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Discussion Starter #1
I've got varroa in the observation hive. I know this because they have dropped through the screened bottom board and I've seen two bees with mites attached. This hive is in my house. How do I treat without fumigating the whole family?

The colony is 8 medium frames, 6 of which are brood and two are stores. The queen is new and seems fabulous. I'm hoping I don't have to just sit and watch them dwindle.
 

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I don't know what your access is to inside the hive but the best option if you can do it, would be an Apivar strip.
 

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He is already observing them. The question is, do you observe them until they are dead, or at some point do you do something.

To me, an observation hive is typically a very small hive, not a lot of spare bees to come and go with. He is observing mites, sick bees, and going into winter. Me, I'd act.
 

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You are seeing mites on bees and deformed wings. By the time you start seeing deformed wings, you are heavily infected and viruses are starting to damage the hive. Now not only do you have the varroa mites, you also are getting viruses that come along with the heavy mite infestation. I'm with Oldtimer, treat with apivar strip, apivar works great for me in my hives.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
The apivar sounds like a good idea. The easiest access I have are the holes along the top that I made for feeding. I have three holes that fit a standard 1 lb honey jar. Does the apivar strip have to sit directly on the frames? Do you think I could cut it up and place it on the screen in these holes?

They are coming up on the one year installation anniversary and I haven't opened the hive. I've only supported them by occasional feeding. They've swarmed 7 times and are still going gangbusters! (I caught and re-homed five of the swarms. I think from the bees reproductive perspective they've done well.). I'd like to leave them as undisturbed as possible but still do my duty to help them out in the hard times.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here's a picture of my ob hive. For reasons unknown to mankind the bees did not build out the top two frames so there quite a bit of space between the feeding screens on the top and the top of the brood area. The only full maintenance access I have would be to remove the plexiglass side that you see here.

For whatever reason I can't seem to get the picture to post.
 

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Swarmed 7 times! Ha Ha sounds like my old observation hive, couldn't really control it, used to send out lots of mini swarms.

Apivar really has to be hanging alongside brood. People have tried other configurations like putting it across the entrance so the bees will walk over it but with poor results.

Get it in the right place, and it will clean up the mites. But if that is just going to be too difficult, you may have to try some other form of treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm treating with ApiLife Var. it's a fumigant that the family can tolerate too. We'll see how things go.
 

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Hope it works but api life var is one of the most unreliable treatments.

If the hive is inside keep room temperature up if possible, and you may be able to gauge progress by seeing dead mites on the bottom.
 

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>I've got varroa in the observation hive. I know this because they have dropped through the screened bottom board and I've seen two bees with mites attached.

But you should have known it because you are in North America and you have bees.

>This hive is in my house. How do I treat without fumigating the whole family?

I wouldn't. But if you insist, take them outside and vaporize some oxalic acid into the hive. When it clears, take them back inside.
 

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Something to remember, if the hive swarmed recently and the queen is a virgin or newly mated, the resulting brood break will expose all mites for a short time.
If I see a few mites when there is capped brood, I know I have trouble because the majority of the mites will be hidden. If there is enough of a mites load that they can be seen + DWV, it was time to treat- yesterday.

If I see a few mites /light mite drop, when there is no capped brood for them to hide behind, that's a different situation. Possibly not immediately as dire as the situation above.
I'm not saying to treat or not to treat, but it would be good beekeeping management on your end, if you knew your specific situation.

Apivar is my treatment of choice, over all others.

Running a few virgin queens through nucs is my other mite management method of choice. Swarming 7 times in one year? It sounds like that is what your colony has already done. Dang!

If indeed you currently have no capped brood, but are seeing enough mites and /or DWV and you do wish to treat, an Apivar strip can be fully effective with far shorter treatment time/exposure than when capped brood is present. That may be your present window of opportunity. Don't let it pass you by.
 
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