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Discussion Starter #1
Just got done doing the powder sugar treatment on my 2 new packages. I have had them 11 days now. I last looked at them 8 days ago. I think the progress is OK. Each hive had about 5-1/2 full frames of comb built. The 2 to 3 inner frames had capped honey on the outside, pollen and then a good brood pattern. Had some capped brood and all stages of egg to larva. Some larva looked like it couldn't have been more than a day or two old. Waited till most bee's were back in the hive before treating. I guess we will see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully I didn't kill all:eek::eek:

Greg
 

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What was the purpose for the sugar treatment? If this is a new package you don't need to check for mites as the brood-break will result in dead varroa.

You should however feed them syrup; new packages need help with the initial build-up.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I did it for varroa treatment. When I checked the screen boards I had over 20 mites on the board. I thought varroa lived on the bee till the bee die's?

Greg
 

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It is generally accepted (I guess it may change based on area but I wouldn't expect it) that a brood-break as is seen in a swarm or a new package that mites have a significant die off and generally are not of concern in the 1st year of a new hive. I however would always use testing to confirm as nothing in bees is guaranteed to follow accepted norms.

Sugar coating is not a proven technique (at least not in any study I can point to) though I understand it is commonly done. The theory being that bees clean the sugar off and mites drop. That said I haven't seen anything suggesting the sugar cleaning cycle drops more (or less) mites than normal cleaning behavior. Again; I haven't seen any studies to support sugar dousing as a control method.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5vVrAy6CEU

and http://scientificbeekeeping.com/varroa-management/

It doesn't hurt but I'm not sure you are getting as much benefit as you may think, especially in a new package.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
counting mite drop is not as a sure fire method of determining mite levels as we once thought.
I would like to of done the alcohol test but didn't feel I had a cup of extra bee's at this time.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Check each board this morning, one board had around 30 varroa and the other less than 20. But what I also had were SHB's about 6 or on each board. So I might not of really needed to treat, but I did feel it was not a waste either. Now I now I need to work on the SHB too. I had already ordered some beetle traps from www.georgabees.com glad I did.

Greg
 

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That is one thing that most beekeepers do not know is that dusting with powdered sugar will drop Small Hive Beetles as well as Varroa. For what it is worth, the nucs I started in April and dusted, all average less than half the natural mite fall (14 dusted average, to 37 undusted average)than the nucs that were not dusted.

Kengaro, you will have a dusting fall in the first 10 minutes that is equal to a 24 hour natural fall. Sugar dusting drops mites, though it only works on the mites not in the brood. Because it only works on phoretic mites, the colony must be in a broodless condition, or the unsealed brood must be less than 8 days from the egg. When starting a package, catching a swarm, or starting nucs using young, unsealed brood creates that condition. Dusting does not get all of the varroa, but it reduces the population and slows the growth rate. When used with drone brood removal early in the season, colonies here go into winter needing no treatments. They do much better than colonies that rely on the "brood break" only method.

No treatment kills all of the varroa mites, also re-infestation occurs. If the growth rate is reduced, and a colony has a varroa population of 4000 mites in August instead of 6000 and a treatment that kills 80% is applied, that colony is going into winter in better condition than if it had the larger varroa population before the treatment.

I have only seen the summary of the Ellis study that said sugar dusting does not control varroa populations. I have no doubts that it was correct in it's findings, for those colonies, in that location, and for the method of application of the sugar. Sugar dusting is affected in many ways, humidity, brood condition in the colony, amount and method of application just to name a few. Just using powdered sugar instead of using it in combination with other methods would affect the varroa populations.

It has been some time since I read Randy Oliver's comments on the Ellis Study, but it seems I remember that he stated in at least one instance, some of the colonies had only 1/3 of the varroa population they started with at the beginning of the study? If that is correct I would like to know why the difference, and how to achieve that result with all of the colonies.

Do I think Powdered Sugar Dusting will control varroa alone? The answer is no, but I do think it is an overlooked tool that helps in the fight against them.
 
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