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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well with the warmer weather in the Chicago area today being around 50 degrees I saw a lot of activity with my hives in the afternoon, but I noticed two of them there was nothing. I already assumed the worst and when I popped the tops not a bee walking around in the two hives. I will do a full inspection tomorrow to figure out the reason. So far I got two double deep hives still kicking and my Palmer style double nucs doing fine. If the remaining hives make it until spring I will move my nuc hives to the full size hives and be back in business for the spring. One lesson learned is having those nuc hives as backups is highly recommended to cover for losses because you just never know when a hive will bite the dust. I'm already planning to have another pair of double nucs for next year. I rather have over wintered nucs then buying packages with questionable queens in the spring.
 

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Glad you have the nucs. The usual question is always, What was you most recent mite count in these hives and the surviving hives?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
In September I did oxalic acid treatments with the Provap every four days for the entire month. However, I didn't do a mite count before or after treatment, but I will know to do it in the future. We did have cold and rainy weather at the end of September and October so winter did come early this year. I plan on doing another treatment tomorrow for the surviving hives. I highly doubt I had high mite counts after my month long treatment but it could be a possibility since I didn't do a count.
 

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drem00, I am quite a bit south of you ( I know beekeeping is local) and I do my treatments starting the first week of August. I used to do them the second week of September but my losses were over 40%. I moved it to the first week of August and dropped my losses down to 20%. Also, I used to do OAV treatments in the fall but had questionable results. Now, I only do OAV treatments in the winter when the bees are mostly broodless. I switched to a thymol based treatment and have better results. I suggest you talk to successful local beeks and think about changing your treatment regimen.
 

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In September I did oxalic acid treatments with the Provap every four days for the entire month. However, I didn't do a mite count before or after treatment, but I will know to do it in the future. We did have cold and rainy weather at the end of September and October so winter did come early this year. I plan on doing another treatment tomorrow for the surviving hives. I highly doubt I had high mite counts after my month long treatment but it could be a possibility since I didn't do a count.
Too late to do anything about it now but for future reference, it is VERY important to FULLY treat for varroa mites in the Fall. What I am emphasizing FULLY is that just killing phoretic mites is but a stop gap measure. You MUST treat with a method that kills the reproductive mites located in the brood comb, especially the capped brood comb. There are 3 treatments that will accomplish this:

1. MAQS (formic acid pad)
2. Formic Pro (formic acid pad with a longer storage shelf life)
3. Mighty Mite Killer (thermal treatment)

OAV is a VERY good method of treatment for mites BUT it kills phoretic mites predominantly. If you do not kill the as many of the reproductive mites as humanly possible, the varroa mite population will gradually recover and if not monitored and retreated will overtake the colony. Killing as many reproductive mites as possible usually greatly increases the amount of time that a colony must be retreated.

I treated my 8 and 10 frame hives with the Mighty Mite Killer in early Fall. My nucleus colonies got treated with the Mighty Mite Killer in late Fall. A hand full of hives, that I did not have time to treat with the Mighty Mite Killer as a last resort got treated with MAQS. Formic acid is very effective but it is also very hard on brood and queens especially if used in the upper temperature range of its recommended use.

If you are not going to treat for reproductive mites and you want the next best protection from the those mentioned above, try using Apivar during the Fall. It is also VERY effective at killing phoretic mites but it will be inside each colony 24/7 for almost 2 months doing its job round the clock whereas OAV is more of a quick knock down product although it does have some residual affect from the micro crystals of OAV that reform and distribute throughout the hive.

Sorry for your hive losses. Hope you can make up the losses with splits this Spring. Pick your poison. Just my 2 cents worth based on the amount of tuition I have paid at the "University of Hard Knocks".
 

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The issue may be that September was a bit late if mite populations had surged in June or July. If so, the virus load and damage to the bees may have reached the tipping point before you did treatments. We all learn something each year.
 

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The issue may be that September was a bit late if mite populations had surged in June or July. If so, the virus load and damage to the bees may have reached the tipping point before you did treatments. We all learn something each year.
I neglected to mention that I treated all of my hives with the Mitey Mite Killer in July and then again as mentioned above in the Fall for the very reasons you mention. Good call! :thumbsup:
 

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It is worth checking to see if mites killed those hives. You can do so by doing an alcohol wash on the dead bees. It's not an exact measure - some mites maybe crawled away, or clumped on the bottom layer of bees, or whatever - but if you have more than 20 mites in a wash of 300 dead bees, then mites played a big role in killing the bees.

But, were they home grown or imported? A beekeeper that I was mentoring had mite counts of 6 or so with an alcohol wash of 300 bees in August. First week of Dec, there were 60 mites in 300 bees. The hive was dead. I did not realize that there was a beekeeper with many hives nearby - if I had, we would have been doing OAV every other week, after a fly day (a chance for robbing day). How can I really be sure they were imported? Soon I will take out combs and check for mite poop - mite frass - which is tiny white flecks on the ROOF of the brood cells, right by the entrance. If there are fewer than 1 per 7 x7 grid of brood cells (that's 49 cells, pretty close to 50, so it's easy to get a percent), then there is NO WAY those mites were home grown.

And it's not too late for your other hives! Do a provap now. Check the mite drop. If you don't have removable bottom boards under a screen, then get those thin plastic placemats, and put it in before you do your proVap (for me, after I do OAV with the hot wand!). Check in 2 days. And count...I keep treating with OAV until it is 50 or less after a week. That is the best feedback for whether your fall regime worked.

I betcha you have hives nearby (feral or kept, who cares...) with mite problems, which will again become your problem next year. I'd see if your mite drops stay low through Oct, and even Nov, and early Dec. That's the cutoff for us - mite kills usually strike by early Dec in these parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
After doing an inspection on Sunday on my two hives this is what I found. Hive 1 was an Italian package hive that I got this spring and the bees had plenty of stores, but they also seemed to have a nosema problem as the upper entrance had poop around it and some on top of the frames. Hive 2 was an early spring split from one of my Carolinian hygienic bees and they had adequate stores but a pretty small dead bee population. I think the queen in that hive must have failed sometime late September or in October and the colony couldn't replace her during that time. Due the fall rainy fall weather I didn't do inspections during that time because I was focused on feeding the hives and not disturbing them while they got the colony prepped for winter. My remaining living Carolinian hygienic bees seem to be doing fine and coming out when the weather is warm enough. I have a feeling I will be placing additional hygienic queen orders this spring to replace the package queens that I get. I probably will do some splits with the package queens and sell those off while popping in hygienic queens in my hives. I think I will work with bee stock that I know do well in my area and plan on raising my own queens.
 

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Too late to do anything about it now but for future reference, it is VERY important to FULLY treat for varroa mites in the Fall. What I am emphasizing FULLY is that just killing phoretic mites is but a stop gap measure. You MUST treat with a method that kills the reproductive mites located in the brood comb, especially the capped brood comb. There are 3 treatments that will accomplish this:

1. MAQS (formic acid pad)
2. Formic Pro (formic acid pad with a longer storage shelf life)
3. Mighty Mite Killer (thermal treatment)

OAV is a VERY good method of treatment for mites BUT it kills phoretic mites predominantly. If you do not kill the as many of the reproductive mites as humanly possible, the varroa mite population will gradually recover and if not monitored and retreated will overtake the colony. Killing as many reproductive mites as possible usually greatly increases the amount of time that a colony must be retreated.

I treated my 8 and 10 frame hives with the Mighty Mite Killer in early Fall. My nucleus colonies got treated with the Mighty Mite Killer in late Fall. A hand full of hives, that I did not have time to treat with the Mighty Mite Killer as a last resort got treated with MAQS. Formic acid is very effective but it is also very hard on brood and queens especially if used in the upper temperature range of its recommended use.

If you are not going to treat for reproductive mites and you want the next best protection from the those mentioned above, try using Apivar during the Fall. It is also VERY effective at killing phoretic mites but it will be inside each colony 24/7 for almost 2 months doing its job round the clock whereas OAV is more of a quick knock down product although it does have some residual affect from the micro crystals of OAV that reform and distribute throughout the hive.

Sorry for your hive losses. Hope you can make up the losses with splits this Spring. Pick your poison. Just my 2 cents worth based on the amount of tuition I have paid at the "University of Hard Knocks".
ayuh. i have been running just oav for a few years. huge winter losses. This year i bought MAQ's and treated all. Saw a huge improvement in a week or two. I never saw a population jump with oav.
 

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The usual question is always, What was you most recent mite count in these hives and the surviving hives?
True, but that's not all. Nutrition is important too, some will say it's as important, or even more so, than disease/pathogens control. And nutrition is not just about feeding copious amounts of sugar water and pollen substitutes.
 

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True, but that's not all. Nutrition is important too, some will say it's as important, or even more so, than disease/pathogens control. And nutrition is not just about feeding copious amounts of sugar water and pollen substitutes.
In your opinion, what is "nutrition" about? Hopefully, it doesn't involve adding essential oils or other ingredients that are not normally consumed by honeybees.
 

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In your opinion, what is "nutrition" about? Hopefully, it doesn't involve adding essential oils or other ingredients that are not normally consumed by honeybees.
No, I wasn't talking about essentials oils or stimulants.
My point was that feeding should be targeted. Feed based on need, not calendar. Ian Steppler talks about that in some of his videos.
 

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The issue may be that September was a bit late if mite populations had surged in June or July. If so, the virus load and damage to the bees may have reached the tipping point before you did treatments. We all learn something each year.
I neglected to mention that I treated all of my hives with the Mitey Mite Killer in July and then again as mentioned above in the Fall for the very reasons you mention. Good call!


If you do a treatment in July do you take off your honey supers at that point? I’ve typically extracted the last week of August. Would you recommend extraction in July, treat for mites and then let the hive keep any honey they produce after July? I’ve always worried that I’ve treated too late. (I’m in SLC, Utah. Two hives in the backyard. 4th year having hives)
 

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If you do a treatment in July do you take off your honey supers at that point? I’ve typically extracted the last week of August. Would you recommend extraction in July, treat for mites and then let the hive keep any honey they produce after July? I’ve always worried that I’ve treated too late. (I’m in SLC, Utah. Two hives in the backyard. 4th year having hives)
Sorry for the late reply I missed this post for some reason.

No. I leave the honey supers on. I do for the purposes of the thermal treatment remove the honey supers long enough to install the thermal insulation board above the brood nest but immediately replace the honey supers directly on top of the insulation board ASAP to prevent robbing.

With respect to removing honey supers for honey extraction, that is something that each beekeeper should make based on their circumstances. If their bees are still working nectar producing plants enough to noticably be filling up the honey supers, I would wait until the nectar flow has run its course and then harvest and extract.

Treating in July helps stimulate brood production and helps me to make late season nucleus colonies going into late Summer to carry through the Winter for next Spring's apiary hive increases, replacements, or sales.

I treat again in late October - early November for that last treatment of the season to carry my hives through Winter into the following Spring although I keep an eye on mite activity and may treat with OAV as spot treatments if needed during Winter. So far, I have not had to.

In my opinion, it is best to set yourself up a seasonal schedule of treating your hives on a roughly 4 month recurring basis. Depending upon the weather and nectar flow in your area, you will have to decide which months work best for you. If you stick to this, I think you will be impressed with how your hives perform and the percentage of losses are minimized.
 

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my bees got OAV in spring and fall and one final single round of oav late October/early november.
They were also treated with MAQS/formic pro and apivar this year.
Ive left them heavy with honey and they are insulated with 2 inch foam insulation and have quilt boxes also. I really hope that does the trick to get them through the winter.
I did check them a couple weeks ago and all but 1 small nuc are still doing well.

That late season small nuc had died unfortunately.
Trying to get a chance for another round of OAV this weekend if the weather cooperates.
 

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my bees got OAV in spring and fall and one final single round of oav late October/early november.
They were also treated with MAQS/formic pro and apivar this year.
Ive left them heavy with honey and they are insulated with 2 inch foam insulation and have quilt boxes also. I really hope that does the trick to get them through the winter.
I did check them a couple weeks ago and all but 1 small nuc are still doing well.

That late season small nuc had died unfortunately.
Trying to get a chance for another round of OAV this weekend if the weather cooperates.
Dang you threw everything at them but the kitchen sink !
 

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One thing I'm not seeing mentioned is the mite drop post treatment - so checking after about a week.

If you have a screened bottom board, the hard part is remembering to scrape it clean prior to leaving the beeyard!
If you have solid boards, you can just get those thin plastic placemats and slide that in post closing up the hive... pull it out after a week, and count the mites. I like to quarter the area, but anything over 200 is just " a lot " anyways.

The mite drop post treatment tells you so much... if it's peak mite season, and you get a low drop, then the treatment didn't work. If you keep getting high mite drops in fall (over 200-300), post treatment, then your hives are experiencing a mite invasion from either robbing or poor homeless infected waifs moving in.

So please take advantage of the mite drops to tell you about 1) the effectiveness of the mite treatment, and 2) whether you're getting more dead mites than you should....
 

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Dang you threw everything at them but the kitchen sink !
Yeah true lol. I had a bad winter last year. I had spine surgery and missed a lot of the season in terms of mite control and lost a lot of hives. Built back up to 15 triple hives and 11 double 4/4/4 overwintering nucs. Hoping for a better winter this year.
 
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