Thursday, August 31, 2017

FIELD DAY TEST RESULTS submitted by beekeeper Denise

As part of this summer's field day at D's Bees the state bee inspector took bee samples from six of D's hives.  Denise has now recieved the results of the analysis performed by the USDA and presents them here.

"as part of the bee inspection / field day - some of the bees
were sampled (into the alcohol) and sent to the east coast for

The results are back.

555 bees / 3 mites
putting my mite count at .5/100
(varroa mites detected at more than 3-10 mites/100 are
thought to cause damage and colonies exceeding this
threshold should consider treatment)

and viruses all came back negative EXCEPT FOR:
DWV (deformed wing virus)
IAPV (israeli acute paralysis virus)

the DWV quantification was BELOW 30% of the average
the IAPV quantification was 50% the average
AVERAGE MEANING: compared to other samples where the
count was greater than 0.

i don't know about you - but to ME....this means
even though i had a LOW mite count - those little )(*)$*)@# are DIRTY!
concentrated with viruses!!!  i'm wondering about what that
number looks like for people with 10 or more mite count!?!???!?"


1) DWV has ALWAYS been present in bees.  The DWV virus has a number of different subspecies.  Some are benign.  Others are virulent (ie will kill off your bees).  I doubt the USDA went to the expense of identifying the specific subspecies of DWV virus D's bees were infected with.  It has been reported that hives infected with the benign DWV virus are immune to deletirious effects of virulent DWV.  Some scientists are reportedly working on how to infect all hives with the benign form.  However, viruses are known to mutate constantly.

2) According to Denise one of the six samples was Russian, one Carnie, three Italian, one unknown (swarm). But all samples were mixed together into one big sample for the USDA analysis.  

3) Here is a summary of Denise's mite control program.

a) Denise periodically monitors mite fall using sticky boards.  She analyses them comparatively (ie she doesn't count each and every mite).  She then treats hives with "abnormally" high amounts of mites.
b) She does drone cutouts in the spring and summer until the 3rd honey super goes on the hive.  Thereafter she relies on the sticky board counts to determine mite levels.   A drone cutout is the installation of a medium frame in the brood area.  The bees draw out drone comb in the space below the medium frame.  She periodically removes this frame and cuts off the drone comb and discards it.
c)Denise does not mite treatments in the spring of summer unless the sticky board indicates an out of control situation.
d) Denise does a full treatment of formic (MAQS) when supers are removed for the honey harvest. The third week of August for her.   However two of the big italian hives got an early treatment in the summer because they WERE CRAWLING with mites.   (Like pepper sprinkled on the sticky board)    After each hive gets a full maq... I'll switch to weekly oxalic vapor.   The two Biggie's are gonna get another full Maq in 30 days! 

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