Yesterday I received a call from a lady who is concerned that she has a varroa mite problem. She had put a bottom board, with the screen base and the drawer with the sticky board, on the hive to catch any mites that fell to the bottom of the hive. She had it on one day and when she looked at the sticky board she saw (estimate) about 100 mites. Her hive is a first year hive and is doing very well. Both brood boxes are drawn out and are full of honey except the brood and pollen areas. In addition she has two honey supers on the hive, one full and the other 30% full.
She wants to know when to put medication on the hive. She has several options:
1. Leave the hive alone until the honey flow has stopped for the year, remove the supers, harvest the honey leaving the two brood boxes for the bees for the winter, and medicate the hive for varroa mites.
2. Remove the full honey super now, harvest the honey and start medication now leaving the partially filled super on the hive for the winter. Do not intend to use the honey in the remaining super for human consumption as it will contain chemicals that could be harmful to people.
3. Medicate now, knowing that she cannot use any of the honey in the hive for human consumption.
Note: The question arises: do you want to harvest the honey in the fall or the spring? This is an individual choice. Remember, medicated honey, although good for the bees, is not good for people at any time.
After discussion this lady opted for #1
I support this decision mainly because she has a very strong hive at the present so there is no immediate reason to medicate now.