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Use varroa miticides wisely as they also affects honeybees

This short article might be of interest for anyone that uses miticides to control varroa.

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Still have to do it though. This is an accelerated mite drop photo, 24 hours after vaporizing a hive that has a longer term treatment in place. An acceptable mite count would be about 25. My photo shows far more than that…

Having said that, this queen is laying beautifully. Great laying pattern, lots of workers. Life in biology is complicated… :thinking:

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Hi @Dawn, ouch that looks bad, I sure hope that Verona mites can be kept out of Australia, they sound like s real problem.
Interesting, I actually got a notification on my mobile today on the Verona mite problem regarding this very issue of controlling them with miticides. It could even be the same article that SnowflakeHoney has posted.

I read this article quite closely…as the most recent research project referenced was performed right in my backyard…20 minutes away at the Beaverlodge Agricultural Research Station. I also have spoken personally to several of the scientists named in the study over the years and attended the annual Beekeepers Field Day hosted by this facility for many years.

The article left me hanging:

  1. Why wasn’t the miticide product Apivar (active ingredient is Amitraz) mentioned once…the Apivar formulation is supposed to leave insignificant residues in honey or wax…and most beekeepers in my area I chat with, including myself, use it in their varroa control strategy.

  2. Why wasn’t the use of Oxalic acid… mentioned once as most beekeepers in my area use it also? Why was Oxalic acid not listed in the “list of recommendations” for beekeepers to use…strange?

  3. On the ground, beekeepers in my area just run/winter extra hives to deal with all these events that negatively affect their hives…a simple solution…that was not mentioned as a recommended tip for beekeepers.

For those readers that fear varroa infecting their hives…I was in your position 30 years ago when it was at our borders. But since varroa is here now for 3 decades, the experience gained by the worldwide/local beekeepers allows for beekeeping to continue.

My varroa control strategy has been greatly influenced by Randy Oliver of California:

I would be interested in how Oxalic acid affects queen fertility…now that would be helpful.

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Personally I wouldnt use the pharma miticides at all or else reserve them for emergency situations.
Development of resistance is inevitable.

We have three active ingredients available, in various products and formulations, oxalic acid, formic acid and thymol which do work when used correctly and have minimal risk of resistance developing. They also all happen to qualify as organic. I would use these as first line.

What has happened in this part of the world is that the strong continuous brood rearing cycle stimulates mite populations correspondingly to the extent that some form of summer mite control…that doesn’t contaminate the honey…is required to suppress the mite population so that those hives are consistently treatable before winter. That’s where the organic miticide oxalic acid in the form of extended release/shop towels comes in…for a summer application. To keep my hives healthy, it’s imperative I get Apivar strips in the same day as the last of the honey is removed…before the end of August. I know this combination works… but am always open to trying new methods.

Many beekeepers use synthetic miticides in the spring…but I do not because I depend on a significant harvestable flow of willow and dandelion honey. I’ve tried Oxalic acid as a fall treatment (7 treatments 5 days apart) for a couple of seasons but my mite drop…although impressive…still indicated residue mite populations. Those residue mite populations showed up in the middle of the honeyflow the following year…decimating my hives. This hive decimation has disapperared since using the blue-shop towels during summer.

I have not tried thymol and would appreciate any comments you have regarding your experience with this product.

I’ve posted Randy Oliver’s graph before…shows the relationship between brood rearing and mite populations…and beekeeper’s brood rearing may cycle differently depending on their areas…mine does.

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