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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been contemplating posting this all year. I am not dictating or disparaging anyone or their ways. However I wanted to throw this out there as my experience has been much different then the norm and perhaps this will help some having the same issues.
Been doing this 5 years now. From the beginning i chose to use OAV to treat mites for the price point. I always treated spring and fall when mostly broodless as well as twice during the season (four treatments 5-6 days apart). This along with mite washes took a considerable effort to accomplish. As my hive numbers grew i'd be spending hours just doing OAV. I still was having horrible overwintering numbers. anywhere from 50 percent down to zero overall. So last year I used one treatment of MAQ's in august for 2 weeks. I did not use OAV at all last year.
Second thing I did was not close the entrance at all. I have metal mouse excluders and normally i tape them partially closed so there is only about a 3 inch opening at the bottom. I use quiltboxes with a top entrance drilled into it. Not sure how much this helped but figured i'd list all i changed and the results.

I try to approach problems by changing variables. By changing these two things I got about 90 percent success with overwintering. Still lost a few that looked promising but I will definitely be sticking with this recipe. One season is not a proven concept but the changes are amazing. Perhaps there are some new keepers trying to decide that this might help.
 

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I've been contemplating posting this all year. I am not dictating or disparaging anyone or their ways. However I wanted to throw this out there as my experience has been much different then the norm and perhaps this will help some having the same issues.
Been doing this 5 years now. From the beginning i chose to use OAV to treat mites for the price point. I always treated spring and fall when mostly broodless as well as twice during the season (four treatments 5-6 days apart). This along with mite washes took a considerable effort to accomplish. As my hive numbers grew i'd be spending hours just doing OAV. I still was having horrible overwintering numbers. anywhere from 50 percent down to zero overall. So last year I used one treatment of MAQ's in august for 2 weeks. I did not use OAV at all last year.
Second thing I did was not close the entrance at all. I have metal mouse excluders and normally i tape them partially closed so there is only about a 3 inch opening at the bottom. I use quiltboxes with a top entrance drilled into it. Not sure how much this helped but figured i'd list all i changed and the results.

I try to approach problems by changing variables. By changing these two things I got about 90 percent success with overwintering. Still lost a few that looked promising but I will definitely be sticking with this recipe. One season is not a proven concept but the changes are amazing. Perhaps there are some new keepers trying to decide that this might help.

Sounds great, but pardon my ignorance. What's MAQ's???
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You didn't lose any queens with MAQs?
No loss of queens. Only strange thing happened but can't pin it on maqs. I had just moved three hives to a new yard. One was a monster with a 3 deep broodnest and 2 supers. Moved and settled fine. Added the Maq and the next week i came back and the hive was decimated. The queen was still there and laying so no swarm. thousands of bees and larvae on the ground. doesn't make sense it would be robbed with 2 smaller hives right next to it. Like they had a civil war. I couldn't explain it as i was not watching it daily. They made it through the winter though.
 

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I converted my quilt boxes to Vivaldi boards. 100% of the hives I had at the end of November came through the winter (I had a late fall combine). I don't have enough data (backyard beek who stays under 10 hives and nucs) to give credit to the Vivaldi boards, and I always had good success with the quilt box, however Vivaldi boards are so much easier to deal with than a quilt that I'm staying with them now. Conversion was super simple. I removed the screen from the quilt box. I cut 1/2" plywood to fit the inside of the quilt box. I drilled a 2" hole with a hole saw in the center of the plywood. Then using 3/8" spacers to hold the plywood up from the bottom edge I pocket screwed the plywood into the inside of the box. By using pocket screws the conversion is reversible. Then I made a simple 8x8 frame and stapled #8 wire cloth over it for the Vivaldi board screen. I put 2" XPS insulation above the plywood with a cutout for the screened frame, and folded up some burlap into 8 layers and placed it above the screen. Unlike the wood shavings in the quilt which would be damp by spring, the burlap stayed dry all winter and the underside of the plywood shows that it stayed dry.

For fall treatment after the supers come off I use Apivar strips. Its not as rough on the bees as MAQS, however MAQS is approved for use with honey you might want to use and Apivar is not. I put the Apivar strips in the first week of October and take them out at Thanksgiving, the timing seems to work out with how our autumn weather works here, your timing might vary a little as we are in quite different climates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I converted my quilt boxes to Vivaldi boards. 100% of the hives I had at the end of November came through the winter (I had a late fall combine). I don't have enough data (backyard beek who stays under 10 hives and nucs) to give credit to the Vivaldi boards, and I always had good success with the quilt box, however Vivaldi boards are so much easier to deal with than a quilt that I'm staying with them now. Conversion was super simple. I removed the screen from the quilt box. I cut 1/2" plywood to fit the inside of the quilt box. I drilled a 2" hole with a hole saw in the center of the plywood. Then using 3/8" spacers to hold the plywood up from the bottom edge I pocket screwed the plywood into the inside of the box. By using pocket screws the conversion is reversible. Then I made a simple 8x8 frame and stapled #8 wire cloth over it for the Vivaldi board screen. I put 2" XPS insulation above the plywood with a cutout for the screened frame, and folded up some burlap into 8 layers and placed it above the screen. Unlike the wood shavings in the quilt which would be damp by spring, the burlap stayed dry all winter and the underside of the plywood shows that it stayed dry.

For fall treatment after the supers come off I use Apivar strips. Its not as rough on the bees as MAQS, however MAQS is approved for use with honey you might want to use and Apivar is not. I put the Apivar strips in the first week of October and take them out at Thanksgiving, the timing seems to work out with how our autumn weather works here, your timing might vary a little as we are in quite different climates.
I chose the maq's specifially so i did not have to worry about the honey. I wanted to get them in august as well. I thought apivar had to be used when the hive was active and not clustering like when you used them?
I have a hybrid quilt box design that i use. The two main things i don't like about the vivaldi board is the limitation of the transfer of moisture through just the hole as opposed to the whole hive. I do cut slits or holes in all four sides to aid in air flow. Also i am able to put feed over the entire hive as opposed to just the center hole. I've seen hives starve in frigid temps because the cluster didn't move horizontally. By keeping feed above the whole hive they can always access it from the top of the cluster. well at least that's my theory.
Either way i agree its vital to have a moisture plan and a feed plan.
 

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In my area the bees are flying until around Thanksgiving so the Apivar timing isn't a problem for me. Autumn is long and gorgeous, but winter hits suddenly, and in the spring the roller coaster ride goes on and on and on and on… then one day it snows the last time and the next day is hot and stays hot - that day is the best day for skiing, not because of the snow, because of the scenery :D I'm hoping that day is tomorrow.
 

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Terrence,
Curious, Do you put any weight on queens from survivors paying off ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
oooh ooh I got this one, it's hard to breen queens of off queens that don't survive, sorry couldn't resist :lookout:
Exactly right. IMO you need a large apiary and at least ten years of survivors to get the traits that you are looking for. On this note.......some things i think we can control like aggressiveness or early buildup but i'm not convinced all traits are able to be passed. Just too many factors involved and uncontrolled breeding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
In my area the bees are flying until around Thanksgiving. Autumn is long and gorgeous, but winter hits suddenly, and in the spring the roller coaster ride goes on and on and on and on… then one day it snows the last time and the next day is hot and stays hot - that day is the best day for skiing, not because of the snow, because of the scenery :D I'm hoping that day is tomorrow.
That is some crazy weather compared to here. I am usually buttoning them up by Halloween and probably putting on syrup Sept 15th.
 

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My nucs this year were close to 90% survival this winter without any treatments. This year I had starvation issues with them with the cold February. Lost some nice clusters.

If you are raising your own queens, propagating bees that can survive one's management may improve success over time, along with better management by the beekeeper as s/he learns. Certainly, I am seeing a shift in my bee's genetics and I am willing to take some losses to see that shift.
 

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I started this methodology 3 seasons ago. I stopped using OAV in August and switched to Apilife Var. I did 3 treatments of Apilife Var, 7 days apart starting the first week of August after the supers were removed. Next, in mid-December, I used OAV when the hives were broodless. The winter of 2018-2019, I entered winter with 19 hives and only lost 2. Making sure the hives were heavy in October also helped as did putting sugar bricks on every hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My nucs this year were close to 90% survival this winter without any treatments. This year I had starvation issues with them with the cold February. Lost some nice clusters.

If you are raising your own queens, propagating bees that can survive one's management may improve success over time, along with better management by the beekeeper as s/he learns. Certainly, I am seeing a shift in my bee's genetics and I am willing to take some losses to see that shift.
If i can continue to be successful I will also try as you. At this point i can tell you if i didnt treat they die. That much i know as shown from my bank account.
I also do believe that if i took your bees and put them where mine are they would not have the same results. We often talk of beekeeping being local but i think its even more local then we think. Your stock have found a nitch in the world. Perhaps not as many mites? Maybe other keepers killing mites? There is a thousand variables to consider and nothing in this is black or white.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I started this methodology 3 seasons ago. I stopped using OAV in August and switched to Apilife Var. I did 3 treatments of Apilife Var, 7 days apart starting the first week of August after the supers were removed. Next, in mid-December, I used OAV when the hives were broodless. The winter of 2018-2019, I entered winter with 19 hives and only lost 2. Making sure the hives were heavy in October also helped as did putting sugar bricks on every hive.
Sounds familiar. It still bothers me why my OAV failed when others are so successful. I was told the product does not go bad and using a wand is pretty idiot proof. definitely going to keep it in the arsenal for bloodless warm days.
 

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im starting to wonder if this was just an exceptionally good year for survival. Apart from a few small nucs starving out i had 100% survival of my 15 large hives.
First time for 100% survival for me
I treat with OAV twice a year ( spring and fall and a one off shot in Dec), MAQS mid summer and apivar strips right after honey harvest mid august to end of september.
I wrapped all hives in tar paper and also in 2 inch foam insulation and left them all heavy with honey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
im starting to wonder if this was just an exceptionally good year for survival. Apart from a few small nucs starving out i had 100% survival of my 15 large hives.
First time for 100% survival for me
I treat with OAV twice a year ( spring and fall and a one off shot in Dec), MAQS mid summer and apivar strips right after honey harvest mid august to end of september.
I wrapped all hives in tar paper and also in 2 inch foam insulation and left them all heavy with honey.
Always another factor in the back of my mind. Not luck per se but the perfect combination of 100 things.....fall flow.....weather.....temps.....when those temps happen......one day a month for flying in winter.....etc etc.
Sounds like you have been doing what i found last year. Is there a 2019 survival thread yet? would be interesting to see if this is the norm this year
 

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That is some crazy weather compared to here. I am usually buttoning them up by Halloween and probably putting on syrup Sept 15th.
A week ago it was 74 degrees. It snowed the next day. Then we warmed up two days. Then it rained all weekend. Monday was high 60s. Tuesday was foggy and cold. Today is blue skies, warming. Tomorrow is supposed to be 75. High elevation snow forecast on Sunday will turn to cold rain. Although we get a lot of snow, sometimes even in June, the winters are comparatively mild temperature wise and not bitterly cold like you guys get and at the same time we have an awful lot of blue sky days. The Rock Mountain geography and a huge gigantic puddle of salt water makes for a turbulent spring. Cold moist air incoming from the Pacific gets slowed by the Sierra Nevadas, crosses the salt flats and the Great Salt Lake where there is a lot of thermal uplift to push it up where it chills and simultaneously lowers the saturation point of the air, then it immediately runs into the Rockies and takes a dump. Right over on the other side of the Rockies Colorado is experiencing the same thing with gulf moisture across the plains, and those two patterns collide. Then it ends and it is suddenly summer and six months of some of the best weather anywhere in the middle of the continent. Getting the bees through the winter is easy, its the early spring is the hard part.
 
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