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  1. #1
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    Nov 2004
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    Freeport, Illinois, usa
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    I know little about small cell comb and its effect on Varroa control.. Could someone enlighten me?
    Does anyone know the physics of how a slightly smaller cell supresses mite reproduction?
    I saw a study that was done where the Varroa was photographed in the cell throughout the growth of the larvae to the emergence of the bee. According to the study the egg of the mite is layed above the larvae and attached to the cell wall but is very fragile and can be easily damaged by movement of the larvae or pupae. Could it be that the space is reduced enough that the larvae damages the egg when it moves?
    Some say the bees raised in the small cells are somewhat smaller so that suggest that the larvae would also be smaller. If that is the case then the space between egg and larvae would not change much.

    ------------------
    Lynn

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Milford, MI
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    I'd be happy to enlighten you Lynn...

    By creating smaller bees we also shorten the time it takes for the bees to fully mature. The bees in smaller cells mature 3 to 5 days faster than they do in larger cells, therefore emerging sooner and interupting the cycle of the Varroa.

    It is also thought that the Varroa have a harder time latching onto the carapace of the smaller bees, therefore grooming is performed much more efficeintly.

    I would highly recommend the retrogression of your bees.

    Good luck,
    Phoenix

    ------------------
    Phoenix
    http://beeholder.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Bees maturing 3 to 5 days faster. More efficient grooming. Gets better all the time. Can't wait till next year.

  4. #4
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Let's see the scientific studies proving the above mentioned facts.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2004
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    Anchorage, Alaska
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    Hi Odfrank:
    My sentiments, too. A quick look in the bee books shows an average development time for AHB, whose cell size is in the 4.9 or so range, of 18.5 days vs. 21 days for "standard" size bees. Apis cerana which is even smaller has an average development time of about 18 days, too. Please understand, I'm not knocking small cell, but 5 days earlier development seems to me to be stretching things a bit.




    [This message has been edited by Dick Allen (edited November 15, 2004).]

  6. #6
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Mine are at 4.95mm and I see a full day less precapping and a full day less postcapping times. That comes to 2 days sooner. I have not seen less than that, but then I have not been able to observe the times on smaller comb, although the bees have drawn smaller comb. It just wasn't in my observation hive.

    But this amount of time makes a huge difference in both the number of varroa infesting the cell and the rate of reproduction of the ones that do infest the cells. Unfortunately most of the studies on this have been on Africanized bees, but Harbo has done research into trying to accopmlish the same thing by genetics for the same reasons.

  7. #7
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    May 2004
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    Milford, MI
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    The diameter of the worker cell appears to affect the invasion of
    varroa mites. In the absence of drone brood, the varroa infestation
    rate has been reported to be 16-50% lower in the small Africanized
    worker cells than in the larger European (Italian) worker cells
    (Guzman-Novoa et al. 1999, Rosenkranz 1999).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    >the varroa infestation
    rate has been reported to be 16-50% lower in the small Africanized
    worker cells than in the larger European (Italian) worker cells
    (Guzman-Novoa et al. 1999, Rosenkranz 1999).

    There are other varibles to consider as well as size. The most obvious is the aggresivness of AHB, they may not LIKE mites and throw them out. There have been many posts here that aggresive EHB's, mainly Russian, have less mite loads in general.

  9. #9
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    May 2004
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    Milford, MI
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    Absolutely Bullseye, but the 16-50% lower infestation rate of cell size alone will make a big diffirence. I for one would rather have smaller more docile bees with only 16-50% less infestation, than to have a more aggressive bee for the advantage of a few extra percentage points.

  10. #10
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    Feb 2003
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    Why use the data on AHB in relationship to downsized/regressed other strains of bees? Africanized versus Europeans strains? Who's keeping AHB? I understand in the realm of smaller bees translating into shorter capping times, but it seems using AHB as a model to then use this data on other strains is stretching. I agree that there are too many variables to cast this broad stroke. It seems as though a few "observations" are cast in stone, and the stories take on thier own from there.

    In beekeeping right now, I could almost try any experiment (as is done many times without any "control" hives for verification), and come away with some conclusion as to why one particular hive performed in some way. I have seen many hives with little mite infestation, right next to hives being overloaded. If I took one of these hives, or the survivors in the spring, and from that point started some random mite control experiment, than what is to be said of the results? Are the positive results from my controls, or was it from the strain of bees that coped on average better than others to start with. Alot of individual observations are exactly that, observations. Not verifiable, or duplicatable data that means anything.

    If you could take the time to review all the comments over the years about small cell, FGMO, russian bees, and a few other topics, you would see that alot of wild speculation, based on poor data and non-verified experiments are everywhere. Many are not true or are wild exagerations of some small point that someone cleverly thought of.


  11. #11
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    May 2004
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    Milford, MI
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    I haven't seen any methods that are "proven" yet, what I have seen are the facts that if we do nothing the bees will inevitably perish. Therefore I chose to believe and see hope in the fact that their has been some promising research that small cell beekeeping may prove to be a biological form of fighting off infestation of Varroa.

    Continue doing what you've always done, and you will continue to get what you've always got. I for one chose to make a change, and chose not to use medication.

  12. #12
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    Phoenix,
    What you have done is make claims that are unproven with no verification. You yourself have now said that nothing is "proven" yet and that you are basing this on "hope" and what you believe. I know this is an open forum, but perhaps better judgement can prevail on wild claims in the future.

    Saying that "you" choose to do something else different than the next, and that they will "lose" thier bees, is a little broad in the stroke also. There are many beekeepers using a host of different methods, management practices, and ideas that are not only making small improvements, but you could say, are successfully beating the mites. You should get out more.

    We go from 3-5 days early maturity along with increased efficiency in grooming, to relating small cell with AHB studies in relationship to normal european strains, to somehow now saying that you have chose to go without chemicals while suggesting that all others are doomed to loose thier bees. Whats next?

  13. #13
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    Feb 2003
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    Columbia, South Carolina USA
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    >I haven't seen any methods that are "proven"
    >yet, what I have seen are the facts that if we
    > do nothing the bees will inevitably perish.

    It is unlikely that any parasite will completely wipe out a host population as large and widespread as AM. There may indeed be catastrophic losses, but varroa is not going to kill every last hive. They will adapt . . .

    Keith


    [This message has been edited by kgbenson (edited November 16, 2004).]

  14. #14
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    May 2004
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    Bjorn,

    I merely made reference to one particular study that I could find, there are many more. I have not wavered on my claim, because it is not mine, nor have I backed off on my belief from the information I have gathered to form my opinion. I choose to keep an open mind, unlike you my friend. I believe you are the one that needs to get out, or just take off your blinders. No offense intended. It's a proven fact that our colonies will fall to Varroa infestation if left unmedicated, and the mites have become resistant to some of the "proven" medications.

    Some of the individuals on this board can attest to the "fact" that small cell bees emerge sooner than bees reared on standard size foundation. If you read my reference carefully, it states that "smaller cell size diameter" affects the invasion of Varroa.

    Keith,

    So are you saying they will either adapt or they will die? Are you going to sit back and watch?


  15. #15
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    I did not dispute the fact that small cell emerge sooner. As for your claim that you pass off to others, that shows a study and results that you mention in 3-5 days sooner in maturity...lets see it! I will keep an open mind and wait for the study as mentioned by you.

    You again broadly stroke that all hives(mites) have become chemical resistant. That is false. I can show you many that are not. Many hives are protected by chemicals. Perhaps against what you desire.

    You again say that "all" hives will become infested and will fail. That also a falsehood. I can show you many hives that are not failing. This for a host of reasons. I guess I should not mention them here since you are "out" and have already drawn your conclusions.

    It is a shame that you think that unless someone has small cell bees, that failure is the only option. This is clearly wrong. And I'm the one with the closed mind???

  16. #16
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I think the number of varroa infesting a cell and their ability to reproduce in a given amount of time is irelevant to whether they are EHB or AHB. But I do wish someone would do the same studies on EHB.

    We know enough about varroa to know their reproduction cycle and shortening the post capping time by 24 hours can cut the number of mated female varroa that emerge in half. It's what Dr. Harbo and others are trying to get. A shorter pre and post capping time for the very reasons that a shorter pre capping time means less infested cells and a shorter post capping time means less succed in making it to adulthood.

    While I have NOT seen a study on small cell EHB to verify the shorter times, I have seen data that shorter pre and post capping times mean less breeding of varroa, and I have measured the shorter times on small cell EHB.

  17. #17
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    MikeB,
    Although some would say that a new study for EHB would be needed for scientific verification, I find the fact that for EHB, the capping time and the shorter emerging times for worker vs. drones confirms all that is needed. Drones to workers, or AHB to EHB, its all the same. Shorter times for the mites to reproduce means less mites.

    With that said, I will also make a somewhat prediction. Mites will adapt to this shorter time, and bee losses will not be as great with small-cell bees, but loses will still be there. (and we are selecting mites with quick breeding turn-around.) Viral issues will also remain. I kind of think its along the lines of culling drones. It helps by shortening the overall time the mites have, but it is not the answer. Smallcell to me is one step better. But still only a step and not the solution. Genetics and other factors will see future successes with smallcell lines of bees as well as successes with normal lines as well. Mite resistant bees not regressed to smallcell will be out there. But so will others.

    I am not against smallcell. I am against wild opinions. Smallcell being shorter capping times relating to fewer mites. Sure. Not long ago you heard that mites had a hard time breeding in smallcell. Thats stretching it. And certainly not proved by any means.

    Same about FGMO. Heard alot of 100% effective and such. Now I hear that its not to be confused with any "silver bullet" comments. Its now cords, thymol, and on and on.

    Russians were the answer. Now its, "they are better", but not the answer.

    And it goes on and on.

    [This message has been edited by BjornBee (edited November 16, 2004).]

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Milford, MI
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    So that my words do not get further misconstrued, let me clarify a previous statement. There is a difference between a hive infestation of Varroa and a hive that keeps the Varroa to a minimum. Some strains of Apis have shown to keep the mite loads under control, but those that don't, face the chance of infestation of Varroa. I'm not claiming that all hives will become infested , merely stating that those that do become infested and remain untreated will perish. I'm not saying that there are not any strains of bees that keep the mites in check, I do see promise in the breeding of hygenic bees. Nor have I made claim that all Varroa are chemical resistant, simply that chemical treatment is not the cure all either. Nor have I made claim that small cell bees are the answer, though I do see it to be a chemical free step in the right direction.

    The only "desires" that I have are to keep my hives chemical free, and parasite free. I will breed for hygenic behaviour, on small cell foundation, and use any chemical free alternative, including MA fungus. I'm not twisting your arm to do the same, merely passing on the information I've gathered to those willing to open their minds. Some of us are done gathering information and have formed premature opinions, I for one will never close my mind and will always be willing to increase my knowledge.

  19. #19
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    Pheonix,
    Instead of going back and clarifying your thoughts, as much as thats needed....why not post the studies that you referenced earlier in regards to 3-5 days earlier maturity rates? You keep adding and/or changing your thoughts without responding to pointed questions in regards to claims you have previously made. All the while making subtle comments about others opionions and comments.

    Its very easy to comment on something and have people read into it. The comment "It's a proven fact that our colonies will fall to varroa infestation if left unmedicated, and the mites have become resistant to some of the "proven" medications." Some would think that by commenting on "varroa infestation", you could assume that hive death would be likely., or at least thats what most comments are directed towards when talking on such matters. To now say you only meant "infestation" and nothing more, well if not hive death, why bother worrying about infestation? Saying that "the mites", and let me say, you did not say "some mites", you said "the mites" have become resistant to some medications. This would imply that all mites, (since you included them all), would be resistant to some chemical or another. Wrong. The fact is, for every hive found to be resistant, there are fifty or more that are not. And resistance is something that is the fault of the individual beekeeper 99% of the times. Its not something you just catch. Using chemical resistance as justification for some other treatment is bunk. Why not just talk about the pro's of the other treatment? But you always hear about "resistance", as some sort of justification in another treatment. Resistance is also something that can be reversed. It is not permanent, if handled properly. If you are against chems, fine. I do not think mentioning it, as a selling point to something else, is meaningfull.

    I am not promoting chems. But someone reading comments on this site would almost have to assume that resistance is everywhere. Not hardly. They(chemicals) still work 99% of the time.

    It always kills me when people say things like "I'm just passing on information to those with an open mind". ****************
    ***************
    ***************
    This portion edited as requested by beesource. I hope anyone sensitive enough to be harmed by the cruel non-"civililty" words expressed by me, seeks the help they may need. Sorry for any pain and suffering, or mental anguish you may have encountered.

    ***************
    It it floats your boat........

    [This message has been edited by BjornBee (edited November 17, 2004).]

  20. #20
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    Oct 2002
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    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    DING! End of round five. And now a word from our sponsor...

    Are your hives feeling tired and listless? Are they lacking that get up and go they had just last spring? Then you should try...

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