In which case, don't invite me over.
So how do pro-miticide users view the successes of beekeepers like Kent Williams, Kirk Webster, Michael Bush, and Dee Lusby just to name a few.
Some elaborate hoax? They got lucky? It's too much work? It takes to much management?
When it is the commercial beekeepers who are taking the hardest hits (by far) and using miticides. "I" would be rethinking my beekeeping management paradigm.
No matter what "size" the mite.
> I want to call it the Head in the Sand (HITS) method. Going forward
I'd like to propose the same term for people who think that continuing to disrupt the ecology of the hive, continuing to contaminate the entire world beeswax supply with poisons and continuing to perpetuate bees whose genes are weakening the species will result in the salvation of beekeeping... the name fits perfectly...
Ya and while were at it we should stop taking antibiotics and medications because we are breeding weaker and weaker humans... Lets face it, you can argue that chemicals are contrary to ecology etc, and you'd be right, but so is pretty much every human activity. Heck organic farming is contrary to the natural ecology of the field, but in my opinion it's better than foraging for food.
Now don't get me wrong, I try to avoid as many chemicals as possible in the field and the hive, but I will treat when needed, and with so called "soft" chemicals as much as possible. I'm sorry though I don't want feral bees, I want fat happy overly productive bees I can rob from.
What I do believe, however, is that they're making an assumption they simply have no actual evidence for, which they actually cannot have evidence for, and which further is actually unlikely to be true because bees kept out in the world simply can't be genetically controlled in that way - certainly not to the levels claimed by some (one other beekeeper I've read either in this forum or another has claimed to have personally communicated with "thousands" of non-treating beekeepers who evidently never lose ANY colonies "to mites"). There can be any number of reasons a given hive doesn't die over the winter, even a mite infested one - perhaps the infestation is not serious enough to break them at that point in time. Perhaps the colony happens to have little to no mites at all purely by chance, or due to factors outside the bees' genetics. Perhaps in their regions there happens to be a pathogen which kills out or controls mites - awesome! Perhaps weather is a factor. Perhaps residual pesticide traces in the wax of the brood cells can be at a level for the time being lethal to mites but not to the bees. Perhaps a particular strain of mites developed a natural genetic mutation which is killing them off or causing them not to properly incubate. Perhaps only a couple of colonies have hygienic behavior, and the drift of some of the workers to other hives has resulted in those hives being cleaned out temporarily, but not becoming factually "mite resistant". I could go on and on; really there's a multitude of reasons why a person could be having great luck with colonies that aren't dying over the winter. There are ways to test for many of them; but unfortunately that never happens with treatment-free beekeepers. They decide pre-emptively that they've genetically cleansed their stock because that's what they intended to do and they collected no evidence to suggest otherwise because they don't see the need to collect such evidence, and anyway the result is just as good so it's all the same to them. The term is "confirmation bias".
Varroa mites first came to the US some 30 to 40 years ago and they hit hard. There have been treatment-free beekeepers even since then, and that method has not resulted in a generally-resistant stock in all that time. If their method really worked without question, everybody would be doing it. It's not exactly like Checkmite+ has this huge lobby among beekeeping associations and is trying to repress the truth about chemical-free beekeeping. The fact is, most beekeepers have just come to accept mites as there. Like drought or small hive beetle, you help your bees deal with them. Some choose chemicals, some choose IPM. Some choose a combination.
Some choose to ignore them. It's certainly your prerogative to do so - don't get me wrong at all; it's not like I can tell you what to do and I wouldn't care to try. You could say it works for you, that your hives are just uber-colonies that are so hardy that they're practically ready to conquer the Earth and enslave mankind, well how can I say any different? I haven't been to your apiary and anyway, I want your bees to survive so it's all good. But if you say it works for you BECAUSE X, Y, and Z, and there's logical or factual problems with that argument, those problems need to be pointed out.
But let's assume he's completely right: Package genetics absolutely change from year to year, just like swarm genetics are different for each swarm; so it's not like he was getting the same faulty genetics with his packages year after year after year. Can you think of any reason aside from genetics that swarms have a higher survivability than packages? Any reason at all? I've already thought of several, but I'd like to hear your thoughts first.
There seems to be a sizable group who are convinced that that HITS is somehow pro treatment. How many times do I need to repeat myself?
I was simply troubled by the large number of, mostly new, beekeepers who seem not to recognize the impact varroa have.
1 I don't see 'em
2 I don't count 'em
3 They aren't a problem
I'd like to believe that even most tf beekeepers understand that varroa are a problem. Am I mistaken? Do you really believe that they aren't?
I can honestly say that I don't care if you are tf. My distress comes from those who've lost their bees and are willing to accept any explanation that doesn't include mites. I see it here on beesource. I get calls. They come up to me at meetings and farmers markets. ...all too often describing classic mite collapse. And the moment you ask about mites they start shaking their heads....no. Why is that?
I can honestly say I don't understand it.
You can take your tf/treatment arguments elsewhere. That horse has been beaten countless times.
Somebody...please....explain to me why any beekeeper would totally turn a blind eye toward the most serious pest we have?
It has nothing to do with chemicals, otherwise it would be called chemical free. Nor is it hands off. It is simple selective breeding for better bees instead of better mites.
And we are racially altering how we use antibiotics in humans because we have bred vastly stronger bacteria that can effect humans.
The wolf analogy is idiotic, you can't spray sheep with something that kills wolves, you can't build a fence that keeps out mites, nor are sheep in danger of being eliminated by wolves since sheep have evolved for millions of years to be wolf "resistant" (smarter, faster etc.)
Nor does evolution take eras to happen, like I said, we created DDT reistant fruit flies in my high school biology class in one term! The rate of evolution is dependent on the life cycle of the species, more generations = more potential change. This is why creatures with short life cycles can evolve very quickly, and why it's much much easier to make stronger mites than stronger bees and to make stronger bees than stronger people.
>Ya and while were at it we should stop taking antibiotics and medications because we are breeding weaker and weaker humans...
And if we humans were livestock, I would agree. But we are not livestock.
>Pssst, you know that thing - the whole never-touch thing, where you never check or treat for mites, and the "weak" colonies just die and the stronger ones "naturally survive" and all that? The bees already do that all by themselves, in the trees.
To the degree that they can with us constantly bringing in weak, not acclimatized genetics and watering down the ones that do survive. And that is my source for bee genetics... the ones that have survived already.
>What are you hoping to achieve by making them do it in artificial hives?
I don't make them. I let them. What do I get out of it? Healthier bees in my hives and I stop watering down the genetics in the trees resulting in them being healthier besides.
I'm not questioning the mechanics which led to that result; they're well documented. And I'm also not questioning that that's what no-touch beekeepers THINK they are doing by letting weak hives die out. I'm just pointing out that they're wrong - that's not actually what they're doing.
A dead fruit fly cannot pass on its genes.
A weak colony that is being strangled to death by mites can have as many as a couple of tortuous years to freely pass on its genes (through swarms and drones) before it finally takes the dirt nap.
It's not the same thing at all. The method accomplishes nothing. Or at least, it does not accomplish what you think it accomplishes.
According to your theory of beekeeping, the bees should do just fine by themselves in the trees. Why do you think "your" artificial hives result in healthier bees than leaving them in the trees would result in?
who said helthier than bees in trees? He said healthier bees period. My question is if they can live a long time in a tree without treatments, why can't they live in a box that long without treatments? I understand we don't rob trees, and that is going to have some effect, but if we are judicious about it why couldn't bees live in a box hive as long as in a tree?
>Stop there; that is a circular argument. Whether the bees in your hives are "healthy" or not is only an issue because you've decided to put them in your hives; otherwise it wouldn't matter because there'd be no "your hives", right?
I do not understand your point.
>So why "maintain" (for lack of a better term) artificial hives at all?
Honey. Wax. Bees. Queens...
> The bees do just fine in the trees. The Bond method is all they do out there;
> it should be the perfect solution for you.
>What's actually missing from their tree-lives that you provide by putting them in "your hives"?
Absolutely nothing except that I manage them so that the swarms end up in my hives, and the surplus is in my hives and I can feed them in a severe drought.
>Genetics cannot be 'watered down'; the metaphor doesn't even make sense.
Sure it does. If you look at a gene pool, you can narrow that gene pool to strong bees, or you can "water down" that gene pool with weak genetics.
>According to your theory of beekeeping, the bees should do just fine by themselves in the trees.
>Why do you think "your" artificial hives result in healthier bees than leaving them in the trees would result in?
I don't. But if I don't bring in weak genetics I don't weaken the ones in the trees. Mine are healthier because I let them be healthier by letting the weak die and by allowing the natural system of flora and fauna that live in the hive to be healthy. The ones in the trees are healthier for the same reasons IF I stop watering down the gene pool with weak genes.
I guess I'm just curious then. It's ok to use antibiotics etc on humans because were not livestock, I can get there obviously. My question then is do you think we are dooming ourselves because our genetics will get weaker and weaker, or are we able to compensate with technolgy/science or whatever. If the former I don't know what to say, if the latter why can't we do the same with livestock? Do you treat all livestock the same? If you have a horse that gets sick do you not treat it? If you have a problem with bot flies do you just let them go?
Can anyone explain why it was necessary for this thread to be co-opted for the same, tired, old, useless debate of treatment vs tf?
Apologies, it's unseasonably hot and I must be irritable and argumentative. I'll leave off with I agree with you that whatever your philosophy is varroa shouldn't be ignored. It's here, it affects bees, deal with it (however it is you do that), and be aware of it at least.
But okay. To be fair, though, I think it's a matter of perspective. In your initial post you implied that people who do the "live and let die" method of mite control are wrong. Since most "tf" beekeepers use precisely that term to describe what they do, they're going to surmise you're talking about tf, so they will defend tf. Which will bring detractors, and the argument proceeds from there.
One thing I think almost everyone can agree on is that ALL VARROA DESERVE TO DIE!!!!! even if that is sadly impossible. In a fire, if at all practical.