Varroa Mite Control.
We currently use two different methods of control to create an integrated pest management plan. Breaking the Biological cycle with the use of drone foundation and chemical treatment with the rotation of Bayvarol strips, Apistan strips and Apiguard gel.
Varroa mites naturally target drone cells to lay their eggs, mainly due to the drone bee being a larger host and has a longer developmental period. By rotating Drone Foundation Frames from spring through late summer we can greater reduce the mite numbers. Then we move into chemical rotation between Bayvarrol and Apivar as alternative strips after the honey supers have been removed. We remove both types of strips at 6 weeks to reduce any chemical resistance build up, before retreating. Through early spring while still feeding sugar syrup with hive top feeders we apply Apiguard gel.
Deformed wing virus (DWV)
Is a viral diseases associated with varroa mite infestations. It appears to be both more common and more destructive in colonies where mites are well established. Bees with this deformity don’t last long, when found we shock treat hives with a double round of Apivar strips in addition to our standard IPM plan. In some cases we have requeened the hive.
We wipe off the wax frames with a bleach solution to remove the silk. By placing the frames into trash bags and freezing for a week in a designated chest freezer, you will kill off all stages of the wax moth in its reproductive cycle. We find bad infestations are centered on frames with high levels of pollen. In a worst case scenario we simply scrap the wax off the frame, back to the plastic foundation and store separately from non-contaminated frames. ParadiclorBenzene can be used for prevention with stored honey supers. We plastic wrap hive supers air tight at all stages of storage while off the hive.
Mouse guards are fitted late summer, early March. Reducing the entrance after the main nectar flows have finished greatly reduce rodent problems along with robbing from wasps and other bees. We also mow in front of the hives to give bees the best possible flight path, which in turn should make them a stronger hive. Some sites we elevate the hives on blocks and wooden runners.
We practice strict bio security control. Conditions of our DECA agreement is to burn diease infected hives. We also burn infestations of wax moth, warped frames and abandoned hives left on sites by other beekeeper operations.
We interchange propolis mats in the spring.
All our 10 frame hives now over winter with modified hive top feeders. You will need to scrape down the burr wax from the frame tope edges and then gently lower the feeder on top of the hive. Through the feeding season when refilling the feeder simply check to make sure the slatted floats are free floating and not stuck to the bottom of the feeder with crystalized sugar.