Treat all hives at once for varroa or as and when??

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Polyanwood 

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I think it would be best to treat all the hives in one apiary at the same time for varroa, but every year I crack and end up treating them bit by bit, because I'm worried about not getting the treatment with thymol/Apiguard completed whilst the weather is still warm and it is most effective.

First Apiguard went on today. Going to make up the Hivemaker thymol cooking oil mixture at the weekend and treat them all as soon as I can, even if it means moving supers full of bees around and some getting treated twice and some not at all.

What do other people do?
 

rae 

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We started one hive last weekend that was showing a pretty hefty varroa population - the rest are low, and we will start them next weekend. Honey flow is pretty much over, so they can keep whatever they find in the next few months for the winter.
 

oliver90owner 

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In essence, treating all at the same time must be best, but I take a more pragmatic view and do them all, but not necessarily starting at the same time - saying 'does it really matter that much?'

As long as they all have the treatment on the hive at the same time, the phoretic stage is being dumped in short order. The only reason for continued treatment is mopping all those emerging from the brood, and then a bit.

Technically if the stuff killed them all we would not need to treat for more than two weeks, if picking the time of the year when drone brood has been ousted. In practice some mites evade the treatment, so it is continued long enough to mop up those that survived initially (and got in brood about to be capped) and to be sure that any drone brood is catered for, within a simpistic time frame.

In other words the instructions are 'worst case scenario for highest efficacy' for even dummies to follow, without having any complications added.

They obviously need to be, as I can remember people who left the apistan strips in over winter!

I would like 95% kill or better, but what does that mean? We want the minimum mites left after the treatment. Doubtless the efficacy claims are true but may not be the norm!

If, when they rear their ugly heads above the parapet (at excessive levels), they will get an alternative treatment. Any treatment (however good it may be) will fail to keep the mite levels down if your bees are out robbing some poor weak hive which is loused out with varroa! Worse still if any bees from those collapsed colonies happen to get accepted into yours. So nothing can be guaranteed as even near perfect.

So try - but don't lose too much sleep over it.

Regards, RAB
 

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