-2% all summer... The hive is still alive and going strong. I plan to do it on a larger scale this year. Early brood removal is the only "treatment" for mites they received.

I think it pretty much eliminated all the mites it the newly started hive. I think the 1-2% mite counts were what they picked up from nearby hives. I plan to set up a separate yard and start all the hives this way this year and see if I can maintain 0% infestation if there is no other hives in the yard for cross contamination.
 

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How much farther back does this method set a new package?
I have only done this to one pack so far as an experiment. I didn't see any noticeable difference in population over the course of the summer. By removing the first couple of frames of capped brood you are removing only 13200 in population which in the grand scheme of things, is a minor setback in population. I am not removing all capped brood, just enough to offset the original population of the package, which I theorize is enough for every mite that came in the pack to enter a cell. Within a few days of doing this other capped brood starts to emerge.
 

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If you have foundation for drone combs you can get those drawn out and when they are filled with brood and removed it doesn't harm the worker population. If you will do a powdered sugar the day you install the package, and then twice more 3 or 4 days after the first eggs hatch you can remove over 90% of the mites and the brood removal finishes removing the rest.
 
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