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Carol2

Best Varroa practice?

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I'm a  keen amateur 8 years of hive ownership. (4 hives) The multiplicity of opinions on varroa control leave me unsettled. Can I ask here what you really successful commercial beekeepers are doing to control varroa? Here is my story.

Hello. I'm new to this excellent forum and idea sharing. Keen beekeeper for 8 years. I well know that Varroa control is absolutely vital. I have used Bav, Api, Oxi dribble, Oxi towels.

From Autumn 2019 (last chem treatment was winter /spring of 2018)  I have only used OA staples 60--40% ratio. My hives are roaring ahead. Mite count on alcohol was 1 month ago was 3/250 bees although I found mites in the wash so very hard to see. 

        But what is best practice now? Do I keep staples in 100% of the year? Do I mix with Chemical treatments. Do I pull staples out and leave hives untreated until end of feb ? I know there is huge varying opinion but ,for example, what are the best commercial beekeepers doing successfully re varroa. I need best practice laid out for me to follow as I'm a simple soul

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I treat by the calendar in spring and autumn using conventional treatments. I do very little monitoring apart from visually checking drone brood and I have lost very few hives to varoa. It costs a lot of money  but it works, unfortunately it will not be sustainable in the long term because the treatments will stop working. I have tried thymol products in the past and found them wanting. Formic acid may be organic but it sure ain't safe and as soon as I can buy a registered oxalic acid treatment with standard recommendations for treatment I will try some. Last year I used a breeder showing reasonable resistance to varoa and I like to think selection for tolerance will be the answer in the long-term.

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I can’t put myself in the category of the ‘best commercial beekeepers’ and I never will be because I’m a simple hobbiest ,  but that’s not important .

 

Looks to me like you are asking the best way to keep bees alive these days .

Having tried almost all of the treatments available , except apistan and playing around with essential oil misting, I’ve settled on @Philbee‘s 40% staples , because they work far better for me than any previous treatment . Formic would come second on my list , but even then , there are failures .

 

I refuse to have treatment in during the flow when the bees are collecting honey for people to eat . For me , that’s anywhere from late October to early January , and varies every year . I inspect my hives regularly, so when I think it’s all on, I pull the staples out. 

 

Autumn treatment is different. It’s not by eye, it’s by the calendar . They MUST be in by mid February otherwise the hives suffer long term varroa damage heading into , and throughout winter.

 

Autumn staples remain in the hive till they are pulled out and replaced in August .

 

Its not just a matter of banging them in and walking away either . We are playing around with how many to put in at once versus hive strength, and staple placement . 

 

That’s where I’m at anyway ..........

 

The journey continues 

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8 hours ago, Carol2 said:

I'm a  keen amateur 8 years of hive ownership. (4 hives) The multiplicity of opinions on varroa control leave me unsettled. Can I ask here what you really successful commercial beekeepers are doing to control varroa? Here is my story.

Hello. I'm new to this excellent forum and idea sharing. Keen beekeeper for 8 years. I well know that Varroa control is absolutely vital. I have used Bav, Api, Oxi dribble, Oxi towels.

From Autumn 2019 (last chem treatment was winter /spring of 2018)  I have only used OA staples 60--40% ratio. My hives are roaring ahead. Mite count on alcohol was 1 month ago was 3/250 bees although I found mites in the wash so very hard to see. 

        But what is best practice now? Do I keep staples in 100% of the year? Do I mix with Chemical treatments. Do I pull staples out and leave hives untreated until end of feb ? I know there is huge varying opinion but ,for example, what are the best commercial beekeepers doing successfully re varroa. I need best practice laid out for me to follow as I'm a simple soul

The "best practice"is to keep varroa at low levels any way you can.

There are as many suggestions as to how as there are beekeepers.

A good suggestion is to implement a IPM type plan and use a mix of products, you should not have to keep an varroa treatment in the hives all the time.

Learn to monitor with what ever system you feel comfortable with, but this comes with time and understanding what you looking at. 

It's not the silver bullet you were hoping for, but we all looking for that as well, if we find it, will let you know.

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