Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Temps are still good here in sunny Phoenix, I had meant to get to mite counts/treatment earlier but finances sometimes get in the way.

Quick backstory- I haven’t treated for mites before, wanted to stay treatment free. I decided to at least sugar roll my hives (I have 8) after I saw some mites clinging to bees in one hive- I figure if there are enough that I’m seeing them consistently in that hive, it’s worth checking.

I ordered apivar strips and set to sugar rolling, got 6/8 checked today. My counts were as follows:

4-hive that I saw mites
7- these got treated
4-
5- these got treated as they are a new cutout/unknown hive
4
2

I have 2 more hives to check.

First, I am not sure at what count most people recommend treatment. Google (yeah, I know) search showed suggestions of treating for numbers 9-12 in the fall. That would cut all my hives out.

But- I have opened the package of apivar so if I understand right I have to use them. Any problem with just treating the highest count hives?

Thanks and sorry for the long question.

Jethro
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
In my region, threshold for treatment is 3 mites per 300 bees tested. 1/2 cup bees is about 300 bees. So if I saw one hive with at least 3 mites in a sugar roll or alcohol wash, that would be indication that all hives in the apiary need to be treated. If one hive is treated, you typically have an apiary wide issue and all hives need to be treated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,087 Posts
I haven’t treated for mites before, wanted to stay treatment free.
How long have you been treatment free? If quite a few years then maybe you have bees that can tolerate some mites. If say, 2 - 3 years or less, the mites may be building up and this could be the year of the crash.

Biscuits is right about doing by the apiary. I once tried treating just on a hive by hive basis as it appeared they needed it, seemed like a good idea at the time. In the end just did not work out for the best, what happened was that as soon as treatment was removed from a hive, they got re-infested from a different hive. Now, i treat the whole apiary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,825 Posts
...

Quick backstory- I haven’t treated for mites before, wanted to stay treatment free.....
Jethro
What is point of being TF, if you get cold feet once you see a mite?
What is point of being TF, if few of your hives will go under - and that give you cold feet?

What is it you want from being TF anyway?
What is the point if you don't continuously select the most tolerant bees (and the let the others go under)?

Maybe it is a good time to get rid of few hives that ought to die off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
...

Quick backstory- I haven’t treated for mites before, wanted to stay treatment free.....
Jethro
What is point of being TF, if you get cold feet once you see a mite?
What is point of being TF, if few of your hives will go under - and that give you cold feet?

What is it you want from being TF anyway?
What is the point if you don't continuously select the most tolerant bees (and the let the others go under)?

Maybe it is a good time to get rid of few hives that ought to die off.
I guess you can’t decide to change methods as a beekeeper?

Thanks to those who gave advice, I’ll treat all my hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
496 Posts
In my area, I found that when my hives started the spring with a high mite population, they did not build up in population enough to cover a double deep, and of course did not make honey. 50% died. I have a long period of no forage - 4 months in a good year, and intermittent for at least the next month. That means a long brood break.

In your area, it's good to ask beekeepers around who are satisfied with their survival and bee health how they monitor, and what they do for treating or for other management methods.

For interpreting mite counts, I have found it all depends on whether they have brood. No brood? then a count of 4 means over 1% of the bees have mites. Expect at least those bees to die, right? it turns out mites eat the bees' fat, not their blood, and this shortens their life span enough they can't make it through a long winter.

Yes brood? Then I multiply the mite count in a roll or alcohol wash by 3. For every phoretic mite, there is likely 2 more hiding in brood. Now, a 4 means 12. 12/300. So 4% of the bees will be toast, and 4% of the brood will be toast once the queen starts laying again. Mites are agile, they do not go down with the sinking ship unless bee flight is impossible due to cold temps or rain.

There are strategies to be treatment free without allowing hives to collapse due to mites. Dr. Seeley has recommended a watch approach, then euthanize or treat once the mite counts are increasing and... actually I don't know what he is recommending for your "threshold" to do something. https://www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org/darwinian-beekeeping .

In areas with a shorter broodless period, it may be easier to be treatment free. My neck of the woods, if I want honey and to be able to grow bees and sell nucs, and to raise queens who aren't superceded, then I need low mites so I have low viral loads. Sounds like others' experiences are not the same, so I'm just speaking from my experience. And showing that the 4/300 can be converted to a % so you can think about what this means for your bee population, hope that approach helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,996 Posts
No brood? then a count of 4 means over 1% of the bees have mites. Expect at least those bees to die, right? it turns out mites eat the bees' fat, not their blood, and this shortens their life span enough they can't make it through a long winter.

Yes brood? Then I multiply the mite count in a roll or alcohol wash by 3. For every phoretic mite, there is likely 2 more hiding in brood. Now, a 4 means 12. 12/300.
You have to rember a wash gives you the percentage of mites to bees in the brood nest. But its not telling you the advrage mites poric mites in the whole hive (with out more math) the brood nest is a much higher number, and its used as its the most stable and repeatable.

as such its just a number, that the bean counters then correlated with the effect on the hive, then backed it up to come up with thresholds that are predictive of pending economic impacts on the hive.
Research has shown that if you X it by 1.8 you have a number representative of the total infestation when brooded up see Lee Et Al (2010), https://bee-health.extension.org/wp...s_for_Varroa_destructor_in_Apis_mellifera.pdf

Most just 2x it for simplicity

look at it this way… shooting spitball numbers- A bee lives for about 6 weeks and is a nurse for about 1 week, so most of the phoric mites are on 1/6 of the bees

so if you roll 6% on nurse bees that really means something like 2% phoric and 10.8%(6x1.8) overall infestation(if you have brood). That’s 81.48% in the brood. Not bad for spitball numbers ! So if you roll 6% with no brood its about 1/2 the over all infestation then if there was brood
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top