Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Varroa and DWV - it could happen to You!


Thank you @sara. I think Randy is fantastic. A great balance of minimal intervention, trying to stay organic, but using real evidence to make decisions. I certainly take his opinions seriously, especially as he shares the data to support them. :wink:


That’s very interesting. Do you think it might go some way to explain USA losses? I don’t mean the horrendous losses in trucked bees but what we hear about losses with hobby beekeepers.
I think that oxalic acid really does hit the spot and I have been following the glycerine/ oxalic trials closely.


I think it is a large part of the story, @Dee. There is some data to support that theory at www.beeinformed.org too. Of course it depends on how you interpret the data, and you have to take into account that the causes of hive loss are obtained from self-reporting and self-diagnosis, not from a professional bee inspector:

If you click on the Management Products side heading, you see how the use of Oxalic correlates with hive loss. :wink:


A very very interesting read.
I notice that the losses reported with using powdered sugar are higher than no treatment al all


Can I repost this.
Valli posted it last year. I think it’s timely


Great reminder @Dee. What worries me is that many beekeepers don’t seem to understand that visible signs of DWV mean that varroa treatment is really imperative, unless you can “afford” to lose the colony. Poor bees, of course! Also, DWV is visible, but as that article says, there are numerous other viruses which are probably gaining extra access courtesy of the varroa attack. I would love to believe in VSH bees, but I think they are NOT the whole story, unfortunately.


Oh my, coincidence is an interesting thing. :smile: Rusty Burlew (@Rusty) just posted a fascinating blog article which is totally relevant to the above discussion:


The truth is out there. The question is, are we willing to see it and learn from it? :wink:

Just to confuse things, of course all of us beekeepers have those infamous “alternate facts” too… :blush:


Thank you for posting this. That is exactly how I feel. We are well past the stage of not treating unless we are isolated and actively destroying any colony that doesn’t meet the strict criteria. The problem is that even if that were achieved the self preservation characteristics (VSH …whatever you want to label it) are not consistently heritable so you take your surviving bees out into the world and in one or two generations the progeny are as non resistant as all the other bees out there.


No problem @Dee, I think often there’s confusion with these sorts of things within the local Beekeeping community regarding regulations etc.


I believe in minimal intervention myself. However I also want to begin with the healthiest colony possible. Perhaps it was that you said he “won’t” sell treated colonies, only untreated. I do wonder if passing on survivor colonies with evidence of these infestations is being responsible though.
I do appreciate that it may not be immediately obvious. Some bees from a feral colony on my property last year, appeared to have symptoms of DWV, they had been thrown out or were simply unable to fly & so return to hive. They were perhaps more obvious because the ground beneath was clear, the majority appeared to be older bees. I did send some off for testing after discussing with Rodderick. Fortunately it was not DWV.


Hi Dawn:

Dustys article sure hit the issue on the HEAD I believe. As a returning beekeeper from a mite-free era I’m a little baffled if not befuddled by the reinfection rate so quickly in my urban setting. I would be totally discouraged if I wasn’t so purpose driven to raise n successful help beekeeping !

Being in the service industry n very observant I am aware of 6 to 7 small apiaries within less than a 5 mile radius of mine. Here’s a quick map :

I’m aware n concerned of these “Green” islands of untreated colonies here in the Burbs.

I would attribute my last colony struggle n Spring die-out to very late season reinfection. If my mentor had not check his research colonies mid-December, found elevated mite levels n sent out an immediate " Check for Mites Warning" I might have become totally Beeless … Two of my hives have repeatly been much lower mite infections. But Birch Hive got slammed n the treatment just before Christmas got rid of my mites but this Strongest, Biggest n had the most store got clobbered “big time” :exclamation: I thot it just might survive the winter … But I didn’t get Dees helpful "reduce the hive box to survive note until a bit too late … But Thankz Dee. I’ve put that great info in
my brain for future use !!!

I greatly appreciate “All” your inputs n questions as it stimulates sharing n info I do not have the talent or time to stir up n find.

I’m not discouraged or thinking about giving up. It just makes me more prone to MOVE Ahead … I guess that’s my inbread stubbornness I inherited from my mom. It’s all a learning curve. I know there are long time Beekeepers out there battling this on a much higher level ( it’s your living )… Even the commercial beekeeper I work with from time to time admits a 30% loss in colonies this 2016/2017 Winter season. I personally list 60%. But eyes n progress onward n forward. Not giving up the ship ! I’ve got a lot to learn that’s why I’ve volunteered my person bees as part of Green River College research !!

Foreword n Onward.


I am sure that you know this, but the thing is, you can never really “get rid” of the mites. You can knock them down, but they keep coming back. :flushed: That is why you have to keep doing counts and inspect carefully, even after you have treated.

In the text of his excellent article, Randy Oliver explains that the mites start to rebound pretty soon after treatment:
One of his graphs shows it very well - Figure 8 of the same paper:

Figure 9 suggests that the increasing counts after Apiguard and 4 OA strips are statistically significant, as the error bars do not overlap.

Moral of the story is, even if you decide to treat, you can’t be complacent. I know you aren’t, but just making a general point. :wink:



Thanks for the added graph n info. Yah ! I pretty well thot treats only Woop ! Most but not all. I’m sure though my monthly mite checks say “0” but they are still " in house" but high enough … To find on my SBBoard sheet. So far counts have been “0’s” but guessing the End of April I’ll start seeing those nasty little critters. My four new Nuc’s should be in their hives by then too.

Ain’t beekeeping great n are we having FUN yet ?! :smile::+1:. Take care … I’m off to a furnace job now. One of these days I want to chat ear to ear n know what your voice sounds like :ok_hand:

Gerald :honeybee:


Dawn: I must have been in a real hurry here. I know my composition n punctuation sucks at times BUT WOW ! This last note to you n other readers has got to be my Worst ! :+1:. Hope you got my drift … :wink:

So sorry !


The problem is other people’s bees.
Re-infection after adequate treatment is usually down to your bees robbing out a collapsing colony. They bring back plundered honey AND mites. That’s why its important to do a mite assessment a month after your main treatment.
Italians, particularly are great robbers.


@ Dawn n others,

I posted Rustys article on Facebook after reading twice. This was one reply from a beekeeper::

“Actually this year I don’t expect to treat my hives, going treatment free and letting the colonies control the mite population. So far the 3 hives I have are doing a good job of eliminating them.”

As our local studies up here n others are starting to verify colonies (unless very isolated) it’s a must to treat with something. Dawn, this beekeeper is somewhere nearer to you n not me. Unless we get a real altitude change our local burbs mite population ain’t going anywhere but “UP” ! We must expect to be infected, infected, infected again n again.

I’m into Beekeeping for the long haul n I need my small but important apiary to survive the mites n winters. Winters seem to be easy … It’s people’s complacency that’s going to be the “Kicker”. They think it’s okay n handled. Soooooo WRONG :exclamation:

It’s just going to be another not season but another entire year of Duking it out with those Mite Critters … Unfortunately I know he catches a lot of SWARMS down there … So can replenish his losses with another batch of bees. I lucked out seeing only one swarm last year besides the one I somehow let get away ! That sucked n hurt seeing them fly-off way to high to retrieve.

Guess I’ve ranted n gone along here enough, really damp up here so down day ! [


Guess I trying to run between the raindrops :sweat_drops: back out to the woodshop. Things to do n one more Nuc super to finish … :umbrella:




Been down that road too many times in the past and almost lost a very strong colony last fall to the same. Luckily, I caught it in time to treat with MiteAway and they survived the winter. That was a very strong swarm rescued in late May. I don’t know if it is my climate or just what, but I am now a believer in routine varroa treatment BEFORE things get to the DWV state. This winter all 3 of my hives survived…a first for me after trying unsuccessfully for 3 seasons. I am so tired of starting over every year that I am now sold on preventative treatment!


I don’t know the numbers for sure, but while there are many more recreational beeks than commercial beeks, I would guess that there are WAY more commercial hives than recreational hives. I would think that the demand for untreated colonies would be almost exclusively for the recreational keeper. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/nass/BeeColonies//2010s/2016/BeeColonies-05-12-2016.pdf

My dad lost 3 hives this winter. One was weak going into the fall and we didn’t expect it to pull thru but the other two were healthy (or not apparently ; -( and looked fine, until they didn’t.

He is starting fresh this spring with swarms as soon as he gets them.

All three of these hives were over 4 years old… You just never know when they are going to ‘turn bad’…


I am so sorry to hear that happened to you Dawn. I would die after spending $150 on a nuc and finding out most of the bees had been affected by the virus caused by the varroa mite. I have seen different opinions on YouTube about treating for varroa mite but what is one to do when the bees are coming out with damaged wings?
Wishing you the best of luck and looking forward to hearing about the outcome.