Friday, August 31, 2012

Treating My Girls For Mites

Now that the Honey Harvest is finished for my hive, I am beginning to prepare for fall. I had previously reduced the main entrance and closed off the upper entrance to help prevent robbing bees from entering my hive. Using a wooden hive top feeder, I have begun to feed my bees sugar water (2:1 ratio of sugar to water) mixed with the feeding stimulant Honey-B-Healthy. They have taken to the feed and I am checking on it every week ( so far I have added 3 gallons).

Looking into a Hive

Last time I was in my hive, I went through all the brood chamber, checking for eggs and making sure there was a decent brood pattern. I was somewhat disappointed to find that only the bottom two brood chambers had larva and eggs. I have a third brood chamber, mostly filled with honey, and above that, lays a honey super below my hive top feeder. While feeding my bees, I was hoping that the added food would implement laying from my queen.

I rotated my upper two supers, thinking that she might not have room to lay with the frames in the third brood chamber being mostly honey. While I was in my hive, I was thoroughly inspecting my bees for any deformity in their wings or visible mites. During my inspection I noticed some of my bees had smaller spread wings where as the normal bee would have their wings flat against their back. My next task was to check my mite count and see if I needed to treat.

Photo By: Lazy B Farm
My bees were not to this extent but you could see a slight difference between them and the norm.

After using a corex sheet in my IPM bottom board, I was relieved to have a mite count below the average 40 to 50 mites but I thought it best to still treat. The recommended treatment from other beekeepers was Api life Var. This treatment comes in a pack of two wafers (strong odor and should be handled with gloves), with one wafer being used per hive. 

Api life Var Package

After opening the package, I took one wafer and broke it up into four separate pieces to go on the four corners of my brood chamber. For the treatment to work properly, I needed to place these four pieces on top of my bottom brood chamber and close up my hive so that the vapors would not escape. I ensured that my entrance was reduced and my corex sheet was in place beneath my IPM bottom board.

Wafer Pieces on the Corners

Closed up my hive and now I am waiting 7 to 10 days to repeat the treatment (2 more times). I was told that if I were to see a vast majority of my bees outside of my hive, the vapors are to overpowering and I need to reduce the amount of wafer pieces I am treating with. I need my girls to be mite free ( or close to it) going into to winter.

Cleaning out the pests!

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