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Wow, my two booming hives, even though one of them had a brood break with a cutdown split earlier this spring, are staggering under a mite load. Huge numbers of brood are being dragged out of the hive - a couple hundred each day! - and I have to sweep them off the boards on the ground in front of the hives. I think virtually a whole generation of brood is lost to mites; the one hive that didn't have a brood break has an incredibly prolific laying queen, who seems to be trying to outrace the mites, but of course at this point, that won't work without some outside intervention. At first, I noticed a lot of crawler drones out front, but since I didn't see deformed wing, I wasn't sure what to make of it. Sent a batch to Beltsville but no response as of yet. Gradually I started noticing deformed wing, and then slowly increasing numbers of workers mixed in. But now it's mostly workers, in late brood and post -emergence stage, and plenty of deformed wing. Many of the newly emerged bees are smaller than their older generation of sisters. That worse hit hive is not even defending itself any more - seems to be demoralized if I can use that term for the bees - and a good thing this is not a robbing time of year.

I missed a mite treatment this spring, and this feels like the lesson I needed to convince myself of the necessity of routine, annual or twice annual mite treatments, even without looking at mite drop. My plan now is to use the formic fumigation (as per Dr. Noel's paper on Univ. of Virginia website) in beginning of spring before the flow starts, and the oxalic vaporizer in fall/early winter to ensure the bees go into winter with minimal mites. I feel comfortable with these two forms of treatment.

Anyone have other thoughts/reactions?
 

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I agree -- if temps are going to be under 90--- which I expect they are for you, quick strips will cause a massive mite drop and in a week to ten days you can see some progress.
 

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I had a similar problem a few weeks ago. I sugar-dusted each box 3 times a week for 2 weeks and then once a week for two more weeks. At the time of the varroa infestation, my hive had no to very little brood. If you have lots of brood, continue sugar-dusting for 6 weeks. The first 2 weeks 2-3 times a week and then once a week.

I saw a drastic drop in the mite numbers during my second and then third dusting (within a week), to the point that I barely was able to see any falling off any longer. The hive is doing well ever since, but I continue to keep a close eye on it.
 

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I use oxalic acid vapor in the Fall after harvest. OA works really well.

What's the best way to treat when there are honey supers on?
 

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MAQS is labeled to be used with supers on. Please check OAV recommendations internationally - as best I recall it should not be used with honey supers on.
 

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Varroa mites for some reason seem to be particularly bad where we are in the Southern part of Ohio, I nearly lost my hives a number of years ago until began treating them with OA in the fall, like you I treat every fall as a matter of course and have considered treating in the spring, I like your method of using MAQS in the spring and since your hives are suffering so badly at this point I would definitely do a MAQs treatment on them ASAP. :)
 

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Anyone have other thoughts/reactions?
What kind of mite load test have you done? Results?
Are you seeing mites on the carcasses in front of the hive? I've never seen this phenomenon, so I am suspicious about whether this is from Varroa or not.
 

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The bigger the hive is the harder they fall. The more bees the hive makes the more mites they also make. I see this happen a lot from people in our bee club they have these big boomer hives that are doing great for 1 1/2-2 yrs and then all of a sudden they crash and they can't figure out what happened. I have personally had this happen too so now I do my best to not skip a mite treatment and keep my mite counts low. It makes a world of difference in keeping a hive alive past the 2yrs mark.
 

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On timing OAV:
I was lax in treatment last year (with Hopguard) and lost a couple of hives. Bought a nuc and successfully split another so i'm back up to my goal number. Our flow is about done here so I've pulled off what I want to harvest. I'm planning to take a couple up to the mountains in a couple of weeks for Sourwood. Can I treat now with OAV and then take them up or should i wait until end of summer??
 

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Yes, you can go ahead and treat with OAV but, you have to keep in mind its limitations. It will only kill the phoretic mites, meaning it will only kill the few that are on the bees when you treat. Most of the mites are in the cells if there is capped brood so you will have to do several treatments to have much of an effect on the total mite population. When there is capped brood it is best to do three treatments a week apart and then I would still do another mite counts about 4-5 weeks later to make sure you got a good knock down.
 

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The bigger the hive is the harder they fall. The more bees the hive makes the more mites they also make. I see this happen a lot from people in our bee club they have these big boomer hives that are doing great for 1 1/2-2 yrs and then all of a sudden they crash and they can't figure out what happened. I have personally had this happen too so now I do my best to not skip a mite treatment and keep my mite counts low. It makes a world of difference in keeping a hive alive past the 2yrs mark.
What he said and would add once you lose the upper hand it's difficult to get it back
 

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Treat for the mites, and requeen with a B. Weaver queen. They are still available overnight. I've used them for 8 years and have never treated for mites, nor lost any colonies to mites.
Regards,
Steven
 

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I treated at the end of the year last year with OAV and this year when the state inspector was in my beeyard we did a alcohol wash on a hive that had no brood{was going through a supersedure} and there was no mites in the wash.
I plan on doing mite test soon on all my hives but so far no sign of VARROA I'm sure they are there but they are not exploding but that don't happen till mid JULY . So I'm keeping a eye.
 
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