I started this thread because I kinda high-jacked a foundationless thread and would like some more discussion with tbeek and sawdust. Anyone else can join in but I'd ask you don't tell me how I have to stop being natural or bash tb hives.
So back story. Got packages from Wolf Creek, small cell, natural size. I put them in a Top Bar hive of my own/hubby's invention but nothing out of the ordinary.
Last year they did good and we split to keep from swarming. Think I still missed at least one swarm if not two. I left them natural honey for the winter. I did not change my oil trays before winter and that was a mistake.
Spring comes last week when I open the hive to peek inside there were quite a few small hive beetles and one hive had signs of varroa, including about 4 deformed wing / whitish bees. We were losing light and warmth so we closed them up, changed the oil trays which were solid instead of liquid.
This week small hive numbers significantly down and spent the time to 'clear' the one frame they had corralled them on. Only saw one deformed wing bee. Did a sugar roll and counted 25 mites for 400 bees. If I followed the calculations correctly that gave us 12.5 mites per hundred because we have capped brood so we had to double the mites for the calcs. Also the bees have been building new wax and are bringing in stores they seem to be expanding.
The hive is foundationless, top bar, on its second year, we don't put anything in contact with the bees or honey that we wouldn't put in our mouths, so not treatment free but along that line. The bottom is screened with an oil tray underneath. In my opinion the oil tray really works. The hive is also built with the oil tray and screen bottom board enclosed so that any thing that wants in the hive has to go through the guarded (by bees) front door.
Thank goodness this hive was originally just a split to hold a queen and slow down the swarm from my big hive so it has like 10 bars and only 6 of them right now by bees because over the winter I pulled out two combs to put in an internal feeder if needed (not needed). So tomorrow I intend to shake the bees off of the 6 frames and sugar roll and shake them to help knock back the varroa. Then I'll pull out all the drones cells.
I have been toying with moving this hive or killing this hive off to prevent the varroa from spreading to the other hives which don't show signs of varroa. Caveat my big hive I haven't cracked open yet but I do have observation windows which it is over 20 bars full of bees and the top bars are about the same as a lang deep. Right now I don't have time to move it so I'll start with treatment. This queen is an excellent layer but so is her daughter who keep the big hive.
I read about Thymol and I'm not sure I want to try that as it is toxic to the bees. I also read heating the hive can kill off varroa, I might actually test that on my small hive.
So really long but hopefully thorough post. Let me know your helpful thoughts.