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Author Topic: Medicating the first season???  (Read 2098 times)

Offline Ruben

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Medicating the first season???
« on: January 03, 2006, 12:23:30 AM »
This is my first year with bees and I read Beekeeping for Dummies which said the first season I should not have to medicate the colony. Is this true? Does anyone have suggestions about medication and pest control I should plan to do the first season, or am I good until the following spring?

Offline Michael Bush

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Medicating the first season???
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2006, 08:10:24 AM »
>This is my first year with bees and I read Beekeeping for Dummies which said the first season I should not have to medicate the colony. Is this true?

I never medicate mine at all.  For anything.  In 31 years I've only medicated at all during 3 of those and that was four years ago.  But if you mean can the varroa kill a colony in one year.  Yes they can.  So ignoring Varroa is never a good idea.

> Does anyone have suggestions about medication and pest control I should plan to do the first season, or am I good until the following spring?

Personally, I'd get on small cell (4.9mm foundation) or natural sized cells (no foundation) and never medicate.

Medicating just to be medicating is always a bad idea.  Monitor the mites.  Get a sticky board, or make one.  Or use a tray under your Screened Bottom Board, if you have one.  Or do a powdered sugar roll.  Or uncap some drone brood and look for mites.  Quantify the problem first.  Watch the numbers and see if they are going up rapidly.  If they are, then you need to do something.  If you're on typical foundation this WILL happen, you just want to know WHEN it happens.

If you really want to treat, I've found Oxalic Acid vapor the most effective and least harmful to the bees.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

Offline amymcg

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Medicating the first season???
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2006, 09:31:09 AM »
I think the reason it says that in the book  is that most suppliers will have already medicated the colony before you receive it.  So you wouldn't be medicating twice in the spring.

MB is right though, you should be monitoring and knowing what you are medicating for.  I bought a bunch of medication this year and the only thing I ended up using was Apistan.  I won't be using it again. I'm moving to small cell and hoping that my bees can handle the mite loads.

Offline Ruben

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Medicating the first season???
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2006, 07:34:53 PM »
O.K that all sounds great, the book made it sound like you were suposed to medicate every spring and fall. So I will monitor things and see how it goes. Unfortunaltly the only thing I know about beekeeping is what I read in that book. Hopefully I can gain more knowledge from this forum before spring and everything will go good. Thanks for the help! :)

Offline Michael Bush

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Medicating the first season???
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2006, 12:24:40 AM »
>O.K that all sounds great, the book made it sound like you were suposed to medicate every spring and fall.

Some people do.  But do you take antibiotic so you won't get sick?

I've been keeping bees 31 years and I've never used fumidil, I used Terramycin twice, the first two years because I read the books and was afraid of AFB.  I haven't used it for the last 29 years.  I've never used menthol (used for tracheal mites).  I've never used Checkmite (for Varroa).  I did use Apistan three times and it failed the last time comletely because of Apistan resistance and I've never used it since.  I used Paramoth (to keep wax moths out of stored combs) once and I couldn't stand the smell or the thought of it in my honey or my hives.  IMO chemicals and pesticides don't belong in beehives.

Medicating is somethig you do for something that is sick.  If you plan i right you shouldn't need to.

The problem with Varroa is, if you're using regular foundation (5.4mm cell size) and you don't do something from time to time, the Varroa will kill your hive.  Your job is to monitor so you know when you need to do something and then you can decide if they need to be treated and then decide what you are willing to have in your hive or use drone trapping or powdered sugar or something on those lines.  In the end, I'd try to get to natural cell size and when you monitor the mites and don't find any significant change in the numbers for a few years, you can quite worrying about the Varroa altogether.  :)
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

Offline Ruben

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Medicating the first season???
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2006, 05:19:19 PM »
How about the crisco grease patties should I do that for the tracael mites? I was just in a Virginia Tech website that said beekeepers could not detect these mites that it had to be done in a lab, is this true?

http://www.ento.vt.edu/~fell/apiculture/mitepages/biology-t.html

Offline Michael Bush

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Medicating the first season???
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2006, 09:44:38 PM »
>How about the crisco grease patties should I do that for the tracael mites?

Tracheal mite resistance, unlike Varroa mite resistance, is easy to breed for.  I don't treat for Tracheal mites.  If they show symptoms I requeen.

> I was just in a Virginia Tech website that said beekeepers could not detect these mites that it had to be done in a lab, is this true?

No.  A cheap microscope from Walmart will work.  TMites are too small to see with the naked eye, but much larger than a single cell.  You just have to learn to dissect a bee and cut open the trachea.  Here is what you'll see:

http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/pest&disease/sl32.html

even without the microscope you can see this:

http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/pest&disease/pppdIndex.html
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen