Oxalic now?

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Queen Bee
May 19, 2010
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Further to my previous thread about being virtually broodless after 6 weeks of apiguard-


Repwoc has raised the question about whether I should oxalic now? This would have the advantage of not having to disturb them in winter, but might it upset HM even more and stop her coming back into lay?
If you know that there is no brood, oxalic dripling is good.
If they have brood, oxalic will not work.
If you know that there is no brood, oxalic dripling is good.
If they have brood, oxalic will not work.

Thanks Finman. They have perhaps 100 cells sealed brood and no larvae, so in about 1 week should have no sealed brood. I'm hoping the queen will start laying again now the apiguard is off- might the oxalic put her off?
Apiguard will often reduce the queens laying activity or, more probably, stop it altogether over such an extended period as you have used it. Oxalic now will not help the situation either. I suggest you leave them alone for 2 to 3 weeks to become active with foraging while the weather is still good enough, in which time I reckon your Q will get going well enough to produce just about enough eggs and brood to get through to Xmas and beyond. Only use oxalic at Xmas and then only if the varroa situation is so poor that they really do need it, making sure you feed with fondant at the same time too. After 7 weeks of Apiguard they may manage with nothing more. Treatment can be overdone!!!
Only use oxalic at Xmas and then only if the varroa situation is so poor that they really do need it

Why only at Xmas?

How will it be apparent (at Xmas) that the varroa situation is poor?

I understand that these bees have a heavy mite load (even after a prolonged Apiguard treatment) and hardly any sealed brood. Seemed like a good opportunity to knock the mites on the head with one short OA treatment.

I've no idea what effect OA will have on the Q laying. I do think that, with a heavy mite load now, any new brood will become heavily infested with mites (because of the mites:brood ratio) with subsequently weakened winter bees emerging.
There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary,and those who don't.

Afermo - do you frequent the Accpac forums?
If they have been hammered with Apiguard, do you need to dribble over them too?
Why only at Xmas?

Because study evidence suggests it is the optimum time of year for treatment in that
a. brood is most likely to be absent
b. bees are firmly established in their winter cluster so you can dose with some confidence of it finding its target rather than 'comb'
c. most effective reduction in varroa numbers which can then only be on the adults (yeh, sort of a. re-stated I know)

Short of a depth of winter inspection to confirm broodless that would do more harm than good received wisdom seems a pretty good alternative. I would have thought a 'less cold' day sometime / any time in Jan would do the trick.

Boxing day is favourite of course since it also happens to coincide with sloe gin being available which is very effective at deceiving beeks into not thinking they are getting cold whilst administering said OA :D

Its not the only time of year though. I routinely dose with OA if I get a swarm before HM goes into lay. Got 5 this year, dosed all 5 and all 5 survived and flourished, including the queens.
Trickling works when the bees are in their winter cluster. That is the accepted method. Trickling will not work when the bees are active because the small amount of syrup will not have opportunity to work its way over all the bees.

Instead, spray lactic acid/water solution. That is the accepted method for broodless bees that are not in their winter cluster.

Kind of common sense, isn't it?
MB surely OA dribbled on a cool spring evening to pre-treat a swarm that is housed, has balled for the night and wont be going anywhere till morning is a reasonable alternative?
Bees need not to be in cluster. When you give a trickling it does not take many minutes when the cluster is widely spread in the hive.