Fighting Varroa

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Graymich 

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Just as my late addition to the thread. As per Hemo, the mites had likely been made resistant to apistan by the vendor - who is clearly an idiot IMO, to say the least. Needs naming!

On top of that, Apistan is renowned for inefficiency if not applied in optimum conditions (do they still quote efficacies from non-UK tests, like they used to?). Spain and/or Italy IIRC.

That likely accounts for your (expensive) travails, trying to rid them of the pest.

Oxalic acid sublimation would/should have dropped virtually all the mites in the swarmed colony if they were treated before any new brood was capped. Remember that for the future. Likely, too, that the queen was an older one, as well.

You have done well not to lose your colony/colonies since starting. Please go into winter with the minimum of space beside and above your colonies, no holes left open in the crownboards, 50mm (ideally) of effective insulation above the crownboard, mousegards in place and (if well stocked with stores at present) check for adequate stores when brooding starts in the spring.

Not a lot more you can do for them (yes, the extra solstice vape may be good, but should not change their survival chances unless heavily infested at present). Winter bees will likely (unfortunately) already be infected by these residual mites while they were still pupating, so nothing can be done about that.

Good luck with over-wintering all three successfully. There may well be a carpet of dead bees on the hive floors, in the spring, and the colonies weak, but hopefully still strong enough to build up in the spring.

Name that vendor! Or other newbies may well suffer a worse fate than you have done!

RAB
Its a shame that I didnt know better when I chose Apistan to rid my new nuc of mites - I believe that although it dropped a significant number of mites in the 6 weeks - it didnt do a good enough job and the infestation grew over the summer to make the next treatment only partially effective.
I didnt know about OA sublimation when they swarmed - (only 4 weeks after collecting the nuc) so after recapturing it, I just gave the swarm the remaining 2 weeks of Apivar. - If only I had my sublimox then.
I know the vendor supplied a nuc with lots of varroa and some DWV , however, they did tell me and made me promise to treat straight away - if I had known then what I know now I feel sure I could have resolved this issue much earlier.
The hives were set up for winter a couple of weeks ago.
All three WBC hives have all 10 frames full and fondant above the crownboard which is surrounded by insulation and a super of insulation on top of that (150mm)
They have open mesh floors and mouseguards - the inspection boards are still in till I finish checking on varroa drop for the next few days.
The hives are well shielded from the wind. Varroa count - 2 hives are down to 1 a day and the other is still at 30 a day - last and final sublimox vape was 2 days ago.

I am still thinking I will vape one more time end of December.

Thanks for all the advise and support everybody - much appreciated.
 

Graymich 

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Its a shame that I didnt know better when I chose Apistan to rid my new nuc of mites - I believe that although it dropped a significant number of mites in the 6 weeks - it didnt do a good enough job and the infestation grew over the summer to make the next treatment only partially effective.
I didnt know about OA sublimation when they swarmed - (only 4 weeks after collecting the nuc) so after recapturing it, I just gave the swarm the remaining 2 weeks of Apivar. - If only I had my sublimox then.
I know the vendor supplied a nuc with lots of varroa and some DWV , however, they did tell me and made me promise to treat straight away - if I had known then what I know now I feel sure I could have resolved this issue much earlier.
The hives were set up for winter a couple of weeks ago.
All three WBC hives have all 10 frames full and fondant above the crownboard which is surrounded by insulation and a super of insulation on top of that (150mm)
They have open mesh floors and mouseguards - the inspection boards are still in till I finish checking on varroa drop for the next few days.
The hives are well shielded from the wind. Varroa count - 2 hives are down to 1 a day and the other is still at 30 a day - last and final sublimox vape was 2 days ago.

I am still thinking I will vape one more time end of December.

Thanks for all the advise and support everybody - much appreciated.
Should read Apistan - not Apivar
 

hemo 

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Still in regards of the seller/vendor, it is a very very poor show on their part to sell a below par nuc in this way. A respected beek and I assume a respected vendor would only sell/pass on a nuc in tip top health/condition esp to a new beek to the craft.

A very poor show indeed, it is a mine field for those new to the craft esp during these covid times.
 

mbc 

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Still in regards of the seller/vendor, it is a very very poor show on their part to sell a below par nuc in this way. A respected beek and I assume a respected vendor would only sell/pass on a nuc in tip top health/condition esp to a new beek to the craft.

A very poor show indeed, it is a mine field for those new to the craft esp during these covid times.
Ach! I'm not so sure.
I sell nucs and always tell the buyer the treatment regime they've had, usually a bit of Oxalic bleaching in the autumn and a vape in the winter. Individual hives aren't monitored for varroa and I always assume that a partially effective organic treatment will leave a varroa load of some sort, I know in my area my bees brought on from a nuc will most likely be fine without treatment until the following autumn, but I've no idea if that holds in areas with more aggressive pathogens or varroa's.
I think the vendor has done due diligence in this case by passing on the information, many customers would prefer this to a virtually zero varroa count but a recent apivar or fluvalinate treatment with all the implications.
 

Arfermo 

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I really get concerned about that statement. (there is a similar current parallel issue occurring worldwide right now). They have the capacity to put up with and endure a nasty little creature that slowly eats parts of their anatomy whilst they live right now; even though it weakens them, compromising their ability to fight off a variety of viruses and diseases and will kill them ultimately.
Calm down, you worry too much!!
 

oliver90owner 

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What we know is that varroa numbers can increase exponentially - by a factor of about 2 every brood cycle, or so.

Maybe the problem might be the vendor selling bees with varroa that are resistant to fluvalinates. If only 50% are killed by apistan, the bees can be back at pre-treatment levels of infestation in about a month. A 1000 mites in a strong colony will not kill it but here we have three smaller colonies with a lot more, at a time when the mites will be multiplying quickly.

A heavy infestation at the time when the winter bees are being brooded is always a time for likely colony collapse - or winter colony loss due to too many mites and too many winter bees infected during pupation. Dead winter bees should not litter the hive floor in spring if the bees were healthy, the cluster was dry with adequate stores and without draughts funnelling through/around the cluster.

Without full knowledge of the treatments applied, it is, perhaps, difficult to know if/where mistakes were made. Back-counting from varroa drops is not easy/accurate if the efficacy of the treatment is variable.

I remember, once, buying two colonies (for the price of the hives) to get rid of a beekeeper on that site. Apistan (or Bayvarol) strips had been left on his colonies continuously. Both colonies failed, but I was better off without him and his colonies near my bees.

I very quickly realised the poor performance of apiguard in less than ideal conditions. I used to make up my own thymol treatment pads (on a similar, but not identical, recipe to Hivemaker Pete) and apply a sufficient dose to be effective - dependent on the prevailing conditions. Oxalic acid sublimation completely replaced the thymol pads and formic acid evaporators (multiple oxalic acid sublimations were not recommended, back then, for queen fecundity worries - so alternative treatments were needed during the year).

Legislation has made varroa control better for some (got rid of the numpty operators with crazy ideas?) but left those of us, capable of making sound decisions on treatment, without any lee-way.
 

Graymich 

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Its a shame that I didnt know better when I chose Apistan to rid my new nuc of mites - I believe that although it dropped a significant number of mites in the 6 weeks - it didnt do a good enough job and the infestation grew over the summer to make the next treatment only partially effective.
I didnt know about OA sublimation when they swarmed - (only 4 weeks after collecting the nuc) so after recapturing it, I just gave the swarm the remaining 2 weeks of Apivar. - If only I had my sublimox then.
I know the vendor supplied a nuc with lots of varroa and some DWV , however, they did tell me and made me promise to treat straight away - if I had known then what I know now I feel sure I could have resolved this issue much earlier.
The hives were set up for winter a couple of weeks ago.
All three WBC hives have all 10 frames full and fondant above the crownboard which is surrounded by insulation and a super of insulation on top of that (150mm)
They have open mesh floors and mouseguards - the inspection boards are still in till I finish checking on varroa drop for the next few days.
The hives are well shielded from the wind. Varroa count - 2 hives are down to 1 a day and the other is still at 30 a day - last and final sublimox vape was 2 days ago.

I am still thinking I will vape one more time end of December.

Thanks for all the advise and support everybody - much appreciated.
I did the the December vape on 13th December as it was a warm spell after a cold few days and so looked a good opportunity.
I am happy with 2 of the hives as they only dropped 1 or 2 varroa in the fist couple of days and now none for the last 4 weeks.
The 3rd hive is my concern and why I am posting this update. They dropped an average of 20 varroa a day for the 1st week after the December vape and an average of 5 a day for the the last 3 weeks. Should I vape again?
They have had a very intensive OA vape treatment so far - 6x vapes at 4 day intervals from 8/11 to 28/11 and then one more on 13/12.
 

pargyle 

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I did the the December vape on 13th December as it was a warm spell after a cold few days and so looked a good opportunity.
I am happy with 2 of the hives as they only dropped 1 or 2 varroa in the fist couple of days and now none for the last 4 weeks.
The 3rd hive is my concern and why I am posting this update. They dropped an average of 20 varroa a day for the 1st week after the December vape and an average of 5 a day for the the last 3 weeks. Should I vape again?
They have had a very intensive OA vape treatment so far - 6x vapes at 4 day intervals from 8/11 to 28/11 and then one more on 13/12.
Some colonies just seem to be prone to varroa infestation no matter what you do with them .. Dani had one like this but it was more in the season ... I'm a bit surprised that after that many treatments you are still seeing a drop of that size. Having said that - the recommended interval on here is 3 vapes x FIVE days .... which, if my maths and the life cycle serves me - catches the majority of mites emerging from the cells. If you did 4 days x 6 and fit that into the brood cycle you may, towards the end, be missing some of the emerging mites. That might explain the contunuing drop.

There is no harm in giving them another blast - it's over a month since your last treatment and the accelerated drop may give you an indication of the mite load better than just counting mites on the board as they stand. If you get a big drop after vaping then two more at 5 day intervals ... if it remains at 5 or less I would call it quits until the season starts when you can re-assess with a sugar roll and consider alternative treatments.
 

Graymich 

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Some colonies just seem to be prone to varroa infestation no matter what you do with them .. Dani had one like this but it was more in the season ... I'm a bit surprised that after that many treatments you are still seeing a drop of that size. Having said that - the recommended interval on here is 3 vapes x FIVE days .... which, if my maths and the life cycle serves me - catches the majority of mites emerging from the cells. If you did 4 days x 6 and fit that into the brood cycle you may, towards the end, be missing some of the emerging mites. That might explain the contunuing drop.

There is no harm in giving them another blast - it's over a month since your last treatment and the accelerated drop may give you an indication of the mite load better than just counting mites on the board as they stand. If you get a big drop after vaping then two more at 5 day intervals ... if it remains at 5 or less I would call it quits until the season starts when you can re-assess with a sugar roll and consider alternative treatments.
Thanks for the advise -I have given them another blast just now and will monitor the varroa drop over the next few days as you suggest.
and do 2 more at 5 day intervals if the drop is high.
 
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