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Mite icing sugar treatment

 
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Uwe in USA
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 May 2013
Posts: 69
Location: Arlington, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 4:17 pm    Post subject: Mite icing sugar treatment Reply with quote

I just got my hives on Sunday May 14. I know it is late but the bee keeper I ordered from lost my order and he reordered. last year I lost my two bee hive probably due to mites.
I installed my two packages on Sunday. One TBBH was empty the other I left 5 old combs inside because they looked pretty good. When do I treat with powder sugar or icing sugar? Presume all hives have mites. I was under the false impression that TBBH can manage mites to survive. Well lesson learned, sorry for the bees. I presume since all hives have mites I might as well skip the checking for mites and just treat them with icing sugar. Any idea when I should do that and how often? I searched the web but couldn't find any definitive answer. Thanks fro your time and response.

Regards

Uwe
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1495
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Uwe,

I haven't treated any of my hives be they normal framed hives or top bar hives for about six or seven years. It is all about how you keep bees rather than the type of hive that can make a difference.

That said, some colonies seem to manage/tolerate mites much better than others. Things that in my opinion help are good cold winters - this leads to a break in brood production which interrupts the mite life cycle. Swarming - the same. I don't do anything to stop mine swarming.

However I have never used packaged bees, indeed they are not common here in UK. Swarms or a nuc colony from a local bee keeper makes it more likely that you have bees adapted to your local conditions and in UK some people do buy in bees from outside their area but they are in the minority.

If I had to have packaged bees, I would probably dust with icing sugar on installing the package and again a couple of weeks later. I might repeat a third time if there was a significant mite drop after the second time.

I would then leave them to get on with it and only dust if I felt there was a problem. It is worth thinking about other possible causes such as colonies going queenless in the autumn after supercedure - queen not returning from mating flight or becoming a drone layer due to poor mating. I would guess that the quality of packaged bees varies a lot between suppliers so it is also worth checking out what other bee keepers in your vicinity think.

I don't know if this helps, I don't think there are any hard and fast rules and others here may have different advice. Do try and see what others near you think as they will know local conditions which I am completely ignorant about.
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Uwe in USA
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 May 2013
Posts: 69
Location: Arlington, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 7:27 pm    Post subject: Treatment Reply with quote

Thanks fro your reply. That is good advice. Where I live in Arlington VA close to DC there are not many beekeepers that have been around for a long time. I actually found someone and mailed him to see if he could be sort of a mentor but that was a hard question to ask. But if I don't ask I never know.
I thought I could do it all alone by reading about beekeeping but finding out to have someone to talk about and exchange experience is essential. Next time I will get nucs. Now I am wanting to build a Warre hive it is kind of the same concept as the TBH because it has also top bars but is stacked vertical.
I have watched some guys building one on youtube and I already made my own plans including observation windows and top bars with side frames so the combs won't be attached to the side of the box. thanks again froyour reply.
Regards
Uwe
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Uwe

Like Catchercradle I don't treat my bees for mites and they have been fine for the past few years but I do think that package bees may be more vulnerable as I said in my other post and I treated my bees with chemicals when varroa first became a problem here about 15 years ago. Gradually I reduced the frequency of treatment and only treated when the mite infestation became really high. I also changed my management routine and allowed my bees to swarm at will which I am sure helps and they have old comb which may well have enabled them to transition down to small cell over the past 10-15 years.... my oldest colony is coming up 19 years and I haven't replaced the comb for at least 10, so whilst they were originally on standard foundation comb, over the years, the build up of pupae cocoons in the cells will have reduced the interior size of the cells significantly.

Like Dave, I would have been inclined to have dusted the package before you installed them, but you have missed that opportunity now and if you try to do it whilst they are clustering and building comb, you may have problems. I would probably wait a good 4 weeks before dusting them and then perhaps do a sugar roll test and then give them 3 consecutive dustings each a week apart if they need it, but I'm no expert on sugar dusting or treatment of any kind for that matter, because I just don't seem to need to anymore.

As regards your Warre, I don't mean to rain on your parade with respect to your plans for side frames but you need to be aware that once you start doing something like that, they need to be precision made to maintain a bee space between the frame and the hive wall. If it is more than a bee space, the bees will build brace comb in the gap and less than a bee space and they will propolise it solid..... either way, your frame sides will be stuck to the wall of the hive and will need cutting/prising out and bees will get nipped in the gaps as you pull them out, so you may well be giving yourself extra work for no gain.....The whole purpose of a top bar hive, be it an horizontal or vertical design is to simplify it and do away with frames. If you are going to use frames in your Warre then you are better to get purpose made ones that are precisely manufactured to maintain the bee space.... Langstroth frames will not fit, so you need to do some research to find the right ones.
I appreciate that you may not understand the concept of "bee space" but it is a fundamental issue when designing a hive with frames... even just part frames like you are suggesting, so worth doing some research. These bees are complex creatures and there are many hundreds of years of beekeeping experience that have gone into designing hives.... you need to have a good understanding of bees and experience of different hives to design or modify them with any success, so I would encourage you to stick with something tried and tested for a few years before you start experimenting.

Good luck with your new bees.

Best wishes

Barbara
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Uwe in USA
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 May 2013
Posts: 69
Location: Arlington, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 3:19 pm    Post subject: Warre hive Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara for you reply and time to write it.
I understand the concept of bee space. But it seems that the guy in the video is wrong then. look at 5:30 time how he explains the frames.
I do woodworking as a hobby and I can build almost anything.
I was going to copy his plans. Because I think it will be better to have the bees build vertically and I also can take two boxes away for Winter.

See the video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvsJq-fRItA&index=18&list=LLwocuOiX0pk4TtDzwyQ_nIw&t=163s

Regards

Uwe
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

The guy in the video only mentions maintaining bees space (actually double bee space) between the top bars, but I was referring to maintaining single bee space between the frame sides and the hive wall.... and this is where precision will be particularly important, especially when there is no frame bottom to keep the frame sides parallel to the walls. If you have good woodworking skills and the machinery to precision make them, as the guy in the video obviously has, then it should for the most part be fine, although I can see some brace comb cutting may be necessary on the window side where the frame is cut short.

On the whole I think this hive design is pretty good, but it does move away from the simplicity of the original Warre. If you have the time and wood working skills to build it, then I can see the benefit of the improvements they have incorporated. But it is still, to all intents and purposes, a stacking box, framed hive and therefore I wonder if you might not be better going with a Langstroth hive which would then open up the option of a simple installation of a standard nucleus of bees from a local beekeeper rather than a package and the support of local conventional beekeepers. You can always use a Langstroth without foundation and queen excluder to make it more natural and just give the bees starter strips as guides.

Just something else for you to consider.

Regards

Barbara
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Uwe in USA
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 May 2013
Posts: 69
Location: Arlington, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 4:58 pm    Post subject: Langstroth Reply with quote

Barbara, thanks.
I will definitely look into this. I never thought about Langstroth Hive because I wanted to start with something different as I was told a TBH would be great for beginners with little work or upkeep. I have watched my grandfather when I was little to make the all around frames and putting in the wax templates. That was a lot of work to do if I remember correctly that.
I wished I would have let my Grandfather teach me when I was a teenager but I just was not interested in it but I loved and still love to eat honey every day. Raw honey as they call it here. I hope its not to late for me to keep bees. but I thought it was all meant to be. First I found an old antique sign saying "Bee Keep this way" then a beekeeper that made and sold TBH approached me on the way to Home Depot if I wanted to start Bee keeping he has all that I need. So I did buy his TBH design and quickly came up with a better design with more bells and whistles. My TBH are like Hotels. LOL. Any bee that wouldn't want to live in there and keep living in there must be crazy, I thought. I guess its better late than never. now I am 56 and started with 53. Again I will definitely look into the langstroth Hive. Yes I do have all the power tools and machines to build any kind of furniture. Better than you can buy in any store. If I do say so myself. lol. thanks again fro your time and response.

Regards

Uwe
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2012
Posts: 200
Location: Upper Northwest Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have several hTBH hives which supply us with all the sweet honey we require, and they need very little attention or upkeep. We don't "treat" for mites or anything else: we simply leave them "bee."

The hives sit in a tree-island in the middle of our pasture where it is dry, shady, and has good drainage. They are directly in the sun only on summer mid-afternoons. And, they appear to thrive there.

To me, Lang hives are "entirely too much work!" (And expense.) A major supplier of beekeeping supplies is located within easy driving distance, and I am stunned at how much everything there seems to cost. You could be "endlessly meddling with" your hives, if you were so inclined, and you could drop thousands of dollars in the process. And, I'm not sure that your bees would ever actually be any better for it.

I suppose that my mantra is that these wild insects know how to thrive perfectly well in hollow trees and walls, without any "help" from human beings at all. (We actually had a "split" from one of our hives take up residence in the walls of our barn – and, I simply left them there. Put a hTBH hive-box conveniently nearby and sure enough they moved right in. But, the choice was theirs.)
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