Triple treating to prevent Varroa ?

Welcome to NZ Beekeepers+
Would you like to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up

Grant

Staff member
Founder Member
Platinum
10,486
4,926
A Canterbury beekeeper has begun triple-treating some of his 4000 hives to stop varroa mites destroying his bee colonies.


Hantz Honey operations head Barry Hantz lost about 10% of his hives to the parasites last winter and is spending $150,000 a year on strip treatment.

He is not alone. A national survey by the beekeeping industry and Ministry for Primary Industries found that nearly 14% of the country's bee hives were lost over the same period. Nearly 40% of them were taken out by varroa infestations.

For the first time, beekeepers in the New Zealand Colony Loss Survey report it is the most common reason for hive losses over the winter.

Mr Hantz said varroa losses had increased and were higher than the Leeston family operation wanted.

It cost them $200 to $300 to replace each of the 400 to 500 hives they lost over winter.

They increased varroa treatment from twice a year to triple-treating for about 25% of their hives last winter because of large losses in early autumn, he said.

 
  • Good Info
Reactions: kaihoka
13
12
Dunedin
Experience
Semi Commercial
A Canterbury beekeeper has begun triple-treating some of his 4000 hives to stop varroa mites destroying his bee colonies.


Hantz Honey operations head Barry Hantz lost about 10% of his hives to the parasites last winter and is spending $150,000 a year on strip treatment.

He is not alone. A national survey by the beekeeping industry and Ministry for Primary Industries found that nearly 14% of the country's bee hives were lost over the same period. Nearly 40% of them were taken out by varroa infestations.

For the first time, beekeepers in the New Zealand Colony Loss Survey report it is the most common reason for hive losses over the winter.

Mr Hantz said varroa losses had increased and were higher than the Leeston family operation wanted.

It cost them $200 to $300 to replace each of the 400 to 500 hives they lost over winter.

They increased varroa treatment from twice a year to triple-treating for about 25% of their hives last winter because of large losses in early autumn, he said.

I have recently heard of triple treating hives more for getting a better honey crop than for hive survival over winter, but it may have a follow-on effect on the mite population coming into Autumn.
METHOD : Spring and Autumn treatments as per normal, but adding a treatment of Formic Pro at the beginning of December to every hive, after they have been placed out onto their Summer sites. Supering can commence as soon as the treatments are in. I have been informed that this extra mite treatment cleans the hive of mites that have been building up since the September treatment, and reportedly the hives gathered one extra super of honey each compared to hives that did not receive the December treatment. I will be incorporating this treatment schedule for this coming season, then I will decide whether to continue with it after next season's extraction.
 
3,511
6,576
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
Unless they are in extremely high numbers the main damage done by varoa is the spreading of viruses to the bees and this is what is killing a lot of hives at the moment. There is a lot of evidence that this problem gets worse every year and in effect every year it takes less varoa each year to kill a hive and I'm pretty convinced New Zealand has now reached the point where two treatments cannot be relied upon to keep a hive alive. Some people will get away with two treatments and others won't. This autumn for the first time I did not get away with only two treatments and have suffered losses accordingly even though I treated in a timely manner and there was no sign of resistance to treatment, a lot of hives with what I considered only moderate varoa numbers and no sign of PMS still succumbed to the viruses and many others were heavily impacted. This is not what I consider normal but unfortunately it is going to become so and three treatments will be absolutely necessary for most people in the very near future. Some of the early literature talked about it taking three years for varoa to kill a hive. That has never been the case in New Zealand probably because we have a very long breeding season which gives varoa lots of opportunities to reproduce.
How commercial beekeepers are going to deal with this I don't know. If you are a hobbyist and have the time then you could certainly help control varoa and thus the viruses by doing things like drone brood trapping and even caging the Queen to give a broodless period and treating with oxalic acid.
I always advocated for the eradication of varoa and the cost of eradicating it would have been cheap even if it had meant destroying every hive in the North Island compared to the ongoing cost of treatment and the ever increasing number of hives that are succumbing to the varoa.
Keeping bees is going to become increasingly more difficult and expensive.
 

Max

2
5
Christchurch
Experience
Beginner
I saw this article yesterday and it seems like it might be a good option for some beekeepers.

Not expensive and you are able to apply it while honey supers are on
 


Top