Oxalic with supers on.

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jenkinsbrynmair 

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I didn't treat for varroa last year, on the advice of one local beekeeper who runs teaching courses and I spent a day with him last summer; he told me to wait till January to use oxalic acid. But in Jan was too cold and wet to open hive so he told me to do it now. My friend who has never treated for varroa has only ever lost one colony in 40 years and that was to wasps, this last autumn. Thank you everyone for all your replies.
I'm afraid he gave you duff advice from the outset, you should have treated in September, and if you were going to treat in the winter, mid December is the time - Christmas time at the latest, by January you've missed the boat and to advise to do it now, well, it's obvious his knowledge is sadly lacking.
Only thing I can suggest is find someone who has OA vapourising kit, and give them a three dose blast.
 

Apple 

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Ignore Apple (this time) - he should have added a devil emoji.
Exceedingly disingenuous to mock me like that if you had the wit to look up the use of rhubarb in beekeeping and had the nouse to test it for yourself as I indeed have you would find it does indeed reduce varroa down to acceptable levels and can be use when supering off for honey.

Met Randy Oliver at the BIBBA conference in Douglas IoM a few years ago.... introduced him to Doom Bar... the pub we frequented there was selling off a barrel of the famous Cornish Beer.. and was as good if not better than the Ockkells!
I wish Randy the best with his cancer and trust he gets the best treatment and gets well soon.




Gol Piran Lowen
Chons da
 

Ian123 

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My friend who has never treated for varroa has only ever lost one colony in 40 years and that was to wasps, this last autumn. Thank you everyone for all your replies.
Ok please this is not directed at yourself. Your friend must be the greatest beekeeper to set foot on this earth! And utter rubbish. Just take your friends advice with a very big pinch of salt!!
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Exceedingly disingenuous to mock me like that if you had the wit to look up the use of rhubarb in beekeeping
Not as disingenuous as feeding that kind of trash to beginners when you are well aware that apart from that one obscure and unsupported article there is little science or evidence out there to back your claims.
 

hemo 

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Might as well use tomato leaves for formic acid content !!!
 

The Poot 

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I didn't treat for varroa last year, on the advice of one local beekeeper who runs teaching courses and I spent a day with him last summer; he told me to wait till January to use oxalic acid. But in Jan was too cold and wet to open hive so he told me to do it now. My friend who has never treated for varroa has only ever lost one colony in 40 years and that was to wasps, this last autumn. Thank you everyone for all your replies.
Where in Dorset are you? Have you made contact with your local association- I’m sure they could put you in touch with someone with vaping gear. I’m in Dorset, but not West and would be happy to help if lockdown rules allowed.
 

ericbeaumont 

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the advice of one local beekeeper who runs teaching courses and I spent a day with him last summer; he told me to wait till January to use oxalic acid. But in Jan was too cold and wet to open hive so he told me to do it now.
DNB, you're at the stage of zero experience and must resist the urge to follow the instructions of others without asking questions, checking out further info., thinking of the consequences, asking around and making your own decision.

Fact: OA in winter is applied at the point when the nest is thought to be broodless; in this state varroa will be living on the bees and so prey to treatment.

The most likely broodless phase is at about the winter solstice - December 21 - but your particular weather will determine whether to treat then or thereabouts. If it's mild in December then brood is likely to be present, and if cold for a month then it would be worth treating, but by now colonies will have sealed brood and it's a waste of time and disturbance and with zero benefit.

Have you read much?
Get hold of the Haynes Bee Manual.
Read The Apiarist website of practical & technical information.
Use Dave Cushman's A-Z of the same.
Watch the Norfolk Honey Company tutorial videos on Youtube.
 

DorsetNewBee 

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DNB, you're at the stage of zero experience and must resist the urge to follow the instructions of others without asking questions, checking out further info., thinking of the consequences, asking around and making your own decision.

Fact: OA in winter is applied at the point when the nest is thought to be broodless; in this state varroa will be living on the bees and so prey to treatment.

The most likely broodless phase is at about the winter solstice - December 21 - but your particular weather will determine whether to treat then or thereabouts. If it's mild in December then brood is likely to be present, and if cold for a month then it would be worth treating, but by now colonies will have sealed brood and it's a waste of time and disturbance and with zero benefit.

Have you read much?
Get hold of the Haynes Bee Manual.
Read The Apiarist website of practical & technical information.
Use Dave Cushman's A-Z of the same.
Watch the Norfolk Honey Company tutorial videos on Youtube.
 

DorsetNewBee 

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Thank you for your reply, I am indeed resisting the urge to blindly follow the instructions of others without further research - hence my questions! Very helpful suggestions re reading material and yes I have watched pretty much all the videos from the Norfolk Honey. Company. Best wishes and again many thanks.
 

DorsetNewBee 

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I'm afraid he gave you duff advice from the outset, you should have treated in September, and if you were going to treat in the winter, mid December is the time - Christmas time at the latest, by January you've missed the boat and to advise to do it now, well, it's obvious his knowledge is sadly lacking.
Only thing I can suggest is find someone who has OA vapourising kit, and give them a three dose blast.
Thank you - I will know for next time. Best wishes.
 

DorsetNewBee 

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Where in Dorset are you? Have you made contact with your local association- I’m sure they could put you in touch with someone with vaping gear. I’m in Dorset, but not West and would be happy to help if lockdown rules allowed.
That is very kind of you. Yes I have joined the local association and I did ring one of the committee for advice; she told me to check for varroa on the base board, which I have done - and have not found any. Many thanks for your reply.
 

Erichalfbee 

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That is very kind of you. Yes I have joined the local association and I did ring one of the committee for advice; she told me to check for varroa on the base board, which I have done - and have not found any. Many thanks for your reply.
If that’s the advice you got perhaps you need to look for another association. One where the committee members know that looking for varroa on the inspection board is in no way a good indication of Infestation.
 

Gilberdyke John 

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I didn't treat for varroa last year, on the advice of one local beekeeper who runs teaching courses and I spent a day with him last summer; he told me to wait till January to use oxalic acid. But in Jan was too cold and wet to open hive so he told me to do it now. My friend who has never treated for varroa has only ever lost one colony in 40 years and that was to wasps, this last autumn. Thank you everyone for all your replies.
As a newbie it appears you found yourself at the mercy of someone (possibly more than one) who gave you some pretty poor advice.
While there could be a relatively light varroa load in a new hive populated with a swarm the emphasis is on the could. Unless you were closely and regularly (weekly) mentored (from social distancing) you would have had difficulty in assessing varoa loading. On that basis alone I would have simply told you to treat in the warm days of autumn with Apiguard or Apilife Var rather than risk going into winter with compromised bees. Similarly an Oxalic based treatment in midwinter would have been a normal beginners training procedure. If you trickle treat with a dispenser bottle it takes a few seconds per seam of bees so having prepared things first you crack the crown board seal, lift off, treat and put it quickly back. If you use sublimation to apply the OA it's even shorter time required with the hive open. A brief break in the weather is sufficient to treat one hive.
Beekeeping is a mixture of art and science but the science should predominate. Use logic and rigour to sift out and discard the dross from what people tell you and don't assume someone who has had bees for a long time is necessarily giving good advice. The bees may have been struggling to cope with the conditions inflicted upon them during their residence.for all that time. Remember the old adage the bees succeeded DESPITE the actions of the beekeeper.
There's good advice in the Beekeeping Forum but you still need to sift what is said. You'll pretty soon get to recognise which posters to listen to and which to ignore🤔.
 

Apple 

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Remember the old adage the bees succeeded DESPITE the actions of the beekeeper.

That is one fact that can not be disputed.... however NOT treating for Varroa can lead to a disaster..... as so many have found.
To smugly sit back and dismiss solutions to the problem is not of any help.

The daftest anti varroa device must have been the small plastic thing attached to the underside of the hive!



Chons da
 

DorsetNewBee 

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As a newbie it appears you found yourself at the mercy of someone (possibly more than one) who gave you some pretty poor advice.
While there could be a relatively light varroa load in a new hive populated with a swarm the emphasis is on the could. Unless you were closely and regularly (weekly) mentored (from social distancing) you would have had difficulty in assessing varoa loading. On that basis alone I would have simply told you to treat in the warm days of autumn with Apiguard or Apilife Var rather than risk going into winter with compromised bees. Similarly an Oxalic based treatment in midwinter would have been a normal beginners training procedure. If you trickle treat with a dispenser bottle it takes a few seconds per seam of bees so having prepared things first you crack the crown board seal, lift off, treat and put it quickly back. If you use sublimation to apply the OA it's even shorter time required with the hive open. A brief break in the weather is sufficient to treat one hive.
Beekeeping is a mixture of art and science but the science should predominate. Use logic and rigour to sift out and discard the dross from what people tell you and don't assume someone who has had bees for a long time is necessarily giving good advice. The bees may have been struggling to cope with the conditions inflicted upon them during their residence.for all that time. Remember the old adage the bees succeeded DESPITE the actions of the beekeeper.
There's good advice in the Beekeeping Forum but you still need to sift what is said. You'll pretty soon get to recognise which posters to listen to and which to ignore🤔.
Thank you for this. The frustrating thing is that I HAD been reading and watching videos, I bought the oxalic acid in October and asked my local beekeeper when I should use it and he advised new year. So I missed the opportunity. I made a jar for checking for varroa with the sugar roll method but again hesitated in case I was doing it at the wrong time. I did everything to prevent wasp and woodpecker and mouse damage but the oxalic treatment, being more invasive, I felt unsure of going ahead with without somebody who knows more than me telling me I was choosing the right moment. This forum is very helpful and I appreciate all the advice from you and others.
 

DorsetNewBee 

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Dorset New Bee

Read and read and then read a bit more. Question everything you read and ask is it for the bee's benefit or for for the beekeepers. Discard 3/4 of the information you have read because it's outdated, based on poor science or just generally crap advice all passed on as the only true way of beekeeping. When discussing honey harvests and overwinter survival rates take figures with a pinch of salt. When they sound unbelievable they probably are.

Work out a strategy for you and your location. Start opening the hive once its warm enough (probably late March / early April for you but weather dependent) and then potentially perform regular inspections until swarming is less likely (July ish). If they are lacking in food feed them, if they are lacking in space add a super, check varroa levels and treat as needed. Work with the bees and the weather conditions rather than to a strict calendar for feeding, putting supers on / harvesting and treating.

Read and search the forum. it is an excellent source of information and guidance. The majority of the guidance on here is constructive, but ultimately it depends on where you live and your preferred approach to keeping bees. You can soon work out who to take notice of and who to skip over.

I know this is a great oversimplification, but does get easier, promise!!
Thank you very much for your wise reply.
 

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