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Author Topic: Should i medicate my bees?  (Read 1414 times)

Offline fern

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Should i medicate my bees?
« on: October 20, 2007, 07:56:16 PM »
I'm a beginner at this. I acquired two hives in May, and my bees appear healthy and hearty.  I did not harvest honey, but I am planning on it next season. I have a lot of questions, as I am just learning! I am in Massachusetts, and wondering what people in the area are using to medicate their bees. I purchased Apistan strips and terramycin patties, but have yet to apply them to my hives. I don't want to medicate them if I don't have to! What do you think? If I should, how and when do I apply?

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Should i medicate my bees?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2007, 08:07:46 PM »
If you are using standard sized foundation, you will need to take steps to keep the Varroa under control.  There are many options.  Apistan being the least useful one since the mites are all pretty much resistant to it now.  I have not used Terramycin since 1976.

No you don't have to medicate them, but you will have to do something to control Varroa.  The only 100% natural thing I've found is to use natural or small cell size (buy 4.9mm foundation or stop using foundation and use some kind of comb guide). 

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm

Assuming you haven't done that and assuming you don't really want to medicate with hard chemcals, then powdered sugar, thymol products (apilife var etc.) or oxalic acid would be a good plan.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm#varroa

http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm

If you don't see other problems then Varroa would be my only concern.
Michael Bush
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Offline Old Timer

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Re: Should i medicate my bees?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2007, 10:49:10 PM »
you might not need to treat for varoa. newer colonies are not a suseptible as oleder colonies are. do a sugar shake for each hive to see how heavy your mite load is before treating.

http://www.mannlakeltd.com/publications/PSsampling.pdf

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Should i medicate my bees?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2007, 01:14:41 AM »
The first year is pretty much a giveme.  There shouldn't be a sufficient buildup of varroa to threaten you bees whether treated or not.  I don't worry about treating hives the 1st year.  I watch them the 2nd year and if I notice varroa I will begin a series of sugar shakes.  After that it's survivor time.  I want bees that will develop hygenic traits and more or less neutralize the affects of varroa.  When I buy queens I buy them from a supplier who specializes in survivor bees. 

SBB and sugar shakes are the only varroa treatments I use, after that it's up to the bees to pull through.  The sugar shakes can delute the varroa buildup enough, usually, to allow the bees time to develop resistance.  If they can't develop a resistance after a few seasons of sugar shake treatments, then I don't want those bees anyway as they are not developing survivor traits.
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Offline JP

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Re: Should i medicate my bees?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2007, 09:42:52 PM »
Learn to work them without medicating, besides all insects to some degree become or already are resistant to what you use to medicate them with. Don't jump on the medicating bandwagon. Just my .02.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Should i medicate my bees?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2007, 08:37:51 AM »
I agree you should assess the mite load before doing anything.  I've just found doing nothing on normal foundation with typical queens to be disastrous.  Now get some small cell and/or some resistant queens, you might have a chance of not treating at all. I haven't treated most of my hives since 2002 and none of them since 2003 and I have trouble finding a Varroa mite to show a beginning beekeeping class, even on the SBB tray.
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