To treat or not to treat?

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JellyBee 

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I've had my bees for almost a month now. I was informed that they had been treated for varroa before I got them. Do I need to do anything now or just leave them to get on with things? And if I need to treat then what's the best way?

Thanks for any advice
 

SimonB 

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My first thought would be to try to find out from your supplier what the treatment consisted of, only then can you probably decide whether any further treatment is necessary and what type.

If it was me I might use a non-chemical based test, eg icing sugar, to get a feel for the current infestation. However I have had bees for about as long as you, so maybe not the best person to give advice.
 

Ruary 

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My first thought would be to try to find out from your supplier what the treatment consisted of, only then can you probably decide whether any further treatment is necessary and what type.
Yes, this makes sense but thetreatment must have been given in june/july, which is very early for treating bees going into winter.

If it was me I might use a non-chemical based test, eg icing sugar, to get a feel for the current infestation. However I have had bees for about as long as you, so maybe not the best person to give advice.
Yes, icing sugar might give you an idea about varroa load but it is not suitable as a treatment going into winter.
One of the main ideas about autumn treatment is to reduce varroa numbers to a minimum before the 'winter bees' are hatched, this is in order to reduce the viral load on the bee colony so as to prolong the lives of these winter bees.
Ruary
 

Monsieur Abeille 

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I've had my bees for almost a month now. I was informed that they had been treated for varroa before I got them. Do I need to do anything now or just leave them to get on with things? And if I need to treat then what's the best way?

Thanks for any advice
Treating for varroa doesn't elimiate varroa, it simply gets the numbers down. During his treatment, whatever it was, there may well have been hundreds of the little bleeders already capped.

If it was over a month ago then its unlikely hes done the thymol mix/apiguard/apilife var treatment, which seems about the only thing that everyone agrees here is a good thing.

From my wealth of six months experince I'd definitely suggest starting the month long treatment of one of those products as soon as possible.
 

Brosville 

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As a great many "natural beekeepers" will attest "icing sugar might give you an idea about varroa load but it is not suitable as a treatment going into winter" is just not true - it's all many of us use (with great success)
 

oliver90owner 

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Where varroa is concerned you never "just leave them to get on with things"

Varroa is an ongoing problem and is not likely to go away in the near future. It's build -up can be rapid and needs to be controlled below the levels advised by FERA.

As per usual, just the barest of details.

Was this a full colony, a swarm (primary or secondary), a nuc?

What are they housed in? OMF? How big is the colony?

Results of mite drop check? Results of drone brood checks?

All these things may have a bearing on what to do, when to do it and how to do it.

I would anticipate there being some loading and some form of thymol treatment would likely be appropriate.

Further than that, all we know is they were treated for varroa more than a month ago. Let's assume it was this season, so could have been from late April onwards, or even earlier, depending on the treatment.

Hope this helps for a start.

Regards, RAB
 

Stiffy 

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I've had my bees for almost a month now. I was informed that they had been treated for varroa before I got them. Do I need to do anything now or just leave them to get on with things? And if I need to treat then what's the best way?

Thanks for any advice
One of my first Nuc's was bought from a well known and infamous commercial bee breeder and he advertises that the Nuc's are all treated before leaving him. The Nuc didnt grow and it wasnt until I had them inspected that I found they were riddled with varroa!
I would suggest that you treat with a Thymol based treatment, Hivemakers syrup or Apiguard and watch the little varroa bxxxxxrs fall, it just isnt worth not doing so.
Cheers
S
 

Rosti 

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Jellybee, I can not reconcile that any 'varroa treatment' administered in july to a viable nuc would have had much impact - unless the bees you have purchased are a hived swarm and were oxalic treated before and significant brood was laid down. If that is the case (check with you supplier) then there may be a case for not treating now. You don't give background on the source of your bees?

With regard Brossvilles comments, let me add some balance. Brosville is very comfortable with his approach to beekeeping and is willing to limit his treatment options to maintain his values. Unless you share his views then you don't need to. Thymol based treatment (and oxalic for that matter) are both widely recognised as giving reasonable results under the right conditions with tollerable adverse affects to the bees.

With one young colony and winter coming up I would suggest ensuring you still have your colony intact come April 2011 is a higher priority than adopting someone elses values!

Your decision to treat comes back to what varroa drop you are currently seeing considered with a background of 'what bees' did you purchase and what 'treatment' did they really get prior to sale. If in doubt I would treat now so that you still have time mid / late september to start feeding that single colony up for winter.
 

dolbz 

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With one young colony and winter coming up I would suggest ensuring you still have your colony intact come April 2011 is a higher priority than adopting someone elses values!
:iagree: I also only have a single colony and reducing varroa to an absolute minimum is a priority for me so I am using Apiguard even though there hasn't been much in the way of varroa drop leading up to the treatment.

While I would prefer to reduce chemicals/invasive treatments there is no way I'm going to risk losing my single colony to methods that aren't fully researched/proven to work long term when there are viable and reliable alternatives.

For what it's worth I was getting a drop of about 1 or 2 mites a week in the couple of weeks leading up to treatment. After 6 days of treatment there were 60+ mites and there's lots of sealed brood so I expect many more.
 

JellyBee 

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OK, sorry for lack of information, I'm still new to the forum and was just seeking some basic advice!

It was a nuc of 5 frames from Fragile Planet. They have now expanded to fill 2more frames, hardly any drone brood, lots of worker brood and stores, in a national hive, open mesh floor

I haven't seen any mites yet but I do realise that's doesn't mean there aren't any of the little bargers in there.

A huge thank you to the people who have given good advice, I will read and take note.



Rab, I'm not totally dumb, just new! Sarcastic comments are what puts new people off asking questions. A simple " please could you give a bit more information" rather than a sarcastic "As per usual, just the barest of details" would have been sufficient.
 

oliver90owner 

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Very sorree. rather than a sarcastic "As per usual, just the barest of details" would have been sufficient.

Only stating fact. Not sarcastic - the truth. Usual problem in helping anyone, is that; not having anywhere enough information. Hope others read and take note, too.

I'm not totally dumb, just new! Are you suggesting I said that? I think not.

One of my questions was: Results of mite drop check? Results of drone brood checks?

Until we know what size the colony, its likely make-up, age, etc, we have no idea as to what checks you might or might not have done. Nuc - not likely to be much drone brood unless it was a nuc thrown together by the supplier immediately before despatch (may have a lot of varroa in drone brood). Full colony - you should have checked the drone brood when received.

I can understand you may not have known anything before you sourced your bees - it happens quite often these days, but by the same token, you may have studied deeply but that was not indicated by the nature your post.

I will reply in my simple blunt way. You can take on board my comments or ignore them. That is entirely up to you.

Now the aforementioned may well be able to offer some more sound advice, now they know what they are dealing with.

RAB
 

Polyanwood 

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This thread is making me wonder about whether I will bother with Oxalic this Winter. I do regular drone culling and have never seen a varroa all Summer. I am in the middle of Hivemaker's oasis thymol treatment and on they trays with the most, have seen 5 varroa after a week. On visual inspection, I have seen only one varroa sitting on a bee over the whole year.

On the other hand Finman is right. Oxalic has been tested, so should be safe.

The question then....

What level of varroa drop per week, while thymol/ Apiguard is on, is low enough to mean it is not necessary to treat with oxalic in the Winter?

Karin
 

Rosti 

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This thread is making me wonder about whether I will bother with Oxalic this Winter. I do regular drone culling and have never seen a varroa all Summer. I am in the middle of Hivemaker's oasis thymol treatment and on they trays with the most, have seen 5 varroa after a week. On visual inspection, I have seen only one varroa sitting on a bee over the whole year.

On the other hand Finman is right. Oxalic has been tested, so should be safe.

The question then....

What level of varroa drop per week, while thymol/ Apiguard is on, is low enough to mean it is not necessary to treat with oxalic in the Winter?

Karin
I think that could be a 'how longs the string answer' Surely drop depends on where you are in the brood cycle and a cumulative kill on brood emerging, hence the 1 month treatment cycle. I assume that drop will occur as 'episodes' rather than as a consistent event. I have a similar experience this year, no noticeable drop, failure to find them in culled drone brood. I still think the impact of a high varroa infestation is worse than the possible affects of the treatment and of course that would occur exactly when it becomes almost impossible to treat effectively April - July. You are left with icing sugar because you dont want to contaminate honey over that period. Mine are on thymol now and will get their traditional Xmas present as well.
 

susbees 

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Icing sugar....or eucalyptus soaked balsa strips. Still trying to find a scientific study on this but one of our local big beekeepers uses nothing else and won't touch oxalic with a barge pole citing beekeeper deaths in Canada using vaporisers.
 

Moggs 

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Hi JellyBee. Welcome to the world of beekeeping. I note that you have been somewhat ruffled by RAB's 'concise' reply and observations. If it helps, I should point out that there are some 'dyed in the wool' sages on here that give very freely of their advice and loads of time on this forum. I suspect that RAB's comments were borne out of some frustration at trying to put together a helpful response but without the certain facts that would be so helpful to that cause. I have to remind myself to provide oodles of detail, if a truly helpful response is expected. I can't think of a better place to get such expert help and I am very grateful for the mentoring on here. Good luck (Moggs - 0 to 200,000 bees in 4 months - eek!).
 

Monsieur Abeille 

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I can't think of a better place to get such expert help and I am very grateful for the mentoring on here.
:iagree:As one who has also felt the sharp end of an acerbic toungue on this forum, I can echo that. It's normally more a "call a spade a spade" attitude rather than intentional rudeness. If falling foul again I'll grin and bear it (cursing heavily under breath) and welcome whatever advice is given, in whatever form it appears.
 

madasafish 

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Anyone who gets uspet at general tone on an internet forum - as opposed to personal abuse which is unacceptable - should realise this forum is a haven of good humour and manners.

If the poster gets uspet about the tone of replies, may I suggest they get out and see what other forums say..
 

tonybloke 

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Anyone who gets uspet at general tone on an internet forum - as opposed to personal abuse which is unacceptable - should realise this forum is a haven of good humour and manners.

If the poster gets uspet about the tone of replies, may I suggest they get out and see what other forums say..

fora, surely? ;)
 

barratt_sab 

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fora, surely? ;)
I think that depends on where and when you are speaking, doesn't it?

In ancient Rome, I think you would direct someone to the fora.

In "Modern English", Fowler places "forum" in the list of -um Latin nouns that have completed their conversion to English and so always take “ums” in the plural. Other notables on the list his include:

album
harmonium
museum
pendulum
premium

and, most appropriately for this post:

asylum

If this doesn't get me banned, nothing will :eek:
 
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