>What species would be affected if varroa were somehow eradicated?
Pests are NEVER eradicated. Only the balance of nature is. The unintended consequences of trying to eradicate mosquitoes is not due to losing mosquitoes. The unintended consequences of trying to eradicate prairie dogs is not due to losing prairie dogs.
To see a hive failing, dying, or dead is no fun. We do mind. One also gets sore after exercising. The end benefits are the goal in either case.
Solomon, that is a bit harsh. We all benefit from seeing the thoughts and opinions of other beekeepers.
I personally don't object to killing a small sample of bees to get accurate varroa data. Queen breeders doing serious selection for varroa tolerance should be doing this. However, I don't have the time to put into a long term project such as collecting data for an entire year.
@Solomon - Is it in the interest of Treatment Free Beekeeping to provide measurable data to someone like Randy? Try as I can, I don't see a potential down side, once I get past the killing or sacrifice of roughly 200 bees for each test. If the Treatment Free Movement (not that I think there is a secret club, though we could have all sorts of fun imagining a clubhouse near Dee in Arizona) wants to be seen as serious, how does helping gather data for Randy's study hurt?
I have previously stated that I think TF works better is some places than in others - I'd love to see some evidence that I can be confident in regarding TF Beekeeping.
Gathering data for Randy won't hurt anything, but it almost seems to me like beekeepers unwilling to do the work themselves are trying to pry data out of a group of people who don't feel like collecting it in the first place.
>What other species would be affected if varroa treatments are simply used?
All 8,000 or more organisms that live in a bee colony. Every treatment you use kills some or many of them.
Organic acids will kill most of the 8,000 microorganisms in the colony as will essential oils such as thymol.
Organophosophates and fluvalinate will kill all of the insects and mites that live in the colony. There are 30 some mites and 30 some insects that normally live in a healthy colony. Some of those, such as psuedo scorpions eat Varroa.
But your assumption that Varroa can be eradicated is the first mistake.
But of course I never assumed varroa could be eradicated nor have I made the case that treating doesn't have some ramifications. What I asked is pretty simple so let me put it another way, In your analogy of the parallels of poisoning prairie dogs to treating hives. What species plays the role of the burrowing Owl and Black footed Ferret? Is it the pseudo scorpion? Just tell me what species I should be worried about.
Many years ago I had a fly problem. I bought a stable spray. It killed all the flys-Unfortunately it also killed all the anoles and spiders that were eating the flys. In six weeks the flys were back in record numbers. It took two years for the lizard and spider population to rebound.Since then I have been very careful with any chemical treatment. By cleaning stables more often and covering the manure pile with straw I handled the fly problem. The same goes for the bees.What are you affecting with your treatment? Better to breed for resistance than using toxic chemicals.
If you are concerned that you are losing a hive-do a series of sugar dustings, break the brood cycle , but avoid toxic chemicals as much as possible. Practice organic farming.
So, when switching to treatment free, simply bringing in a treatment free queen leaves you with 7,999 gene pools to go?
The gene pool in the gut of the attendants may be of as much value as the queen herself?
By extension a frame is a much more complete jump start than multiple queens?
What Mr. Bush is so correctly saying is that to work, the system needs its parts to be let alone. When things are as they should be, the system is naturally self correcting, self limiting, and self regulating. No one thing is the solution. A hive is not just a hive organism, it is a super organism, a mini ecosystem.
I have never seen anything that indicated any other organisms are effected by treatment but will agree that it is most likely they are. More importantly I have not seen any evidence that any of those organisms are beneficial. Basically does it matter that they get unintentionally harmed? If so why? Are any or all of those organisms playing a part in the bees vulnerability to Varroa? are they playing any part in varroa resistance?
It is known that Varroa are harmful. At the very best it looks like a choice between bad and worse. At worst it is a decision that looks more like keeping organisms than keeping bees.
Fish in an aquarium need a culture of organisms to develop in order to remain healthy. not only that but the fish themselves condition the water. As it was said earlier a system of sorts develops and an aquarium does not operate well without it. The question is, can it operate without it? Yes it can. it takes a lot of work but it can in fact work. So it is not a matter of. Must fish have these organisms? it is a matter of the benefit from them. how much benefit. is it worth it etc all come into play.
Different people woudl answer the above differently. Some will put things in a tank specifically to foster the growth of these organisms. others will keep a tank completely bare and do all they can to prevent any organisms at all. The same conditions that produce helpful organisms are also the conditions that allow harmful ones to thrive. Better to have no organisms than harmful ones under certain situations.
Stress is an almost certain trigger for diseases. the organisms that cause these diseases are always present. I suspect this is true in a bee colony as well. From what I can tell stress on a kept bee colony is frequent. So if the same parallel hold true. irradication of all organisms except bees in a hive would be an overall net benefit.
Overall I don't question the existence of thousands of other organisms. My question is. Why should I care? Those organisms have anywhere on the planet to exist. I have a hive to keep bees. Not an omeba refuge.
It's simple Darwinism, the evolution of an organism will either cause its demise or adaptability. Bees have been around for long enough to know that they have dealt with organisms that we probably don't even know about. If we keep treating, the bees will not develop enough resistance to with stand the "super mite" that will eventually evolve. I read that mite treatments need to be rotated since mites develop resistance to them. By treating we are creating stronger mites and weaker bees.
Have we come up with a cure for the common cold? How about flu shots every year? The cold and flu strains are getting stronger and mutating and we are not. I got a flu shot once and was immediately sick, haven't had a flu shot in over 10 years now and although I have gotten the flu in that time, it's not on a yearly basis like others at my work place.
To each there own though, if you want to treat that's fine, if you don't want to treat that's fine as well. I'm not going to tell someone how to raise their bees or livestock.
A. What does 99% of this Thread have to do w/ Randy Oliver's Request?
B. "By treating we are creating stronger mites and weaker bees." Does one necassarily follow the other?