NZBF: Early varroa treatment

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10
5
Auckland, New Zealand
Experience
Beginner
Hi all,

I am a very new beekeeper with one hive in Auckland. I have just gone to check on the girls and have found the following situation...

My bees were treated for varroa over spring - prior to me buying them. I have today seen two bees with varroa on their backs, and I therefore suspect that there will be plenty more. I have a single brood box, and two honey supers. The second super I added only about one month ago as the girls had almost filled the first honey super, bit since then the flow seems to have slowed to a trickle. I am going away for two weeks tomorrow, and was hoping to leave the girls to fill the second super in that time (although as the flow is so slow now, I'm not sure how much they'll be able to fill), so I could then take the full top box and leave them with plenty of honey for the winter.
Although I am now wondering if I should just take 5 or so frames out of the full honey super (I have spare frames to replace them with), and start treating for varroa with bayvarol now? This will obviously forfeit 5 or so frames of honey for our consumption, but I imagine that's the better option than losing all my bees?
Thanks!
 
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25
22
UK
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International
I tend to treat whatever the varroa levels, however it's good to know how many mites are there. To check for varroa, have you tried drone uncapping or do you have a board under a mesh floor of the hive to monitor the varroa drop or done any other method?
 
245
156
Christchurch
Experience
Beginner
Someone can confirm but I thought bayvarol didnt affect honey? I do not take honey made while bayvarol in but I'm a cautious camper. Definitely treat. Doing it now will give the hive time to strengthen before winter.
 

yesbut

Staff member
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Nelson
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Someone can confirm but I thought bayvarol didnt affect honey? I do not take honey made while bayvarol in but I'm a cautious camper. Definitely treat. Doing it now will give the hive time to strengthen before winter.
You are correct, although it is still not recommended practice.
 
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148
120
Taupo
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Hobbyist
If you leave a super on, for the honey to be used for the bees winter feed,(not for human consumption) with Apivar used in the brood boxes, are those frames in the super ok for use in the super next season, once the bees have emptied them over winter?
 
10
5
Auckland, New Zealand
Experience
Beginner
Welcome @GeorgiaN
Whatever you decide to do with the honey, I would suggest getting the bayvarol in as soon as possible.
Someone more local to you can advise about how much honey to leave for your girls .
Thanks for your help! The bees have now built up plenty of honey stores and I can't see any varroa mites around :)
I am just wondering if you would recommend doing another lot of varroa treatment before winter starts - like run the treatments back to back? Or is there no need? :)
 

Trevor Gillbanks

Staff member
Founder Member
10,609
7,191
Palmerston North
Experience
Hobbyist
Thanks for your help! The bees have now built up plenty of honey stores and I can't see any varroa mites around :)
I am just wondering if you would recommend doing another lot of varroa treatment before winter starts - like run the treatments back to back? Or is there no need? :)
Are you doing varroa sampling. I recommend alcohol wash as they are more reliable than just looking to see if you have a varroa problem. If you can see varroa on the bees, then the hive is getting close to collapse.

Here is a video for you to see how it is done.
 
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3,392
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Hawkes Bay
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I generally get by with two treatments a year and the most sensible time for those treatments are spring and autumn. I agree with Trevor that if you are seeing varoa then you already way overdue for a treatment. It is vital to do autumn treatment early enough so you have healthy young bees going into winter, this will vary from area to area , I already have all my strips in with the last few going in on Saturday.
 
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Reactions: frazzledfozzle
10
5
Auckland, New Zealand
Experience
Beginner
I generally get by with two treatments a year and the most sensible time for those treatments are spring and autumn. I agree with Trevor that if you are seeing varoa then you already way overdue for a treatment. It is vital to do autumn treatment early enough so you have healthy young bees going into winter, this will vary from area to area , I already have all my strips in with the last few going in on Saturday.
Great! Thank you for your help.
I spotted a few varroa in my hive at the end of Jan, and have had strips in since the 31st of Jan (so almost 6 weeks now). Is that going to be close enough to winter to last my bees if I take the strips out in 2 weeks?
 

Trevor Gillbanks

Staff member
Founder Member
10,609
7,191
Palmerston North
Experience
Hobbyist
Great! Thank you for your help.
I spotted a few varroa in my hive at the end of Jan, and have had strips in since the 31st of Jan (so almost 6 weeks now). Is that going to be close enough to winter to last my bees if I take the strips out in 2 weeks?
Test as explained above and that will give you your answer. Sorry, but we cannot see inside your hive.
 
5,576
5,952
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Great! Thank you for your help.
I spotted a few varroa in my hive at the end of Jan, and have had strips in since the 31st of Jan (so almost 6 weeks now). Is that going to be close enough to winter to last my bees if I take the strips out in 2 weeks?
Aucklander eh ..... I'm picking you'll need some O/A mid winter ...... but like Trev says ..... test test test.
 
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Reactions: Trevor Gillbanks

Mummzie

Staff member
Gold
1,113
989
Tasman
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its better for the survival of the bees, but not for an accurate assessment of the varroa levels.
A sugar shake can give an idea, but the alcohol wash is more efficient/accurate.

Yes, you should test. Reinvasion is a very real risk. That and the fact that winter is not overly cold and many places in NZ do not get the tight winter clusters and broodless periods.
 

Josh

Gold
836
584
Christchurch
Experience
Hobbyist
Alcohol wash is easy, buy the container that does the split for you. Sugar isn’t hard, but more time consuming and kit to do the check. BUT, my queen is a complete speed freak, I know she’s there but do you think I can find her!
 
245
156
Christchurch
Experience
Beginner
Alcohol wash is easy, buy the container that does the split for you. Sugar isn’t hard, but more time consuming and kit to do the check. BUT, my queen is a complete speed freak, I know she’s there but do you think I can find her!
Are you suggestingyou wash or sugar your queen?
 


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