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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    I have the results of the Pennsylvania inspection program that was sent out. I will try to dig out the previous years for further comparision, but thought the past twp years show some good trends. Please note the increase from month to month and the drastic increase between Aug and Sept mite counts. Also is the overall lower stats from all desease groups including queen catagories. Are mites effecting the other deseases? This would indicate so.

    The data should be rather constant in collection standards between the years. There is little change between the two years monitoring model. Inspector turnover is also almost none, so same inspectors collecting data.

    Mite counts
    2004 ...... 2005

    May 4.22 ....... 2.7
    Jun 6.08 ....... 3.4
    Jul 7.43 ....... 4.1
    Aug 8.26 ....... 6.5
    Sep 15.0 ....... 12.0

    AFB 2.5 ...... 2.16
    EFB 0.2 ...... 0.16
    Sac 1.8 ...... 0.92
    Clk 3.8 ...... 3.11
    4.4 ...... 3.39 rate of queenless/failing/drone layer.

    Comments??

    [size="1"][ December 14, 2005, 06:50 AM: Message edited by: BjornBee ][/size]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    Bjornbee, what exactly do these numbers represent?
    Dulcius ex asperis

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Actual mites counted in standard sugar shakes by month. And percentages of hives with particular deseases. Sorry.

    Hey, shouldn't you be at work!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    >Actual mites counted in standard sugar shakes by month

    Ah. Averages I assume from some large number of hives around the state. Facinating! Thanks! I will ponder this data and no doubt have comments. And more questions [img]smile.gif[/img]

    >Hey, shouldn't you be at work!

    Yeah..... but life has a way of complicating that which should be simple, and disrupting routines. Everything works if you let it and I'm trying hard to "let it" but sometimes "It" just happens, if you know what I mean..

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    Neat. It's interesting to speculate on what the numbers mean, and how they're related. While the mite counts were lower by an average of 42% for the first 3 months of 2005, the August and September counts were only about 21% lower than in 2004. This might mean the beekeepers were treating more effectively (less mites overall) and primarily treating in the spring and/or early summer, and that the mite populations rebounded somewhat in late summer and early fall. Does that make sense? Any idea what the average beekeeper was doing differently in 2005?

    The jump in mite counts in September over the previous months for both years is classic for varroa populations. It's caused by there being more phoretic mites to sample, primarily due to the fact that brood rearing is slacking off and the bees have stopped raising drones, on top of the normal late summer population increase. Also, mite populations often get a boost this time of year due to immigration. Overall, 2005 mite populations were down over the previous year. That's a good thing.

    >Also is the overall lower stats from all desease groups including queen catagories. Are mites effecting the other deseases?

    Good question. Less mites certainly means healthier bees but so does more queenright colonies and/or better queens. The reduction in instances of disease is close to the decrease seen in queenless/failed queens. Maybe both had something to do with lower disease numbers. I'll have to ponder this some more. I've heard that mite levels can affect Sacbrood and that queen quality and condition can be a factor in Chalk. Are the beekeeper's paying more attention to the queen status of their colonies, or is it just an improvement due to less mites?

    Thanks for posting these. I've figured the percent decrease in the numbers and put them in parenthesis:

    Mite counts
    2004 ...... 2005 (% drop)

    May 4.22 ....... 2.7 (36%)
    Jun 6.08 ....... 3.4 (44%)
    Jul 7.43 ....... 4.1 (45%)
    Aug 8.26 ....... 6.5 (21%)
    Sep 15.0 ....... 12.0 (20%)

    AFB 2.5 ...... 2.16 (14%)
    EFB 0.2 ...... 0.16 (20%)
    Sac 1.8 ...... 0.92 (49%)
    Clk 3.8 ...... 3.11 (18%)
    4.4 ...... 3.39 rate of queenless/failing/drone layer. (23%)

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    College Station, Texas
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    just a small question concerning past events... did the northeast experience significant death loss last winter?

    george ferguson adds:
    Less mites certainly means healthier bees

    tecumseh who typically rides his horse backward in the heyoka approved style sezs:
    or does healthier bees mean less mites?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    >did the northeast experience significant death loss last winter?

    Many people I've talked to did. The state apiarist I talked to last spring indicated last winter had been a "hard one". One friend of mine here in town lost 21 of 25 hives for various reasons. Another neighbor lost his 2 buckfast hives, and another person who had an unmanaged hive for pollination lost it. I don't know how the bigger local operators around here faired, but they all winter their bees down south anyways.

    >or does healthier bees mean less mites?

    Dunno. I'd certainly expect healthier bees to mean less brood disease but I don't know if healthy bees necessarily mean lsss mites. Certainly, healthy bees could tolerate higher mite loads. The irony is, a healthy strong bee colony often goes hand in hand with a healthy strong mite population. It's not like mites thrive only on unhealthy weak colonies, they just kill `em faster..

    Umm. I think!
    Dulcius ex asperis

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    tecumseh,
    I don't have official numbers, and not sure they even exist, but the number I have heard being thrown around was somewhere around a 50% loss statewide (Pa.) last winter.

    Two things that could of effected numbers. One was a strong drought in Mid July that carried through till about the first of Sept. The other was the delay in many treatments due to the very high temps we had through the first part of October.

    The first item, the drought, could of been good for the bees. They brought nothing into the hives for about 6 weeks and could of been an ideal time for treatment as many of the hive were broodless. I am sure the break in broodcycle was good. I think the numbers for September could of been lower in 2005 if the normal treatment period would of been maintained.

    But the extended high temps also delayed the treatments, especially those waiting to use mite-away II. Some did not treat till mid-October. If they could of treated the first week of Sept, which I highly recommend, than the Sept numbers may of actually been lower. The delayed treatment, on average(not all), may of allowed mites to recover. These late treatments (which beekeeeprs are going to have to decide if thats the best option) killed alot of mites but not sure if the bees will have young healthy numbers to carry through winter. We will find out becuase if the last two week are any indication of the rest of winter, we will have high death counts again. (Cold starvation may be blamed come spring, but this may also be due to old bees, and just not recognized.) Way too many days not above freezing and bees are not getting any break in moving. This cold, this early, for this many days in a row...????

    I think the bees had a real opprotunity to have a great winter survival rate, as mite counts were low, a natural broodless cycle was given. However, dought which ate alot of stores caught some beekeepers napping, and many were late feeding, then a late treatment schedule, and a bad winter....big demand for suppliers come spring. We will be in the same boat again this coming spring with bee orders.

    Soryy for the ramble...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    College Station, Texas
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    ah you ramble well bjornbee and thanks for filling me in on the local conditions. any way the data is always flavored by the local environmental context, so thanks.

    would I be assuming too much to believe that this data is collected by the state bee inspector on commercial hives applying for an interstate health permit? and I wonder what kind of sum total hives were inspected in each of these two years?

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    The numbers are from all hives actually opened and inspected commercial and hobbiest alike, meaning frames were lifted and actually inspected. Commercial hives are 10% spot checked and there is a seperate catgory for the "certified' status. 10 hives may of been inspected for commercial operations but 100 may be certified. But 10 hives are counted in the data for collection.

    Yes, the data was collected by the state inspectors.

    The data collected was from 11,538 hives.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    College Station, Texas
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    the 10% rule must be fairly standard for most small operation that move bees interstate. I would find it difficult to believe that texas officials would insist on checking 10% of the big boys total, where I always assumed they used some random generator to reduce the sample size. but then, knowing of the state bee keepers close friendship with one local operator just a bit south of me I have always suspect some operations are not checked at all.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    parker county, tx
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    Tecumseh, what part of Texas are you in? Have you had significant mite problems, and what type of treatment(s) do you use in your hives?
    So many weeds.......so little time.

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