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Trevor Gillbanks

August 2019 Apiary Diary

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I also found that “over stapling” has had an adverse affect on those hives. And the ones that I considered the size of the brood first and stapled last are booming now, only a few weeks later. 

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It might be worth putting my situation in context .

 

This is heading in to my second season with the only treatment being staples . 

 

My Feb treatments stayed in , and were replaced and moved with the cluster every few weeks through winter , all the way through until they were all pulled out and replaced with new staples in late July, early August . The very important thing to remember is at the start of Spring treatment , there were no mites in my hives.

 

This slow but steady application of staples as the brood grows my not work with a mite loading , in which case , staples placed in a line through the brood may be the best option to get them under control , initially 

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I agree with whoever wrote earlier this should carry over into the OA thread, not diary !

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, CraBee said:

If I recall it correctly Randy Oliver said the optimal dose was 20g per FD box of bees, so that would be three staples at 40% (six legs) per box of bees.

 

Back when i was using Randy's shop towel method it was just 12.5 grams of OA per hive. However that was almost 3 years ago, could have changed by now.

Edited by Alastair

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11 minutes ago, yesbut said:

I agree with whoever wrote earlier this should carry over into the OA thread, not diary !

That depends if any of the admin wants to move it.

Its also quite topical for August so it’s not a bad thing discussing here 

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46 minutes ago, M4tt said:

The very important thing to remember is at the start of Spring treatment , there were no mites in my hives.

This is a very interesting point and common in my outfit also, however it relates directly with what Dennis was saying a day or two ago.

What is the prudent course of action in this situation, treat or not treat?

The answer will probably differ from site to site depending on neighbors hives as the Mite free hive today might be invaded tomorrow, but probably not so much in the spring.

Some Farmers and most Vets will say treat only on symptoms but that might not work so well in the Bee world 
 

 

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Today I checked my hive in the hakea . It is at least 6 weeks since I looked.

In the bottom box there were 5 staples and they had pretty much demolised them .

72420192193.thumb.jpg.9b6e3670146fc76f971681dd0b45cecc.jpg

There are slabs of brood under where the staples have been .

I could not see that the placement of staples had any effect on the brood .

There were 5 staples in the box .

The top box had 9 frames of capped honey .

724201921958.thumb.jpg.a8d8f6cd2649ffa0d0f691482a8402a2.jpgThey had not touched these staples .

This was my weakest hive before I moved it . The site is quite sunny and dry with a good flow all winter .

My current  weakest hive  is in a spot which did fine last yr with a strong hive , but I took two late summer nucs from it this yr and reduced the nos of bees too much .

I really think warm and dry is critical for wintering bees over .

A big empty space is a killer for them .

 

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1 hour ago, M4tt said:

Its also quite topical for August so it’s not a bad thing discussing here 

Lol

Its also one of the big issues facing the planet, bordering on existential 

1 hour ago, Alastair said:

 

Back when i was using Randy's shop towel method it was just 12.5 grams of OA per hive. However that was almost 3 years ago, could have changed by now.

Its a difficult calculation with staples because the staple is being continuously removed by the bees during spring at least.
Its possible that only a small part of the overall content of the staple actually gets spread about the hive and a lot ends up on the floor or out the door. 

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Agreed Crabee ..... a lot of staple failure might be user error. We have gone along the Yesbutt path of just chucking them in and expecting them to work. We certainly don't go back through them a week later , or  over the winter to see what's going on..  The spring is a little different as we are in the bees every three weeks.... so tend to pick up any issues.

Having said that, I placed new staples in two hives we found on Friday with very high mite loadings. I will make a special trip back tomorrow to see what's happening, en route to picking up some synthetic.

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Good info coming to the surface here people.  I'm on the brink of spring treatment and inspection, maybe today because it's going to be warm.  Was going to put 5 narrow strips in through the middle but now will try a bit more thoughtful approach.  

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Posted (edited)
On 23/08/2019 at 9:38 PM, Stoney said:

Synthetics... hmmm have they been de criminalised up your way? 

I guess with your dismissal of 'synthetics', you are including amitraz strips as well.  I haven't been following this forum much lately, but in a quick glance now, everyone seems 'staple' obsessed.  I just want to voice some caution. This is a relatively new way of administering OA.  It seems to rely on almost constant treatment.  While to date there is no known evidence of mite resistance to OA, that will change. Beekeepers cling to the hope that because the  mechanism of toxicity to mites of OA is different to the 'synthetics' then somehow this will protect us from mite resistance.  It won't, constant exposure will just see mites find a different pathway to resistance.  It is just as stupid to constantly treat with OA, as it is to constantly treat with fluvalinate, flumethrin, or amitraz.  Remember as well, OA is toxic to both bees and mites, just  more toxic to mites, there  is not a lot of margin there- don't treat it like it is a Bee Vitamin.  As well, best case, no resistance, you 'Staple' guys seem to spend most of your time with the nuisance of a brood nest full of staples(damaging a lot of brood comb), and constantly monitoring mite levels, doesn't sound like enjoyable beekeeping to me.  Having all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea.

Edited by David Yanke
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8 minutes ago, David Yanke said:

I guess with your dismissal of 'synthetics', you are including amitraz strips as well.  I haven't been following this forum much lately, 

Actually David my synthetics comment was a tongue in cheek stab at part of Our country’s current drug debate.. 

 

i have not ever dismissed the use of synthetic varroa control and in fact will still use synthetic treatments if required. 

I am also however trialing the staples and without actually using them there is no way of seeing the effects. 

So I will continue to run my experiment and communicate my findings... 

OA is and always will be just another tool on the shelf to be used with care. 

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If mixing up all the treatments is the best method how would that work .

Would you  use synethtics in Autumn for an effective knock down after summer brood mite build up then OA in spring through summer .

Or the otherway round .

Or alternate yrs . ???

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, David Yanke said:

But in a quick glance now, everyone seems 'staple' obsessed

No , that’s not accurate at all . This just happens to be where we learn and share our learnings . 

Regarding resistance , every other treatments ‘appear’

to have moderate to severe resistance issues , so you’re right , resistance to OA might become an issue . That’s no reason not to use it though because it actually works where others fail . 

Yes , it seems that a long period of treatment is required . What we are fighting with here is the rapid collapse of hives once exposed to varroa , so my treatment regime with OA/Gl staples is almost entirely about prevention of mite infestation , which is a whole lot different than letting a population of mites build up , then banging them with synthetics . 

I'm pretty sure if OA resistance does become reality , you’ll read about it first here 😊

 

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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2 hours ago, David Yanke said:

I guess with your dismissal of 'synthetics', you are including amitraz strips as well.  I haven't been following this forum much lately, but in a quick glance now, everyone seems 'staple' obsessed.  I just want to voice some caution. This is a relatively new way of administering OA.  It seems to rely on almost constant treatment.  While to date there is no known evidence of mite resistance to OA, that will change. Beekeepers cling to the hope that because the  mechanism of toxicity to mites of OA is different to the 'synthetics' then somehow this will protect us from mite resistance.  It won't, constant exposure will just see mites find a different pathway to resistance.  It is just as stupid to constantly treat with OA, as it is to constantly treat with fluvalinate, flumethrin, or amitraz.  Remember as well, OA is toxic to both bees and mites, just  more toxic to mites, there  is not a lot of margin there- don't treat it like it is a Bee Vitamin.  As well, best case, no resistance, you 'Staple' guys seem to spend most of your time with the nuisance of a brood nest full of staples(damaging a lot of brood comb), and constantly monitoring mite levels, doesn't sound like enjoyable beekeeping to me.  Having all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea.

I'v always used different treatments, it's about changing it up. 

Iv used apistan,apivar, bayvarol apitraz, macs, thymol, vaping with oxalic acid and staples and as long as you keep changing it up with also adding supliments like patties and hive alive or brood booster to the weakies it will take a long time before theres going to be an issue. 

Staples coming in has added another weapon to the arsenal. 

 

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On 23/08/2019 at 6:51 PM, jamesc said:

So can someone please enlighten me why after using staples for a year  my hives are either dead or still riddled with mites.  We need to learn from the disaster stories as well as the good ones, because somewhere along the line someone screwed up ..... or something like that.

 

Just wondering James... As you will have noticed through your Gisborne experience, a winter up this way, is different to a winter down your way.

 

Could it be that bees jammed up onto oxalic and glycerine coated staples in a very cold winter, fare worse than bees in a warmer climate? Bearing in mind that OA is also toxic to bees. Just a thought..

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Dunno Alistair. But what I do know is that no two hives are the same .... and there seems to be no blue print for easy success in keeping the critters alive.

We winter the bees in doubles .... pull the queen excluders in the late summer and let her have free range. A lot of times the bees fill the second box with dew and keep the brood in the bottom box. The don't seem to eat a lot of tucker in the winter. So the brood is jammed in on the staples, mostly. Some hives Mama likes to live up stairs, vacating the staples, so now perhaps the  idea is to look at percentages of hives with brood in the top box and the mite loading compared to brood in the bottom box and mite loading.

Interestingly , pretty much all the weaker hives in the autumn that we jammed down into a single brood box in order  to keep things warm died on us.

 

The bee and detritus samples went away to the Lab last week .... I wonder if they can test for PPBK or Lazy Bee Syndrome ?

 

 

The other thing I wonder about is the quality of our breeder queens.

Our very expensive and highly bred bought in breeder sulked her whole life and then died.  So maybe we have gone through a hereditary trait ?

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, David Yanke said:

I guess with your dismissal of 'synthetics', you are including amitraz strips as well.  I haven't been following this forum much lately, but in a quick glance now, everyone seems 'staple' obsessed.  I just want to voice some caution. This is a relatively new way of administering OA.  It seems to rely on almost constant treatment.  While to date there is no known evidence of mite resistance to OA, that will change. Beekeepers cling to the hope that because the  mechanism of toxicity to mites of OA is different to the 'synthetics' then somehow this will protect us from mite resistance.  It won't, constant exposure will just see mites find a different pathway to resistance.  It is just as stupid to constantly treat with OA, as it is to constantly treat with fluvalinate, flumethrin, or amitraz.  Remember as well, OA is toxic to both bees and mites, just  more toxic to mites, there  is not a lot of margin there- don't treat it like it is a Bee Vitamin.  As well, best case, no resistance, you 'Staple' guys seem to spend most of your time with the nuisance of a brood nest full of staples(damaging a lot of brood comb), and constantly monitoring mite levels, doesn't sound like enjoyable beekeeping to me.  Having all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea.

This is a big issue and one that takes up a lot of my thoughts.
Why dont you and your capable team come up with a new ingredient to put in the Staple.

Problem solved.

Alternatively you could lobby Govt to subsidize the mainstream alternatives.

One really serious reality out there is that there are beeks with lots of Hives and zero funds

Varroa is bad enough but now they need to buy sugar.

 

 

Edited by Philbee
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20 hours ago, yesbut said:

I agree with whoever wrote earlier this should carry over into the OA thread, not diary !

 

The general thread is about OA/GL and the OA/GL thread is about dog food. It might be easier to just change the thread titles?

 

Went though mine - sugar shakes similar or lower count than 2 weeks ago (3, 1, 1, 0 and one stubbornly sitting at 12).

The new strips have caused a fair few deaths in one hive, but the remaining bees are looking great. First queen cup seen and lots of brood at 10ish frames per hive. Drone brood starting to appear too.

Considering how bad the weather has been they have brought in a lot of nectar and their is a bit of weight now.

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As is so often said... nothing is constant and there is always more to learn with bees.

Year 5 of beekeeping starts in November 

It’s been an interesting winter.

I was concerned about the reduced bee activity, the nuisance of wasps and then noted robbing from 1 of the 3 hives.

This hive was to be moved to a more favourable location for the sun aspect.

The bees made it easy for me, as I merged this weakened FD hive mid July with the other stronger FD, using the QE/ newspaper method. 

 

Time to start the spring checks...

My favourite 3/4 hive has had plenty of bee activity all winter. I had left it at 3 boxes high.

On checking, they have now reduced the staples over winter to powder. They have a full 3/4 box of 10 frames of capped honey, 1 empty box of clean frames and the middle box of stores, slabs of capped brood, lots of well behaved bees and a busy queen.No drone brood or play cups.Nothing for me to be concerned about. Sugar shake revealed X1 varroa. New staples placed on frames 3,5,7, and 9 on alternating sides. 

Fresh hive base, boxes cleaned up, spring cleaning complete.

The hive inspection confirmed the happy bee activity I had observed.

 

The merged hive..you win some and you loose some...

The bees had chewed through the paper.. no sign of the merged queen, no brood, no stores... hmmm

Bottom box... needed sorting out, evidence of old supersedure Q cells Time for some frame replacement and to reduce them down to X1 box.

New base board, clean box and then to sort out the frames. Sugar shake = no varroa. Interesting their staples were pretty much intact, but due for replacement.

Stores, brood and old queen...good bee numbers.  A few frames over..another unmarked queen. Initially I thought the merged queen had squeezed through the QE. 

However, she was a stripey red dot marked queen. This is a black unmarked queen. Also the supersedure cells would indicate a new autumn mated queen. Interesting. 

 

Nothing like a bit of beekeeping to keep you thinking on your feet...what to do?.

Old Queen with brood, plenty of bees, stores and 2 new staples were moved further along.

The new queen, stores and drawn out frames were reduced to a Nuc box and left on the old site...

 

There is now plenty of noted bee activity from all 3 hives...

Significant other said today... you’ve still managed to maintain 3 hives :IMG_0386:

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, David Yanke said:

I guess with your dismissal of 'synthetics', you are including amitraz strips as well.  I haven't been following this forum much lately, but in a quick glance now, everyone seems 'staple' obsessed.  I just want to voice some caution. This is a relatively new way of administering OA.  It seems to rely on almost constant treatment.  While to date there is no known evidence of mite resistance to OA, that will change. Beekeepers cling to the hope that because the  mechanism of toxicity to mites of OA is different to the 'synthetics' then somehow this will protect us from mite resistance.  It won't, constant exposure will just see mites find a different pathway to resistance.  It is just as stupid to constantly treat with OA, as it is to constantly treat with fluvalinate, flumethrin, or amitraz.  Remember as well, OA is toxic to both bees and mites, just  more toxic to mites, there  is not a lot of margin there- don't treat it like it is a Bee Vitamin.  As well, best case, no resistance, you 'Staple' guys seem to spend most of your time with the nuisance of a brood nest full of staples(damaging a lot of brood comb), and constantly monitoring mite levels, doesn't sound like enjoyable beekeeping to me.  Having all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea.

Right. I've got one more treatment's worth of OA towels stashed. After that, there''ll be the .............. CITRIC ACID THREAD

Dang it, I'll start it now.......

Edited by yesbut

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Hallelujiah Brother ..... I was gonna suggest that. 

Now, talking about citric .... it has a lot of plus points. Main one is i can put it into my water bottle and use it to rehydrate on a warm day and wean myself of The  Doctor's remedy.

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5 hours ago, Philbee said:

This is a big issue and one that takes up a lot of my thoughts.
Why dont you and your capable team come up with a new ingredient to put in the Staple.

Problem solved.

Alternatively you could lobby Govt to subsidize the mainstream alternatives.

One really serious reality out there is that there are beeks with lots of Hives and zero funds

Varroa is bad enough but now they need to buy sugar.

 

 

I was only sounding a note of caution.  I think you have done a great job further developing this new delivery system for OA which appears to be a cheap, effective varroa management tool, and as you say this  system could be used to deliver other Varroa Killers. Good on ya. I certainly wasn't trying to stop people using it to manage varroa, just flashing a warning about using it exclusively.  For decades OA has been used to managed Varroa with no solid evidence of mite resistance, but, until recently, it was always used in a Shock and Awe treatment of Broodless Colonies(either natural or induced broodlessness) with an OA syrup dribble  or spray with treatment being repeated  twice at the most because of the toxicity to Bees, and then no more OA until the same time next season.  Now what you are doing is totally different, and the risk of mite resistance is very much higher.  

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Been out beekeeping with senior management looking over my shoulder all day. Was reasonably happy with what I was seeing.

Screenshot_20190825-191150.png

Bee mostly looking quite good for this time of year

Screenshot_20190817-085257.png

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looks like pretty standard for senior management ..... hands in pockets !

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