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Trevor Courtney

Organic treatment of Varroa

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Thymovar wafers are available in smaller packets of 10 for around $5, but should not be used when honey supers are present in the hive. They are available from your local beekeeping stockists. With each packet containing 15g of thymol, I'd question the need for purchasing it in 1 kilo bulk packets if you are non-commercial.

 

The Thymovar wafer contains the volatile oil thymol. Through volatilisation from the wafers, thymol vapour concentrations build up in the hive. These vapours are highly toxic to varroa mites but concentrations are not high enough to harm bees. This product shall only be used in beehives, but not used in hives where comb honey is to be collected.

 

Dosage rate: Two applications of one wafer per brood chamber at a 3-4 week interval. Open the sealed sachet containing 5 wafers. Place one wafer (cut in half) on top o fthe brood chamber. Use two wafers uncut for a double storey box of chambers. Wafers can be cut with a pair of sissors.

 

Application: The first part of the treatment is to put the wafer on the top of the combs of the brood chamber. Close the hive as usual. Open floors have to be closed. Repeat the application of wafers 3-4 weeks later. Remove used wafers after 3-4 weeks. After opening the sealed sachet all wafers should be used immediately.

 

Timing: Application can be made in the spring before honey supers have been added for the first honey flow. Alternatively an application can be made in the late summer to early autumn period immediately after all the surplus honey has been removed. Apply when maximum daily temperatures are between 12 deg cel. and 30 deg cel. All hives of an apiary should be treated at the same time to avoid robbing.

 

Withholding Period: Not for use when honey supers are present in the hive.

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Just found some additional information from MAF http://maxa.maf.govt.nz/sff/about-projects/search/07-080/sustainable-control-of-varroa-executive-summary.htm

However, there are 2 sides to any coin. Does anyone have feedback from studies that promote organic treatments?

 

The aim of this trial was to assess the efficacy of some of the commercially available thymol products for varroa control. Honey crops from these hives were also assessed to determine if organic controls had any impact on honey provisions.

 

There were 10 co-operating beekeepers in this trial. Each beekeeper applied a synthetic treatment (Apistan or Bayvarol), and four organic products (Apilife VAR, Thymovar, Apiguard, and thymol crystals) to a total of twenty hives. Each of these products was applied to both single and double brood box hives. After treatment in spring 2007, none of the control hives (those treated with Bayvarol or Apistan) had mites in the post-treatment sugar shake test. On average, hives in organic treatments still had 1 to 3 mites in a post-treatment sugar shake. There was a significant difference in the effectiveness of the organic treatments dependent on brood box size (P<0.007) for Apilife VAR and thymol treated hives.

 

Apiguard and thymol treated hives collected significantly less honey (P< 0.05) than control hives. In autumn 2008, mite numbers were increasing rapidly. In those hives treated with organic control products, there was still an increase in mite numbers over the treatment period. Initial results have indicated that during the autumn, treatment with organic products was not effective at controlling varroa.

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Formic acid is also an organic treatment and can be introduced into the hive by 1. dribbling liquid between the frames 2. MiteGone pads soaked in a 65% solution of formic acid and put into hives 3. Evaporation system from Germany 4. or the NEW product called Mite Away Quick Strips using a formic acid gel pad. Randy Oliver calls this the magic bullet we have all been looking for. Hopefully a bee equipment supplier will bring this into NZ fairly soon. We need it!

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I use drone culling to keep varroa under control between more formal treatments. It does keep varroa numbers down, but does not eliminate the mites entirely. However, it is important to understand the timing of the drone brood cycle in order for culling to work effectively.

 

The female varroa mite produces offspring when she is inside a capped cell. For drone brood, that occurs roughly between 6 and 24 days after the egg is laid in the bare cell. If you leave it longer than 24 days, the drone will emerge and allow the next generation of varroa mites into the hive. Waiting 28 days seems too long to me. Better to work on a shorter cycle, say 14-18 days.

 

If you use full depth brood boxes, you can make an effective drone trap by replacing a full-depth frame with 3/4 frames. Doesn't really matter if it contains drawn comb or foundation. The bees will draw out drone cells on the bottom 1/4 of the shorter frame. Cut the drone brood off with a knife when the cells are capped. Easy as that. One word of caution though: don't leave the culled comb where the bees can get it. Burn it (but be careful) or put it in a bag and pop it in the freezer overnight to kill any mites. Second word of caution: make sure the queen isn't on the drone brood when you cut it off!

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If you use full depth brood boxes, you can make an effective drone trap by replacing a full-depth frame with 3/4 frames. Doesn't really matter if it contains drawn comb or foundation. The bees will draw out drone cells on the bottom 1/4 of the shorter frame. Cut the drone brood off with a knife when the cells are capped. Easy as that. One word of caution though: don't leave the culled comb where the bees can get it. Burn it (but be careful) or put it in a bag and pop it in the freezer overnight to kill any mites. Second word of caution: make sure the queen isn't on the drone brood when you cut it off!

 

Cheers Chris,

Would you replace all the frames with 3/4 frames or would you put a given number into a full depth brood box using the method? If the latter, does position have any impact?

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Bees will fill the void with burr comb, so no, I wouldn't put generally use short frames in a full depth box. One or two 3/4 frames work well because you can cut them out in rotation. Just make sure you don't leave any capped drone cells to emerge.

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Thymovar wafers are available in smaller packets of 10 for around $5, but should not be used when honey supers are present in the hive. They are available from your local beekeeping stockists. With each packet containing 15g of thymol, I'd question the need for purchasing it in 1 kilo bulk packets if you are non-commercial.

Hi Grant, where did you say one could buy 10 wafers for $5.00, please?

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I think the word "each" is missing from that line. :rolleyes:

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I If you use full depth brood boxes, you can make an effective drone trap by replacing a full-depth frame with 3/4 frames. !

 

Normal hive has about 10 frames brood. If the hive looses its brood 20%, it cannot forage surplus any more.

Even one whole frame is too much.

 

Mite load rises douple in every month. Drones brood are not present when mite loads rise to danderous level.

So you cannot trust on it.

 

Lets calculate a little. we have 10 brood frame and I find only 10 mites from the whole comb when I tear the brood away.

 

100 mites x 10 frames = 100 mites.

 

next month 200 mites

next .............400

next .............800 .. critical level over

next ............. 1600

next .............3600

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Just found some additional information from MAF http://maxa.maf.govt.nz/sff/about-projects/search/07-080/sustainable-control-of-varroa-executive-summary.htm

However, there are 2 sides to any coin. Does anyone have feedback from studies that promote organic treatments?

 

We were 1 of the 10 in this trail

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and what were your thoughts on it Tony? how did it work in your operation is it something you would consider using?

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I've had to think about this one a bit, I thought it was a constructive trial and have to say that maf and the scientists have generally done a good job for NZ in respect of getting an array of treatments accepted here for treating varroa, other countries have not been so lucky.

The trial in my opinion was well conducted. For us and one other bee keeper i know that was on this trial it started when we were flat out busy so it was a hard start and for us we felt a bit disorganised. In respect to the results i think they were realistic. There where some interesting things we saw its unfortunate we didn't keep a copy of our results but i did write some in my dairy and looking at them now, counts on the 15-2-08 two hives already at that stage had PMS one was a Thymol var hive (200 m/d) and the other was a Bayvarol hive ( 266 m/d) the rest where average but rising counts. There where 20 hives and 5 different treatments so 4 hives where treated with the same treatment. From memory we where instructed to pull hives out of the trail if the counts where getting to high but can't remember what that level was and looking at all the info i do have i can't remember weather we did, obviously had to fix those PMS ones but they all made it though the winter,

Looking back we where still learning a lot ourselfs and where already dabbling with thymol but from the trial we came out with one we liked and suited our operation. since then have certainly put it though its paces and am confident it works, you just need to know how and when to or when not to while you learning how to use it.

I think if i was to do the trial again which i actually wouldn't mind i think we would see some really different results, remember this was all new back then and not a lot really understood about it, though we thought so then. I know a lot more now.

Watch my mite counts in the mite count topic you will see full thymol use this autum and i will monitor counts and post regularly for everyone to see and we will see what happens all bar site 6 i'm not going to treat at all unlees. I will try and make it as transparent as possible and if any one wants to know anything about it just ask.

The other bee keeper i know preferred a different thymol product than us but can't speak for them on their thoughts.

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What Thymol do you use and where do you get it from?

I'm really interested in it because there is no resistance to it and it seems a better environmental option

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there are different ones and if you only got a couple of hives you could try a few of them,to see which you like best

 

>Thymovar in a waffer form, from Ecroyd in christchurch,

>Apigaurd its a gel from Ceracell in Auckland,

>Apilife var in a waffer form, from beegreen limited, Rotorua

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I have used Apiguard this spring and initially I saw a lot of dead mites on the slider under the mesh bottom board but then the weather turned foul for quite some time rendering the thymol useless as it was to cold for evaporation.

So..I stil have varroa in my hives and want to get rid of them before the honeyflow (if there is any this time around) using a 'green' product if possible. ( bayvarol has been suggested but..)

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Cheepers the flow's just about there by now isn't it ? About the only thing you could use would be MiteAwayQuick . And even then it could knock them back enough to stuff the flow. Varroa or treatment, hhmmmmm.

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There's a few option!

Most expensive option with FA is @Manfred with the Nassenheider,

Same effective, but half the price, Ceracell is selling Liebig Dispensers,

and if you want to go OA, give @Kiwimana a buzz.

My personal choice is the 'Liebig Dispenser', Ceracell sells them at only $12.50+gst ea and they are reusable many times!

I just don't know a contact where you can get FA in small quantities!

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.I still have varroa in my hives and want to get rid of them.........

have you measure the amount of mites the hives have?

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There's a few option!

Most expensive option with FA is @Manfred with the Nassenheider,

Same effective, but half the price, Ceracell is selling Liebig Dispensers,

and if you want to go OA, give @Kiwimana a buzz.

My personal choice is the 'Liebig Dispenser', Ceracell sells them at only $12.50+gst ea and they are reusable many times!

I just don't know a contact where you can get FA in small quantities!

 

Just been reading about this dispenser and it's use, the hives must be level the article says so thats not an option for me I guess.

Question is what number of mites can the bees cope with until after the honey flow when I can start a treatment.

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have you measure the amount of mites the hives have?

 

I have not done a sugar shake yet but have popped a few capped cells and 1 out of cells showed the mite.

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I have not done a sugar shake yet but have popped a few capped cells and 1 out of cells showed the mite.

 

sorry this is 1 out of 4 cells

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I have not done a sugar shake yet but have popped a few capped cells and 1 out 4 cells showed the mite.

that doesn't mean a whole lot. you must do testing when dealing with temperamental treatments.

 

Just been reading about this dispenser and it's use, the hives must be level the article says so thats not an option for me

hives really want to be fairly level for other reasons and none are perfectly level for drainage. why isn't it an option?

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@Pbee, OK just to give you an idea about what is expensive or not

“It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When

you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay

too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you

bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The

common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a

lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well

to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will

have enough to pay for something better.” John Ruskin knew this already 1870

 

@Pbee I believe you never had a Nassenheider Professional in use and you don't know the difference between the two evaporators.

This is the only explanation for me why you write something like this.

How can you say same effective as Nassenheider.

Liebig works only from 18º-25º Nassenheider from 8º-35º why is Liebig not working in this temperature range because its just a bottle which is turned upside down on a paper wick which is too small to ensure proper evaporation and it does not prevent the Formic driping directly on to the bees, this can not happen with the Nassenheider.I think this is expensive 12.50 for just a bottle and a piece of paper Now we are on that point where Ruskin is referring to

When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you

bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

 

especially with the humidity we have in New Zealand .

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