This marks the end of my fifth season of beekeeping, still a newbeee, but making new strides each season. This year I focused hard on mite counts and managing mites. I love keeping bees, but I despise keeping mites. There is no joy in doing mite counts, it can be time consuming. There is no joy in applying treatments. BUT, if you don't do either, you will not have the joy of keeping bees!
I switched over to the alcohol wash for mite counts instead of powdered sugar. I find the alcohol is much more accurate. Yes, it kills the bees. But if I'm going to take the time to do it, I want it as accurate as possible. I recently read an article in ABJ about using a white bucket lid for counting the mites in the wash. I am "excited" to try that next season. The article was written by Zac Lamas in the October 2018 American Bee Journal, titled" Bucket Lids & Mites, A Stark Reality in White & Red."
I also started doing mite counts earlier this season, starting in July, rather than the end of August. If counts were high, I treated. If not I let them be and rechecked each month. I start making splits and rearing queens as soon as the weather cooperates which is usually May. I split again in July. Because my bees get that brood break early in the spring, I haven't checked mites counts that early. However, this coming spring 2019, I'd like to get a count on each colony when I pull the old overwintered queens. Queens coming from colonies with low counts in spring will be used as breeder queens for grafting.
Treatments. Brood breaks, oxalic dribble and oxalic vapor have been my treatments of choice. I did purchase the Oxavap Provap 110 this year to speed up the process and have been happy with that. Please follow all safety precautions recommended when using the oxavap. It can cause severe injuries if used improperly.
|Need electricity for the Oxavap Provap. This little generator from Harbor Freight worked well.|
|I drilled a small hole in the back of the bottom board to insert the provap into. I close it up with a golf tee||when I'm finished.|
|I stuff foam in the bottom entrances and tape top entrances before I start.|
|Golf tee inserted after finished. The bees will most likely propolize it anyways if I don't put the tee in.|
|USE RECOMMENDED SAFETY EQUIPMENT. I USE SAFETY GLASSES TOO!|
|The oxalic "condensed or sublimated"( not sure on correct term) on this bee on the foam at entrance when took out foam.|
|Me with almost all my bees, spread out to 7 yards now. If we get through winter, I'm looking forward to selling local MI nucs again this coming season.|