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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi all,

    Given the situation that most beekeepers are in a cycle that has them hooked on chemicals. What will you do when they no longer work?
    Are you thinking of the future and how you will deal? How will you help your bees survive? What methods will you use to control disease and parasites when the quick fixes no longer work? Will breeding queens alone save the beekeeping industry? Just some things to think about.

    Clay

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    Hopefully I'll be on full biological long before then! Small cell + OMF's should go a long way between them, and if I do have real problems, then sugar dusting should suffice in an emergency. If ever get a chance it would be interesting to try to breed for mite resistance.

    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    mcminnville, tn usa
    Posts
    33

    Exclamation

    what is sugar dusting?

    can you explain that method and results?

    and also, i have found that in most things concerning mankind, we normally take the easier route. so it may be hard on our bees to medicate, etc., but it is easier on us. we could manage more and it would be harder on us but easier on the bees; however, most are not willing to do that.

    this is not exclusive to bees, though.

    george

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    Hi.

    Sugar dusting involves taking really finely ground sugar - caster sugar or, probably better, stuff you've put through a grinder - and puffing it over the frames. It appears to interfere with the sticky pads on the mites' feet, and they fall off. It's the sort of method you could use in an emergency if you only have a limited number of hives.

    At present I use thymol to control mites, purely because it's not persistent in wax like fluvalinate, as it's still very poisonous. Once I've got my bees regressed onto 4.9, which is going to take a couple of seasons as I'm taking it pretty slowly, then I'm going to try to cut out the poisons, but I still need something up my sleeve in case of re-infestation from someone else's collapsing hives.

    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    mcminnville, tn usa
    Posts
    33

    Exclamation

    when you say 4.9 , do you mean 4.9mm cell size (comb size)?

    and how does that make a difference?

    what is the typical / standard size?

    also, do you know what size the bees build in burr comb, or when they are not given foundation?

    george

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    4.9 mm foundation, yes. See Dee Lusby's pages on this site for more info. I don't know why it works, and one reason I'm putting my bees trough it downsizing them is sheer curiosity; I want to know why. It seems mites don't like it, and I just read a post on BEE-L suggesting that the reason might be a shorter emergence time for the capped brood. There seem to be other possibilities as well.

    As for the size bees draw naturally, all the evidence it that it was originally in a range of about 4.8-5.1mm. My own bees were originally on 5.4mm, but I put one split on 5.0mm starter strips last spring, and it drew 5.25mm comb. Next year I'll put it on strips again (or maybe 5.0mm sheets) and see what happens. Drone comb is drawn at 6.25-6.5mm, by the hive still on 5.4mm which is odd; it's equivalent to about 4.9-5.1mm worker comb. Lots of questions still to be answered. One thing I can't believe is that you can artificially enlarge bees, and produce something better than the size developed by natural selection.

    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@

  7. #7

    Post

    drugs easier? I dont know about that. The reason my great uncle left beekeeping is the drugs were too difficult to deal with. He preferred to leave the bees alone and let them do their thing. All this stuff... buying this and dusting with that is, well, not *even* for the birds!

    I do not yet have a hive. But I do organic garden. I can tell you, once I started serious mulching, all my weeds dissapeared and I have almost no weeding or other maintenance besides picking fruit and flowers and asking neighbors who do not use pesticides if I can have their grass clippings for mulching my flower beds. Based upon this, I anticipate that going "natural" with bees will prove to be much easier than all that fussing with chemicals and checking all the time and etc.

    Beekeeping is about enjoying the bees and the honey and the lovely natural candles, afterall; not mixing expensive chemicals that are dangerous to the bees, to us, and that seriously increase the cost of beekeeping. I'm reading up on the Lusby's work and planning on getting a hive soon.

    Nancy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,303

    Post

    Nancy,
    If only it were that easy!When the mites first came to the USA there was a lot of resistance to putting chemicals in the hives.After all,we were the ones who had been hardest hit by the constant use of insecticides.Now we were being told we had to use the stuff in our hives.Many refused,and the bees died,and now there are a lot less beekeepers than before.Reluctantly,many of us have been using the chemicals,and most of our hives are still alive.If you get lazy about treatments,you can expect to see your hives get weaker,baby bees born with deformed wings,sick and dying brood,then robbed out by stronger hives who will then begin to die.It is a bad situation with no easy solutions.But we must consider that the chemicals are just a temporary help to get us by while we look for the real solutions,such as mite resistant stock and less harmful controls.Many on this list are working on these solutions and have posted freely.We would all like to go back to the way we used to do it ,but the time is not yet.Mike

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi Mike,

    You say you would like to be free of chem's. What are you doing to free yourself? I have a feeling that very few will do any thing to get off chem's until they don't work any longer. Why wait that long the results could be disastorous. Bee breeding will help but it alone MAY not work in my POV. Have you looked into small cell? No scientists are for or against. Why should they be there is no profit or recognition. Just simply the beekeeper doing the work. Just would like to point out this avenue that one could pursue. Also the Lusby's use no chem's going this route and now are around, last I knew 700 colonies with healthy bees. This is in its 5th year for them. If a crash was going to occur it would have happened in my opinion. One can't ignore these kind of results!

    Bee well,

    Clay

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,303

    Post

    Hello Clay,
    You dont believe that breeding will be the answer to the mite problem,I dont see how it can be otherwise.The Lusbys are to be admired for their success,but I just dont believe converting all combs over to small cell is economical for most commercial operations.The cost would be tremendous,and in these times of unprofitable honey prices,pretty much impossible.I also wonder how much of their success is due to the strain of bees they are using,rather than cell size.You must admit it is survivor stock,since they never used chemicals to keep the non-resistant stock alive.I am not trying to keep all of my weak stuff alive.Over the years I have been looking for survivors,bringing in promising material and doing a lot of culling.I have noticed that,though I always liked the yellow bees,our stock is getting darker.I dont fight what the bees want,so if darker is theway the best survivors want to go,so be it.We are playing with SMR stock right now to see what it will do.Not in all our bees,but some.They are very dark.They will not be treated next year unless mite levels build up too high.In which case they would be eliminated from the program.I do have isolated mating areas,but there are times of the year (during pollination)when our bees are exposed to every bad thing that USA beekeepers can bring to CAL.There is also going to be some supercedure going on,so it would seem hopeless to maintain a mite resistant strain under these conditions,but I think eventually(after the end of chemical usefulness)ALL bees will be survivor stock.
    You have to remember,the reality is most of the pollination in USA is done by large commercial outfits who are going to use the most cost effective way to do the job.But you know they have to be worried that it is going to get a lot harder and more expensive.Believe me,the ones I know of are constantly looking hard at everything from the type of bees they use to management practices.If they dont,the bills wont get paid.So when I see the 'big boys'start going to small cell,I might look at it harder.Till then,I will keep using less chemicals and looking harder for the hygeinic ones that dont seem as affected by the mites.
    Mike

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Galloway Oh
    Posts
    44

    Post

    I feel that if you practice pre treatment with drugs, you are asking for trouble. Just as in people, the problem that you are trying to prevent will mutate a resistance to treatments if over used! Most of the drugs manufacturers of Apistan, Terramyacin or numerous anti fungal will responsibly tell you to use there product as a treatment for a particular problem not a cure all preventative.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Clayton:
    Hi all,

    Given the situation that most beekeepers are in a cycle that has them hooked on chemicals. What will you do when they no longer work?
    Are you thinking of the future and how you will deal? How will you help your bees survive? What methods will you use to control disease and parasites when the quick fixes no longer work? Will breeding queens alone save the beekeeping industry? Just some things to think about.

    Clay
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>



    ------------------
    Tim Gifford

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Well Hello Mike:

    You wrote:
    You dont believe that breeding will be the answer to the mite problem,I dont see how it can be otherwise.

    Reply:

    Breeding is only a part of the answer to be considered. Diet must also be looked at besides environmental concerns.

    Mike further wrote:
    The Lusbys are to be admired for their success,but I just dont believe converting all combs over to small cell is economical for most commercial operations.The cost would be tremendous,and in these times of unprofitable honey prices,pretty much impossible.

    Reply:
    Actually, small cell is economical considering when done, we don't feed artificial foods to our bees to keep them alive. We also don't make repeated trips for management concerning chemical applications. We also do not have the cost of the chemicals and drugs to contend with. Also we don't the the mandatory comb rotation necesary to keep chemicals residues from topping out in our wax combs thus killing the broodnest in the long run.

    Mike also wrote:
    I also wonder how much of their success is due to the strain of bees they are using,rather than cell size.You must admit it is survivor stock,since they never used chemicals to keep the non-resistant stock alive.

    Reply:
    This is true it is surviror stock after we shook down and got rid of all of our degenerate stock like most real bee breeders used to do long ago in developing retooling bees for new characteristics they needed to survive.

    However, our stock like is still basically what we had before and we are now again on the breeding program we were known for in the 1980s. In fact just grafted 726 queen cells today which I will put into incubators on Saturaday and cull before taking to the field which is standard practice for us.

    Our stock has never found to be Africanized by the USDA and in fact over the years our bees have probably been tested more then others.

    I breed for speeded up genetics and have been known for that with our bees since the 1980s. See:
    http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/abjnov1989.htm

    I have published on the Biological Field Methods at world level with Apiacta for the control of parasitic mites. See:
    http://www.beesource.com/pov/lulsby/apiacta1992.htm

    I have published out-of-season field breeding that we use to keep our stock line for others to use freely also. See:
    http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/apiacta1995.htm

    I have also published here on beesource.com for free to anyone the methodology for keeping bees healthy in spite of mites for field control and accompanying secondary diseases.

    It Mike takes work to work bees back up from a bottom of 104 colonies, but then we did have those colonies to work back up and also add to with proper culling of surviror feral stock also, being breeders and full well knowing the differences in bees on what to look for and what not to look for. Which again evidently has been good because AHBs have not been found in our managed colonies.

    Mike you further wrote:
    I am not trying to keep all of my weak stuff alive.Over the years I have been looking for survivors,bringing in promising material and doing a lot of culling.I have noticed that,though I always liked the yellow bees,our stock is getting darker.

    Reply:
    The bees are getting darker because in temperate zones, black is the normal color of bees without man's interference. Yellow is the natural color of the tropics and mixed single hybrid color is a yellow/black mixture.

    You further worte:
    I dont fight what the bees want,so if darker is theway the best survivors want to go,so be it.We are playing with SMR stock right now to see what it will do.Not in all our bees,but some.They are very dark.They will not be treated next year unless mite levels build up too high.In which case they would be eliminated from the program.

    Reply:
    Yes do eliminate them if they get mites and you want to continue your program. But IMPOV they will take on mites if you remain on enlarged combs which are not natural sizing.

    You further wrote:
    I do have isolated mating areas,but there are times of the year (during pollination)when our bees are exposed to every bad thing that USA beekeepers can bring to CAL.There is also going to be some supercedure going on,so it would seem hopeless to maintain a mite resistant strain under these conditions,but I think eventually(after the end of chemical usefulness)ALL bees will be survivor stock.

    Reply:
    Yes for the few beekeepers left unwilling to change to meet the challenge. And there will be few bees left.

    You have to remember,the reality is most of the pollination in USA is done by large commercial outfits who are going to use the most cost effective way to do the job.But you know they have to be worried that it is going to get a lot harder and more expensive.Believe me,the ones I know of are constantly looking hard at everything from the type of bees they use to management practices.If they dont,the bills wont get paid.So when I see the 'big boys'start going to small cell,I might look at it harder.Till then,I will keep using less chemicals and looking harder for the hygeinic ones that dont seem as affected by the mites.

    Reply:
    Good then in the future you have something to look forward to as they will either change they combs in the end or go out of business. Again Mike this is MPOV here!

    Regards,


    Dee A. Lusby

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    lynnwood, WA, USA
    Posts
    19

    Post

    I am a small hobbyist beekeeper, only 8 hives, and so it is relatively easy for me to go all natural, using mineral oil, essential oils, screened bottom boards, removing all old black comb, sugar dusting, and switching over to 4.9. My honey harvest wont be very impressive, and its labor intensive, and the mites bounce back pretty fast. I probably have more than my share of losses, because you cant totally eliminate mites organically, like you can with chemicle poisons. The bees are in the same position as the defenseless flightless birds on pacific islands where cats and snakes have been introduced. They will be wiped out completely without our help, and it seems unlikely that the bees will find a way to protect themselves from the hellish little vampires. I dont blaim people for using chemicles, when the alternative is hive death, and luckily there are reasons to be optimistic about eventually finding a miracle repellent that will be cheap and easy to use, and harmless to humans. I think it is only a matter of time. Good luck, Paul

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Selma Indiana
    Posts
    20

    Post

    If mineral oil works against the mites then why wouldn't a canola or some other other plant oil work?Any one had much success with vinegar- acetic acid vaporizer advertised in the bee journals?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    If mineral oil works against the mites then why wouldn't a canola or some other other plant oil work?

    reply:

    I believe it is due to the viscosity of the oil. To thin it doesn't work to thick and it kills the bees too. This isn't to say other oils won't work. For the most part many probably haven't been tried with proper methods of application to get suitable results.

    Clay

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Post

    As I undestand it there are several non-drug ways to handle mites.
    1. Go to 4.9 comb
    2. Use drone foundation and when capped, freeze it and return to the hive.
    3. Grease your bees! Either with sugar/crisco patties or FMGO.
    4. Essential oils including menthol
    5. screened bottom boards

    What have I missed?

    Dickm

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    It's better not to think of SBB's as a mite control method. some mites will fall through and die, if there's more than a 2-inch gap below the board, but it's probably only a small proportion. Numbers will still build up. I'm a fan of the things myself, but for reasons mostly unconnected with mites, though they do make it much easier to do a sticky board test.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

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