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Author Topic: Tracheal mites  (Read 3516 times)
Bill W.
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« on: October 02, 2008, 12:02:15 AM »

I dissected thirty bees this afternoon - ten from my hive that is having problems, ten from my strongest hive, and ten from a recent cut-out.  It took me a while to get the process worked out, but once you figure out how to remove the head and cervical structure properly, getting at the tracheal tubes is pretty easy.

The results were dramatic.  Practically nothing for my strongest hive (in fact, it may really have been nothing, but there were some suspicious dark patches, which might represent scarring or dead mites), practically nothing from the cut-out (two bees had what I think is minor mite infestation), and terribly clogged, scarred, darkened tissue in all of the bees from the sick hive.  I would also swear there is fungus in there, but I will have to confirm that by preparing a slide for higher magnification tomorrow.

So, I have a bad case of tracheal mites and I guess I should treat them with a miticide.  The question is: do I treat all my hives, or just the sick one?  Should I expect this to spread, or is this an opportunistic infestation of a hive that is genetically vulnerable or already weakened by another factor?
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MacfromNS
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2008, 06:39:50 AM »

Would you not start with more testing???
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Bill W.
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2008, 09:31:20 AM »

It took me a long time to do 30 bees and, while the sample size is definitely small, the results were pretty compelling (at least for the failing hive.)

Whether or not I would do more testing on the other hives depends on how easily TMs spread from hive to hive.  If I am likely to have an epidemic of TM, then I might as well just treat them all.  If it is likely to largely stay isolated to already infested hives, then I would test all my hives and treat only those that are badly infested.
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Robo
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2008, 10:23:38 AM »

It depends on what your ultimate goal is.   If you want to rid yourself with dealing with tracheal mites, then do nothing and the survivors will be tracheal mite resistant.  If you want to keep treating year after year,  then you might as well treat them all as it will be hard to tell resistant vs non-resistant hives.

I'm sure it is not the answer you were looking for,  but I think you will find a majority of the folks here do not treat for tracheal mites.  It can be painful and perhaps costly at first,  but in the long run most would agree have resistant stock is the best answer.

good luck.

rob....
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Bill W.
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2008, 06:00:11 PM »

Yes - my goal is to breed resistant bees, but I'd rather not lose the hive, so I think I will medicate and requeen, with the goal of discontinuing medication once I have a more resistant strain going.  Given their current poor state, the may not make it long enough for me to requeen successfully anyway.

As for the rest of the hives, my uncertainty stems from whether or not the rest of the hives have likely been exposed and are therefore more resistant, or whether they have simply not been exposed, subjecting me to a sudden spread of mites through all my hives.
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2008, 07:07:25 PM »

Sounds like a good plan.  There are plenty of queen breeders selling tracheal mite resistant queens.  I have only treated for tracheal mites once, many years ago.   I treated with menthol and the bees hated it.  They moved out and clustered on the front of the hive for days.   I thought sure they were going to abscond.



Good luck,  I hope you can keep them going until you can requeen.

Rob....
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2008, 12:08:47 AM »

Another way to treat for trachael mites, if they are the problem, is to put mint, eucalyptus, or menthol producing plant leaves in the hive.  The bees won't run from them as much and will clean house, thereby exposing themselves to the natrual menthol and suppressing the mites.
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2008, 07:22:51 AM »

I have heard similar methods of placing a few Hall's menthol cough drops on the top of the frames.   I have also heard claims from others that there is not enough menthol to eradicate the mites.   Perhaps such methods work as a preventative method, but I would worry that the dosage is too small for a hive fully infected and on the decline.
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rast
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2008, 07:52:08 PM »

 Just wondering Bill W. did you see any "K WING" symptoms.
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2008, 08:02:52 PM »

I have never treated for any mites T or V, to get risistant  in your bee's you have to be willing to take loses, if you cant then by all mean treat the hives, I mostly thought T-mites was almost gone but seems some bee's still cant take them, I say if they make it put a queen or cell in that hive from the hives that show resistance. and if you can remember where that hive came from if bought do buy there again until they are prove T-mite resistant... just my 2 pennies worth
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2008, 09:10:43 PM »

>So, I have a bad case of tracheal mites and I guess I should treat them with a miticide.

No.  Miticides do not work on tracheal mites.  The treatment for tracheal mites is menthol.  But I think the real cure is resistant queens.

>  The question is: do I treat all my hives, or just the sick one? 

Obviously the others are resistant so there is no reason to treat them.

>Should I expect this to spread, or is this an opportunistic infestation of a hive that is genetically vulnerable or already weakened by another factor?

It is a matter of genetic susceptibility.  Requeen.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2008, 09:08:41 PM »

Any opinions on how well Apiguard kills trachael mites?  I use Apiguard for Varroa mites, and it's supposed to be effective on trachearl mites also.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2008, 06:12:52 AM »

Apiguard has the same mechanism as menthol and I'm pretty sure it will kill tracheal mites as will FGMO fog.  Grease patties won't kill them but will keep the population down.  The real solution is bees resistant to the tracheal mites, which has been proven easy enough to breed for.  As long as you treat you perpetuate the problem by perpetuating genetically inferior bees that can't survive the real problems faced by bees.  As long as beekeepers keep treating we will continue to have tracheal mite problems.
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Michael Bush
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Bill W.
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2008, 12:58:16 PM »

Well, I tried menthol, but I guess I was too late.   Sad  The dwindling continued until only the queen and a tiny number of workers were left.  Not a tragedy, given their genetics, although I would have liked to save a good colony of workers to requeen.  Live and learn.  Next time I should recognize the symptoms more easily.

I dropped the queen in my tincture jar, bagged and froze the remaining bees for later analysis, and packed away the combs for next year.
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