Once a year an opportunity comes along for the beekeeper to treat all of his or her hives for Varroa for less than ten dollars and about five minutes per hive. That’s ten bucks to treat all of your hives. But this opportunity only comes once a year and is only available for a short period of time. In South Carolina, that time is now, or soon, during the broodless period.
I’m reading more and more about hive losses or abscondings. It’s interesting that most posts relating these events place the blame on wax moths, yellow jackets, or robbing. I suggest these invaders are the second or even third string teams coming in after the true villain has struck a weakening or fatal blow. Did the bees abscond? Yes, most likely from the reports I read they did indeed. From reports, one week the bees are there, the next week gone. But I ask you, if your home was overridden with ticks, with the infestation getting worse each day, how long would you stay in your home?
Why now? Varroa levels increase in the fall and having no drone brood and minimal open worker brood means mite density in the brood area increases.
Last year I watched a group of nine untreated hives go into winter and come out as three. Ten dollars total and maybe 45 minutes might very well have saved them if they had been managed differently.
For more information on how to perform an oxalic acid dribble, Rusty lays it all out here on HoneyBeeSuite: https://honeybeesuite.com/how-to-apply-an-oxalic-acid-dribble/
And here’s a “how to” YouTube video:
I’ll close this post with some words from Randy Oliver of Scientific Beekeeping:
“Three strategies I’ve found that always fail when battling varroa are:
1. Denial—“I haven’t seen any mites, so my mite levels must be low.”
2. Wishful thinking—“I haven’t seen very many mites, so I’m hoping and praying that my bees will be OK.”
3. Blind faith—“I used the latest snake oil mite cure, and it’s gotta work!”
Every time I’ve been “blindsided” by the mite, I was in actuality simply being blind.”