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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will have two top bars next year where research would indicate that my mite treatments options may be limited. Many on the forum have expressed concerns with the use of MAQS, thymol, Apivar, etc. although I recognize there are individual success stories with these products in top bars. OAD and Hopguard II seem to be solid options during broodless periods, while OAV may be a possibility outside of those times.

I have two questions which may or may not be related - if it was mid-August/early September and your mite count was above thresh hold levels, what treatment would you use in a top bar? Also, do you preemptively treat in early August (even in the absence of high mite counts) to stay ahead of the mite curve and, if so, how?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Kevin
 

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I have tried three methods so far in my too far, hopguard 2, formic pro, and oav. Hopguard was a bit annoying because hanging it between two frames created a gap, I also think it's just not super effective unless done in a broodless period. Formic I was worried about because it claims to be dangerous in a non ventilated hive. That being said I used it on a hive just behind the lastcomb and attached to the wall of the hive, there were no discernable negative effects on the hive. It didn't lose its queen or brood, and there was no excessive bearding. Oav I do in the dead of winter. My main issues I have with it is the pan has to go through the entrance, and it's hard to form a good deal because of the slanted wall. I find that it doesn't evenly travel though the hive. I think ideally I would use a band heat vaporizer through a small hole on the brood chamber if I get the funds. Next year, my plan is formic pro in August or September, and one dose oav between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That's just three visits to the bees for treatments which o think is reasonable.it would be lovely to get resistant enough bees that I could get away with just one one winter treatment, but I'm a few years away from that
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, NJBeeVet.

Regarding the gap created by the Hopguard II - could you lay a quilt, board, or other obstruction above the top bars while the Hopguard is on to limit light and prevent bees from getting up into the cover area?
 

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Sure you could do that, but they will fill that gap with propolis which you have to scrape out. Other option is just attaching it to the side walls. Its very sticky and messy and will kill whichever bees directly contact it. I do think it's disruptive to the hive environment
 

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OAV with the provap gun. The gun is expensive, but if you have several TBHs the convenience is probably worth it. I'm beginning to see some cheaper alternatives to the provap which have a similar technology. (Spray the vapor through a small hole in the side of the hive). I don't use the other methods, and have never really needed to. I like to treat dead of winter (around new years day), but will treat in the fall if counts are high. I seem to have around a 5-10% abscond rate with this treatment, but I'm not sure my sample size is high enough to tell for sure... it may have been just an unlucky day.
 

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I have used Apivar in my topbar hive.
 

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A fumigant (MAQS, Thymol, etc) are typically not very effective in a TBH purely due to the design, I would not recommend these. An oxalic vapour could be the exception simply by virtue of the fact you can up the administered dose to whatever you want, until you feel you have achieved good penetration.

Hopguard has been found to be pretty ineffective, in any hive design. Wouldn't recommend that either.

Apivar strips are very effective and that is what I have used in TBH's owned by friends and random people who call me about their TBH issues.

Yes they require the top bars to be seperated by a small amount. But this is no issue. The bees typically propolise the gap by the time the treatment period is over, but all that is needed is to remove the apivar strip, scrape off the band of propolis, and push the bars back together.

Basically apivar strip treatment is simple, idiot proof, and effective. Highly recommend.
 

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I've never had to up my OA dose when I've treated. The typical 2 gram / 1/2 teaspoon dose fills the hive nicely, leaks out any loose bars, and kills a lot of mites. (I've seen hundreds on the bottom a few days after treatment, and my rolls are always down around the 1% level). I always harvest honey before treatment, so I'm fogging only a broodnest and a few frames of stores... not a huge colony. OT, I appreciate hearing about your Apivar experience. I've been interested in trying that, but was always concerned about the lack of airflow through my hives. I may give it a trial this year.
 

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I currently have 6 top bar hives. I use the Provap 100 for treatment. I separate the treatment for each hive and do a 1/2 dose about 1/4 of the length from each end. The fumes do not travel very well horizontally and treating this way works great. Treating with a wand takes a bit more work. The heated pad will be touching wax comb when inserted. You will want to see where the wand reaches to and slide the combs over and put 2 empty top bars where the heated pad will be. That way you will not melt the wax or possibly start a fire.

Apivar works well too. DO NOT USE MAQS IN A TOP BAR HIVE!!! The product is not designed for a top bar hive and there is not enough air flow. You will either not kill most of the mites or you might kill most of your bees. I am told that Hopguard works OK when the hive is broodless but not well with brood. I used it once and will never do it again but that is another story for a different thread.
 

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Topbar hives do not require treatments. They have natural size cells making them resistant to varroa mite. I wish I could figure out why the two I have die out every year or two.
 

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Topbar hives do not require treatments. They have natural size cells making them resistant to varroa mite. I wish I could figure out why the two I have die out every year or two.
No need for this, odfrank.

As far as I am concerned, the shallow topbars are disadvantageous for a variety of very general issues in my area.
Natural cell, TF/non-TF, and all that "yadda yadda" are largely irrelevant and a moot point - due to more basic issues.
 

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Topbar hives do not require treatments. They have natural size cells making them resistant to varroa mite. I wish I could figure out why the two I have die out every year or two.
Apparently, all that old school learning isn't working. If you would start reading, watching YouTube videos and start reading internet sites, you might be able to figure out why they keep on dying. :)
 

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Apparently, all that old school learning isn't working. If you would start reading, watching YouTube videos and start reading internet sites, you might be able to figure out why they keep on dying. :)
Cell phone towers or high voltage power lines. I unfortunately have both near my hives but have built a huge geodesic Faraday cage over them (using only "Made in USA" steel coat hangers I buy at yard sales). No worries now except for bears. Darn bears....
 

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I've got 5 Top Bar hives. For the last five years I've used MAQs (now I use Formic Pro, much better IMHO). I simply lay the two cakes, staggered under the brood nest. I've lost one queen. All have overwintered in Indy. We had a 60 degree day about two weeks ago and all hives looked good. Just follow the temperature directions and results are fine.
 

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What time of year do you use them? Did you notice a lot of fanning afterwards or dead brood? I used formic pro on a hive this September, was supris d that there was no fanning. I was paranoid so did the two strips ten days apart protocol, and put it more towards the honey than the brood. Hive didn't make it 😟
 

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2 x per year. Around spring build up and fall peak. I've only used the 2 pads at once option so I can't speak to the other way. No fanning could be for lots of reasons who knows. The fanning isn't an indicator of effectiveness. Putting the strips more toward the honey would greatly reduce effectiveness in killing mites in the brood or on the bees. If you treated in September but not earlier in the year, mite population was possibly way too high by the time you decided to treat. Without much more info, it's hard to say what killed your hive. Varroa (not really the mite but the diseases it spreads) should usually be considered tho.
 

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2 x per year. Around spring build up and fall peak. I've only used the 2 pads at once option so I can't speak to the other way. No fanning could be for lots of reasons who knows. The fanning isn't an indicator of effectiveness. Putting the strips more toward the honey would greatly reduce effectiveness in killing mites in the brood or on the bees. If you treated in September but not earlier in the year, mite population was possibly way too high by the time you decided to treat. Without much more info, it's hard to say what killed your hive. Varroa (not really the mite but the diseases it spreads) should usually be considered tho.
I'm in NW Indiana - have 1 "cathedral style" top bar hive that didn't make it through the winter. I have a solid bottom board. I am getting a package of locally raised bees in May. Would you treat a new package with Formic Pro and if so, how and when?
 
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