Saturday, May 9, 2015

Knockdown or Knockout?

It's a battle dealing with these Varroa Mites.

I used formic acid last year but going into fall I wasn't happy that the mites were under under control.
 
[A strong hive in spring - the old mite pad from fall still on the top bars].
 
I've used Miteaway Quick Strips - called MAQ's.  These formic acid gel packs can be placed on a hive while honey supers are on.  This is such a relief to beekeeping.

So I planned to treat the hives in mid July to try to get some control over them.

The hard decision is whether to go gangbusters with 2 pads or to do a softer treatment with 1 pad.  One pad is called a knockdown and two is a knockout.
 
The problem is that beekeepers find too much brood are killed and queen deaths occur a lot when using 2 pads.
 
I've used just one but found the treatment too soft.  The best year I had is when I used 1 paid but did the treatment 3 times - spring, summer and fall.
 
It's a 7 day treatment and the pad is biodegradable and will be chewed up by the bees so it doesn't have to be removed.  I usually remove it well after the 7 days.
 
This year I did 1 1/2 pads in spring and plan to also treat mid summer and fall.  The goal is to get more serious to take down the mites.
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