Sugar shake just makes it easier to get an accurate count of the mites. So far I've been pretty lucky, so perhaps someone with more experience could chime in on treatment methods/timing? I do know that the best time to treat is after the queen has stopped laying in the fall, since mites incubate in brood comb, especially drone comb. If you treat with capped brood in the hive, you'll miss a lot of the mites.
We took about 25 pounds of honey from our test hive today. There was a lot more, but we got a late start, and the going was slow. We had one broken comb that mashed a few of the girls, but other than a brief warning buzz when that happened, they were very sweet today. My husband got a graze on one hand, but it appeared to be an accident.
The comb was almost 2 inches in many places, and we got 3 varieties of honey: clover, clover/honeysuckle mix, and a dark floral blend that had hints of alfalfa and honey locust. We didn't put an excluder in this hive, and that would have helped greatly. There was a lot of brace comb and cross-comb, hence the broken pieces. I guess this is just one of those hives that can't /won't build straight no matter what we do. Oh well. Other than that we seemed to have no problems. The rest will come off tomorrow, and we'll see how the brood nest looks.
My conclusions so far? We should have checked them sooner, to know that they needed another super, and also by leaving them alone after the initial set-up, they went back to their crazy comb building, something I would have caught in another hive. Other than that, all seems well with these girls.