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elemer_fud - When you look at a bottom board and go OH s*&^! Treat again until you go hummmH? Then count as the numbers will be below 50. I was around 15-25 for most hives on the last round - just one hive up around 50-60. The counts or curve is fololwing the same time count curve as last year when I counted diligently. I believe the peak was lower - significantly, but too many Oh s*&^ to count.
all of my hives have solid bottom boards, but I understand the concept of screened bottom boards. I use sugar rolls to count mites on occasion. I can appreciate the this is bad, vs not to bad logic
 

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You could probably get a decent estimate by counting 1/4 of 1/16 of the board if everything is evenly distributed.

I wonder if there are any image processing programs/websites that will count the number of dark dots on a light surface in a picture. If so this may be an easy way to automate it
Now this is thinking like an engineer! I see an expansion module to your hive monitoring system in your future. ;)
 

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Well, I am an engineer. Mechanical by training, currently working as a test engineer. ;)
I thought I remembered that correctly- if you come up with a beta model that you want to take for a test drive, I would be glad to give it a spin...
 

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all of my hives have solid bottom boards, but I understand the concept of screened bottom boards. I use sugar rolls to count mites on occasion. I can appreciate the this is bad, vs not to bad logic
Part of my approach has to do with Tom Seeley's Darwinian Beekeeping points. In particular, the least intrusion into the brood area / nest the better. To implement this I use a mostly closed, screened bottom board ( not tight fitting) and a standard, all-year brood chamber with a queen excluder (QE) on top, going into third winter now. I monitor with a weather station above the QE, entrance activity and bottom board examination rather than invasive procedures. It has been very accurate at detecting queen problems with my acquired data and learned observations - especially Spring queen issues. I included in the approach insualtion inthe form of sealed R10 side and R20 top foam insulation. If I suspect a varroa issue, I simply remove supers and do an OAV procedure and count dead drop after 5 days; a test and a partial cleaning at the same time. I dropped drone removal methods as they were non-productive for me and I do not need more honey. I think I am advancing as I now have all strong colonies with various selcted genetic queens, old one and new ones plus two self-sustaining hives with open mated queens from supercedure and swarm cells for four years. I have also lost zero colonies for two years. I think it is more than luck.
 

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Another good rainy day! The bright side of the day is the chance to get a pair of barn cats. We have been searching for a year. This year, likely cause by the drought and our careless handling of chicken feeding, we were invaded by rats who bred quickly. Before I learned to pay attention we had a lot. It took a few weeks but I eliminated them using mechanical traps - about a 100 rats, believe it or not. Getting a pair of barn cats should help a lot in controlling rodents in the barn, mice ate into my bee jacket last year, squirrels love to chew passage holes. Hopefully the pair can handle the Fisher cats around here. Otherwise it will require Maine Coon Cats.

I assume they will learn quickly to leave the bees alone, the dog has.
 

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Robert, barn cats can only do so much. I prefer a .22. Very effective and loads of fun if you have the right mind set. Rain has been non-stop for the past two days so I have not gotten out to the apiary to check the inserts for mites, The bees at work have finally figured out the Boardman feeder I have on top of the swarm trap they are in and are sucking down the syrup. Must be pretty desperate as they are even flying in a light drizzle and 57 degree temps. This weekend should be in the 60's and sunny so will play with the girls then.
 

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Robert, barn cats can only do so much. I prefer a .22. Very effective and loads of fun if you have the right mind set. Rain has been non-stop for the past two days so I have not gotten out to the apiary to check the inserts for mites, The bees at work have finally figured out the Boardman feeder I have on top of the swarm trap they are in and are sucking down the syrup. Must be pretty desperate as they are even flying in a light drizzle and 57 degree temps. This weekend should be in the 60's and sunny so will play with the girls then.
First - what is the O Maltado ad with a cops pic all about??? Jumps in at will.

I had a Maine Coon cat with a mate. Moose was incredible - nothing, and I mean nothing came into the yard without his permission. He beat up my dog. His mistake was trying to steal my sandwich when I was building the house and then tried to kill an old cat of ours. I shipped his butt North. We will see how well Barn Cats do controlling the area with a dry barn, some feeding as a reward ( and warm water). I have to fix up my chicken run, mayb epour some cement

Using a .22 is a bit overdone IMO. An air rifle is more then adequate from what I know. I did rat shooting in a dump a few times. I did not find it fun. Learning to trap multiple locations with no risk to my neighbors was more than adequate and far more time efficient then waiting to shoot. And it only cost me a 5lb. peanut butter jar and about ten replacement Victor traps - rats and maybe squirrels steal some.

I get to check my sick nuc tomorrow when it stops raining. They are on intensive care. If I see a good sign I will feed them honey. All the other colonies are up to weight and healthy for winter with bug count is way down. I'm shutting down very soon for 5 months except for a Jan. 2X OAV treatment. I am working on an improved test plan and sensor installation. I need a flexible or versatile bottom board, likely a box design suitable for what I do.
 

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Robert, barn cats can only do so much. I prefer a .22. Very effective and loads of fun if you have the right mind set. Rain has been non-stop for the past two days so I have not gotten out to the apiary to check the inserts for mites, The bees at work have finally figured out the Boardman feeder I have on top of the swarm trap they are in and are sucking down the syrup. Must be pretty desperate as they are even flying in a light drizzle and 57 degree temps. This weekend should be in the 60's and sunny so will play with the girls then.
JW, I'm must have grown up with the "right mind set," LOL!!! As a teenage, a summer Saturday night down at the town dump with a .22 was a right of passage. As we got older (as teenagers) and found out that a 30 round clip was available for a Ruger 10-22, well, lots of cheap Chinese bricks wasted a lot of brass. Never to disparage Robert but eventually we graduated to .357's and .45 pistols. Yes, it can be thought of macho nonsense but it did "graduate" 4 military combat officers who left basic with sharpshooting badges.
 

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JW, I'm must have grown up with the "right mind set," LOL!!! As a teenage, a summer Saturday night down at the town dump with a .22 was a right of passage. As we got older (as teenagers) and found out that a 30 round clip was available for a Ruger 10-22, well, lots of cheap Chinese bricks wasted a lot of brass. Never to disparage Robert but eventually we graduated to .357's and .45 pistols. Yes, it can be thought of macho nonsense but it did "graduate" 4 military combat officers who left basic with sharpshooting badges.
Larry " it can be thought of macho nonsense" - that's thought provoking. What changed direction for me is when we were making ZIP guns and had an actual test range as kids. Packing match sticks and improving our materials and skills until my friend, a good center fielder, blew some fingers off his right hand. Then I never got over killing a bird with a hip shot for no good reason - just killed it. I determined it was really stupid for me to do that. I was later ROTC trained - I think we did M1 shooting in a rang but never got drafted. One issue we had, as a kid growing up, was no money, no money to waste on guns or drugs. Guns were not cheap unless you could steal one. A friend did that - I never saw him again. Everyone wonders what I have on the little farm - I don't say. Today, guns are all over the place - not smart.

Side-point: I know people get excited with a gun in their hands. A couple of guys have ARs, they sure get excited when shooting. Why are cops in direct contact, direct danger, during an arrest when we have incredible robotic technology? A cost issue or a union issue? I personally think all these simple arrest shootings are really stupid. I want one of those "things" that makes your skin boil as a show stopper.
 

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JW:

I will look forward to reading about your evaluation efforts- hopefully you will post your findings and the evaluation criteria you settle on.

Best of success to you in your overwintering.

Russ
JWP - "doing sort of a soft Bond culling" does not treating from January to mid-September qualify as "Bond culling" ? Allowing swarming and supercedures too?
Robert, this year I attempted to catch all my swarms, moderately successful but not entirely, and sold many as nucs once they had built out. I allow supercedures to take place because I do believe the bees are better than I at figuring out when a queen is failing. Not treating from Jan. thru July is SOP here. No need to treat when you start the year off with extremely low mite counts. Two years in a row my Spring mite counts have been zero as confirmed by the State Apiarist. I'm sure there were a few but they did not show up in the alcohol wash. The start of the summer dearth and robbing is when mites begin to be an issue here.

So how did things work out after I finally treated with OAV last week? My counting was not by any means precise. Essentially, it was broken down as <50, 50-100, 100-200, and holy $hitake. Five of the hives were less than 50, five were between 50 and 100, and one hive fell into the mushroom category with the insert completely covered in dead mites. One of the less than 50 hives was still dropping brood cappings and another is weak (only counted four frames of bees) but has two saucer sized areas of eggs and larvae. My guess is the warm weather has them fooled since I rarely have brood beyond the middle of October. I am very encouraged by these observations of mite drops and plan on grafting from the five that had really low counts.

Still feeding syrup to the lighter hives. The pollen sub feeder, a hive with mason jars full of Ultra Bee lying on their sides, was getting mobbed this afternoon.
 

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JWPalmer - I also checked on my hives today, cold, damp and windy - beuatiful. There is always a surprise it seems. First my mite counts, Dead Drop continues to follow last years schedule. VDDC averaged 25, some were 10 two were approximately 40. I will hit them once more.

Feeding - most hives nearly drained the tub feeders again, my good nuc chug-a-lugs quarts. I think they are turning into pigs - weights are really up. But two hives had significant fluid on one side of the split tubs. Fluid temperatures in the insulated hives ranged form 64F to 67F even with the cold weather. I have seen this condensation twice before. I am heavily insulated and not top vent - this worried me. This time I investigate - it was condensation alright but not internal humidity - water condensing from clouds falling on leaky roofs which had carpenter ant holes in the them - small at first but they get big. Internal holes matched stain marks on the canvass inner covers. THat's what I get for using old foam, eaten by ants, to make my new insulation sleeve system. Gotta go buy some Poly-Seam seal / caulking - used up a tube already. Sugar too! I'll have to think about a frugal rain and sun proof cap.

I wonder how many hives have had condensation problems due to "ventilation" issues but really had roof leaks and wall cracks which wind driven rain penetrates. It is not a coincidence that all my events were noticed after heavy rains - even when I was thin-walled and vented.

It's a good day when one figures out a problem. I have 9 strong hives ready for winter, one strong nuc and one Intensive Care Nuc. It will be an interesting winter here.
 

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I injured my right arm/wrist about a week ago, so I had to have a little help changing the bottom board on my largest hive. We did that today, it got a new screened board, with a half inch plywood well painted coverboard. It was in mid 70s today, very pleasant.

The bees were so sweet.
The big hive is reduced to 2 deep boxes, it's still big, but less so. and the stacked nuc hive got a couple of frames of brood and some nectar and partially capped honey, we just stuck the box in the middle. Their queen is laying, and they are working with a diminished force from robbing, but putting up stores in their 3 nuc boxes so we stuck a deep nuc with more on top the bottom deep and strapped them together.
The newbie beekeepers that came to help got some great pictures, got to see eggs and brood and nectar and capped honey and it was amazing, a good time was had by all.
Even the bees. We went thru one box at a time, prevented robbing by not leaving anyone open unnecessarily and very few were accidentally injured. And there seem to be no mites. SHB, yes, and we gave them clothes to trap beetles in. but no mites on the paper under the hive. I've only treated once this fall.
Not doing removals and removing the big wild hive from my neighbor's house seems to have fixed the incoming mite load a lot
 

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Wrapped the hives here in roofing paper, foam boards next week; a bee, brought in bright orange pollen. Some plants have re-bloomed. Extraordinary.
 

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Opened up the tops, pulled back the burlap and all 7 are in the vivaldi board snack bar munching on the sugar slurry. Refreshed it by pouring dry sugar first, then spritzing water on the sugar and wetting down the water sponge. This will be my weekly routine through winter. Not necessary but mentally reassuring since they were fed to weight.
 
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