beginners question re: varroa

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House Bee
Mar 26, 2009
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I had my hive and colony (a full colony...!) delivered Saturday, and have been on best behaviour: no furtive messing with them so ludicrtously over-excited though!
However the hive is pretty old and therefore has a solid floor, so I guess I'm right to worry over varroa levels? I don't know how/if they were treated over the winter.
My plan is (assuming the weather is OK) this weekend: inspection, replace the floor with an open mesh one (with a varroa drawer so I can do a headcount of the little nasties).

So, the questions:
Does this sound like a good plan? Is there a better approach?
Should I dust with icing sugar over the new, mesh floor as a pre-emptive strike, then add the varroa drawer the following day? Or would this mess up my varroa count?
Do I need to use a fresh brood box? This is might seem an odd question, but one of the books I've been reading suggests that on the first spring inspection moving them into a new brood box is good "for hygeine". It's the only palce I've seen that recommendation though.
Also, am terrified of losing/damaging the (unmarked, unclipped) queen in replacing the floor. Any tips and advice would be really appreciated.
I think you need to take a step back and ask a few more questions about the hive from the person you are buying off!
Wait for warmer weathers before you start to arrange the hive.
Varroa need not such operations, neither old combs.

You see varroa, if you open later drone pupae.

Old comb you may change when you put them over excluder and let bees emerge from combs.

If you have too much varrao, make a false swarm in late May and put the queen in new hive on foundations. Then clean old hive from mites.

Don't arrange revolution.
The problem is that the gentleman whose hive it was passed away in late January, so I can't be 100% sure what treatment they had, if any. I will try and find out more.
Some of the stuff I've read suggests replacing the floor in March, which was why I thought sooner-the-better (weather dependent) would be a good option. However as the weather has turned from blissful mild spring to become wet windy and cold, won't be able to do that anyway!
Thanks for the advice, I will hold fire until some decent warm weather before doing anything major!
Personally | would transfer the whole brood box, and any supers above, off that solid floor and on to an open mesh floor asap. The bees don't mind the fresh air as much as damp, and any water getting in will stay in.
Leave them to settle to that and put a solid floor slide in under the mesh after a few days. Assess daily for 1 week to get a picture of what is going on re varroa.
And enjoy your new bees:cheers2: Don't go into the hive too often - very tempting at first. Weekly is fine- But sitting nearby and watching is just as good - such time wasters!!!
Personally ... The bees don't mind the fresh air as much as damp, and any water getting in will stay in.

It goes not that way. I love solid bottoms. It needs to be carefull when you make.

I think that in cold windy spring weather screen bottom is a disaster.

English beekeepers does not undertand how moisture generates inside the hive. Keywords: insulation, heating, dew point, condensation, rain leaking
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I think Shonabee you have to take it that the colony was untreated in the autumn and seek advice on that basis. In this instance it is safer to assume the worst rather than the best.

Poly Hives advice is good.

On this bases I would do a farse swarm in May. Then you may treat the flying gand.

When brood emerge and there is no larvae, mites are free and they are easy kill with another false swarm.

This system does not distub much hives brooding. and it prevent swarming.

This is a Dutch method: Spring and summer is difficult time to cure varroa because mites are mostly under brood caps.
Here is method how to catch 95% of mites away from colony with drone brood.
Finman could you check the link for us,that article sounds an interesting read.
I can't use the link either: it sounds like it could be a really informative article. A false swarm sounds like a good idea. I'll follow the advice re: assuming no treatment, I think that's realistic.
I cannot find it. It was developen in Netherland university.

Procedure was:

Make a false swarm. Move hive 10 feet and put a new hive on old site and the queen.
All mites will be free in new hive. You may kill them with dripling OA or like Dutch said, put a done larva frame and mites go into it.

The the brood hive: Let them emerge and mites are again free on bees neck.

Make again false swarm an kill the mites. Unite cleaned part of bees to that new hive.

Let the last bees emerge. Then mites are again free and you may kill them.

You have there a new emergency queen too.
While the link that Finman is alluding to is broken, the data is still cached on a google server. I have a copy of the data and will transform into a .pdf file or similar. However, you can try finding the data yourself and then saving it on your own hard-drive, using the following method:

a) Do a google search on "Verroa Dutch Research"

b) One of the results will be something like "verroa theory/drone frame method"

c) Do not click on the link as it's broken, but click on the hyper-text "Cached" on the bottom right-hand side of the link. This will take you to the google cached pages and an interesting read. :hat:
Thought I would just add, because I forgot to in my last post, that the paper I downloaded is free from copyright. It states the following:

Title: VARROA MITES and how to catch them

and a few lines down:

"No copyrights. Everything is free to distribute by all media, without permission of the authors. But they are happy when they are mentioned in the source. "

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