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Discussion Starter #22
Thanks, Bobo. It's a really interesting read. I will try without having to kill the bees, though. I am learning a lot from that link!
 

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After a devastating October 2020 when my whole TBH bees left, due to varroa mites load, as it was pointed out to me then on this board, I am now done with the fully "let nature run its course, hands off" beekeeping theories that I had bought into for 7 years. In 2021, instead, I am going to start counting mites. While I still have not yet decided what method I will use to help my bees when I do find mites (still thinking and reading up on that one), at least this much I know, that I will start monitoring the little thingies. A beekeeper friend of mine told me, It's like if you have a dog with flees: you owe it to your dog, and you owe it to all the other dogs your dog will play with, to keep those fleas under control. And I saw the light.

I have a solid wooden bottom in the TBH. I thought that when I do a mite count, I would temporarily line the bottom inside with wax paper, or a thin plastic board, or construction paper. I thought I would spray some PAM (or just brush a very light coat of organic olive oil with my hand) on the wax paper or construction paper or whatever, so I can see any mites dropping and sticking to that lined bottom.

Question: will PAM (or olive oil) harm the bees if they walk on it? Do their legs stick to it, or only the mites? Also, should I put on top of the sprayed/oiled liner a 1/8" hardware cloth (or window screen cloth which is frankly easier to find than the hardware cloth), or can I get away with just the contruction / wax paper sprayed -- I don't want the bees sticking to the bottom, just the mites, of course.

Thank you for feedback.
Mites won’t stick to PAM. They will get stuck in Crisco or Lard. Although the sticky board method is the least evasive, it is the least accurate. I would recommend a
alcohol.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Thank you, JHB. From the many generous responses I received on this thread, I understand that PAM is not a good idea. I will probably try contact paper, sticky side up, with a 1/8" mesh of some sort that I can rig over it, so the bees would not get trapped.
 

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I will try without having to kill the bees, though.
What you have to remember is during the sampling period bees live 6 weeks, bees will sting and die to save the hive, not to be anthropomorphic , but if you could ask them, they would line up for the wash to save the hive
as they have no reproductive means on thier own, they live and die for the hive, they work themselves to death and when they are done, they fly off and disappear into the landscape.
ie birth=death if the queen is laying 1500 eggs a day... 6 weeks later they are dying at 1500 bees a day,(- infant mortality) we just don't see it

The worker bees can't reproduce, much like our blood cells can't reproduce , and just like we take blood samples to check for health issues, its the same with bee samples as we are dealing with a super orgisim of the bee hive.

at 10,000+ bees a week dieing a once a month sampling of 300 isn't even a blip
 

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msl, I never thought of looking at it through this lens. Your words are good food for thought. As I mentioned, I am moving from a mostly-hands off approach to something else, I am not sure what the something else might be yet. I want to thread lightly. I do understand what you are wanting for me to see. It's a new way for me to consider the issue. Thank you.
 

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msl, I never thought of looking at it through this lens. Your words are good food for thought. As I mentioned, I am moving from a mostly-hands off approach to something else, I am not sure what the something else might be yet. I want to thread lightly. I do understand what you are wanting for me to see. It's a new way for me to consider the issue. Thank you.
I also had the hands off method in use. Last year my hive left my TBH. No honey, no brood ,no dead bees. They just left. I wonder if the mite load was high.
 

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Adding an opinion here, and I haven’t looked back to see the responses; I took a N.y Bee Wellness Seminar with Randy O and Megan Milbrath and did comparison mite rolls with alcohol and powdered sugar. Done correctly, powdered sugar is just as good if you don’t want to kill your bees, just takes a little longer. Deb
 
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