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  • Difficult to treat Varroa

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #4855  by thewoodgatherer
 20 Sep 2019, 19:27
Is it me or are others having problems knocking the mites down. I will admit that a couple of my hives did get a little overrun this summer so had high levels when I started my autumn thymol treatment (Apiguard/Life Var). But six weeks on and I am still getting over 50 per day on two hives and have even resulted to 5 daily vaping and even after two treatments the drop rate is still high.
Could I be experiencing some resistance in the mites. I have as usual followed instructions to the letter and the weather has been good for thymol based treatments I would say.
 #4856  by NigelP
 20 Sep 2019, 20:08
Better to use something that really works every time. In the past I had such variable success/failure with thymol based products decided it wasn't worth the risk. Buy some strips (Apivar or Apistan)and stick them in. Or better still get a vaper.

I usually vape OA (errrhum Apibioxal) but decided (cos I got a great deal) to use strips this year. Mite fall is variable.... in some hives high, some low.
 #4864  by AdamD
 22 Sep 2019, 10:30
Occasionally the thymol treatments don't work too well - it can depend on how the bees deal with it, from Jim's observations that he's posted here previously rather than resistance as such. The 5 day vaping should work - or as Nigel suggests, another type of product. The 'chemical' treatments I would rather avoid and resistance will build up with them over time but they should do the trick if the vaping does not get the numbers down. Or MAQS?
 #4866  by thewoodgatherer
 22 Sep 2019, 15:54
Thanks both of you for your input, I was selling my honey yesterday at a market and one of the traders who makes cosmetics was telling me that they have to get a certificate with any wax they purchase to confirm low toxins and pesticides etc. Further to this one of our association members who is a biochemist is very anti any varroa treatment even thymol based and he is in the don't treat camp. He says even the softer treatments are not good for the bees and the way forward is to select for genetic mite resistance, one of the arguments is that constant treating is not a long term solution. Personally I'm not sure I could stand having colonies of bees constantly on deaths door while I try to find the ones that seem the strongest.
I think I will continue with the OA and thymol and try to move forward by selecting the ones that seem to cope better with higher varroa counts.
 #4867  by NigelP
 22 Sep 2019, 16:15
The "let alone" approach to varroa.
It's happened several times (and has been created artificially a few times as well) that colonies of bees will survive without treatment....but they are usually small colonies that frequently swarm. Not the sort of colonies that a beekeeper wants to keep.
There is a lot of work being done on Varroa Sensitive Hygienic (VSH) bees, and they exist for Carniolan strains and Buckfast (some of which are commercially available). Problem with all of them is they don't breed true as mainly several recessive traits involved, so you can buy a VSH queen but her offspring won't be VSH...so not much good in my opinion as the queen will cost more than the treatment for 5 hives...

Living with varroa is energetically very expensive for bees, as they found with the wild feral colonies in Avignon. They hived them and then treated half with varrocides. The treated hives brought in nearly 3 x as much honey as the untreated.
 #4869  by Chrisbarlow
 22 Sep 2019, 17:32
NigelP wrote:
22 Sep 2019, 16:15
Living with varroa is energetically very expensive for bees, as they found with the wild feral colonies in Avignon. They hived them and then treated half with varrocides. The treated hives brought in nearly 3 x as much honey as the untreated.
That's interesting to hear Nigel, do you have a link to the research?
 #4871  by mikemadf
 23 Sep 2019, 12:47
I had similar issues three years ago. I put it down to bees robbing a dead hive and collecting mites as well as honey..
 #4872  by NigelP
 23 Sep 2019, 17:14
Chrisbarlow wrote:
22 Sep 2019, 17:32

That's interesting to hear Nigel, do you have a link to the research?
Yup.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1051/apido:2007040
 #4873  by WalnutTreeBees
 23 Sep 2019, 18:47
For an interesting insight into breeding varroa resistant bees you can read about the efforts of Ron Hoskins and the Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group:

http://www.swindonhoneybeeconservation.org.uk/research/