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Skyhook 

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Just inspected. Now into week 7 of apiguard, down to about 45/day, so starting to make an impact. Only thing is- no eggs, no larvae, and a few dozen sealed brood. So the question is, has she stopped laying a) because of the apiguard, b) because it's normal for the time of year, c) because she's in her 3rd year (was assured in the summer by beeks at local assoc. that she was still good to go another year), or d) as her way of telling me I'm a rubbish beekeeper? There was still quite a good boxful of bees, so maybe that's ok and this is the overwintering generation?

Words of advice, comfort, solace all welcomed.
 

kazmcc 

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I'd hazard a guess at it being a mix of the first two. Don't worry just yet, wait until treatment is over and then have another look.

I have been told not to look during treatment, although I'm using Apilife.
 

Midland Beek 

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She's not there, that's why. No point in having a good box full of bees that might be queenless. You might have a new queen that hasn't started to lay yet.
 
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I noticed when I did three treatments, one after the other that laying stopped, so don't panic and don't let others panic you. If you are really worried and can get a test frame - pop one in...but only if you are truly worried.
 

Leigh 

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With just the one colony your options are very limited. If you had access to a frame of eggs, you could put it in to your broodless colony as a "test frame" - if the colony was queenless, they would try to rear another queen asap (although a queen reared this late wouldn't really help you).

If there is a virgin queen present who is likely to start laying in the next few days or week, you will see areas of very empty and very nicely cleaned and polished cells ready for laying - this would be a good sign.

So, if your old queen is still there but has just gone off laying, she will hopefully come back on. I've no experience of apiguard - have only used thymomite (till end of last season) and Home Made Thymol/oil mix on oasis. With the latter in my colonies, there has been no interruption of laying pattern - most still have 4 or so frames of brood with some newly laid up frames of eggs. I don't know what state a "normal" brood nest being treated with apiguard should be in.

Whether you have an old queen about to start laying, a new queen about to start laying, or no queen at all, this could be a tricky time. Hope for a new keen queen about to start laying. If you still have plenty of bees and room in the brood nest for brood, then plenty of new bees can be made...fingers crossed for a mild autumn. Finman has said on another post that late summer/autumn bees that have not been used for brood rearing will make it through the winter, so hopefully that will be on your side.

Good luck with them.
 

peteinwilts 

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it is quite normal for queens to go off laying whilst apiguarding... I inspected mine a couple of weeks ago, and the first 5 hives had no eggs or brood.... it was getting a bit late for the rest.

I relieved half of my hives of apiguard last week as counts were very low, but am still apiguarding others that are still dropping well.
 

peteinwilts 

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also... read your bees. if there is no queen, they will let you know..
 

peteinwilts 

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no... only as long as necesary.

have you closed your OMF, reduced your entrance and blocked up your roof vents?

also... are you feeding?? I 'believe' feeding whilst apiguarding can slow the effectiveness of Apiguard.

Have you been recording your drop counts?
 

Leigh 

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I've never used it, but the following link may be of use:

http://www.wimbledonbeekeepers.co.uk/APIGUARD FAQ.pdf

A quick scan of that seems to indicate that 6 weeks ought to be enough.

If you are still worried about varroa numbers, you could do worse (even if not worried) by treating with oxalic acid at the end of December. Halting your apiguard treatment now would give your queen a chance to get laying (if it is the apiguard that has stopped brood rearing) and get you some young bees for winter. As there will be virtually no brood being reared at the end of December, oxalic acid is supposed to have a very good chance of knocking the majority (95% I believe) of varroa down, as they can't shelter in capped brood cells.

You will have to balance the possibility of a few varroa still being present (which by your initial post looks as if it is still the case) leading to potentially less than stonking bees being reared, against the need for young bees to carry the colony through winter. You need these young bees, and even if slightly weakend/virus infected, they will at least give you a chance to see spring in with them and get them sorted.

I seem to be being rather long-winded here, but basically a weak colony in the spring is better than no colony.
 

Silly Bee 

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This year I have WBC's, solid floor. Difficult to do a head count.

Three hives thriving.

Vents shut, 2" entrance.

Next year I'm going to open mesh floors.
 

Skyhook 

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To try and answer all points in one- HM is definitely there, saw her this afternoon. I don't know what strain she is- her mother or grandmother was hawaiian, but I understand they raise the usual european strains there.

Mite drop was 30/day before treatment (which I would have addressed earlier if I'd known earlier), and has been around 80-100/day for 6 weeks of treatment, last 3 days have been around 40-50/day- hence torn between getting apiguard off and not leaving too many mites.

Started feeding about a week ago, as I'd wanted to winter them on thymolated syrup and they didn't understand and wanted to winter on ivy. They've probably taken about 1L from a 2L rapid feeder (ha ha)

So, if I take the apiguard out now, a) is there still time for her to lay, and b) will the remaining mites be a serious problem.

I'm nervous about using oxalic, as being in her 3rd year, it's quite likely she's had 2 doses already.
 

Skyhook 

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no... only as long as necesary.

have you closed your OMF, reduced your entrance and blocked up your roof vents?

also... are you feeding?? I 'believe' feeding whilst apiguarding can slow the effectiveness of Apiguard.

Have you been recording your drop counts?
Missed that in my mass reply. Floor in and top vent closed. Didn't put block in at first as I'd read that could be overkill- put it in about a fortnight ago. As stated above, drop 80-100/day all through.
 

Skyhook 

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If you are still worried about varroa numbers, you could do worse (even if not worried) by treating with oxalic acid at the end of December. Halting your apiguard treatment now would give your queen a chance to get laying (if it is the apiguard that has stopped brood rearing) and get you some young bees for winter. As there will be virtually no brood being reared at the end of December, oxalic acid is supposed to have a very good chance of knocking the majority (95% I believe) of varroa down, as they can't shelter in capped brood cells.

You will have to balance the possibility of a few varroa still being present (which by your initial post looks as if it is still the case) leading to potentially less than stonking bees being reared, against the need for young bees to carry the colony through winter. You need these young bees, and even if slightly weakend/virus infected, they will at least give you a chance to see spring in with them and get them sorted.

I seem to be being rather long-winded here, but basically a weak colony in the spring is better than no colony.
Don't apologise, really useful detailed answer. One of the things I don't know is how bad a drop of 45/day WITH APIGUARD is. Also, as HM is in her 3rd year, will she stand a 3rd application of OA?
 

Leigh 

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The daily drops you mention - does seem like you had a pretty heavy infestation. I have to admit that I don't know much about daily varroa drop - I rarely have the time to count each hive every day, but just assume (there will be some tut-tutting now!) that all my colonies have varroa and treat sprint and autumn with thymol, winter with oxalic.

However, my feeling with your situation is that if Apiguard is the reason you have no brood, then it is time to stop treatment so the queen can get laying. A varroa free colony that dies out during the winter comes a very bad second place to one that scrapes through to the spring with a few more critters that is ideal. You may get a slow start in the spring, but hopefully you'll be able to build them up in time to be of some use.

Hopefully someone else will add their opinion ref the varroa drop...just bear in mind the need for new young bees.

By the way, you were worried about oxalic and your 3 year old queen - you'll probably replace her next season anyway....so given the varroa drop now, I'd think it is worth doing the oxalic treatment at Chrimble.
 
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Skyhook, I fear the signs are not good for your colony. Main problem seems to be the treatment was not very effective. They clearly had a very high number of mites to begin with and I would have expected a few thousand mites to fall out in the first few days but you only report 80/100 per day. Not blocking up the ventilation was probably the main reason but did you use the stuff correctly? Tray above brood resting on the top bars with a decent gap above it?

You have also I fear started feeding far too late, by about a month. Had you fed earlier it should have induced brood rearing. I see no reason not to feed and treat at the same time - better to feed than not at all.

However, you should still do what you can to get them through the winter and a treat of OA is essential I suggest given the continuing high levels of varroa you have.
 

Skyhook 

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Skyhook, I fear the signs are not good for your colony. Main problem seems to be the treatment was not very effective. They clearly had a very high number of mites to begin with and I would have expected a few thousand mites to fall out in the first few days but you only report 80/100 per day. Not blocking up the ventilation was probably the main reason but did you use the stuff correctly? Tray above brood resting on the top bars with a decent gap above it?

You have also I fear started feeding far too late, by about a month. Had you fed earlier it should have induced brood rearing. I see no reason not to feed and treat at the same time - better to feed than not at all.

However, you should still do what you can to get them through the winter and a treat of OA is essential I suggest given the continuing high levels of varroa you have.
The reason I haven't fed is they've had quite a bit of stores (never less than 4 frames), and I didn't want to leave no space for brood. They've found enough bits and bob's to keep levels up, and are now in to the ivy.

It sounds as if my best bet is to get the apiguard off now, and hope she puts on a late spurt. As there's almost no brood, would it be worth sugaring when I take it off, to knock down stragglers? and how much do you use?
 
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