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Drone Bee
Dec 4, 2008
Reaction score
Dordogne 24360 France
Hive Type
Number of Hives
16 a mix of Commercial, National, 14 x 12, Dadant and a Warre
All 7 hives and 1 nuc were treated with Apiguard in Aug/Sept 09 and trickled with OA late Dec 09.

A 7 day mite drop check showed that 5 hives had between 1 and 12 but one had 46 and the one I am concerned about had 193:(.

My thoughts are keep fingers crossed until the weather permits inspection then either:-
shook swarm and OA again. OR icing suger and drone brood cull.

Anyone got any other suggestions?
:cheers2: M ike
Check mite drop again. 7 days ago (start of drop count) is likely to have been seeing the last of the oxalic mite drop if, as you say, late Dec '09.

Regards, RAB
I think from what I've read about other beeks counts, 193 is nothing at all to worry about.

In my local groups newsletter of this month, someone who is a beek of many years experience was counting 7,000 mites falling from 14 hives after Apiguard was applied in autumn. After the oxalic he checked the worst hive and found "masses" of dead mites..........

The time to worry is when you have failed to treat them, not when you have treated and it's worked.

Let's get this right.

Was this a mite drop for 7 days immediately after the OA treatment? Or a mite drop count the last seven days? Because if it was done straight after the OA treatment it was irrelevant and only demonstrated that for some of your colonies you have risked their health for nothing.

Regards, RAB
OA was given on 29 dec. This count was from the period 16 - 23 Jan. I have always believed that the first 14 days after OA were the result of the treatment, after that it was normal mortality.
Near 30 a day! Your colony should be dead or dying!! But you are in France, so the mite drop levels for France at this time of year might be a bit different.....

Defra says if mite drop exceeds 0.5 per day, colony is likely to collapse before the end of the season. A factor of 60 times that number doesn't look good. Or the OA didn't work! Or you trickled sugar syrup and forgot the oxalic! I just don't believe those results are a reliable natural mite drop.

They certainly need confirmation. Do a two day drop to check on the high count hives, before thinking about anything else is my advice before panicking. If they are confirmed - then panick!

Regards, RAB
0.5 of a mite a day would indicate hygienic behaviour :):):).

John Wilkinson
Just a thought but if the bees are clustered due to the cold weather then the mites will not fall until the cluster has broken
Regards Dave
A good thought Workerdave, although our weather has not been anything like as severe as the uk we have had a 10 day spell of average temperatures close to 0C which would cause a tight cluster. During the 7 day check period we also had a couple of days of +10C where the bees were flying well - and dumping mites?

There are a couple of your comments that I take exception to:-

"demonstrated that for some of your colonies you have risked their health for nothing."

"Or the OA didn't work! Or you trickled sugar syrup and forgot the oxalic!"

Please do not treat me as an idiot, having posted my ideas I asked for any other suggestions for treatment/manipulation not comments on my ability to monitor mite levels and treat my bees correctly.

Thanks for the assurance - this colony is the huge one I removed from a ceiling and is in quarantine - It is still very strong and very heavy so I am not unduly worried - yet-

If the handling is not good enough, you see it later and correct situation.

One sign is that bees carry out wingless just born bees.
As I've said before I am a fan of the Spring shook swarm so I would recommend this. I wouldn't bother with icing sugar. It may be a useful way of monitoring varroa levels but it won't treat a serious case. Drone brood culling will help but the varroa do not breed exclusively in drone brood so if you start off with a high level, like the icing sugar, it will not get on top of it.

You can use Apiguard in the Spring but I don't think it is very effective.

If you want to go (mostly) chemical free then a shook swarm followed by a bit of drone brood culling throughout the season will go a long way to keeping on top of the varroa, but you may still need OA in the winter.

Given you are in France you should be able to pick up Apivar. This is supposed to be very effective and I think can be used fairly early in the year, but my only experience of it is third hand.

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