Winter Losses

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BadBeeKeeper
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » April 16th, 2017, 6:48 am

cgybees wrote:
April 15th, 2017, 3:56 pm
I see a lot of advice on MAQS / strips, but nobody's mentioned OAV in the thread that I've seen yet.
OA was only [relatively] recently approved here in the states. Some folks are giving it a bad rap...I think mostly because they don't understand how to use it correctly and effectively. My MAQS have always come with an instruction sheet, and instructions and FAQS are available on NOD Global's website, yet a bunch of people can't seem to use *that* correctly either and then cry about it not working or killing their bees.

Then the same folks go down to the hardware store and buy a bag of wood bleach, which has no instructions at all, order a vaporizer on-line, and then complain that *that* doesn't work either, because they only gave one treatment, at the wrong time.

I know that cost-wise, OA may be less expensive than MAQS, but proper use of OAV requires multiple applications at defined intervals over a particular timespan. That is not a suitable routine for me, I have too many other things going on. MAQS is pretty much one shot, 'set and forget'.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

On a related note, my wife went down to Mass to visit friends and relatives this weekend. Yesterday she stopped in to Crystal Bee Supply in Peabody, and it happened to be package pick-up day, cars were parked up and down the road for a considerable distance and a long line snaked around the building while the packages were being unloaded from a trailer.

My wife grew up just a couple of miles away from the location and is friendly with the owners. She went in and was chatting with them, and mentioned that she was surprised to see so many people and so many packages. The owner said "It was a very bad Winter and all of their bees died." My wife was surprised, she was down there multiple times during the Winter, it's 200 miles south of where we live and it is nowhere near as bad as what we get here. I lived and worked down there for nearly 30 years after coming back to NE from out west, and before that spent most of my Winters there when I was a kid, so I have the experience of nearly 50 Winters there. The 200 miles makes a huge difference, something to do with how the Arctic air-mass sits and moves, it rarely gets down as low as zero there, while here we can pretty much count on stretches of 20 to 30 below. Up here, our snow can start in October, and it isn't unusual for us to still be seeing snowstorms until the end of April. Down there, a white Xmas is a crapshoot, frost danger is pretty much over by March and you can start putting seeds in the ground.

So, given our experience with Winters here, she was quite surprised and she started chatting with some of the customers, in particular, what they did as far as treating for mites. she got a lot of strange looks, seems that a lot of them don't 'believe' in 'treatments'. One guy had some drone frames in his hands and told her that that was all he did. She tried to tell him that culling drones was only going to buy him a little time, not solve the problem, but he clearly didn't want to hear it and she gave up. Similar results from the other people she talked to. Although she didn't talk to enough people to really get a statistically valid sample, it was fairly evident that the mindset around there was 'all natural' and 'no treat'. She left, shaking her head at the shear stupidity of it all, people buying packages every year to replace their bees that died because they won't do effective mite treatments. Given our experience here, with almost no Winter losses over the last three years despite our much more severe Winters, she knows that a 'bad Winter' isn't the issue.

I had been telling her fairly recently about my frustration in talking to people on other bee boards, who repeatedly lose their bees because they don't/won't do anything worthwhile for mite control, but she didn't think it was that bad until she talked to some of them herself (she doesn't get into chat boards like this). She called me right after she left the shop, utterly amazed and now understanding just how stupid some people can be.

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Allen Dick
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by Allen Dick » April 16th, 2017, 8:23 am

While operating treatment-free is not impossible -- some succeed -- doing it with production bees from package outfits is unlikely to be successful.

Package and queen producers, generally speaking, have very different priorities from their customers. Package producers need prolific strains that build up rapidly and produce large populations quickly -- the very sort that require treatment due to the fact that varroa thrive in colonies which raise a lot of brood earlier and later than more conservative bees.

Bees which can survive treatment-free may be less prolific and less productive than desirable for commercial use, and commercial use is the driver behind most breeding programmes. What is needed as a foundation for treatment-free -- so far at least -- seems to be surviver bees -- colonies that have survived challenges from varroa successfully. Such colonies are rare and may not have other desirable characteristics.

Horses for courses.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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cgybees
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by cgybees » April 19th, 2017, 9:07 am

BadBeeKeeper wrote:
April 16th, 2017, 6:48 am

I know that cost-wise, OA may be less expensive than MAQS, but proper use of OAV requires multiple applications at defined intervals over a particular timespan. That is not a suitable routine for me, I have too many other things going on. MAQS is pretty much one shot, 'set and forget'.
OAV works every time you use it as directed, with about a 98% kill rate. However, it doesn't pass through the wax into capped brood. So if you don't have capped brood (or very little), you're getting the best effectiveness. A new package, just installed, will have zero brood. A hive snuggled in for the winter, will have low to no brood. Both of these are situations where you can use OAV in one pass, with complete effectiveness.

At other times of the year, it will still kill mites not in with the brood, but to get a solid knock-down, you should do 3 treatments a week apart, to catch emerging brood and mites before they jump back in. Because you really should be managed down to the minimal mite loading possible before laying of winter bees really starts, because mite-infested winter bees don't properly develop the internal structures that offer good winter survivability (see the Scientific Bee-keeping articles on 'fat bees' for more detail http://scientificbeekeeping.com/fat-bees-part-1/), this probably means if you're using it, an early fall (Aug / Sept) multi-week treatment is the best course, and if you need a spring one, a single treatment before they start brooding up.

The nice thing is, you can do this on a Sunday morning, and by Sunday noon, they're back to gathering honey, and the mites are dead, unlike things like Apivar.
Last edited by cgybees on April 19th, 2017, 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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cgybees
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by cgybees » April 19th, 2017, 9:14 am

BadBeeKeeper wrote:
April 16th, 2017, 6:48 am
So, given our experience with Winters here, she was quite surprised and she started chatting with some of the customers, in particular, what they did as far as treating for mites. she got a lot of strange looks, seems that a lot of them don't 'believe' in 'treatments'.

The Bee Informed Partnership's been running a survey in the US since about 2008 on what people are doing, what treatments they're using, how many hives they run, whether they feed, what their winter-kill rate is, etc...

https://beeinformed.org/

I've been following it for a few years now, and the data very clearly shows there is a distinct, un-arguable difference in survival rates. The highest winter-kills are always:


- New bee-keepers
- Those who use powdered sugar as their only mite treatment (higher winter loss than treating with nothing at all)
- Those who use sucrocide or a variant
- Those who have only a few hives, or are self-described as hobbyist / backyard keepers

The lowest winter-kills vary from year to year, but are consistently:

- Bee-keepers with more than 25 years experience
- Commercial keepers

It's almost like bees are money to commercial keepers, and they're interested in keeping them alive to protect their investment or something, or at least to avoid spending cash over and over on the same thing.

Strange, that :D

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Allen Dick
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by Allen Dick » April 19th, 2017, 9:33 am

I agree. OA vapour is cheap and dead simple and takes no time except the travel to outyards, but it seems daunting until you have done it a time or two. There is no need to open hives or return to remove strips. It is fast and easy and can be done anytime except when it is raining.

Drizzle works very well but can be a bit more trouble, especially if you have doubles. It requires opening hives and sometimes removing upper brood chambers to reach the bottom.

Unlike the proprietary methods, OA is cheap and simple and nobody makes money each time you treat, so naturally there is little incentive to promote it, even if it is the best answer in many situations. It is unlikely to kill much brood.

On the other hand, the other products, other than home-brew mitewipes enrich a manufacturer and vendor every time they are used. Money talks, and the profits from the expensive solutions affect the prejudices of influential people -- even extension people due to advertising and promotion. Nobody is immune.

How can anything so cheap and simple be the best?

BTW, for optimal control when there is brood, the OA evaporation recommended interval is five days, I recently discovered.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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Jiminycric
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by Jiminycric » April 25th, 2017, 5:36 pm

Hey Allen, where does one get the OA in Alberta? Liquid or crystal?

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Countryboy
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by Countryboy » April 25th, 2017, 7:38 pm

Try looking on Amazon for wood bleach. It is oxalic acid crystals.
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by Allen Dick » April 25th, 2017, 8:29 pm

Yes. You can also get it from the AHPC co-op or from Medivet. When I researched the purity of the various forms, there was little difference if any between the druggist quality and the wood bleach sold by paint stores.

Just be sure the wood bleach is indeed oxalic and not some other compound. I have not run across any other sorts that could be confused with oxalic, but it could happen.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by BDT123 » April 25th, 2017, 8:56 pm

Jimminycric - I got mine at Beemaid. Cheap.
Brian

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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by Allen Dick » April 26th, 2017, 1:42 am

The safest approach when in doubt about supplies is to buy from reputable bee suppliers. They verify that their products are suitable for bees.

It is not uncommon to hear that people sourced yeast at a health food store or are feeding corn syrup from a grocery store. Although these food items have the same names and some ingredients in common with recommended bee feeds, the composition is usually very different, and while these products may well be appropriate as a minor part of a human diet, they can be toxic to bees, especially if the bees have little other food.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by Jiminycric » April 26th, 2017, 8:10 pm

Thanks all!


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Biermann
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by Biermann » April 27th, 2017, 8:29 pm

Questions to OA, all I see is with a vaporizer, but what I read here is just dribbled in crystals in? I assume the warmer the better or did I get this all wrong?

Beemaid has this: 140g - $3.95 which treats 80 colonies, sure beats Apivar, particularly since it can be used at anytime and supposedly now overdose possible, ideal for a goof like me.

The vaporizer sells for $150-$200, for a few hives a high investment, but long-term nothing bad.

Hope for you info, Joerg

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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by BDT123 » April 27th, 2017, 10:01 pm

Biermann, I got my vapourizer at Beemaid. Pricey, but for hobbyist, good for life. Got a little battery at Canadian tire, like for a ride-on mower.
Used twice this year on my big surviving hive in February. No bee issues.
I looked at it as a twenty year investment. Definitely getting off the Apivar / Amitraz train.
We're hobbyists, it's part of the gear.
Best to you,
Brian
Still waiting on warm weather. Hived 2 packages this evening.+6C

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Jiminycric
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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by Jiminycric » April 27th, 2017, 11:18 pm

Biermann wrote:
April 27th, 2017, 8:29 pm
Questions to OA, all I see is with a vaporizer, but what I read here is just dribbled in crystals in? I assume the warmer the better or did I get this all wrong?
I believe the dribbling method mentioned in here is a liquid OA, the crystals are just for vaporization.


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Re: Winter Losses

Unread post by Countryboy » April 28th, 2017, 4:43 am

The OA crystals are dissolved in syrup, and then dribbled. In Allen's diary, he has pictures of a squeeze applicator that dribbles a preset dose.
B. Farmer Honey
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