Powder sugar question?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by hlhart2001, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. hlhart2001

    hlhart2001 New Member

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    We went into our hive 9/27 and did a powder sugar shake on the two deeps...had a lot of mites fall in 1st hour thru SBB onto sticky board. Have been checking every couple days(the sticky board) and have had more mites fall but considerably less. Now, I know this is silly but we didn't dust the 2 med. supers...why is the mystery but, we didn't(this would probably constitute as one of those mistakes I made in my 1st year of beekeeping). So I am wondering if I should go in this weekend and do another shake on the top super(temps will be around 60 degrees in daytime) or just leave well enough alone. Thanks, Halley
     
  2. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    I use dusting and try to get as many bees as I can with the dusting; the idea behind it is to send the bees into a grooming frenzy (so to speak) so they knock off more mites then they usually would with regular grooming. During the warmest part of the day it wouldn't hurt, and they eat the sugar too!
     

  3. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    As a treatent powdered sugar is most effective when done every three days. The cycle is tied to bee biology - rule of threes. Like chemical treatments, doing more or less than the directions is counter-productive.
     
  4. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Mite treatments need to be done every few days for 3 weeks to have a chance to effect all the mites in the hive. You have to retreat to catch the mites that were in the sealed brood cells.
    What type of mite drop are you experiencing? # in 24 hours natural fall with no sugar If it is greater than 10 you have a problem. I don't want to sound preachy or alarming but if the mites are not under control before and during when the hive starts building it's winter bees, the success of wintering is greatly hindered. Bees that have been host to the mites are more acceptable to viruses, their life span is shortened, more pron to disease. The biggest adjustment beekeepers had to make when the mites showed up was learning to treat at the right time of year. Not when it was convenient for us the beekeeper, but when the bees required it. It means Pulling the honey of the hive by the 2nd week in August and starting the treatments for the mites so the hive will have healthy bees to lead it thru the winter. Keep up the powder sugar and get as many mites knocked off the bees as possible so if they do make it thru the winter the first brood wont be as heavily infected, and they may be able to get the hive building up before the hive population starts dwindling. If the bees are heavily infested with the mites and the probability of getting the hive thru the winter is poor, you may be better off taking and extract the honey and selling it and use the money to buy a nuc to restock the hive in the spring.
    In the end bees in our area of the country with no forage and the bees being dormant from mid September to mid March don't over winter well if the mites are not under control.
     
  5. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Does anyone have a link to good complete instructions on dusting with powdered sugar. Pretend I know nothing about it sort of thing. including how to get the sugar shaken onto the bees, how to get it as evenly as possible how much is enough and how you get a sticky board on the hive to catch the falling mites. the whole nine yards.
     
  6. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    I have seen it demonstrated but have never done it myself for varroa.
    Here are links to dusters and YouTube video of dusting with powder sugar using a bellows duster and top bar dusting.
    http://blueskybeesupply.com/powdered_sugar_applicator.html
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lon_dyAddJ4l
    Here is a tread on another forum of people that think bellows duster don't work but half way down the thread there are coments on how to use then.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?232126-bellows-type-dusters-are-junk
    another article on dusting using squeeze bottle
    http://beenaturalguy.com/legacy-beekeeping/varroa-blaster/
     
  7. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Applying Powdered (Icing) Sugar

    Nothing fancy from yours truly.

    After a brood box check, I use a spoon to sprinkle the sugar along the brood frame top bars. 1 to 2 ounces per hive. Next, I use a gloved finger to push the sugar onto the seams of bees then close up.

    I have Open Mesh Floors (SBB) on my hives year round. Mites that fall through the mesh have a 12 inch fall to the ground through a basic hive stand. I only use a slide/tray when using an Apiguard (thymol) treatment.
     
  8. hlhart2001

    hlhart2001 New Member

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    This is our 1st yr raising bees. Started with a package in May. We live in Eastern WA where winters are cold and long...100# of honey is recommended(or 3 deeps)....since we didn't have a 3rd deep yet we left 2 medium honey supers on(like our neighbor(who's bees made it thru the winter) and are hoping for the best. The mite count was high in September(not uncommon I hear)....did a sugar shake and a lot of mites dropped. I am reading all kinds of info on how frequently to do the powdered sugar shakes(from 3 to 10 days)..so I am going to do another this weekend which would be 10 days. We have had a SBB on all along. We are getting a brood break(because of the temps) which will help to curtail mite population(as I understand it) I ordered Api Life but, because of temps(we had a freeze the beginning of Sept) decided not to apply it. This is a learning experience and I am hoping they make it but, if not will be more on top of things next year.
     
  9. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    Daniel - I'm a bit late with this, and the videos linked are good, but here's my procedure just for another choice. I've done it this way for 5 years, and I still haven't counted more than 30 mites on a sticky board at a time after a dusting, and that 30 is a high number I only see at the peak of population. I do a dusting about once a month.

    When I inspect I use Perry's method. I take off the top box but leave the inner lid on it, and set it off-center onto the inverted outer lid and leave it there while inspecting the bottom box. When done with the bottom, I put the top box back on then inspect the top. It seems to keep the bees overall calmer, having that lid on the top box while I'm in the bottom, then the box over the bottom when I'm in the top box.

    I do my inspection as usual, but I take out 5 frames instead of my usual 2-3. I leave the other 5 in the box spread out apart from one another, with space on both sides of those at the edges. I use a strainer kind of like this one. I put about a half cup of powdered sugar per box and shake it over the spread apart frames, doing my best to get it down onto the bees rather than just on the tops of the frames, and to avoid the sides of the box. They will be all over that sugar gobbling it up, so if I get too much on the sides it's a pain to get them to move long enough to put the top box/lid on without squishing them. Then as I put the other frames back in, I give each side of a frame the dusting before I put it back in. I switch which side I start from each dusting, since 5 frames are always getting a bit more each time.

    I put the top box on the bottom one, then I repeat the inspection and dusting for the top box, then close it all up. I have one slightly hot hive where I have to move quickly because they just don't like their box opened much longer than 30 minutes or so. With that hive, I don't do the inspection at the same time as dusting, I go in special to dust them and work fast, and only spend about 10 minutes a box getting it done.

    Then I put in my sticky board. I reuse mine, so once they aren't sticky any longer I give them a very thin coating of vegetable oil. I have screen bottoms that rest on top of regular bottoms and there's a bit of a gap just about tall enough for a piece of posterboard to fit through. I just slide it in and leave enough of it sticking out the front to be able to slide it back out the next day. I pull it out after 24 hours to do the count, give it a fresh coat of oil if needed, then I leave it on for another day or two.
     
  10. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Everyone should take note of this- it's a very good method for when you want to inspect all the boxes in your hive while keeping bees as calm as possible.
     
  11. hlhart2001

    hlhart2001 New Member

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    I'll have to try leaving the inner cover on...sounds like a great idea!
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I just leave the lid on my super when I am going through the bottom box. Have a little wooden table I take to the hives with me and just set the whole super aside. But I am in my hives often enough to do surgical strikes, I've usually got a good clue of who is where.

    I did not know how to do powdered sugar last year and was on the other forum which was minimally helpful, but I had a 24 hour mite drop of over 100 on maybe 6 frames of bees, probably 3 or 4. I did have a queen. I took a plastic bowl of powdered sugar and a cheap chip brush, and one at time removed the frame and painted the bees with dry powdered sugar on each side, then put them back. And did the next frame. They were not happy. But it was a small, sick and struggling hive. I did it about every 5 days for 3 treatments, and in the week prior to being robbed out, they had a mite drop of 3 in 48 hours. They were up to 7 very full frames too. It worked.

    When the horde of maybe 25000 robbers showed up for the main force attack, well RIP learning hive.
    A sheet wasn't adequate for rescue.