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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to start using sticky boards this year, but I am a bit short on information. What do you use, and what would you consider a threshold 24 hour mite drop? I live in a 5b maritime type climate.
I watched the University of Guelph videos, and they lard up a manilla file folder. They pull them the next day, fold them up, and write the colony numbers on them. They can take them back to the shop to do the counts. As far as threshold goes, they just said: "Use what's normal for your area." That was about a helpful as a Care Package full of menus!
If you have the time, I would appreciate your advice.
Many thanks in advance.
George
 

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I use white corragated plastic and spray with cooking spray. I use a 3 mite count for a 24 hr period as a threshhold to treat, and also do 48 hr check to get a sort of consistency in numbers. Alcohol wash gives more reliable status. I just don't like to kill 300 bees every time I check. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It helps a lot, and thank you. You are roughly in the same climate as I am, so our results should be comparable. It's a good way to check on a lot of colonies without opening every one up. If the drop is up, then I suppose a sugar roll or alcohol wash is in order.
 

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If the drop is up I treat with Oxalic Acid Vaporization (Make sure to wear orgainic vapor protection apparatus) if there is not too much sealed brood. Otherwise I treat with MAQS (Mite Away Quik Strips) or trying to get away from treatments with introduction of Hygienic queens.
 

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I daresay no one (outside of a lab or a university) does sticky boards as frequently as I do. I run a sticky board on every colony, every week of the year.

I use white corrugated plastic boards.

For the "sticky" part I use any kind of cooking oil that's gotten a little too old for good taste in my kitchen: olive is the most frequent as it goes off quickly, but vegetable, canola, peanut, walnut, etc. all work fine. Pour a couple of tablespoons on the board and wipe around with a paper towel to spread. Pour a little less on the second and re-use the same paper towel. etc. After several uses there's enough stickiness left on the board that you don't have to re-oil every time (unless you wash the board, which I do about 3 or 4 times per year.)

A 24 hour test is pretty near useless as there is considerable variation on a daily basis. I use a three day count, started at least 24 hours after I have been in the hive. I count the number of mites and divide by three to give me an average 24 hr drop. A four day count is a marginally better, but beyond that you may get so much debris you miss some of the mites, so the count goes bad.

My highest threshold-to-treat-immediately is 8/24 hrs in late summer.

If I see a sudden spike on a single colony, I will immediately do a sugar roll, or re-run the sticky board. Occasionally there are unexplained drops, even in the absence of treatment. If I see no mites, in June- Oct, I consider that a test failure. (In the winter after the late OAV, it's fine.)

Regarding assessing after OAV treatment, either as test-run to see whether you need to treat, or to assess how bad the level is: I find neither of these counts particularly meaningful. I know I have mites so I don't need to test for that. If I've treated, there will be a lot of them falling. While it is satisfactory to see them, I don't treat until I get some magical number falling on to the board. I may treat a fourth time. But I will stop after that and let things stabilize for a week or two. Then do a sugar roll to see where it's at.

Here are some tips:

Make sure the slot or area under the SBB is completely closed up with either tape or window screen to keep ants and other critters out, which could affect your counts.

Punch a small hole in one of the short ends of the board and insert a large paper clip in it to act as a handle for pulling it out easily.

When I had only a few hives I use colored paper clips so I knew which hive which board came out of, now I have the queen's name written on the boards with a Sharpie. It's most convenient to have 2 boards per hive so you can pull and immediately swap in a clean one.

In warm weather scrape the debris into a trash can, not the ground, to avoid allowing any SHB larvae on the board to reach the soil to pupate. In the depths of a NY winter I scrape 'em on to the snow.

Buy (or repurpose) a wide flexible joint-taping knife to make the scraping go faster. I sometimes use a bench scraper from my kitchen.

Arrange your equipment so the slot faces the back of the hive in the summer, and the front in the winter (this may require making some wooden plugs to keep things closed in one config or the other.)

And finally, no count is useful if you don't write the numbers down so you can compare them from test to test. I don't think that testing any less than once a week (at a minimum from April through Oct.) gives you actionable-enough data to be worth doing. Certainly doing it every once in a while is waste of time, as sticky boarding is all about watching the trend of the mite fall, not so much any individual test result. It only takes minutes, so don't skimp on the frequency. Just. Do. It.

Enj.
 

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Do an OAV application, and look at the mite fall over the following 2 - 3 days. If you see a lot of mites, OAV the hive again 5 - 7 days after the first treatment. Repeat until the mite fall drops below 5 - 10 mites.

Super simple, and you're killing mites, not bees (as you would with an alcohol wash).



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A 24 hour test is pretty near useless as there is considerable variation on a daily basis. I use a three day count, started at least 24 hours after I have been in the hive. I count the number of mites and divide by three to give me an average 24 hr drop.
I do a 72-hour test period as well. I don't bother with alcohol wash or sugar roll- if the treatment threshold is hit, they get the MAQS. I don't feel the need to do another test to tell me what I already know.

I leave the boards in for the duration of the treatment, mainly just for the satisfaction of seeing the little buggers dead, and getting an idea of how many were killed.

I generally don't check more than a couple of times a year. I know how they multiply, I don't need to track it.

I don't take the boards back to the house, and I don't name my queens...on my hive location chart I do try to keep track of how old the queen is and what the starting maternal line was, and number of generations removed (for subsequent daughters, if I can remember).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I daresay no one (outside of a lab or a university) does sticky boards as frequently as I do. I run a sticky board on every colony, every week of the year. Enj.
Thank you very much.
I'm doing it. Embarking on another learning curve. I have to go way up the road to get Coroplast, so I decided to start with what I have. Two pieces of thin melamine, and 2 manilla folders. Melted lard on all. Both may have advantages but I will probably go with Coroplast in the long run. Hive numbers written with Sharpie. No ants yet to spoil the fun, but they will be here soon. I will collect them Wednesday and see what I've got.
 
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