How many staples?

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Alastair

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I thought the normal number of staples for a strong single brood box hive at this time was 4, but have heard talk of people using just 3. Would be interested to hear what people are doing, and why.
 

Otto

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I look at each seem of bees (the gap between two frames) in the brood boxes. If there is brood on either side of that seem it gets the leg of a staple. I do not use a consistent number of staples per hive/box as every hive is different. This is what I have been doing for a few years now and it works for me. The staples always go in the middle of the brood area on the frame.
For strong hives a blanket approach of four per box should work well.
 

Otto

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Is that at this time of year Otto?
This is how I apply them whenever I put treatments in. Treating twice per season seems to be working for me so at the moment they go on in early spring and late summer.
I'm about halfway through getting them in to my hives now. Would like to be finished with it but things don't always go to plan...
 
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I use four per brood box as a rule on good strong hives. However, my staples are four layer gib tape laminates, narrows i.e. the gib is sliced up the middle. During spring and summer I put them in a diamond shape around brood. At the moment I am laying them right through the middle because of reinvasion issues, and I want as much contact as possible.
 

Alastair

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That's great info :).

Are you guys using any other forms of treatment or managing to only use staples?
 

Alastair

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Good to know Otto.

How long do you leave them in in winter, and do you have any winter dwindling that could be OA related?
 

Otto

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Good to know Otto.

How long do you leave them in in winter, and do you have any winter dwindling that could be OA related?
The ones I'm putting in now will mostly get chewed out before winter. I'm earlier with my autumn round than I have been in the previous couple of years (slightly more organized). I may consider putting a couple of fresh ones in in April and leaving those for the winter. As brood nests are small that time of year it would only be a couple per hive at most. That will mostly come down to whether I am nervous about re-invasion at all.

I am completely comfortable leaving the staples in over winter and don't believe I get winter dwindling caused by them. I have some sites where hives dwindle in numbers more than others but that was the case prior to using oxalic as well.
 

Otto

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I have just started trialling some half width staples for in my nucleus colonies. I find the full (gib paper tape) width can sometimes cover a little too much of the broodnest in nucs, especially from March through to early spring. Too early to know how these are going.
 
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Alastair

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About that, I'm trying something different for this winter. I'm not going thinner, but because of the way the strips can cut the brood nest in 1/2 if the queen won't cross them, I've made a bunch of shorter strips to leave more of a gap at the bottom for the queen to get around.
Looking at the way the bees chew the strips you can see the bottom of the strip gets a lot less bee activity so I'm thinking eliminating this bottom bit for the winter strips probably won't affect much, but might allow a better brood nest. We'll see.
 

Otto

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I've used shorter ones from the start. Mine are 33cm total length. I did this so they would work for both 3/4 and FD frames and I have a mix of both for brood boxes.
Pretty much all conventional treatment strips are a little too long for 3/4 frames, which has always bugged me. They could so easily be made to fit on 3/4 frames as well and it would make no difference to how well they work.
 

Alastair

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Interesting. Next time around I may try some 1/2 width ones myself. Probably not in spring but perhaps in autumn.
 

Josh

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Nice work.

So that means your total dose of OA per treatment is reduced compared to those paper towel trials, but you have less brood block etc too.

My hives got really damp with winter staples. But that maybe location, and the fact I was using full gibtape staples too.

I’m sticking to tried & true for now (Bayvrol & apivar) but watching intently for a consensus to form
 

Alastair

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I only use staples and the are all narrows, or half width. I also use them year round, usually four rounds - early spring, early summer, straight after extraction and the winter ones go in late april. No synthetics for three seasons.

Great info Paul, very encouraging (y)
 
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Winter staples.

Previous winters I have seen wetness and dripping staples, which I presume isn’t great for the bees. Of course, neither is varroa…. However, I have been shifting to vented base boards, and combined with narrow staples last winter I saw a lot less dampness.

There are a few factors contributing to less wetness though:

1. Get them in early before winter really sets in. I like mid ish April.
2. Strong hives deal with staples better. So, keep those boxes full of bees.
3. Both the above points lead to the staples having less solution in them when winter really hits. I think there is less GL in them to attract water.

I like others ideas about making them shorter too. Might try that this winter.
 
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Just under a month ago I put some cardboard oxalic staples into a hive I'm monitoring at home. It had around 25 mites per 400 bees in an alcohol wash. (I know 400 is not the normal number but that is what I'm using because that is what the container I chose holds). Today I replaced the strips even though they weren't particularly chewed up with eight new strips and did another alcohol wash. This time it was 125+.
I had high hopes for oxalic\glycerin strips but this has certainly dented my enthusiasm. I will check them again in a couple of weeks.
Surprisingly the hive still looks pretty healthy with just the odd bit of deformed wing showing up.
 
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Alastair

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Gotta remember that new mites will continue to emerge from hatching brood for the first brood cycle, and because of the parabolic way mite numbers increase, that could be quite a few mites. Add to that OA/GL strips do not get the fast kill like the synthetic strips, what you describe John could be pretty normal.

Some years back when I was doing a lot of washes to check the efficiency of OA / GL, I was finding a wash at the 3 week mark in autumn could get an increase in mites, yet give it enough time and it would wipe all the mites in the hive.

Other thing to consider is at this time of year many hives are reducing brood, thus causing an increase of phoretic mites, which can give a deceptive comparative test result.

Let's know what your results are in another month (y) :).
 
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Winter staples.

Previous winters I have seen wetness and dripping staples, which I presume isn’t great for the bees. Of course, neither is varroa…. However, I have been shifting to vented base boards, and combined with narrow staples last winter I saw a lot less dampness.

.......
3. Both the above points lead to the staples having less solution in them when winter really hits. I think there is less GL in them to attract water.
It is a misconception that OA/Glycerine strips would make hives more damp. Yes, glycerine is very hygroscopic, it is in some applications even used to extract water from air, but it does not make the air more humid, on the contrary: it dries the air out because water is being removed (for a short while, at least, until the glycerine is saturated).
The pure glycerine in the strips attracts water and the strips drip as long as the humidity of the air is higher than what balances out a glycerine/water mix. Venting makes the hive atmosphere more in equilibrium with the outside, and it will vary accordingly and so dripping may happen even a few weeks after the strips have put in (at least in Dunedin... :)).

There are no very firm data on Relative Humidity (RH) inside a hive, again it depends on the circumstances, time of the year, location, ventilation, size of the colony and so on and numbers between 50 and 85% have been mentioned in the scientific literature.... But perhaps a 60-70% RH is considered an ok average. Under those conditions the glycerine takes up ~ 30 volume % of water. The strips can not hold that volume, regardless of how many layers are used, it is a volume %age after all. So they drip.
If humidity decreases the strips will lose water and the powdery OA will dissolve again. Swiss beekeeper Gerhard Brüning's data suggest that the powder is active and ends up on varroa's feet, poisoning them. This is after all also what kills varroa when OA is sublimed into the hive entrance.

I made the strips this season with ~ 25% water, 75% glycerine (v/v) instead of 100% glycerine. Some of the OA will crystallise because the 40-50% OA solution is almost saturated when made with pure glycerine and OA is less soluble in water than in glycerine or mixes thereof. This makes the surfaces a bit powdery, which happens anyway also with strips made with pure glycerine when they have spent a while inside the hive, for obvious reasons. Saves on glycerine too (yes, I am Dutch.... originally... :)). Higher %ages of water might be interesting but make it impossible to make a solution of 40% OA in the liquid. Whether that is a bad thing? I doubt it to be frank, as long as the suface is powdery the strips should be fine.
Just under a month ago I put some cardboard oxalic staples into a hive I'm monitoring at home. It had around 25 mites per 400 bees in an alcohol wash. (I know 400 is not the normal number but that is what I'm using because that is what the container I chose holds). Today I replaced the strips even though they weren't particularly chewed up with eight new strips and did another alcohol wash. This time it was 125+.
I had high hopes for oxalic\glycerin strips but this has certainly dented my enthusiasm. I will check them again in a couple of weeks.
Surprisingly the hive still looks pretty healthy with just the odd bit of deformed wing showing up.

I agreed wih Alastair. As long as the production capacity of new bees (and varroa) exceeds the slaughtering capacity by OA, varroa numbers will continue to go up, but they would go up even more in the absence of such treatment. When brood numbers go down at the end of the season that is when OA will start to win! I apply my strips early Feb when I find >5 mites on the sticky board over 24 hrs.
OA is a slow poison, so it needs to be presented to the infested colonies under the best conditions to reach a good outcome. Monitoring on a very regular basis is key, to make sure the strips still hang over the frames and have not been pulled off by the bees and allow Varroa numbers to continue to go up exponentially. There are many observations and opinions about the success rate of OA, and some failures may be due to such events.

Staples <> strips? I use just one layer of Gib tape, so strip would be a more appropriate use in my case I suppose. I have followed in Otto's footsteps, never used anything else than what we call OA/GLYs and very happy with the reults so far. Yes, I am a novice and as a biologist I realise i will always be a novice when it comes to understand and align with Nature.
 


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