In Beekeeping,

Timing is Everything

 

A Devastating Discovery

It started in October, his bees were absconding. Discovering colony loss is heartbreaking, no matter how many years you’ve been beekeeping. When beekeeping is your business, this loss has an all-too-real impact on the future of your company and family. That’s what Peter Chorabik was faced with two years ago when his Ontario colonies were cut in half, lost to the devastating Varroa mite.

A Timely Wake Up Call

For years, Peter’s go-to treatment was multiple applications of oxalic acid in the fall, which kept losses around 30% — an acceptable reality for his business and region. When his apiaries were hit hard by Varroa mites two years ago, he spent some time rethinking his treatment plan. Peter recalls working with oxalic acid, “Something always seemed to be going wrong.” Despite being a cheaper product upfront, Peter often faced unexpected costs and unavoidable delays. He needed to rebuild, but also find a more reliable Varroa treatment that would ensure further growth for his apiaries.

He turned to Formic Pro, adding a mid-summer treatment of this all-natural product made with formic acid that targets Varroa mites where they reproduce, under the brood cap. This results in higher efficacy rates compared to oxalic acid, which only kills phoretic or dispersal phase mites found on adult bees. Plus, the ready-to-use strips meant Formic Pro would be a dependable, scalable application solution.

Commercial Apiaries Can’t Afford Setbacks

As viruses compound, it becomes even more critical to get mite loads under control before the winter brood is produced. In Peter’s case, waiting to treat with oxalic acid until after his honey harvest was too little, too late. By adding Formic Pro to his treatment plan, he was able to safely treat during the summer honey flow to ensure the bees hatching in early fall are healthy. This more flexible and effective treatment properly protects and prepares his colonies for winter.

 

“We had 30% more honey because the bees overwintered better.”

Bouncing Back

Just two years after his heartbreaking discovery, their apiaries have bounced back to more than 500 colonies. Peter is proud to report an overall survival rate of 84% this past winter after using Formic Pro. He consults his records, “we had 30% more honey because the bees overwintered better.” Going into spring with stronger bees, Peter looks forward to even more productivity from his hives this year.

In 2012, Peter Chorabik began his beekeeping venture with just two hives. After some hard work, he and his wife, Sarah Allinson-Chorabik, turned those hobby hives into a commercial operation with 500 colonies. They now run two full-time businesses: Toronto Bee Rescue and Ontario Honey Creations.

OUR WORKER BEES

Meet the people behind NOD Apiary Products.