Mites

Discussion in 'Pests and Diseases' started by rast, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. rast

    rast New Member

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    I see a mite problem coming this year for me. I was unable to get into any of my hives for appx. 2 weeks due to illness and weather and time constraints. Sat. I removed the shims I had on the tops for patties. I had been in them once a week prior. Of course most had a lot of comb in them. At least half or more was drone comb with capped larva. At minimum, every other capped cell had a mite in it on the larva. I am glad that I cut them out, but that's too many in my book. I would say that 75% of my hives are strong and growing stronger right now. I can only hope that my queens can outbreed the mites right now in the female cells.
    It seems to me that I can either,
    Treat them all chemically,
    Let whatever survives, survive (if any) and start all over again with their queen stock (hoping it wasn't a fluke they survived). A strong hive now may only mean that they had a low mite load going into winter through none of their doing.
    Or requeen with supposedly mite resistant queens and hope they can acclimate to Fl. seasons.
    Or it's just normal, I never did a drone mite count at this time of year before.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    If they were mine, I would treat, unless I had a Giv'mint grant to buy more with.
     

  3. wfuavenger

    wfuavenger New Member

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    Mr. Bush and I are of the same thought. Let whatever survives, survive. Why do you want bees that cannot take care of themselves? Honey bees have been around longer than us and remained relativley unchanged no matter what they faced.... They were fine until we started messing with them and then started adding chemicals to let weak ones survive.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    just casually and based upon your own observation it does sound like you have a problem. however since mite numbers does not tell you anything about the capacity of the bees to tolerate the mites this information may or may not be meaningless. this has always been only one of several problems in regards to the interaction between the beekeeper, the bees and the mites.

    I typically monitor for mites by plucking capped drone brood. I become more concerned when I see multiple mites on one drone than when I see one per drone pupae.

    as far as my reading informs me an american beekeeper in France and BWeaver are given credit for going chemical free in regards to the mites. the first who coined the term 'Live and Let Die' as a beekeeping strategy also gives the Weaver some credit in this regards.
     
  5. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Tec,
    What's up with the Weavers? Are you related? I know you (I think) worked for them or with them. And I have read you plugging them in the past.

    B Weavers own advertisement claims they have been chemical free for 9 years. Heck, I've been chem free that long, and I know others have been chem free longer than that.

    I think your claim (or suggestion) that B Weaver, 9 years ago, was the first to go chem free is a bit much. If I read it your way, added to what the B Weaver own advertisement claims (Novemebr 2009 ABJ page 1062), then every single beekeeper used chems 9 years ago, until B Weaver magically started claiming they stopped. Come on....You really suggesting that?

    I've got a guy Named Jeff Davis that lives nearby. I got queen from him 9 years ago, and they were Russians, from Charlie H. who is (was) part of the russian USDA program. Jeff, as well as many others back prior to 9 years ago, were chemical free.

    I hope B Weaver is paying you well for being his P.R. Guy. ;)

    In my neck of the woods, and certainly 95% of beekeepers who are hobbiests around here, may cringe hearing you promote B Weavers as such. In the same mag mentioned above on page 1044, he is also one of the largest importers of foriegn bees. Not all are happy seeing imported bees for a host of reasons.
     
  6. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    :confused: Is that George H. or George W?
     
  7. wfuavenger

    wfuavenger New Member

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  8. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    You don't say...... :roll:
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Bjorn writes:
    Is that George H. or George W?

    tecumseh:
    ya' ain't going political on me now is ya' bjorn?

    I suspect to the bee world and to the political world both have about the same heft.... or as we say here in Texas 'all hat, no cows'.

    as to Bjorn other questions...
    no I have never worked for the BWeavers (B, R or Morris in the current time frame) although if they called and said they had a trunk overturned close by I would quickly toss my smoker and suit it the truck and go lend assistance. which is to say in the Bee World (and there ain't so many of us left standin' here) BWeaver and family is as good a neighbors as one could have.

    my prior comments (and any credit) were not so much my own thinking, but were more in regards to an article I read in a recent (perhaps 2 or 3 month old) American Bee Journal (don't have book or page handy right now, but if you couldn't locate the article I could certainly look it up for you) in regards to the beekeeper (beekeeper, phd entomologist living in France) that coined the term 'Live and Let Die' as a strategy in regards to the varroa mite. I think??? the same fellow worked with BWeaver long ago and with Larry Conners at one time (if I got the story/character correct from mr conners???). Anyway he make the comments that he and BWeaver set upon the 'chemical free' beekeeping at about the same time.

    I think perhaps the entire chemical free/live and let die attempt at rearing bees goes back a bit further than 9 years for the french beekeeper and for BWeaver. I could ask one of the principles of BWeaver for date and time... if you thought the information was important?

    As to the Taylor bee ... If someone had not made some business association with the largest beekeeper in Australia do you really think no one else would have filled this niche?

    BWeaver has always been an innovator in the bee business and more than a bit successful. I perhaps could list the innovations here that have directly or indirectly come from one of several of the Weavers in Navasota but will not do so here to save time and space. Over the years I suspect a lot of that success has also created a bit of envy amongst a lot of beekeepers who have been somewhat less successful.
     
  10. rast

    rast New Member

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    Interesting you bring that up Iddee. The mental health co. that my wife works for has a grant processor that has been trying to find me one.
    After moving most of my hives to an orange grove Fri., I went through them Sat.. There is really only one weak one. A lot of the others are to the point that I was looking for swarm cells. The orange blossoms on the valencia's should open this week or next. After that the murcotts should bloom appx 3 weeks later. Of course this is all weather depending. Forecast is good for this week.
    I am not going to treat yet.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    the growth curve for the mites should follow slightly behind the growth curve of the honeybee. in economic terminology we would say that the growth curve of the mites is lagged slightly by some time period. it has been suggested that a large problem in regards to the mites is when the honeybee begins to curtail brood production while the mite population is still growing robustly. since drone production in most honeybees is the first thing that is curtailed this means that a lot of new mites end up on the worker population thereby collapsing the colony.

    the above would suggest that if you think you may have a serious problem that monitoring closely after the spring peak build up would be a wise thing to consider.
     
  12. rast

    rast New Member

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    Thanks Tec. I know most of that, but can't type it as clearly as you can.
    I use vaporized OA and it requires a 21 day treatment regime. Have used it for 2 years now. Up til maybe now, only in late summer/early fall. Time consuming, but not temp sensitive and effective. The 21 days required is why I am postponing. Should be in the middle of the citrus flow.
    I will monitor closely.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I have use OA in the past and I never really found it that time consuming.. a pallet at a time and it goes pretty quickly. like a lot of stuff it often seems it takes me longer to prepare for a specialized task than actually doing it. As a strategy I liked to use OA along with splitting and requeening.

    best if luck to you in capturing some orange blossom honey.
     
  14. rast

    rast New Member

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    Tec. What application method did you use? Solid BB's or screen?
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    the good german in me likes to 'gas 'em'. I made up some inexpensive 'applicators' from small drops of aluminum and stainless (from a friend's metal shop) and diesel glow plugs. it takes about two minutes to 'gas' the oxalic and 8 minutes to let the gas settle and the equipment to cool. I made up two sets of four applicators so I would do four and then do four more while the first set of stuff cooled. I haven't much used the stuff in a couple of years, but I do thing that even if you add in the cost of the safety equipment (a really good paint spraying mask is a good idea when you do the oxalic gas) it is about the most reasonably priced and labor doable form of mite control.

    if I noticed another mite flare up* here I would not think twice about using the method. I looked into oxalic trickle (dousing) but it appeared that it was pretty hard on the queens.

    I have never use screened bottom boards and will likely never do so (might be a good idea but) I have noticed problems here with the shb and screened bottom boards.
     
  16. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Such as?? We have had some mighty battles with those little nasties and I am trying to do everything I can think of to keep it from getting that way again.
     
  17. rast

    rast New Member

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    Thanks Tec. I have a single applicator on a slide in for my SBB's. One hive at a time. Plug the entrance, insert the slide and use a propane (map gas) torch on some copper fittings attached to the bottom of the slide. Yes, I do have a very good gas mask. I don't like the trickle method either. I am never without some brood and it kills them, so I have read. I will have to improve my applicator for increased number of hives.
    I do like my SBB's for many reasons. Ventilation especially.
    Mama Beek, Here, myself, for what it's worth, I haven't seen a difference. I've had/have them, but haven't been overcome with them yet. Mites are biggest concern.
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    you should consider the electric version of the vaporizer rast. a battery and a long electric cord allows you to gain some distance from the fumes. a plumber torch can add a larger hazard... most especially here since I would typically gas the mites in the late fall when it is very dry.

    and finally time... I suspect that the net effect of doing a treatment early or late is likely very low. that is.. the damage generated by varroa shows up just down the road so in severe infestation cases any treatment likely has only limited positive effect.
     
  19. rast

    rast New Member

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    Tec- "you should consider the electric version of the vaporizer rast."
    I have, but until now not a multiple hive configuration.

    Tec- "and finally time... I suspect that the net effect of doing a treatment early or late is likely very low. that is.. the damage generated by varroa shows up just down the road so in severe infestation cases any treatment likely has only limited positive effect."
    From my limited experience, I have found that depends on the time of year.
    It seems the queen can out lay them this time of year. It takes 3 treatments, 7 days apart to kill the majority of the mites or to bring them down to a sustainable level lets say. First treatment kills the ones on the existing bees on the comb. Second and third kills the ones that hatched with the brood cycles. From here on, it is going to depend on how damaged the emerged brood is from the mites that fed off of them, percentage of damaged to undamaged bees. Of course there are several variables on this, such as total strength of hive and of course, fertility of the queen.