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Author Topic: Powdered sugar and hives started this year  (Read 3175 times)

Offline tillie

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Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« on: March 19, 2007, 09:34:39 PM »
As a rule, I am treating my weak hive from last year with a powdered sugar shake every time I inspect the hive.

I've just started two nucs in two new hives.  Should I as a preventive measure be regularly treating them with powdered sugar every inspection as well?

Linda T in Atlanta
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Offline Understudy

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2007, 09:41:07 PM »
I would say no. If the hive is healthy you don't need to make the bees work harder at something besides building comb and making honey.

I do a powdered sugar treatment three times. About two weeks apart. The idea for powdered sugar is to force them into an extra housecleaning mode. If you do that often they get distracted from doing bee things. Like getting me honey.  :)

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Brendhan
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Offline tillie

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2007, 10:37:32 AM »
Although it sounds like you think I should wait until the usual fall "treatment" for these pests and then do the Brian Bray method of a powdered sugar shake every 10 days for three times to get rid of the mites.  There's an interesting post on Beesource:

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=200973&highlight=powdered+sugar

That post indicates to go ahead and begin the powdered sugar treatment on an every two week cycle beginning in the spring.  However, they don't deal with nucs or new hives vs. ongoing hives which is why I posted this question.

Linda T
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Online kathyp

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 11:36:16 AM »
i have a question about the application method.  wouldn't a flour sifter be the easiest way to do it?  i read the instructions on the page Tillie left and they seem convoluted.

Tillie, have you considered using something like apiguard?  it's thymol.  if you like herbs and oils, you might want to check this out as a treatment.  it's an extract of the oil of thyme
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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Offline Understudy

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2007, 12:29:01 PM »
I use a flour shifter.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Offline tillie

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2007, 12:49:19 PM »
I use a flour sifter also - quite easy - I was more interested in the timing and whether or not these new hives should be treated from the get go.

Linda T
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Offline Mici

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2007, 01:36:38 PM »
now i just have to ask. up until now, i thought you LR keepers simply apply some sugar inbetween the frames. now, since you said you use a sifter, i suppose you do it like me, frame after frame, group of bees after another, is it so?

Offline tillie

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2007, 03:08:20 PM »
I sift over the brood area of the hive - sometimes over two boxes if that's how many there are.  Then I use the bee brush to brush the residue in between the frames - only takes a few minutes.  Then the bees look like ghosts for a while and the powdered sugar drops to the bottom through the SBB as they groom themselves and walk around.

I'm at work and don't have access to my pictures, but here are links from my blog posts on the subject:

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2007/03/bermuda-inspection-today.html

and

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2007/03/i-saw-queen.html

Linda T
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Offline Mici

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2007, 04:35:53 PM »
ok..so my previous assumptiuns were correct and the last ones weren't, thanks Linda!

Offline tillie

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2007, 04:54:59 PM »
Sure, Mici -

now I'm still wondering and wishing a few more people would weigh in on whether I should early on be treating my new hives with powdered sugar or wait until fall......given that without poison one of my hives died and the other remaining from last year is very weak.

Linda T
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Offline Mici

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2007, 05:45:15 PM »
sorry, can't help you much with this one, but i'd go with brendhan, don't do it too often, if i were you and i'll probably do it this was, twice a year that is. once the colony is fully established and later, before winter feeding starts, that's 6 treatments in total

Online kathyp

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2007, 06:06:03 PM »
wouldn't you do it early?  aren't the mites most active when the brood rearing is most active?

i know my instructions were to treat in spring as soon as the weather was consistently hitting 60 during the day, and then to treat again in the fall after honey was off.
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline Mici

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2007, 06:22:12 PM »
wouldn't you do it early?  aren't the mites most active when the brood rearing is most active?

i wouldn't know but, 1 full treatment seems to little, or sounds, anyway, when should one do the other treatment cycle then?

perfect treatment would be somewhere in december, when there is no brood present (the month may vary from your climate) so all grown up varroa are on bees, it would very efficient, actually it would be 100% efficient, since the bees would die aswell :-D


60 during the day...spring is a very tender time for bees, i don't know if it would be very good to open them up at that temp. i really don't know..

Online kathyp

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2007, 06:59:48 PM »
i'm using the apiguard.  i just pop it in and close up the hive.  it vaporizes best at 60 and above.  they are flying at 45 degrees, and they have a good start on brood rearing by the time we hit 60 consistently. 

i have come to the conclusion that the packages are to expensive, and i am putting in to much time and effort to not use something that is pr oven to be effective.  i know many  disagree with me, but mites are a big problem here and unless i find some good research to the contrary, this seems the most effective treatment available with the least risk to the bees.

that said....i can see how the powdered sugar treatments would be a good thing to use a couple of times in the later spring and early summer before i put the honey supers on. will also probably try it on t his rescue hive.  i doubt it will build up enough for honey this year, and reducing the mite load throughout the summer is probably a good thing.  it is certainly something i am willing to try and evaluate.
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2007, 08:08:04 PM »
A sugar shake treatment now and then doesn't hurt anything and helps keeps the mite population down.  I a problem is seen then do a series of 3 or 4 shakes 10 days apart.  The timing is so that you are emore likely to get the mites before they reenter a cell for reporduction.  a 2 week spacing doesn't seem to work as well for squashing the mite buildup as well as a 10 day spacing.  Also with a 10 day spacing you get an extra application in the same time period. 
The idea of the sugar shake is to get the mites off the bees, doing it several times gets rid of mites emerging as the brood hatches.  Doing a shake every time you open the hive, however, is over kill.  You keep the bees busy with self grooming instead of doing what they need to do. 
An application series of a sugar shakes twice a year, late spring and post harvest, keeps the mite population down to manageable levels to allow for hive survival while still allowing the bees to do their thing--gather honey.
As far as application, I use a quart jar with door screen cut to fit under a canning lid ring. 
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Offline tillie

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2007, 11:15:10 PM »
So I guess what I'll plan to do is an occasional sugar shake in the vigorous growing hives over the spring.  I'm going to continue to do a sugar shake on the Varroa weakened hive every time I inspect....because of the nature of my work and the amount of time I am out of town, etc., the inspections end up being about every 10 days so it should work out. 

I last inspected on this past Sunday and am now in Mississippi until Monday so the next inspection won't be until Tuesday or Wednesday so I won't do another sugar shake on the weak hive until then....approx 9 or 10 days from the previous one.

Thanks, Brian, for your wisdom (and to everyone else who helps me).

Linda T
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Offline Cindi

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2007, 10:43:52 AM »
Beesource has a site that I looked at about the powdered sugar shake.  It was very interesting and I added it to my favourites, so I post it below:

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=200973&highlight=powdered+sugar

Have the best of a great day.  Cindi
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Offline tillie

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2007, 05:23:54 PM »
That's the same post I put in earlier in this thread - I don't care with three hives about the 8 second part and won't make those screens when a flour sifter works as well for a few hives, but I do wonder about doing it so frequently - their charts look promising, but as Brendhan pointed out, putting the bees to work in housecleaning and beecleaning takes away from honey making time....

Linda T
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Offline Cindi

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Re: Powdered sugar and hives started this year
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2007, 09:36:41 AM »
Ha, Linda, you're right, I knew that I got the information from the post from somewhere good.  It was your post!!!  Have a great day.  Cindi
There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service