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Treatment Addict-I have a problem!

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I’ve heard that the first step in solving a problem is admitting that one has it.

My above comments are tongue-in-cheek but I would really appreciate some practical suggestions on how to treat less and also maintain my 100% winter survival rate.

Historically, I treat after honey extraction in late June (Apivar the first 6 years) and again around Thanksgiving. This year I used nothing but OAS, but it was exhausting for me, and unsustainable, in the summer. Next year I’m considering using Apiguard once more, since it can handle the hot temps in Tn.

My threshold using OAS is 50 DMD on the VB after 72 hours. I could increase this threshold.

It could even be possible that my bees would survive without treatments, using just some exceptional TF management. The thing is, I’ve never “tested” that hypothetical.

This question may be best answered by those who have had success with TF; how should I reduce my mite treatments without putting my bees’ lives at risk? I’m not willing to lose even one colony over the winter.

It’s definitely a first-world problem (and, possibly, a question that may receive some flippant answers) but I am curious what the great minds on Beesource have to say…
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how should I reduce my mite treatments without putting my bees’ lives at risk?
Basic biotechnical mite control was developed many years ago.
It may look busy on the first look (as if the non-ending treatment is not busy).
The biotech mite control is nothing other than basic apiary management - with adjustments.

At the very core it has the idea of "clean (re)start" which appears to be working for me.
This I view as a basis of RT* management.

In favorable settings and with reliance on resistant stock, the treatments can be reduced to zero.
In unfavorable settings, the treatments are still minimal.

GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees. | Page 47 | Beesource Beekeeping Forums

*RT - reduced treatment
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Basic biotechnical mite control was developed many years ago.
It may look busy on the first look (as if the non-ending treatment is not busy).
The biotech mite control is nothing other than basic apiary management - with adjustments.

At the very core it has the idea of "clean (re)start" which appears to be working for me.
This I view as a basis of RT* management.

In favorable settings and with reliance on resistant stock, the treatments can be reduced to zero.
In unfavorable settings, the treatments are still minimal.

GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees. | Page 47 | Beesource Beekeeping Forums

*RT - reduced treatment
Thank you Greg, I’ll check that out.

My bees may, possibly, already be mite-tolerant and/or resistant. I just don’t know because I’ve always kept my mite levels low, especially during the times of year that they (viruses and pathogens) can become an insurmountable problem.

As Ruth mentioned to NUBE (I think it was), you may have just provided me the best solution. However, I’m not willing to “clean start” with my bees, as far as requeening with VSH stock. Is it possible, without taking this first step, that I may not find a, mostly, TF outcome?
 

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“clean start”
OK, you don't understand me.

Review my thread for clean (re)start management.
This is NOT about clean restarting with VSH stock.

This is about annual management with any bees where you cleanly restart all your colonies - every season.
Of course, resistant and localized bees will do better - this is what I observe (kind of expected).

Poorly localized/non-resistant bees will not do as well.
But anyone should be riding themselves of non-localized bees anyway - this is a general issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, you don't understand me.

Review my thread for clean (re)start management.
This is NOT about clean restarting with VSH stock.

This is about annual management with any bees where you cleanly restart all your colonies - every season.
Of course, resistant and localized bees will do better - this is what I observe (kind of expected).

Poorly localized/non-resistant bees will not do as well.
But anyone should be riding themselves of non-localized bees anyway - this is a general issue.
No, I just haven’t read your link, yet.

My bees originated from 2 beautiful mutts, almost 10 years ago. I haven’t acquired another bee since (apart from splits and captured swarms). They are extremely locally-adapted, good honey producers, gentle and healthy.

There have been some intense and detailed discussions on mites and the bees’ tolerance and resistance to them on Beesource recently.

Since I’m coming from a place of success in keeping my bees alive over winter, I’m most interested in taking baby steps in, possibly, being able to treat less.

In Randy’s latest presentation, he mentioned how regular alcohol washes allow him, and his sons, to identify colonies that handle their mite loads better. It’s definitely a potential direction to go in.
 

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In Randy’s latest presentation, he mentioned how regular alcohol washes allow him, and his sons, to identify colonies that handle their mite loads better. It’s definitely a potential direction to go in.
In my very humble view, I think you're on to something here.

While I am not certain one could guarantee 100% success, you could at least set a rational threshold below which you don't treat and above which you do.

Then, in succeeding years you can dial this threshold in to meet your survival goals while consistently propagating from the colonies with the lowest mite population growth.

This is effectively what Randy is doing- requires more testing throughout the season but potentially puts you in a position to see some resistance characteristics emerge.
 

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#1 I would say switch your monitoring to a wash... better data point and the ability to compare with outhers
#2 would be to use minumin cems to max effect.. ie hit new splits and swarms while they are brood less. and induce a broodless period with say a fly back split to hammer the mites way back in the spring with a single OAV/dribble giveing them a clean restart.

The was a time I could manage my stock with just the spring fly back split (no cems) and a winter broodless drible I have had to add a post flow apaguard as of late to fend off mite bombs
 

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This year I used nothing but OAS, but it was exhausting for me, and unsustainable, in the summer. Next year I’m considering using Apiguard once more, since it can handle the hot temps in Tn.
First, Is OAS OAV?
Me, I choose OAD after a fall treatment of Apivar. Next season I am going to move to something other than Apivar for treatment after supers are off. Last season I did three total treatments OAD broodless in July, Apivar in August and a broodless OAD in Oct.

I also make sure to do an OAD at every brood break opportunity and if I do a split I make sure it is done in a manner that allows both parts of the split to have a brood break and they both get a dribble at the appropriate time. Granted, some hives end up with less honey production but IMO everything has a payoff, it just depends upon what you see as a reasonable one.

Caveat, I am no expert but like you I find the OAV would be impossible to keep up with.
 
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