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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I've been beekeeping for a couple of years with mixed success. I'm getting a better handle on managing varroa, and I was just curious if people have times of the year that they'll just automatically treat their hives? Or if they only treat when they know there's a problem?

I'm in San Francisco, and it seems like spring and fall are times that treatment is necessary. Is this generally true? or maybe that just what has happened with my hive in the past year.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks!
 

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Early autumn (fall) when the summer honey comes off, and midwinter when the colony is broodless. The former protects the overwintering bees properly, the latter means the colony starts the following season with minimal mite numbers. Generally that's all that is needed.
 

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I try to treat on a regular basis before the honey supers go on, when the supers come off, in the fall, and in the winter. I also treat if I have reason to believe there is a problem. I have also started keeping robbing screens on most of the time to limit drifting from feral hives and other beekeepers in the area that do not treat and create mite bombs.
 

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Having only a few hives, I tend to treat more often than other people.

Weekly OAVs until mite drop stops (usually 3-4 times), starting after Chiristmas before New year. I can usually find warm enough days to do this.

Single OAV whenever colonies are broodless due to split.

Formic acid in early September or earlier, while honey supers are still on.

Apivar in October - November, if September treatment was not effective or re-infestation occurred (honey supers off).
 

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I have stopped mite monitoring with alcohol washes and sugar rolls because the same mite pattern shows up every year. There is very little mite activity through the spring and summer until the end of July. I treat with OAV 4 times every 5 days in early August. Then I treat again once in December between the first and the 31st. This year I lost 1 hive of 16 over the winter due to queen loss. The hive still lives but is dwindling quickly with no queens available. Last year I lost 1 of 6 and it was due to mites. It was a package I got from a friend that I forgot to treat shortly after installation. By the time August came, It was a mess. It did not make it to the new year.

In San Francisco I would do monthly mite monitoring until you can figure out if a good reliable pattern exists. There are too many inexperienced treatment free beekeepers in the area and many of the hives are constantly re-infested with mites from the failing hives (especially in the late summer and fall). Experienced treatment free beekeepers are generally very responsible. The inexperienced ones are generally a problem in my opinion.
 

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I treat my bees every 120 approximately. I use thermal treatment with the Mighty Mite Killer. So far, I have had very good results. Will be starting the first treatment cycle in a few weeks once I split all of my hives into single deeps. I also treat my nucleus colonies with the Mighty Mite Killer as well. It is a good method to use especially if you want to go chemical free.

https://www.beehivethermalindustries.com/shop/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/275791919813444/
 

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Hi,

I've been beekeeping for a couple of years with mixed success. I'm getting a better handle on managing varroa, and I was just curious if people have times of the year that they'll just automatically treat their hives? Or if they only treat when they know there's a problem?

I'm in San Francisco, and it seems like spring and fall are times that treatment is necessary. Is this generally true? or maybe that just what has happened with my hive in the past year.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks!
i just do 4 treatments. I have not been bothering with mite counts.
Spring-> OAV 5 rounds 5 days apart.
Mid summer formic acid ( MAQS or formic pro pads)
Late summer right after supers are pulled Apivar
Late fall/early winter OAV.

This year had 15 of 15 production hives survive winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the information and the responses. This past year I treated my hives in fall and then again at the beginning of the 2019, and they seem to be doing good. Sounds like that's pretty standard. The mighty mite killer looks nice, but a little pricey. Maybe in the f

Why do people use different treatments at different times of the year? Because of the temperature?
 

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Thanks for the information and the responses. This past year I treated my hives in fall and then again at the beginning of the 2019, and they seem to be doing good. Sounds like that's pretty standard. The mighty mite killer looks nice, but a little pricey. Maybe in the f

Why do people use different treatments at different times of the year? Because of the temperature?
temperature and when the honey supers are on affects which Rx you decide to use.
 

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Aran, you might be able to get your treatments down to 2-3x a year if you do the "one shot" OAV around xmas. It brings your mite count down as low as possible so you do not have to treat in spring. In an ideal season, I am able to do one shot of OAV around xmas and formic acid late July early August. However, most years are not ideal and I have to do a series in the Fall.
As Dudelt suggested, do counts until you learn your patterns. Be especially attentive in late summer and fall. This is when mite populations increase and hive population decreases. If my pattern holds, I hope to do my treatments on the schedule I described, but will test in the fall after supers pulled to see if I need to do a series of OAV. J
 

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Aran, you might be able to get your treatments down to 2-3x a year if you do the "one shot" OAV around xmas. It brings your mite count down as low as possible so you do not have to treat in spring. In an ideal season, I am able to do one shot of OAV around xmas and formic acid late July early August. However, most years are not ideal and I have to do a series in the Fall.
As Dudelt suggested, do counts until you learn your patterns. Be especially attentive in late summer and fall. This is when mite populations increase and hive population decreases. If my pattern holds, I hope to do my treatments on the schedule I described, but will test in the fall after supers pulled to see if I need to do a series of OAV. J
i do the broodless OAV treatment in december already.
I just choose to treat regularly. I guess i could do mite counts and treat that way but im lazy so i just do the routine and my winter survival has been excellent doing it this way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Do people treat in Spring? My hive has a lot of drone brood right now, and I know that varroa like drone brood so thought i'd ask. I'll probably do a mite count this week and see what I'm working with.
 

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I usually do not. I no longer do sugar-roll /alcohol wash, but when I did, I have hardly ever detected any mites before August (I think it is because winter OAV is very effective here). I do not know whether that is the case in CA, where you may not have a decent winter brood break. Doing a mite count sounds like a good idea.

I used to do drone culling for mite control in spring, using those green plastic drone frames, but not anymore (kind a messy). I may still cut off drone combs from foundation-less frames, when I feel like it.

One exception about spring treatment was last May, when I found 20 mites/day in one of my hives (I still monitor natural mite drop through the screen bottom, and it should be zero in May). I moved some open brood to a nuc box, shook in lots of bees, did OAV and released the queen there. The mother hive (which raised a new queen) got OAV 4 weeks later, when it was without capped brood. Mite loads became low after these treatments.
 

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Why do people use different treatments at different times of the year? Because of the temperature?
Another reason to vary the treatments is because some mites become resistant to one treatment method. Varying the methods means you will not get mites that develop a resistance to a specific method. I dont think mites are resistant to OAV, baking, or drone culling, but they have developed resistances to some chemicals in some places.
 

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@LiveOak,

I see that gizmo is also supposed to be effective against SHB. Do you see that in the hives you use it on? That would make it very appealing to me!

Nancy
 

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@LiveOak,

I see that gizmo is also supposed to be effective against SHB. Do you see that in the hives you use it on? That would make it very appealing to me!

Nancy
Yes, I use it on my hives and it is very effective against SHB's. I leave the queen excluder directly under the insulation board and once the treatment is completed, allow the bees to take their own time going back inside the hive and come back the next morning. Any SHB's that were not killed by the MMK will attempt to re-enter the hive and the bees will pin them against the queen excluder and propolize them in place. When I remove the insulation board I am able to smash the trapped SHB's. Some people like to just shake the off into a bucket of water or other fluid that will kill them.

Robbin purchased a Mighty Mite Killer and he has had good results with his in this respect from what I have read as well.
 

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Bear in mind that the files above refer to OA and a sucrose mixture which we tend to call OAD where the D is for drench. After using OAV where V is for vapor for many years I have yet to see any adverse results of its use on bees however see plenty evidence of adverse reactions to mites.
 

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Beesource members said:
... when the summer honey comes off ...

... before the honey supers go on ...
How do folks who never harvest all the honey, but leave some for the colony for the winter, treat with VOA?

Is formic acid treatment a better option with honey supers on?

- djb
 
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