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Author Topic: Something to chew on  (Read 2333 times)
bassman1977
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« on: July 01, 2005, 05:42:14 PM »

Alright, I must have the world's most stupid bees.  For at least a month I have had a second brood box with no luck in drawing comb, after hour parties, or ANYTHING.  So I waited and waited in hopes that SOMETHING would happen.  Again, nothing.  A few days ago I PMed Michael Bush for suggestions.  He said I should that since I have a medium box (which was the full box) and a deep (the empty) to take the deep off, swap it out for with a medium, and then bait.  So this past Wednesday was the day that I was last in the box and subsequently the day I emailed Michael.  Thursday was golf so I wasn't going down to the hive and today is the day that I went down to carry out this plan of action.  Here's the good part...I open the deep and there are the normal amount of bees in there and I make one last inspection of the frames before I make the switch.  Low and behold there is the equivalent to 2 1/2 frames of drawn comb!!!!!!!!!!!  WHAT THE HECK!  Well, they saved me some work first off.  Second, 2 1/2 frames of drawn comb in what....2 days?  Not that I'm complaining.  I may get a honey super for myself after all if they keep this up.

The story gets sad from here (but not too sad).  I saw some varroa...well, one stinking mite actually, and I remember Michael or someone saying that all bees have varroa.  Fine and dandy.  Since this is the first time since I've started my hive that I have seen a mite, I really haven't been keeping up on what to do when a major infestation occurs.  I don't want to medicate now, especially when I only saw ONE mite, so I am going to search the threads and see at what point it is absolutly necessary to open a pack of apistan on these mites.  

By all means though, if anyone has the opportunity to reply with some mite remedies and save me some time from searching, I'd appreciatate it a ton.

And thanks to Michael for his suggestion.  It may come in handy in the future.
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2005, 05:57:50 PM »

First off, they won't draw the comb unless there is some nectar coming in, and they need the room.  It takes approximatly 40 pounds of nectar to draw out a deep box.  I think M Bush is giving you a heads up about the mediums.  I use all deeps, and it was 92 degrees when I pulled them. I was panting like a bull buffalo in the rut!!!  Anyways, I wouldn't be treating for mites until you pull your honey off.  If your seeing phoretic mites  you might have a pretty good infestation going on.  You may want to consider leaving the honey on, and treating for mites.  Definitly not advised to treat and then pull your honey.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2005, 06:07:21 PM »

I know we have a lot of nectar coming in and that was my concern with that box not filling up. Clover is booming all over still and alfalfa is going like wild fire. My medium is packed with everything. I do plan on going to all mediums but since they are building in that deep now, I'm just going to leave that hive go for another day.  I wasn't going to treat, especially since I saw one mite, and I don't have supers on.  The pulling of a super for myself is a hypothetical situation provided my bees do enough for themselves for winter (They'll need a lot for where I am) so I am not holding my breath as far as that goes.  I'm not going to be worried about treating unless I do see a mite explosion.

To add to my findings in that deep though, I saw one cell was already partially filled with pollen and another parially filled with nectar, but no eggs.  I suspect that once they get that comb built up a little more I should start seeing eggs down there in no time.  I'll visit next week and won't be too surprised if I find eggs then.
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2005, 06:35:08 PM »

Usually, alfalfa is a hit and miss proposition unless they let it go to seed.  A long time ago, I was fortunate to hook up with a coop that didn't mow until the acreage reached 60% bloom.  They had 4,000 acreas, and had no problem with my bees.  In fact, they appreciated the extra eyes on the fields, because they had a heck of a theft problem whenever they got it bayled.  Wish I could run into a bunch like that now.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2005, 09:01:04 PM »

I need to ask and see if they do let it go to seed or not.  I know my grandfather was saying something about my bees might not being able to break the seeds open or something to that effect.  He said that cutter bees could do it and maybe some other pollenating insects.  I don't know a lot about cutter bees (if I'm getting the name of them right), and I don't know if they are even in these parts.  I saw a list on a website a few weeks ago that alfalfa is good for pollen, but is pretty low on the totem pole as far as nectar goes.  Beats me.
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Finsky
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2005, 10:28:12 PM »

Your varroa

Do not give any apistan or chemicals in summer.
I have used little apistan strips in mating nucs and queens have violated.

Cut 1/3 of frame combs or foundations away and let bees draw upp drone comb. Drone larvas catch mites just before they are capped. When drones are in pupa sage, cut them away.

After a week do another gap for drone cells and harvest it after 3 weeks. Remember take them away.  With that you catch 50% of mites.
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drobbins
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2005, 11:19:57 PM »

Finsky,

can't you just uncap the drone cells??
won't that kill the drones and the mites??
If you have plasitic foundation it's hard to "cut it out"

Dave
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2005, 11:40:20 PM »

Quote from: ms132872
Finsky,

can't you just uncap the drone cells??


One way is to uncap cells and wash pupas away with garden hose and shake the water away.

If you have plastic frames, you can make from wood lath extra  wooden frame for that purpose.

You just get a frame and put a strip of beewax to give line for natural combs. These frames you have  inside normal size frame.

When you  devide the frame in 2 or 3 parts and you may harvest them in different time. Drone's development is 4 weeks.

If you just uncapp cells adult mites are alive. No instruction tells to do only that.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2005, 12:32:47 PM »

I would try to quantify the mites.  A sugar roll, a sticky board or uncap some drone brood and see what you get for numbers.  There is a good chance if you SAW a mite that there are a lot. Then again maybe that's the only one. Wink Unlikely, of course.  Usually if you see any at all there are a lot of them.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
bassman1977
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2005, 02:41:10 PM »

Thanks.  I will see what I come up with next time I make a visit.  I had to struggle to find that one so hopefully it's not a major problem that can't wait until fall.  How long can it take for verroa to destroy a hive?
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Jay
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2005, 11:13:14 PM »

Here are some IPM (integrated pest management) techniques for controlling varroa without chemicals. Screened bottom board, a sizable number of mites fall off the bees and comb naturally. If you have a solid bottom board, they just climb back up onto the bees. If you have a screened bottom board, they fall right out of the hive. Next is something being discussed in this thread already, drone comb. The mites are more attracted to drone larvae than worker larvea to lay eggs in. In the past beekeepers would put a medium or shallow frame in the deep brood box and let the bees draw comb in the space below this frame naturally. This kind of comb is almost always drone comb. The beekeeper could then let this comb become capped, cut it off, discard it (after checking for mites) and then stick the short frame back in to start the whole process all over again. Now the current thinking is, that this is not enough. Scientists say now that mites use congregating areas in the hive much like drones use congregating areas outside the hive. And they say that we should be using one complete frame of drone comb per box. In response to this the manufacturers are producing products to make this easier. Dadent makes drone foundation if you like to use wax foundation, and many of the plastic frame makers are out with green drone frames to make them more easy to identify and pull out for pest management. The idea here is to put the entire frame of drone comb in, let it be capped, remove it and freeze it to kill the mites, and then thaw it, scratch the cappings and return it to the hive for the girls to clean out and re-use. This way they don't have to draw new drone comb every time, only repair and clean out. You must be carefull here though to remove the frame before the drones hatch out or you have just provided a wonderfully huge area for mite breeding. All my hives have one frame per box of drone comb in the brood nest in the number 3 or 8 position. Hope this helps and good luck! Cheesy
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