Spring Check Up 2016: Flurries in May

Wednesday last in all the good weather we put the screened bottom boards on our hives, and added our honey supers as the bees have been loving this weather! Well, Canada being Canada, should have known that we’d still have to wait until Victoria Day to put our transplants in or to feed our ladies some sweet honey with some awesome essential oils — turns out an upside down garbage can (Rubbermaid) is the perfect watering hole. Just add lemongrass, thyme and lavender essential oils and no one drowns…

Varroa Mite Trap - May 20162015 Winter Losses: Zero

Number of Hives: Three 

Brood Type: 2x double deep, 1x single deep

Spring IPM Check: Sticky board monitoring for 72 hours. Mite drop was 61 mites over 72 hours (61 / 3) 20 mites / 24 hours ((May 12 – 15, 2016) = very high. No SHB, no wax moths; one hive with screened bottom board (mite check) had ants gathering in large numbers (encouraged to go elsewhere). Garlic mustard, Greater Celandine, violets, Redbud in bloom (plums and apples finished). Flurries today, high of 7C.

Recommended OMAFRA Treatment Threshold:

Monitoring Method Number of Varroa Mites in May Number of Varroa Mites in August
Ether Roll 1 mite / 100 bees 2 mites / 100 bees
Alcohol Wash 2 mites / 100 bees 3 mites / 100 bees
Sticky Board 9 mites / 24 hr drop 12 mites / 24 hr drop

Treatment Method: MiteAway Quick Strips – organic formic acid treatment; to be applied as full treatment.

Anticipated Treatment Date: Friday May 20th – daily temperatures need to be above 10C.

After treatment I will redo the varroa mite trap monitoring, then evaluate whether a second treatment is needed.

How many little bastards can you spot in the following photo? 

Varroa Mite Trap 3 - May 2016


3 thoughts on “Spring Check Up 2016: Flurries in May

  1. Three adult females, I reckon.
    Yikes – your varroa count is high for this early in the year. Get the MAQS on PDQ!
    Quick question – A lot of beekeepers here in the UK say the queen goes off lay with MAQS. What’s your experience?

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had snow yesterday afternoon and severe frost this morning. Weather went up to 13C around 2pm, now it is 5pm and they are calling for sleet. Can’t win. The weather has been so manic lately in Southern Ontario that even to get out to do an oxalic acid treatment is a nightmare. Bees don’t like when it is raining and you open their hive …

      I have not seen any difference in queen laying whether I apply formic acid or not. I have run into a couple of issues by following the recommendation of two strips for a single brood and almost (twice) toasting the entire colony. I have since only ever used a single strip and use a match to shimmy up the hive cover plus making sure the front entrance reducer is removed. I don’t doubt it that if you have a strong treatment that it would disrupt laying as it ends up killing a small percentage of the colony. Varroa a problem over there I take it? What are your organic options for treatment?


      • Interesting. Varroa is endemic here. My protocol is vaporised OA in December (with sealed brood removal if any) and thymol for 6 weeks in August/September once the honey is off. I’ve never had to use MAQS but it would be my standby if I had a high mite count in spring/summer.


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