Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mite Away Quick Strips Application

This September I treated my hives for Varroa Mites with Mite Away Quick Strips. Each hive received two strips in one application, albeit in a haphazard fashion. I did not notice that each package contained two strips stacked on each other, and inadvertently squashed the double strips between the boxes. I corrected it a couple of hours later by pulling the pads apart and laying them down again. This may have had a negative impact as I lost one of my queens. If it happened again I would just leave the pads stuck together to maintain the consistency of the pads. Several beekeepers have reported queen losses of 30%, so perhaps I would have lost a queen anyway. Unfortunately, 30% loss of queens in two hives equals the loss of one of my two queens. I can't really grumble about the loss because I muffed the application; I consider myself responsible.

I learned a few good tips for reducing adverse effects with the application of MAQS from browsing web boards and talking to other beekeepers.

  1. Treat at a lower range or below the recommended air temperature. Bees seem to tolerate the application better at slightly lower temperatures.
  2. Add an extra box of frames at the top of the hive without a queen excluder for the treatment period. This give the bees, and more importantly the queen, a place to flee during treatment without vacating the hive.
  3. Place Popsicle sticks flat between the four sides of the boxes during the application period. It will allow for extra venting. It is too narrow for a bee space, so it will not interfere with the hive or promote robbing.
  4. Use one pad per application instead of two, but do two applications - two weeks apart. This lessens the chance of queen loss, albeit at the expense of efficacy. The hit is at about a 20% reduction in varroa mortality per application based on empirical evidence from beekeepers. This still uses two pads per hive - they are just spaced apart in two applications rather than one.


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