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I have 11 colonies of various configurations in my one apiary. Some of the queens are this year's locally raised mutts, a couple are saskatraz, and who knows for the rest (I got them "used").

Here is my fall OAV treatment schedule this year, all colonies treated the same - August 11, August 31, September 7, September 13, September 20, September 24, September 30, and October 5. I shoot for 5-7 days between treatments (other than the one on August 11), but you will see some variance.

My OA is sourced from Florida Labs, and is "in date" and kept sealed, and looks clean. My OAV wand is a cheap one I bought from ebay, but seems to work fine. I see vapor when I treat, and mites die.

Most of the hives have mites largely under control now, as I am seeing just low double-digit drops after the last couple of treatments. But 3 colonies are dropping far more than I care to count, posssibly in the low hundreds 3 days after the September 30 treatment. Pulled the boards out for a glance today, and it looks like we are tracking for about the same this time as well.

At this point I suspect that I should have done something other than OAV, possibly Formic Pro, so that the treatment would be more prolonged. But each time I think "this is likely the last time for this year," and then it is not.

All colonies are strong and active. I suspect they may be robbing someone else's hives, otherwise I cannot explain what is going on.

Anything else I can do, or anything I have missed, that I can do better next time?

For those who might want to suggest just letting them die - it's not gonna happen as long as I can help it. I am solidly on the treatment side of the fence in my location and circumstance.
 

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Everyone who keeps bees has mltes. You may have colonies close by that were "mite bombs"; either wild bees or a treatment free apiary. Keep treating and talk to local beeks to see what they are doing. It wouldn't hurt to try formic or something longer lasting on the worst hives to compare the results but be aware of the temperature requirements.
 

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Anything else I can do, or anything I have missed, that I can do better next time?
Be prepared for selective treatment in fall. Do at least two (OAV) unselective treatments in winter (when colonies are brood less).
Expect (aim for) 10 to 20 % of losses.
 

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If you're killing large numbers of mites with VOA - then that method is clearly working as intended, so why change to using something else ? The wand is working and the OA you have is working - the problem appears to lie elsewhere, such as bringing in mites from outside the apiary - and that won't be solved by changing treatments.

You could try a series of doses every (say) 4 days, to provide an overlap to ensure you catch all the phoretic mites, and maybe increase the amount you're using by (say) 50% - but other than that, I'd say just keep doing what you're already doing. A couple of doses in mid-Winter is certainly a good idea - that's the treatment I tend to rely on most during the year.
LJ
 

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I've always been a little perplexed by the robbing out a dying mite bomb theory. Two things are missing from the telling (or hearing) of the tale. Robbing is a relatively short lived event, it is over when the the honey is gone and the hive is frequently close to dead. To have a yard heavily infected all would have to do the robbing and there would have to be a very large donor hive or hives. Do the receiving hives have an uptick in weight from stealing all that honey?

A more likely scenario is mites of a certain density in a hive follow a similar reproduction method as bees; dispersal. In mites that method is to hop on a flower being frequented by many colonies and wait. In this scenario the mite bomb is not the dying hive, it is the hive functioning well under a heavy mite load.

One theory does not preclude the other.
 

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if you get a 2-3 days stretch of rainy no-fly weather OAV them before and after. your drop count after can give you an idea what sort of mite drift you may be dealing with.
 

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bushpilot: You are experiencing exactly what I went through in 2015 and 2016. I switched to Apivar for my late summer/early fall treatment. Trials at Auburn University and the University of Georgia have shown inferior results with OAV series treatments with brood present. Jennifer Berry of UGA maintains that OAV is merely a "flash" treatment and does not have lasting mite kill effects beyond the initial sublimation.

I love OAV and I use it in spring and late fall and winter. I wanted very badly to avoid all synthetic miteicides, but OAV in series treatments just does not give me a high enough percentage kill at this time of year. No doubt it kills mites. Just not enough of them.
 

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I, too, have had inconsistent results with oav. I use Apivar if daytime temperatures will be above 90F or the colony appears to be weak. I use Apiguard otherwise. I do a single mid winter oav treatment when my hives are broodless or nearly so.
 

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A more likely scenario is mites of a certain density in a hive follow a similar reproduction method as bees; dispersal. In mites that method is to hop on a flower being frequented by many colonies and wait.
Is there any evidence - however slight - to support that idea ? I would have thought it far more likely that mites would transfer directly from one bee to another, as the bees brush up hard against each other.

I've nothing to offer in support of this, other than whatever the attractant is - it's far more likely to be present on the bees themselves, rather than on flowers.
LJ
 

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I've always been a little perplexed by the robbing out a dying mite bomb theory. Two things are missing from the telling (or hearing) of the tale. Robbing is a relatively short lived event, it is over when the the honey is gone and the hive is frequently close to dead. To have a yard heavily infected all would have to do the robbing and there would have to be a very large donor hive or hives. Do the receiving hives have an uptick in weight from stealing all that honey?
Agreed, and most beekeepers who treat or who are TF, doesn't just watch a hive get robbed & definitely doesn't let it go to the brink of death or getting robbed out:scratch:
 

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The ready to produce evidence is only lurking in the back corners of my mind as something I read. That is a rather cluttered space.
 

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If you're killing large numbers of mites with VOA - then that method is clearly working as intended, so why change to using something else ? The wand is working and the OA you have is working - the problem appears to lie elsewhere, such as bringing in mites from outside the apiary - and that won't be solved by changing treatments.

You could try a series of doses every (say) 4 days, to provide an overlap to ensure you catch all the phoretic mites, and maybe increase the amount you're using by (say) 50% - but other than that, I'd say just keep doing what you're already doing. A couple of doses in mid-Winter is certainly a good idea - that's the treatment I tend to rely on most during the year.
LJ
I agree with this post.
 

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I've seen inconsistent results with OAV as well. In order to have a shot at good results, it is so labor intensive it's impractical if you have more than a few hives even with a band heater vaporizer. Plus the labor is done at the hottest part of the year in a gas mask and goggles! No thanks. OAV alone is not working for me. I want to avoid synthetic miticides so I'm trying either Apiguard or Formic Pro next year with OAV in the broodless period.

I guess I need to change my signature line for next year :)
 

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I agree that if you are getting large drops, the treatment is clearly working. The fact that the issues keeps on going just confirms that the hive is bein reinfested from somewhere else. A single treatment with Apivar or MAQS or Formic pro will not stop a hive from getting reinfested once those treatments are finished. You still need to stay on top of monitoring afterwards.

On a humorous note, I finally found out where the mites in my hives are coming from...
Capture.jpg
 

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The fact that the issues keeps on going just confirms that the hive is bein reinfested from somewhere else.
Although this is a popular opinion in some circles it is far from a slam dunk.
 

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I agree that if you are getting large drops, the treatment is clearly working. The fact that the issues keeps on going just confirms that the hive is being reinfested from somewhere else.
If I have 6,000 mites in my hive (60,000 bees with a 10% infestation, both phoretic and under cappings) and I get a 2,000 mite drop from an OAV treatment, I still have a problem. Even if I get that same drop once a week every week for three weeks.
 

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Although this is a popular opinion in some circles it is far from a slam dunk.
Having seen hives treated with MAQS or Apivar that showed good mite drops and showed no signs of any varroa after treatment that a month later were riddled with the little buggers again makes me wonder where they all came from. If they were not in the hive in any great numbers 30 days earlier, and suddenly are a major problem, they had to come from somewhere else outside of the hive. They don't multiply that fast. Sure, there could be statistical issues or poor testing, or maybe all the phoretic mites were killed and all the living mites were all hiding under the cappings when the testing was done. I might accept that for a single event but it happens more often than can be attributed to poor testing controls.

If I recall correctly, Randy Oliver was starting to investigate how much drift there is within beehives. Perhaps he will confirm what is really happening. If I am proven wrong, that will be great because at least we will have a better understanding of what is really happening and we can adjust to the new information. Until then, I will continue to use the information I have and do the best I can. When it comes to dealing with mites, I will not let my guard down.
 

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I believe the issue is you are beginning your treatments just as the mite population is expanding rapidly while you still have a good population of brood under cappings. It is hard to get ahead of that curve. That's why I have changed from exclusive OAV to formic in late July, early August and Oav as a clean-up (now) and a "one shot" in the winter when they are broodless. They come into spring healthy and as mite free as they can get, and that gets them to the summer treatment. So far, that has worked for me.
Someone mentioned that they can't believe beekeepers would allow their mite bombs to be robbed. Believe it. I know several who don't treat and get robbed out. They aren't exactly TF people who actively try to be TF, they are "hands-off" types. Michael Palmer has posted about his low mite count hives robbing out his neighbors high mite count hives resulting in high mite counts in his hives. J
 
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