High Country Bee from CSBA

Discussion and questions.
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Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:44 am

High Country Bee from CSBA

Post by kristinahoney » Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:14 pm

I'm seeing hives in our area that are already too far gone to make it!
FYI the thymol Ed mentions is registered as Apiguard and the amitraz is registered as Apivar.
Hopguard 3 isn't approved yet for CO and Mann Lake is out of it anyway.
Waiting for it to cool off enough for one of the formic acid treatments? Don't!


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Colorado State Beekeeping Association <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 8:38 PM
Subject: High Country Bee
To: Kristina <[email protected]>

Is something sneaking up on you in the middle of the night?
View this email in your browser

High Country Bee
Greetings from your president:

Aug. 17, 2020

It’s 3 a.m., and visions of Varroa mites keep me from tumbling back to dreamland. What better time to write to you, good and faithful members of CSBA?

I’ve been wiped out by mites twice in 25 years of beekeeping. The first time I assumed that mites were someone else’s problem. (I was so innocent!) The second time I treated with an organic, sugar-based treatment called Sucrocide, which proved ineffective.

Now I’m wary. I sugar-shake-test at least a few of my colonies every time I visit a bee yard, and right now at a couple of locations, mite numbers are climbing into the stratosphere. A hive that tested at three mites in a 300-bee sample July 29 tested at 23 two weeks later. Another went from one mite to 15. Do I have your attention now?

You have mites in your hives, too. Do you know how many? You’re not sure? Friend, the mites don’t care if your head’s in the sand or not. As we move into fall, bee populations naturally dwindle, just as mite numbers increase. It’s a perfect storm. Now, as Varroa overwhelm your bees, viruses, especially deformed wing virus, can weaken your hive and eventually kill it. These dying but honey-laden colonies get robbed out by neighbor bees that bring honey and mites back to their own hive.

You say your bees look great? It’s ironic and not immediately intuitive, but strong hives crash the hardest, since Varroa rapidly breed in hives with lots of brood.

If haven’t tested, you should at least assume that your bees have mites, possibly at elevated levels. (I use six mites per sample as a red line for treatment, but remember, mite numbers skyrocket in autumn.)

With honey supers on your hives, your only options for Varroa control are drone brood removal, a hops-based formulation marketed as “Hopguard,” oxalic acid and formic acid. Each has its drawbacks and limitations. Each is better than nothing.

But If you pull your honey now, you have a wider range of mite control choices, since you don’t have to worry about contamination or ruining the flavor of your honey. Sure, your bees might be on a nice honey flow, but without honey supers your little darlings will simply pack the brood supers instead. This isn’t a bad thing for bees heading into winter! With your honey supers removed, you can use easy-to-apply, very effective miticides like amitraz and (my favorite) thymol.

The beekeepers’ bible for mite management is “Tools for Varroa Management,” put out by the Honey Bee Health Coalition, and available for free online. https://www.bing.com/search?q=tools+for ... A1&PC=U531

You can buy mite control products at your local bee supply outlet. Some of the big out-of-state bee supply companies are backed up due to the Corona, but I’ve had good luck with the Dadant branch in Sioux City, Iowa. Be a responsible beekeeper and take care of your bees, OK?

And I’ll see you at our winter Zoom meeting on Nov. 14!


As always,
Thank you for being a member.

Ed Colby
[email protected]

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