Lessons learned (read as "OUCH!)

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Here ya go Babs:

HOPGUARD II DIRECTIONS FOR USE​

Bee Package (*just for your info)- Strips must be applied at the rate of three half strips per 2lb. to 3lb. package of adult worker bees. Cut strips in half at the fold and attach three half strips to the top of package so that the strips are hanging within the package. Place bees in the package after the strips are attached. The bees should remain in contact with the strips for at least 48 hours.

Colony - Strips must be applied at the rate of one strip per five frames covered with bees in each brood chamber or two strips per ten frames covered with bees in the brood chamber. Strips are to be placed only in the brood chamber (not in the honey super). Folded strips must be opened and hung over one of the center brood frames with one-half of the strip on each side of the frame as shown in the pictogram. If using a second strip, apply it to an adjacent center frame bout four inches away from the first strip. Strips must be placed hanging between frames, and within the colony cluster, and not laid on top of the frames. Leave the strip(s) in the colony for 30 days. Honey bees tend to chew the cardboard strips; however, remove any remaining strips after 30 days. Retreat, as necessary, up to 3 times per year.

No small print, easy to read. :D I put mine front left and rear right in the bottom deep, then rear left and front right on the 2nd deep. I'll go back the end of the month and pull them out. I was off on the time to leave them in... it's 30 days.

AW man... sorry to hear that Chooks. Hope you're taking some antibiotics for it and it goes away soon. I put in a double jar feeder w/2:1 sugar syrup, but that hive is LOADED w/capped honey! I was amazed at the amount they had in those deep frames. Almost all the frames, the top 1/2 was capped honey! The outer frames were almost all honey. If I didn't squish the queen, that's one very strong colony and it has IMHO plenty of stores to taker it through the winter. They are STILL bringing in nectar and making honey! I don't imagine that will stop until a frost kills off the alflafa and Russian Sage.

So now I know for next year... I will have 2-3 honey supers on that hive by September and will be starting in May!
 

babsbag

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With the Hopguard...do the bees have to touch it to make it work? I have three deeps on this hive and I didn't put it in all boxes. Maybe I need to go and move them or add more.

Have you read the aritcle on Honeybeesuite.com where he talks about his experience with Hopguard? I think it was the original Hopguard, not II
 

Happy Chooks

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So now I know for next year... I will have 2-3 honey supers on that hive by September and will be starting in May!

Yeah, wow, you are going to have a huge harvest next year! Make sure you extract before the alfalfa blooms, so you can get those supers back on the hive for them to fill up again.
 

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Babs, I believe you should go back and place (2) strips in ALL deeps. Otherwise it might turn out to be a wasted effort. You'll essentially be helping the varroa to adapt to the thing you want to kill them with. As you look down into the hive, the strips should be alternated between boxes so they would form an "X" if you looked down. Hope that makes sense...
  • Colony - Strips must be applied at the rate of one strip per five frames covered with bees in each brood chamber or two strips per ten frames covered with bees in the brood chamber.
I've read a lot of stuff about both the original as well as the new "II". There are some reports of it killing hives, but taken into perspective, those reports are a minuscule # as a percentage of hive applications. And in all reports (complaints) I read, not a single one gave definitive proof that it was the Hopguard that caused the die out. My belief is that those hives were already "dead" when the person applied the Hopguard, in a last ditch effort to "save" it. When that didn't work, they blame the Hopguard. I read actual scientific tests of the application (in many different areas of the country) where it worked as advertised and even better...

I read the blog from the link you posted. (I had previously read her blog post; "Hopping mad at Hopguard") She said the product worked but the instructions/application timing was way off, that it should be applied 3 weeks progressively, rather than 3 times per year. That interpretation was from discussions with others. That post was back in Feb 2012 and I believe was the original product. She also stated she waited months to write that, so her application would have been the fall of 2011. I can see where the drying out of the strips could still be an issue. I'll check my drop board today and see what it shows. I honestly do NOT want to tear the hive apart again 2 more times, a week apart... 3 more times to include removal of the final set of strips... The way the hive is internally, that would mean probably a 90% chance of killing the queen (if I didn't already accomplish that yesterday...)! I'm not sure if the mite kill is simply by contact with the strips or by them consuming the hop liquid on them...

I only have one hive (left) so can't really do a comparative to see... If I had another hive, I could do one for 30 days, and one w/3 applications, a week apart. <sigh> So for now, I'll just do as advertised/instructed/recommended (30 day 1 time app) and see what happens. The instructions clearly state; leave the strips in for 30 days then remove any part that remains (that the bees haven't chewed up). I would hope that those instructions are specific and not so vague as the instructions on the original (as alluded to by the blog you linked).
 

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Yeah Chooks, I believe I could have probably doubled my honey harvest this year if I had any experience going into it. Being my first year, and starting with packages of bees, and listening to the words/experiences of others, I didn't expect to have ANY honey this year. I thought, believed, hoped, that I live in an excellent location forage wise, and that the bees would be successful. Turns out I was correct in that assumption. I wish I hadn't lost my other hive.

Now that I have a better idea of nectar flows, and what to expect, I'll be much more proactive next year and expect to do much better with honey. If the hive survives the winter, I hope to have the first honey super in place early (late May) to get a first harvest in July, then a final harvest in early September. I also will use an extractor next year rather than crush and drain. I don't want them to have to rebuild comb to store additional honey for a 2nd theft by me!

The alfalfa blooms multiple times here. After each cutting, it comes back and blooms again. The pictures I shared from out front here are like the 3rd time blooming after being mowed down several times over summer. I can time the mowing so that it's blooming when nothing else is available.
 

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You can always split your hive in the spring, if it does well through winter. Or just buy another package. They would be ahead not having to draw comb.
 

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So Babs, did you get back to the hive and put the right amount of strips in? I've been checking the drop board every day and today the # of dead mites dropped substantially, but still several hundred, and mostly from the center frames of the hive where most of the brood is. The first couple of days they were all over the drop board.

Chooks, it will depend on the strength of this hive coming out of winter. If it survives in great shape, it should have over a month of heavy dandelions before packages get here so I could split it. If it doesn't do well, then I'd either have to wait till it recovers sufficiently or do another package, or maybe hope to catch a swarm. Since I'm no longer working, I think I'm going to get my name on the swarm list and see about catching a few. Later this winter I'll see about building or buying some 5 frame nuc boxes and frames and maybe a few more deeps w/frames. I really want at least 2 good hives here on my back fence line.
 

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I have not been back to the hive; I will go on Sunday and take more strips.

On top of everything else in my life I teach soap making classes and I have one scheduled for Saturday. I haven't done one in a while so it has been a hectic week getting my studio ready and cleaning the garage that they have to walk through to get to my studio and the front yard. The dairy trailer is in my driveway and all the work on it has tools just piled on the floor in the garage. It looks like chaos to everyone but us and it is not the image I want to portray to my students. Vain..maybe...but just like to make good first impressions when I can.

Also spending a lot of time with the goats. It is breeding season and I have to choose who, what, when, and where. Trying to stagger it all so I have milk longer and I have kidding pens available; I only have 6. All of that requires catching a doe that doesn't want to be caught, get them with the right buck who is blubbering all over her, and usually me too, and then taking a long shower and doing laundry. I bet I lost 5 lbs this week chasing goats and scrubbing off layers of my skin. I will be glad when they are all bred and we can end this madness.
 
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