This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mite Treatments Now

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This larvae has a high Varroa count. The rest of the brood in this colony will be just as bad. Varroa weakens the bees immune system and will kill a colony.
Beekeepers around the Midwest are treating their bees for Varroa mites. The time to treat for mites is over the next two weeks. If the treatments are put on a colony too late, the bees may not survive the winter. Bees that emerge from now until October are winter bees. Winter bees need to be as mite free as possible to be able to handle the rigors of our extreme winters.
 In the hive as time goes on, Varroa populations can increase dramatically. What starts as a relatively low population of mites in early August, can explode exponentially by late Sept or early October. Hives with high Varroa populations may look great in early October, but when the beekeeper comes back to wrap the colony for winter only to discover all the bees are gone. This is one symptom of Varroa. Late season absconding.
 Bees have around fifteen different viruses that lay dormant in their bodies. High mite loads cause these dormant viruses to come out. Bees are dramatically weakened by high mite loads and if the bees do not abscond in fall they will usually succumb to a virus in late winter.
By doing a mite treatment now and following up with a mite treatment of Oxalic Acid in late October will greatly increase the health and survival  of a colony of bees. Some beekeepers want to use Oxalic Acid all the time. Too many treatments of Oxalic Acid on bees can kill them. The pic above illustrates a high Varroa infestation in the brood cells. Oxalic Acid has no effect on mites in cells. That is why Oxalic Acid only works well in late October when there is no brood in the colony and all the mites are on the bees themselves.
Mite treatments to use during August are Mite Away Quick Strips, ApiGuard, or ApiVar. I have a previous post a week or so ago explaining these mite treatments in detail.
 Beekeepers that don't treat their bees are part of the problem. Their bees have high mite loads and will infest their neighbors hive with their mites. Be a good neighbor and treat your colonies now.
 The daily temperatures after Wednesday in the upcoming week looks perfect for Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) treatments.