Is varrao treatment necessary??

Discussion in 'Pests and Diseases' started by bees-n-trees, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. bees-n-trees

    bees-n-trees New Member

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    I'm reading Ross Conrad's book and am getting mixed thoughts. If I use a screened bottom board douse them with powdered sugar and smoke the hell out of the hive then the mites will fall to a plummiting demise crushing their heads on the cinder blocks below... If I do these things do I still need to treat with Api-Life? -OR-

    Should I save my time and just treat with Api-Life or Formic Acid and keep checking for mites whilst eating tainted honey???
     
  2. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    There's no "right" answer. It comes down to "What do YOU want to do?"

    I've used SBBs and powdered sugar and had success with it. One of my bee buddies started using Api-Life and swears his bees are better than ever. Another guy in our local club doesn't feed, doesn't treat, doesn't monitor mites and is quite content with his "survival of the fittest" bees.
     

  3. Robo

    Robo New Member

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    Sounds like you made your mind up already.

    So, powdered sugar and it's contaminates doesn't get into your honey? If you aren't using it to treat for varroa, than what is the purpose of the added stress on the bees? How about the byproducts of whatever your burning "to smoke the hell" out of them.

    It all comes down to personal choice, but making statements inferring that treating with things like powdered sugar and smoke doesn't taint honey but other methods do is very disingenuous and naive.

    rob...
     
  4. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Oh Yes, those nasty chemicals in sugar.

    Tell me Robo, beyond the vague article you posted on beet sugar on another forum, which even uses terminology like "possible" contaminates, why do you constantly bash others for using powdered sugar? Do you know what kind of sugar is being used? Is the poster asking about beet sugar?

    I think those using such measures as powdered sugar should be appluaded for their efforts. It is a step in the right direction. Informing others of the "possible" contaminates, even if your articles backing your claims are vague and far reaching at best, would be a better approach. Perhaps organic or a better sugar can be used as compared to your "tainted" beet sugar you like to harp about constantly.

    Bashing others and belittling them about being naive, when you openly encourage others to do such things like marking queens, is a bit naive in itself.

    We can not get every chemical out of the food supply. I question the pureness of anything marketed. And yes, chemicals can be found in about every food source. But bashing those trying, moving away from standard treatments, and trying better approaches, should not be made to feel inadequate. I think ripping on someone keeping 99% of the chemicals out of the hive, due to that 1% still there, and lumping that person with everyone else becuase they are percieved as bad as those with far more chemicals in the hive, is a bit nitpicking. I know this whole "Sugar is bad" is a pet peeve of yours. Really sad to think that we need to slam everyone over it, when most assume a 5 pound of sugar off the supermarket shelf is somewhat safe. Probably much safer than that paint your plastering on the backs of your queens. ;)

    Your bees are probably dragging in more from down the street than the low levels in such items as store bought sugar.

    bee-n-trees, if you want to get anal about sugar, you could always get organic sugar. I don't see the need. With the right equipment options, genetics, and management decisions (requeening and brood breaks), you can forego most standard treatments. I know many that use treatments spring and fall, and they still have high losses. That is not to say I suggest saving every hive. If nature culls out the weakest 10-20% every year, then you will be better off for it in the long run. Saving those hives that can not cope with mites, is not a stategy for my approach.
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Let's be careful, now. There's a fine line between expressing ideas in a friendly debate and just arguing. Let's keep it clean and non-personal.

    Just a curiosity. Does the sugar beet or sugar cane plant bloom, and if it does, do the bees work it?
     
  6. Robo

    Robo New Member

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    OK, I have removed and it's contaminates as this seemed to be a hot button that over shadowed the real intent of my comment and I have no desire to waste time beating that dead horse again.

    Like I said, it comes down to personal choice and I have no issue with whatever you do. Just represent your methods, and comparisons you used to rationalize your decisions, accurately.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Sounds like you made your mind up already.

    So, powdered sugar doesn't get into your honey? If you aren't using it to treat for varroa, than what is the purpose of the added stress on the bees? How about the byproducts of whatever your burning "to smoke the hell" out of them.

    It all comes down to personal choice, but making statements inferring that treating with things like powdered sugar and smoke doesn't taint honey but other methods do is very disingenuous and naive.

    rob...
     
  7. bees-n-trees

    bees-n-trees New Member

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    I have not made up my mind yet and am as confused as when I started on this quest.

    I eat bleached white sugar sometimes when there is no honey, real sweet tooth on breakfast items and drinks... but I don't smoke. Ross's book mentioned grapefruit leaves for the smoke. I'm not a chemist but agree that smoke off gasses chemicals as well. Has anyone tried smoking grapefruit leaves to control mites? I didn't see mites in the whole colony just on the drone comb hanging under the frames. I also didn't go tearing up other cells looking for more, they are there living in the hive. I liked Conrads position of not spending a large amount of time quantifying the number of mites. My main question is...

    Can I just not treat and watch nature take its course and see the survival of the fittest evolve. -or- as the local laid off inspector said " you'd better treat them right away... order the stuff from one of the catalogs, they'll ship it out in time to stop them... I'll be out in a month or so"

    The bees look great to a 1 year novice. I bought the NUC in the summer to replace a failed queen and all but empty hive. (few hundred survivors) The new group survived the winter, they are flying, bringing lots of pollen in and there is a lot of brood at different stages. As long as I didn't kill the queen digging through the hive I should be in good shape.just living with mites.. right??? niave and concerned as to what to do next???

    SOooo... to treat or not to treat, that is the question. If so what are the best organic/ healthy options to try.

    Thank you for the responses
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    No treatments should ever be done until a need for it is determined. The worst thing you can do, in my opinion, is throw a bunch of different things in your hive when you don't know anything is wrong to begin with. Do a mite count. If doing the sugar shake way of counting, which to me is the best, do another the next day. Then act accordingly. If you have a very low count, don't treat. If a medium count, treat softly, like sugar dust or thymol. With a heavy count, treat with anything that you can get that doesn't kill the colony.
     
  9. Robo

    Robo New Member

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    Ripping open 10 capped drone cells and counting the mites is a quick test for mite levels. It is by no means exact, but gives you a feel for the magnitude of mite infestation. This is my main method of monitoring varroa levels.

    You can take the "survival of the fittest approach", but it can get very expensive if you keep loosing your bees. I believe you can get a huge jump on this cycle by keeping local acclimated feral stock. It has already weeded out a lot of the weak stock. When I say feral stock, I mean bees that have been feral for at least one year, and longer is better. Swarms can come from feral colonies or from another beekeepers hive, so I don't put as high expectations on them. I strongly disagree with the "treat right away" attitude. My feeling is that if one decides to treat, it should only be done as needed, not as a preventative measure.

    Keep in mind that varroa is rarely an issue the first year because of the break in brood cycle. My advice is to monitor, monitor, monitor and decide and be prepared with a treatment method if needed. There are quite a few methods of monitoring from checking drone brood, ether or powdered sugar rolls, stick boards to even just observing for deformed winged bees on the ground in front of the hive. Test a few methods and see which you feel most comfortable with.

    The best organic/healthy option is no treatment at all. But, there are many viable options available out there if you have to treat. I just warn you to be careful of some of the claims of some of the more "green" solutions. People tend not to be fully objective in analyzing the results of their method. In the majority of the cases it is truly unintentional and driven by their desire to want the method to work.

    It is a personal choice to which method you decide on. There is no perfect treatment that works for everyone in every climate. You need to evaluate the pros and cons (objectively ;) ) of the options and decide what fits you best.

    rob...
     
  10. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I'll agree with the "Know before you treat" comment.

    So what exactly gets accomplished by treating hives with heavy counts? A temporary solution? A quick fix? Or something that will help the hive continue forward in a healthy existance down the road? To me, it is a quick fix and a choice that slaps a band-aid on a weak genetic line. A genetic line, that no doubt impacts your other hives with mite tranfer, genetics from the drones being passed, etc. Requeening hives that have problems with mites should be a measure worth considering.

    Mite counts also is not something you do day to day, and make determination based on a two day count. Do a count on a weekly or every other week basis. If your counts are 3-8-5-12-6-4-10-7 or even something like 22-15-23-9-17-21-15...leave them alone. They are managing the mites and keeping them at rates they can handle. It's when you get counts like..3-9-5-12-24-19-33-45...you better be doing something. The graph would show a continued growth and a level exceeding what the bees can deal with. Requeening bad genetics, especially when you have other hives with better counts, shows it is probably the queen/genetics. The point being, that a one time count of 20 sounds high, but if the count is always 20 (on average), then that is the natural count in that hive, and you should let it continue to deal with, ward off, and better themselves by handling the mites themselves. It is what the graph shows over a period of time that should determine whether you intervene or not.
     
  11. bees-n-trees

    bees-n-trees New Member

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    OK now I feel better and less stressed by the mite discovery. Back to the books to learn counting methods and I'll report back. Like I said I'm a newbe and learning as I go and the comments from the inspector worried me. By the time the state funds his inspections, hopefully I'll have it figured out to represent myself in defense of his recommendations for "api life". Chemical free is how I prefer to bee... Now to see if I squashed the queen while I was in there???