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Author Topic: Excessive mites on first year hives!? Please Help!  (Read 1504 times)
psbeekeeper
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« on: August 02, 2009, 11:26:16 PM »

Hello,

I am a first year beekeeper so please go easy on me Shocked).  The other day I pulled out my screen bottom board and saw an a excessive amount of wax and pollen on it.  I didn't really think much of it, but then I looked closer and found these tiny little dots moving around.  I brushed them off and decided to check the next day.  When the next day came around I pulled out the bottom board and it was fulled off wax and also those little dots.  In the picture is over 20, but on the board was probably a lot more (50+) from 2 hives.  They were very hard to locate because of all of the wax.  Can you just verify for me that these are mites and not something else?  If so, is this an excessive amount of not?  I was checking some of the foraging bees and I didn't notice any on them (as to what I could see).  I am currently using mannlake PF-125 frames and a screen bottom board.  Am I doomed or should I not really worry about it?  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


« Last Edit: August 03, 2009, 04:09:55 AM by eivindm » Logged
RayMarler
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2009, 02:34:09 AM »

I don't see the pic posted yet, but sounds to me like it's probably mites. Most if not all hives have at least some. It's the time of year where the queen slows down laying eggs so brood size is shrinking. However, the mites are still going strong which causes a larger percentage of mites per amount of brood. This condition will increase for the rest of the year.

There are many ways of treating for mites and I'm sure others will chime in here. One way I can suggest is to create a period of broodlessness, which will help combat the increasing numbers of mites. Do this by caging your queen for 8 to 10 days, then go thru hive and destroy any queen cells if any, and release the queen. This will give you a period of broodlessness, which will cause all the mites to come out and break their brood cycle. As the queen starts laying again, she'll once again be increasing brood size which will outbreed the mites for fall brood build up.
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eivindm
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2009, 04:10:17 AM »

The pictures are now added.
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jfreeman1944
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2009, 09:01:18 AM »

The bugs are adult small hive beetles. Each one can lay hundreds of eggs that will usually hatch into larvae in 2 - 4 days. The larvae do the real damage to the hives. The larvae bore through the honey comb eating bee brood and honey. The larvae defecate as they go, causing the honey to ferment and leak from the comb. I'll post some pictures as soon as I figure how to do it.
* Be sure there are enough bees to cover every frame in the hive. Even if you have to store some frames in a freezer and remove a hive body.
* This is critical because it's the only way the bees can keep the beetles bunched into a corner or on the top cover. When the beetles are kept bunched up by the bees, they either do not lay or they eat their own eggs. Either way, few larvae are produced.
* When you open the hive for inspection, the bees and the beetles scatter. This is why many beetle eggs are laid right after an inspection. There must be more than enough bees on each comb to quickly herd the beetles back into a corner.
* You need to trap the adults. If you're handy in the shop, I may can help you build one.   Jerry
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c10250
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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2009, 09:03:46 AM »

Those are Varroa mites.  See the picture below.  All hives have them, it's just to what extent you have them.  I believe you start to treat when your average drop rate hits 25 per day.

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BjornBee
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 07:52:37 AM »

They are mites.

Until you have numbers to compare, and figure out if the mite counts are going up, going down, or maintaining, numbers are just numbers.

I would be concerned about the excessive amounts of wax on the sticky board after 24 hours as you indicated. This could be a sign or robbing (but you should know it, so it probably is not) or even the fact that they may be burning through their own honey stores. Wax usually does not accumulate in pieces without a reason.

This year, we are not really having a "dearth" period as with other years. So the natural brood break, and the associated mite break, may not be seen or benefitted from. I have hives that are raising brood right through summer while others have slowed down, and are starting again with the early goldenrod. The early goldenrod normally does not give much nectar (normally too dry), but this year with all the rain, there must be ample nectar as the bees are all over it.

Too many things happen within the hive that can effect a mite count on a single count. Brood stoppage, first cycle mite overload from the first series of brood raised after a stoppage, and even cleaning out of drone brood as they evict and stop drone production, are but a few. You should not focus on what happens on one day within the hive, but know whats happening from one week or one month to the next.
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2009, 07:37:59 PM »

Just seeing the pictures makes my scalp itch.
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psbeekeeper
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2009, 11:27:24 PM »

Quote
You should not focus on what happens on one day within the hive, but know whats happening from one week or one month to the next.
What would you recommend if the numbers would either stay the same? decrease? or increase?
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