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lunes, noviembre 30, 2015

How do dead varroa looks like?

Hi everyone, please do not answer : Beautifull !!!
Algunas no son varroas, pero así quedan.

I tend to be very hiperkinetic, anxious about the future of my activities. I have learn to live with myself tough and since I got into beekeeping, I have learn to "risk rather than wait" and transform "my errors into experiments".

Well right now I am facing one of those situations and would love to have your opinions. Time is running and the Troop is really fast on their dutties, so which experiment would you suggest if any given the following ... ? in between a couple of questions like: How dead varroa look like?

 Weather have not allow us to properly evaluate Fernando Esteban proposal about using glycerin monoxalate to control varroa.(if that is the end product of mixing 1 kg of glycerin to 0.6 kg of oxalic acid heating, first the glycerin, then the mix, upto 65°C) Do not ask me to find that post in the archives that Fernando send and forgive my "in chilean" blog http://apiaraucania.blogspot.cl/2015/05/se-busca-quimico-organico.html ; there are links "under" the green text. You can use the translate tool (upper left).

Nevertheless no experimental results I decided to produce 20000 strips of monoxalate. Why that amount? because to get a good price for glycerin i have to buy by the drum (250 kg) and with 4000 colonies and using 4 strips per colony, at least the need was 16000. The challange was mass production and we succed.

But do the monoxalate cardboard soaked strips work?

We are now leaving blueberry pollination and moving to the mountains for the honey season and as you already know I need to treat for varroa in the middle of the honey season, before the Ulmo flow (say end of january). Why not controling varroa now? or better, why not evaluating now the future "organic" treatment as well as lowering varroa level? the worst scenario is bussiness as usual (and a couple of chilean millions pesos wasted on a nontreatment).
"Prueba de Vida",
Observación de 10 colmenas con tratamiento por 3 días.

The instruction to the Troop was, "cure and move" as fast as you can, we have at least 15 days with good weather. We are moving at least 3000 colonies to the mountain, half with a 250 km trip (from the blueberries), the other half with a 1000 km trip coming out of avocado pollination.

First the ones in the blueberries then the avocado's ones.

In parallel, on monday they will start checking varroa levels, and I am monitoring one colony at home - yes, you are allowed to call me names ;).

How do dead varroa look like? Do they differ in any aspect depending on the type of treatment? The ones I've seen look like burnt, dark, black rathern than tan or brown. Hardly you see any legs left. It's like only burnt carcases are left.

How much varroas drop daily when formic acid is used? what about oxalic syrup dribbling? How many would be considered "natural drop" (ergo the treatment not working)? We have 60 drop the first 24 hour, then 32 more, then 16 more and I keep on counting.

Al insertar las tablillas la mezcla tomo un tinte rojo.
¿Algún colorante o aglomerante en el cartón piedra?
The colony I am monitoring is a "survivalist" one of the 92 colonies - swarms at this time - without varroa treatment for at least 10 years. The only managment done during these years was to super as need with wired frames and "share" the honey left by the dead outs. No honey was harvest but many died without any honey left in the past - very severe drought - five years. Today there are only 6 colonies left at home from those original 92 maximun before the drought set in.

This particular colony swarmed to its current position two year ago. I saw it starting from one of the 12 alive by that time, first to a branch and then to that box.. By past autumn (may) the swarm was 2 bodies and received a third full of honey (that came from its own mother colony that have died).

One of the privileges of having a troop that does the dirty work for you is time for observation (usualy lost in a burden of burocracy). And this colony was really good on discarding drones (and varroa?) by august (early spring) and notable on not showing "virus problems", I mean surges of crawling bees or dead bees on the ground under the boarding table.

El Producto
60 tablillas en doble bolsa.
So it was a good surprise when I open it two days ago for the first time. Enough bees for the three boxes, while concentrated in the centre one. A very clean floor, no sign of hillness on the frames. The colony had moved to the second body which was full of eggs and open larva but one frame with capped brood. The third body was full of caped honey but the centre of the central 4 frames where there was fresh honey (sign of old space with larva, this or past season?). In the first body had very old frames (dark) with some pollen (fresh and old) packed in.

The evaluated colony had probably swarmed a month ago but couldn't find queen cells signs. Did it just change the old queen latelly and that was the reason for brood break and not a recent swarming?

The other good sign that it was a healthy colony and that had been populated continously and I know this because it have been the priviledged colony used by my wife to source apitherapy bees. As she needs to take just the sting with the venom sac for the puntures, the bees need to have "firm stomachs" and the venom "should be strong".

The daily take of 10 to 30 bees could be a reason for a late swarming or queen change?

So in summary, there is no good reason for that colony to have a high varroa load and I do not really know how much it had before the treatment.

I should have tracked natural drop at least for a week before the treatment or I should put in a bomb of sintethics to know how much is left. I didn't do the first and I am not sure of doing the second.

What else can I do? Remember that there were at least 3000 colonies to play with but counting down cause of The Troop managment efficiency that already have 400 colonies in the mountain and is preparing another 700 to move next wednesday night.

2 comentarios:

Rodrigo Duarte dijo...

So this is a first set of data on the go.

From what you describe it seems to be working.

A couple ignorant questions:

Is it feasible to test syrup, formic etc. on other colonies now to get a feeling about how the other treatments go?

How long does the cardboard strip treatment take?

Are there any side effects to the monoxalate strip treatment?

peter dijo...

A notorious Australian Prime Minister once said "Life wasn't meant to be easy". At least he got that right!
In the real world, we are often faced with a situation that requires action now...with no time for an experiment and statistical analysis.
This treatment was a calculated gamble. It has obviously been very hard on the varroa...lets hope it has been much gentler on the bees. I have fingers crossed!
PeterD (Western Australia)