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Thread: Varroa and SBB

  1. #1
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    I have been reading the study done in Quebec on SBB and varroa drop. In it they stated that when the screened bottom boards were left open, ie they removed the catch tray, the rates of infestation actually went up over the season.

    They explained this as due to a temperature drop within the hive and that the lower temp was more condusive to mite breeding and the so growth in numbers.

    I question this finding because
    1) the mites reproduce in the brood area exclusively
    2) the brood area is amazingly stable in tempurate, regulated by the bees themselves.

    So either the bees can't regulate the temperature and the fall in temperature would slow hatching in the brood area.

    ... or the mites are reproducing outside the brood area which is cooler

    ... or ???

    Does anyone else have an idea what was really going on, or other input ??

    :confused:
    "hobby farm" is an oxymoron
    Brent Roberts

  2. #2
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    More mites drop when the temps are higher. That's about all I know on that part. I close them up all year around until the summer heat. Then I leave them open until it starts getting frosty at night.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
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    It has been said that SBB hives produce more brood.

    More brood can mean more breeding places for V-mites, thus this could be declaired a higher "rate of infestation".

  4. #4
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    David De Jong writes in 'Honey Bee Pests, Predators, & Diseases' about a long-term study in Brazil where colonies headed by sister queens had higher infestation levels in hives kept at a cooler climate at 1400 meters than those kept in a warmer region at 300 meters. The colonies were within 150 km of each other.

  5. #5
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    Hard to say what the limiting factors are for varroa population growth and what is more or less conducive to mite reproduction. Ultimately, the amount of brood available for them to breed in plays the key role. When mite populations rise and bee populations start to fall off, there is less brood available and you get multiple mites entering cells to breed. This is particularly bad and usually spells the beginning of the end of the hive.

    The fact that more mites drop in warmer temperatures as Michael states might be due in part to more bee movement within the brood nest area resulting fewer bees per unit area. Cooler temps around the brood area (not in the brood area) might work to keep the bees packed a little bit tighter and this might serve to slow down natural drop.

    DaveW's suggestion- that SBB's promote more brood rearing makes sense too. More brood rearing means to some extent, more mites. Warmer temperatures means, to some extent, more mites. Better ventilation... exactly how this might be the cause of more mites isn't clear to me.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  6. #6
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    There's a pretty big mess of factors to be weighed in here. It could be that the Brazilian study noted more mites in cooler altitudes simply because there were more in the environment. How would you count the mites that bees picked up foraging and brought home with them.

    I hope, bits at a time, it gets clearer.

    In the meantime I ordered my Benson Fogger today. The special discount to beekeepers is still in effect. $44.85 plus $12. shipping.
    "hobby farm" is an oxymoron
    Brent Roberts

  7. #7
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    Throw in the fact that some strains of honey bee will shut down brood rearing in a dearth. This too would affect total mite population by depriving them of a brood cycle or two.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  8. #8
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    brent.roberts . . .

    Are you planning to use FGMO?

  9. #9
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    Yes, got thymol crystals ordered and the fogger.
    Had a number of mites last summer and did not get the Apistan in the hive until late Nov so I'm quite concerned. The hive still looks fully populated and no deformed wings (yet ?) I've been picking up bodies from the snow, drying them and shaking them in a jar and getting 10 to 20 mites out of 300 bee bodies.

    Going to put in a screened bottom with tray in the spring. ( is that now ?? sure feels like it. The maples are begging to be tapped for syrup already.)

    I've also been trying to figure out how to get small cells on a Pierco frame. They have not responded to my enquiry about small cells. So I'm going to try to iron out the pattern they put on it and let the bees have at it with their own sizing. If the iron/melting of the pattern won't work, I think I'll just cut out the foundation completely as suggested by MB and just use the plastic frame. Seems a waste.

    [size="1"][ February 01, 2006, 07:06 PM: Message edited by: brent.roberts ][/size]
    "hobby farm" is an oxymoron
    Brent Roberts

  10. #10
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    The 5.2mm of the standard Pierco isn't a bad first regression. Then you can cut the middle out after they've reared some brood on that. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
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    Yeh ... since I'm starting 6 new nucs I was going to let them build up a bit before forcing them to make all their own comb. I did note the Pierco was a bit smaller and that this was a step in the right direction.

    PS sent you a direct message about you internet. Hope it helps

    PS 2 My daughter has a horse "enterprise" going near
    Guelph University. After graduating she's got nearly 30 horses there. She's training some hard to handle horses and training some riders. We've got 15 acres of Timothy and Alfalpha on our own lot. Going to let the second cut fill in for the bees.

    [size="1"][ February 01, 2006, 09:21 PM: Message edited by: brent.roberts ][/size]
    "hobby farm" is an oxymoron
    Brent Roberts

  12. #12
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    How will you avoid them building their own comb? Foundation won't save them building comb. It usually slows them down. Plastic foundation even more so.

    >My daughter has a horse "enterprise" going near
    Guelph University.

    Here's mine:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/friesians.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
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    > Foundation won't save them building comb.

    Given that foundation supplies the bees with
    a "template" of sorts, it clearly has to save
    the bees some effort, in that the bottoms of the
    cells (the "substrate" if you will) is supplied
    intact, and need not be painstakingly built from
    wax flakes.

    > It usually slows them down.
    > Plastic foundation even more so.

    How might this be? You yourself advocate adding
    even more wax that is supplied with "wax-coated"
    plastic foundation, and it should be blindingly
    obvious to even the most casual observer that
    supplying the bees with wax allows them to get
    a jump on bees supplied with an empty frame.

    I think that you have once again gone just a bit
    too far in making flat statements that simply
    do not hold up under even cursory examination
    as rational. Yes, "natural" is a good thing,
    up to a certain point, but the moment one puts
    bees in a box of any sort, one has decided to
    insert oneself into the process, and has to
    make rational choices.

    Given the intense cost-consciousness of large
    operations, and the significant cost of
    foundation of any sort, both in component cost
    and labor cost to insert it into frames, it
    is certain that one or more operations have
    attempted to forgo the use of foundation.
    It speaks volumes that this is NOT a "trick
    of the trade", and that the largest operations
    still dedicate time, effort, and money into
    using foundation.

  14. #14
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    >> Foundation won't save them building comb.
    >Given that foundation supplies the bees with
    a "template" of sorts, it clearly has to save
    the bees some effort, in that the bottoms of the
    cells (the "substrate" if you will) is supplied
    intact, and need not be painstakingly built from
    wax flakes.

    And causes much confusion becaue they aren't exactly what the bees had in mind to build. Try foundationless and foundation and plastic foundation side by side and you'll see what I mean. Lots of things are "clearly" one thing when you think about them and another when measured in reality.

    And they still have to make comb. Except they will do it more slowly.

    >How might this be? You yourself advocate adding
    even more wax that is supplied with "wax-coated"
    plastic foundation, and it should be blindingly
    obvious to even the most casual observer that
    supplying the bees with wax allows them to get
    a jump on bees supplied with an empty frame.

    It has everything to do with acceptance. Wax coated foundation appears to the bees, to be comb more so than bare plastic foundation appears to be comb. Cells that are the size the bees were wanting to build are better accepted than cells that are NOT the size they intended to build. Wax, which is more easily reworked into what they intended to build is better accepted than plastic, which can't be rebuilt at all.

    >I think that you have once again gone just a bit
    too far in making flat statements that simply
    do not hold up under even cursory examination
    as rational.

    Have you ever tried it? Have you ever experimented with it? My "flat statment" is based on simple experimentation repeated many times every year. Try it. When you've done some experimentation to refute my statement, I'll be happy to listen. Try some empty frames in the brood nest and see how quickly they are built. Try wax foundation. Try plastic foundation. I do all of these. Often. How often have you tried them?

    >Yes, "natural" is a good thing,
    up to a certain point, but the moment one puts
    bees in a box of any sort, one has decided to
    insert oneself into the process, and has to
    make rational choices.

    Of course.

    >Given the intense cost-consciousness of large
    operations, and the significant cost of
    foundation of any sort, both in component cost
    and labor cost to insert it into frames, it
    is certain that one or more operations have
    attempted to forgo the use of foundation.
    It speaks volumes that this is NOT a "trick
    of the trade", and that the largest operations
    still dedicate time, effort, and money into
    using foundation.

    People put much time effort and money for many years into bleeding sick people to make them well. That is hardly proof it was effective. Widespread acceptance of an idea does not make it true or false.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
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    Hi Micheal

    I was thinking to clean the pre-wax off the Pierco, then flatten it to remove the pre-patterned cells, then give it a dip in wax.

    I was hoping that the dipping would save them a lot of energy foraging raw material to generate a fair bit of the wax. I read somewhere that someone dyed thier foundation wax and was then able to see that about 2/3 of the wax was draw up off the foundation and 1/3 was new clear wax made by the bees.

    You think they would build it faster from a bare frame than a blank pre-coated plastic ? Or maybe a bare frame with a starter strip ?
    "hobby farm" is an oxymoron
    Brent Roberts

  16. #16
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    >I was hoping that the dipping would save them a lot of energy foraging raw material to generate a fair bit of the wax.

    If wax was as much work as most people think the bees would haul the wax from cappings left out until they are gone. I have not observed this. Nor do they get it off the bottom board. In my observation they draw comb without foundation the most quickly. Wax would be next and plastic last. No imprint will probably be even more confusing to the bees than a pattern they didn't build and can't change.

    >You think they would build it faster from a bare frame than a blank pre-coated plastic ?

    I'm quite certain of it.

    >Or maybe a bare frame with a starter strip ?

    They will build that about as fast as anything.

    Here's what Richard Taylor says:

    "The opinion of experts once was that the production of beeswax in a colony required great quantities of nectar which, since it was turned into wax, would never be turned into honey. Until quite recently it was thought that bees could store seven pounds of honey for every pound of beeswax that they needed to manufacture for the construction of their combs--a figure which seems never to have been given any scientific basis, and which is in any case quite certainly wrong. The widespread view that if the combs were used over and over, through the use of the honey extractor, then the bees would be saved the trouble of building them and could convert the nectar thus saved into honey, was only minimally correct. A strong colony of bees will make almost as much comb honey as extracted honey on a strong honey flow. The advantage of the extractor, in increasing harvests, is that honey stored from minor flows, or gathered by the bees over many weeks of the summer, can easily be extracted, but comb honey cannot be easily produced under those conditions."
    from The Comb Honey Book, by Richard Taylor
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
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    >Given the intense cost-consciousness of large
    operations, and the significant cost of
    foundation of any sort, both in component cost
    and labor cost to insert it into frames, it
    is certain that one or more operations have
    attempted to forgo the use of foundation.
    It speaks volumes that this is NOT a "trick
    of the trade", and that the largest operations
    still dedicate time, effort, and money into
    using foundation.

    Also, I will quote Keith from a different thread:

    "How big a following a website or an idea has is not indicative of it whether or not it is based on sound principles or rational thought, or would you suggest that because so many people eat at MacDonalds that they serve healthy food? "
    Keith Benson
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
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    >it should be blindingly
    obvious to even the most casual observer that
    supplying the bees with wax allows them to get
    a jump on bees supplied with an empty frame.

    What seems "blindingly obvious" is often not true at all, especially where animal behavior is concerned. What most people intuitively do when trying to handle most animals is quite often wrong. What is counterintuitive is quite often the right track.

    If you've ever watched a real horse handler do the correct but counterintuitive things right after watching the horse's owner do the incorrect but "blindingly obvious", intuitive things THIS fact THEN becomes VERY "blindingly obvious".

    Bees, wax and comb drawing are not a numeric equation. It is complex behavior of a complex creature.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
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    >What seems "blindingly obvious" is often not true at all . . .

    One more great quote. thanx MrBEE. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    I sure wish others had more to say that was worth quoting.

  20. #20
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    >I sure wish others had more to say that was worth quoting.

    Can I quote you on that Dave?
    Dulcius ex asperis

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