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Thread: Varroa estimations during winter.

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    Senior Member Greengage's Avatar
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    Default Varroa estimations during winter.

    I placed some sticky screens under the brood box's and left them in for 3 days, i have now removed them, one hive had 4 mites and the other had 9 mites, Both hives were treated with Apiguard in September, Today its 12 degres and bees are flying and bringing in Pollen from Ivy.
    Is there a formula for working out the infestation levels during winter as i cannot do sugar roll with 300 bees this time of year.

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    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/publi...appresults.cfm

    Average Daily Mite Fall = 3.0 varroa mites
    The number of days over which you collected/counted mites is less than seven. This might give a poor estimate of mite numbers, so the predictions must be treated with caution.Estimated number of adult varroa mites in the colony = 1200
    Treatment is recommended as soon as practically possible.


    Mite drop is very hit and miss ...

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Just treat with Oxalic late December and whether you have 50 mites or 500 mites it will kill most of them.

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    Senior Member Greengage's Avatar
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    Tks lads Ill go with the treatment just before christmas and fingers crossed I will not kill the queen. 5mls per frame of brood so four frames =20ml in total using a large syringe because I only have 3 hives.

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greengage View Post
    Tks lads Ill go with the treatment just before christmas and fingers crossed I will not kill the queen.
    I have treated numerous colonies with Oxalic over the past few years and to the best of my knowledge I have never killed a queen with this treatment.
    I have one queen going into her 5th season and several going into their 4th who have had Oxalic every December. Very little downside with Oxalic treatment.

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    Senior Member Greengage's Avatar
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    I have read somewhere that there are two problems using the dribble method, One I have to open the hive which will effect temperatures inside and secondly bees can ingest some of the syrup leading to supressed brood rearing and toxicity but this can be overcome using a vapouriser which I dont have. If iam quick with the treatment this should not effect temp and if the temp drops below 5 degrees I should have no brood but at the moment in Dublin the temps are 10 to 12degrees and the bees are still flying and bringing in ivy pollen, thats not supposed to be happening this time of year anyway having said that i will go with your advice and buy Apibioxal for treatment when temp drops.

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    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greengage View Post
    I have read somewhere that there are two problems using the dribble method, One I have to open the hive which will effect temperatures inside
    I'd best be careful how I answer this... I'm not suggesting that anyone should copy what I've done.

    Over the last few years I've randomly chosen a few colonies to be *inspected* through the winter each year. The inspection might be a superficial 'look' on a regular basis or it might be a check to see the brood status. Yes I know that I'm in the sunny south but it does still get cold enough here.

    I've yet to observe that any of the colonies so treated build up at a different pace or produce less honey on average by the close of the season.

    Why did I start doing this? I got tired of being told, that opening a hive in the middle of winter would kill or seriously damage the colony, by people who always, to a man, insisted that they'd never done it themselves for the simple reason that it's 'wrong'. Well I agree, it's not good beekeeping on various levels but it did show me amongst other things when the most likely time for a mid winter brood break is for my bees in this locality. Funnily enough, there's a local guy currently soliciting the same information from people (anywhere) with overwintering observation hives in an effort to find out when his bees will have a brood break. The primary dates which he's posted on his informal questionnaire during which he's plainly expecting to see brood breaks simply don't relate to the average time period which I've observed here. But he doesn't talk to me so I'll leave him to get on with it!

    I'll finish by stating once more that I'm not suggesting anyone should copy me.

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    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    Brooding will depend on the temperature outside the hive as well as the day length. (We know that brooding slows down after the longest day so the opposite effect would apply in winter after the shortest day I suppose. Ideally you would want to treat with Oxalic Acid when there's minimal sealed brood. I've not pulled out brood frames over the winter but my best guess is that the mild winter for me last year resulted in a relatively ineffective mite kill when the hive was 'cleansed' with Oxalic Acid. I tend to do it between Christmas and New Year. Never seen any queen issues at all after treatment. Opening on a cold day for a few moments doesn't seem to be a problem. I believe that trickling a liquid is safer for the beekeeper than scooping a small quantity into a vaporiser and then producing a dangerous gas. My guess is that it's also quicker and you can have a quick peek at stores as well whilst the crown-board is off. We now have an approved product - Api-Boixal - which doesn't seem much different apart from cost (and it's a stronger mix) to self-mix Oxalic Acid.

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    I got tired of being told, that opening a hive in the middle of winter would kill or seriously damage the colony,
    I am with you 100% Prakel. Opening a hive for 5 minutes makes no difference.
    We have Arnia monitoring equipment at the association apiary and during the summer a hive which has been opened for half an hour for beginners to inspect, has the brood nest is back at 34.5c within a few minutes of being closed.
    In winter I have come across hives blown over or with the lid blown off which have been exposed to the elements for a couple of days and the bees are usually still alive, albeit a little bedraggled. Bees are far more resilient than most people imagine.

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    Senior Member busybeephilip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    We have Arnia monitoring equipment at the association apiary .
    Wondering - does the equipment show that brood rearing is taking place and the weights of the hives falling as stores are being used. This would indicate that bees might be short of food come the spring !

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