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Discussion Starter #1
So yes, this is my first year. I did a sugar shake test today, 1/2 cup of bees in a jar of powdered sugar. I got one mite from one test, two from another, none from the third. From what I understand these are low, but should I go ahead and treat anyway?
 

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I'd say yes. It's the season for it. You need healthy bees going into winter. Are these three tests on different hives, or all on one hive? The number sound good, but you might want to give an alcohol wash a try. It is said to be more accurate, and it's easy to do.
I don't treat, but at the risk of losing a lot of hives.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry I wasn't clear, the tests were from different hives. Two are very strong, lots of honey and brood. One not as much, and a fourth that has no brood. Plan is to combine those two.
 

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65 colonies +/- mostly Langstroth mediums, a few deeps for nuc production
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Yes get the mite population down now as said above.
Prepare for winter so the bees produced now are healthy and have not been weakened by mites.
Population of bees will be decreasing so percentage of infested bees goes up quickly this time of year.
Treat on a yard basis not hive by hive. Bees drift and rob so mites get spread easily.
Sugar shake tests are not particularly accurate unless done in low humidity and repeated.
But are better than no testing,
 

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I would be more comfortable knowing where you got the sample bees. If you got them off the brood chamber and they were nurse bees, I would say you have low mite count and your test was valid. That said. Killing mites any time they are present is good practice! If you currently have a great honey flow, you might chance delaying treatment, but killing mites parasitizing those now being raised winter bees is always a good practice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I got the samples off the brood. I dusted the bees earlier in the season with powdered sugar and used screened bottoms on the hive. I have no intentions of harvesting any honey, this year is all about the bees. I'll have to order some treatment, so it might be a few days/week before I can treat.
 

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I got the samples off the brood. I dusted the bees earlier in the season with powdered sugar and used screened bottoms on the hive. I have no intentions of harvesting any honey, this year is all about the bees. I'll have to order some treatment, so it might be a few days/week before I can treat.
My concern, from personal experience when I was in my second year, is that a new beekeeper has a hard time seeing the problems, and then has a hard time understanding what is going on, and then has to spend time figuring out how to respond. I finally bought Apivar strips and applied them, but it was already way too late.

Apivar is easy to use and doesn't hurt the bees, but it won't save a badly infected hive. Personal opinion is new beekeepers should treat for the first year or two until they have got basic experience, even if they really want to try treatment free. It's a lot like organic gardening. It can be done, it's fun, but you run into lots of weird problems.
 
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