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posted 29 Sep 2010, 07:55 by Linda Halford   [ updated 7 Oct 2010, 03:51 by EBKA Webmaster ]
I continue to believe the biggest current threat to our bees is varroa or the viruses that seem to be carried by them. Accordingly one of the most important tasks we can undertake as beekeepers is to help our bees manage varroa populations. The removal of the honey crop from the hive presents an ideal time to treat our colonies without any possibility that chemical residues can contaminate our honey, and at the same time ensure the colony is as strong as possible when producing young bees for over-wintering. A number of treatments are available to us, many of them based on thymol such as Apiguard, which are effective providing ambient temperatures are sufficient for the thymol to be released, and not so high that the bees are driven out! Varroicide chemical treatments are also available such as Apivar, Apistan / Bayvarol, Api-life Var, etc. Resistance has been found in our area to Apistan / Bayvarol but it may be that a few years of non-use of these products by EBKA members will have renewed their effectiveness. I suggest that you insert floors beneath your varroa meshes (where fitted) and check mite drops to determine the levels of mite infestation and efficacy of treatment. It would appear that varroa numbers have been relatively low this year, although some members continue to report heavily infested colonies.  The August - September treatment should be followed up by trickling oxalic acid along the seams of bees during the cold of winter (Dec/Jan/ Feb - when no brood is present). Sue & Graham Mullen have some stock of thymol based products and hopefully will make up oxalic acid syrup again for use in the winter. This year has been a better one for most of us both in terms of honey yields and increased numbers of colonies. If we pay attention to the health of our bees and the weather is kind to us then long may this continue.