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varroa, and the usual suspects - waggledancers

thanx_n_advanceAug. 29th, 2009 01:18 pm varroa, and the usual suspects

Poking around at the entrance of the hive this morning I watched the girls drag one of their brothers out and dump him off the edge of the hive stand. He appeared to be newly hatched, covered in that downy fuzz but upon closer inspection I noticed that he was also sporting a reviled hitchhiker - a varroa mite.

This is the first time I've ever seen one outside of a photograph. Since hiving the colony in early May I've obviously never seen them attached to any of the workers as they come and go, on any brood, on the any of the comb, or in the hive at all (including at my inspection just last week). Earlier this month I had also noticed a few (and I mean less than a dozen) small hive beetles in my hive-top feeder, and only in my hive-top feeder (two on one day, one on another, a couple after a few days, etc) which were dispatched under my thumb upon their discovery. Knock gently, I haven't seen any more of those hive monsters in over a week.

Whereas I'm pretty discouraged, I'm reserving the freak-out for better information. I bought my packaged bees, and marked mated queen from Walter T Kelley's bees and I was informed at the time of purchase that they never medicate their bees, which is a practice I'd like to continue if possible. Based on this information I have to assume that varroa has been a part of my hive since its inception. I'm going to take a sugar shake test today or tomorrow and, as soon as possible, introduce a drone brood frame and a screened bottom board. But I'm thinking that it's probably time to, begrudgingly, put in an order for Apistan and Apiguard as well.

Any advice with the use of these products, as well as, any more seasoned beek than I who's had luck controlling mites and other pestilence using strictly natural methods and would like share their wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

Your's, best, and as usual. . .

Current Location: United States, Virginia, Front Royal
Current Mood: blahdiscouraged

3 comments - Leave a commentPrevious Entry Share Next Entry


Date:August 30th, 2009 01:07 am (UTC)
Date:August 30th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
I just did a sugar shake test for mites. Out of a about a ½ cup of bees I got about a dozen (i.e. eleven) mites. I guess the next step is Apistan? Apiguard? Is one better (and by that I mean safer, less invasive) than the other?
Date:August 31st, 2009 05:54 am (UTC)

I think it may be a good thing