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Discussion Starter #1
Good afternoon everyone,

I installed 2 nucs in 2 separate deep boxes and put in hive feeders in both 4 weeks ago. I checked a week later and didn’t see a queen, but I did see larva

Today I put medium frames on the top and moved the hive feeders up. I did a brief inspection to try and find queens but no luck, but it’s because I really don’t know how to easily spot I guess. I didn’t see much larva but lots of caps. The hive has grown in population and they were very active.

My plan is to check the second brood boxes and once it’s combed out, put a Queen extruder and stack a super or two throughout the summer. Other than that, I was going to leave them alone.

Should I be inspecting for other issues (other than mites) or can I let them do their thing?

The hives are located in a very remote spot on the Colorado river in Central Texas, so they will have water and food year round. I didn’t want to treat for mites, but if it’s something everyone strongly recommends then I can.
 

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2020 8 hives
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Treating for varroa mites is like flossing, you only floss the teeth you want to keep! But seriously folks. I have a friend who kept bees from the 70's until the early 90's when varroa showed up. Last year he got 20 hive as nucs. In January he had 0 colonies. He didn't treat for varroa.
 

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You need to be involved on a fairly regular and frequent basis, given mites, AHB and other issues.

If you don't want to treat for mites, your workload goes waaaaaaay up.
 

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Treatment free is tricky. I tried it and had bad results, ended up treating but way too late and the bees died anyway. A lot also depends on the type of bee. Some hives are very susceptible to mites and others seem to resist mites pretty well. But you don't know which you got until too late to do any good.

My advice is to save treatment free experiments until after you have worked out all the other difficulties of beekeeping. If you can get your bees through a year, survive a winter then consider more difficult things. I am now trying it again, but with more hives and some idea of what to look for. And ready to treat if things look to be going the wrong way.
 

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I like that advice, thank you. I’ll install the mite frame strips next week and change every 6 weeks.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Gbell, you do not change the Apivar strips every six weeks, you remove them after 42 days and do not put new ones in. Read the instructions carefully and make sure you understand them before putting amitraz (Apivar) in your hive.
 

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I like that advice, thank you. I’ll install the mite frame strips next week and change every 6 weeks.
My supplier treats the nucs for mites as they are made up (oxalic acid dribble). Do you know whether or not your nucs were already treated, and if so, with what?

Do you know what level the mites are at currently?

Resistance to amitraz has been documented. As Mr. Palmer notes, you do not want to over-treat or under-treat because this will encourage selection for resistance. That is also why it is important to know whether another treatment has already been applied, and what it was- treating with the same chemical twice or more in sequence can also encourage selection for resistance.

There are several chemical treatments available, if you are going to go the chemical miticide route, then you want to have a plan for rotating the treatments used in order to prevent resistance from developing.

I almost always use formic acid, as opposed to chemicals such as amitraz. However, formic acid has a particular temperature requirement for application, and having lived in central TX I'm pretty sure that your temps are currently too high to use it. I believe that you could use oxalic acid, but I have not used it and I am unaware of whether or not it has a similar temperature window.
 
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