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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Erin, NY /Florence SC


    In addition Rob all of the problems are shipped throughout the country in bee packages, nucs and general migration of Bees. ( all of which I participate in) To think we can isolate any problem is the ultimate fallacy. I remember when we were told gypsy moths and asiain long horn beetles wouldn't make it accross the Hudson River. I don't believe Austrailian bees are any more the answer then any of the other bullet proof bees introuced over the years. Ultimately though we must keep working to develop better stock. Chemical controls will ultimately fail and eventually infect our honey supply. I sure hope those involved at the import level have carefully weighed the risks and benefits. Look what happened with AHB in Brazil. Another negative genetic trait or pest could be just as devastating. My sense is if it had been well thought out the concept of introducing bee stock from Australia, which has been isolated from problems until recently, dosen't make much sense. That gives me concerns about how much else went into the thought process. I don't think it would take much of a new problem to devastate the US industry, especially in light of the problems at hand. I also think it is a just a hop, skip and a buzz accross the border from Canada so if Austrialian bees will introduce a new problem it is already on the horizon. It is a good think people like Jim are there to raise the red flag and keep us thinking instead of just reacting. Those who critize critical thinkers should take some time and check there ego's a the door, as we all must sometimes do.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Anchorage, Alaska


    >...the dreaded T. clareae. Just another blood sucker in my book...

    Like others I dread the day it shows up, but if the past is any indication of the future as far as pests are concerned, well, as Jim has remarked in the past: "Connect the dots."

    From what I read on T. clareae, it appears to be more easily controlled than varroa.

    "Tropilaelaps clareae apparently cannot persist in regions where honey bee colonies have a seasonal break in brood rearing. In other areas, artificially creating a broodless period has eliminated the mites from Apis mellifera colonies." 'Honey Bee Pests, Predators & Diseases'

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    New York City


    Not to worry folks, I am being "hard" on the issue here, not
    on Bob. In fact, Bob is about the only person reading this
    who is sure to laugh and nod rather than get steamed.
    Don't worry - Bob's a big boy, and can hold up his end of
    either a polite debate or a heated argument without any help.

    > Jim infers a beekeeper is the source of all our pest problems.

    I do? If it is true that a beekeeper is the source of all our
    pest problems, let's find him, and have a stern conversation! [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Seriously, we are often are the cause of our own problems.
    We can't blame resistance on anyone else, can we?
    I can imagine that a few pests, such as SHB, >>might<< have
    arrived on fruit, but the best vector for the spread of bee
    pests and diseases is live bees without question. Other pests
    and diseases simply don't have vectors other than live bees.

    > My self and many others point the blame in another direction.

    Of course you do - I understand that someone who imports packages
    from the other side of the planet, and promptly trucks them around
    the country would have to do so in order to simply enjoy a good
    night's sleep.

    > We had the most too lose.

    I disagree. There are many people who depending upon a thriving
    beekeeping industry in order to feed a family, and the dwindling
    number of large-scale migratory beekeepers are very much the tail
    on the dog. The hobby market is what keeps everyone in business -
    no business could survive on sales to a few hundred large customers
    who demand everything at prices that don't really even cover the cost
    of production plus overhead, let alone a profit. Please note that
    there are more people making a living from making and selling items
    for beekeepers than are employed by large-scale beekeeping operations.

    There are many more crops than almonds that need bees for pollination,
    and those crops swamp out the value of the almond crop, both on a
    dollar-volume basis, and on a utility basis. Almonds are a snack.
    Real food gets pollinated too.

    > Who had the most to gain without a problem in beekeeping to solve.

    Ah yes, the old tinfoil-hat paranoia that "researchers" want to
    prolong the problems so they can get funding and screw around on
    the same problem(s) for decades. Yeah, right. No one likes spending
    their time working on invasive diseases and pests, as they all have
    OTHER interests that they would rather be working on. Even if there
    are some who "enjoy" working on the problem, it should be obvious that
    the team that "solves" the problem gets fame, perhaps even fortune.
    They certainly would get the respect of their peers, wouldn't they?

    > Jim brings up the dreaded T. clareae.

    Yes I do, and yes it is.

    > Just another blood sucker in my book.

    Brave words from someone who had to import hundreds of packages this
    spring. One blood-sucker at a time is bad enough. Can you honestly
    imagine how much worse it would be with TWO varroa-like pests, each
    independent of the other?

    > If measures are not taken by the industry there will not be a U.S.
    > beekeeping industry to worry about.

    So, screw the consequences, and do whatever seems best for this season
    AGAIN??? That's exactly the sort of short-sighted, self-interested
    approach that has driven so many large-scale operations straight into
    bankruptcy, and only made matters worse for the innocent bystanders
    who have not invested every dime they have on bees, but still want and
    need bees as part of a vertically integrated operation.

    > The same beekeepers which lost hives last year are allready seeing varroa
    > out of control.

    In April? That's a tad early unless the varroa overwintered, isn't it?

    > Many packages sold in the U.S. this spring were varroa infested.

    I've not heard this - anyone get any packages that were infested?
    If so, from which producers, and why hasn't anyone demanded their
    money back, or replacement packages?

    > The pollination needs of the U.S. out way all other uses for bees. Period.

    Sure, but pollination has never been a profitable stand-alone business,
    so the pollination customers are reaping what they sowed for so many years,
    playing one beekeeper off against another, and encouraging a race to the
    bottom of price per hive, and hence, quality of pollination.

    > Those which have tried to stop migratory beekeeping

    No one has ever tried to "stop" it. No one sane, anyway.
    No sane person would even think of such a thing.

    > have found out by now that pollination needs trumps state borders.

    Except in the case of the fire-ant controls at the California border,
    which trumped every truckload of bees with even a little dirt on the
    pallets. When someone at last got serious about a pest, bee trucks
    got turned around and sent home. Not that I think that this is any
    sort of an "answer" to any of the problems of beekeeping, of course.

    > Sooner or later we find intellegent life as we move up the supervision ladder.

    Except when it is ants and California. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    > The almond growers have got more clout than beekeepers,

    Sure they do - they have organizations worthy of the designation.
    But they aren't the only growers out there, and other growers are
    not as desperate about the situation as the almond people are.
    The main reason is that the almond people created much of the
    "shortage" of bees by expanding their acreage faster than they
    could support with firm pollination contracts. So, some fraction
    of the increased price per hive was simply due to a grower-created
    shortage, rather than any "shortage" of hives.

    > AHPA & ABF.

    Neither is worthy of the title "organization" until they actually GET
    organized, and can at least play nice together.

    > If beekeepers do not work with the almond growers they will find
    > solutions which (I already know about) which Jim and others are not
    > going to care for.

    I really don't care what the almond people do. They created an artificial
    economy for beekeepers in the form of a massive pollination demand, but
    can't seem to admit that at the price they get for their crop, that even
    $100 per hive is a very reasonable price for pollination. To be honest,
    taking almonds out of the equation would return beekeeping to a more
    stable footing. Other countries don't have the almond orchards of the US,
    and somehow, beekeepers still prosper in those countries. I wonder how. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Beekeepers chasing after the rainbow of both pollination income and a
    large crop went bust on a regular basis long before the invasive pests,
    the imported diseases, and the current high fuel prices. The "industry"
    (or at least the part of the industry that has ratios like 1000 hives
    per employee) has been marginal for a long time. Announcing "the death
    of beekeeping, film at 11" is just as silly as announcing "tens of thousands
    of hive crashing" when no one can find anything worse than prior "bad years".

    So, yeah, it was not a good winter for many beekeepers.
    But whining about it won't solve the problems, and neither will importing
    bees that have never even been exposed to the problems that bees face in the US.

    All importing bees does is undercut the agenda of getting some serious dollars
    and effort behind the R&D and the regulatory work required to give beekeepers
    tangible solutions. After all, if bees can be imported as "disposable pollination
    units", perhaps just a tube of bees with a pheromone lure to replace the queen,
    the almond growers don't need beekeepers at all, and would then have no interest
    in standing with beekeepers to ask for tangible effort towards tangible solutions,
    do they?

    Think about what happens AFTER what comes next.
    (For me, its a full-time job to do so.)

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Odessa, Missouri


    Excellent post Jim! I like Beesource because I do not have problems getting what I want to say past the moderators.

    First let me say I speak from the beekeeping front lines. Until you see first hand you have a hard time understanding current beekeeping issues.
    Jerry Hayes sees things different now.

    Joel has given his opinion but little facts. His position is typical.

    Dick Allen has done his homework. The ONLY people worried about T clareae are researchers trying to instill fear in beekeepers!

    Bee-l would not print the opinion I am about to give. We have traced a couple new pests back into the direction of the research community. I believe Soy bean rust in soybeans can be traced back to at least possible cause of being spread by chemical companies. No way to prove which is the same in beekeeping. Only tossing out an opinion(based partly on location of first finds)

    Jim said:
    "it would be like two varroa like pest'
    What kills varroa kills T. Clareae. Also the broodless period issue .

    Current varroa problems:
    For the last two years beekeepers buying packages in the U.S. from a majority of shippers have received packages with a high varroa content. Those packages died in the first year.
    Starting last year commercial beekeeper started trying various ways to remove the arrival infestation.
    New beekeepers reading the above are going Hmmm. Is that what happened to my package hive last year?
    Carry over infestations are off the charts in many cases due to failing varroa controls. Many of those hives are already at June levels.

    Would not get posted on BEE-L:
    Our researchers have not solved the varroa problem. Done an excellent job of documentation!
    Did you see a single solution on the NBC program?
    Problem not solvable is their solution.
    Sadly our information from samples sent to labs overseas have provided better information.
    My own hives look better than they have in years! My methods have fallen on deaf ears (even with large commercial beekeepers). Once you have got a complete outfit crash then they consider my methods. It has taken around five years to replace all comb used with chemicals and convert to a varroa tolerant bee. Now complete I see the results. Expensive for sure but a success.
    Not cheap to replace all but skids, hive bodies and tops. I did save some frames. Lots of comb to get drawn.
    Large beekeepers doing the math shake their heads at the expense & labor.
    We were never told by researchers that use of USDA approved chemical strips as per label would cause comb to need be replaced.

    Many large beekeepers are selling out. The largest in Florida. Not only because of varroa problems. Honey selling below cost of production is also a factor. In large lots honey sales are at low levels. Honey needs to sell at around 1.25 U.S. in the drum to make honey production for the large beekeeper profitable.
    The large beekeeper keeps the industry beekeeping equipment sales at reasonable levels and creates cash flow at woodworking plants as they buy in the slak season.
    If you think Kona queen will not miss the 20,000 queens a year bought by the Florida beekeeper guess again. Takes a lot of 1-10 queen orders to make 20,000.
    Bob Harrison

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    New York City


    > First let me say I speak from the beekeeping front
    > lines. Until you see first hand you have a hard
    > time understanding current beekeeping issues.

    Oh, OK - so I'm completely out of touch.
    But howcome there's no dire hive losses to be found
    when both the states and the USDA send people out
    to look at colonies and talk to large beekeepers?

    > The ONLY people worried about T clareae are
    > researchers trying to instill fear in beekeepers!

    Gee, what would you have done if you could have
    stopped varroa from getting in the western
    hemisphere? How about SHB? Your disdain for
    the risks of not having at least the sort of
    controls currently in place in Europe, the UK,
    and Canada is, in my view, "part of the problem".

    And if any researcher is trying to instill fear
    in beekeepers, I'd sure like to hear some names.
    You aren't going to get away with either insulting
    or dismissing the research community around here,
    no matter what your personal agenda.

    > What kills varroa kills T. Clareae.

    Uh, I thought that you said that "what kills
    varroa" ISN'T killing varroa currently! It
    would seem to follow that T. clareae would go
    through the same cycle of resistance build-up.

    > beekeepers buying packages in the U.S. from a
    > majority of shippers have received packages with
    > a high varroa content. Those packages died in
    > the first year.

    I know of no widespread examples, and I know
    many beekeepers smart enough to test newly-hived
    packages. I'd need some names and dates to do
    more than dismiss this as pure fantasy.

    > My methods have fallen on deaf ears

    Well, what exactly ARE "your methods"? If you've
    got something that worked for you, I'd sure like
    to hear about it, and I'm sure everyone else
    would, too.

    > It has taken around five years to replace all
    > comb used with chemicals

    Golly - most of us have had a regular comb cycling
    schedule for years now. Where were you when the
    studies about comb contamination were published?

    > and convert to a varroa tolerant bee

    Again, if you think you've got bees that can
    tolerate varroa, good for you, but why has no
    one else agreed that you have such bees?

    Danny Weaver wants to claim that his bees are
    varroa tolerant too - funny how there has been
    no independent confirmation there, either.

    > We were never told by researchers that use of
    > USDA approved chemical strips as per label would
    > cause comb to need be replaced.

    Where have you been for the past decade? You'd
    have to be not only drunk enough to be comatose,
    but also living under a rock to have avoided all
    the papers, presentations, and workshops on
    this issue.

    > Many large beekeepers are selling out.

    This happens all the time. The whole concept
    of a monoculture-based, migratory, large-scale
    operation simply is not sustainable as it is
    based on benign neglect of the bees. Such
    operations are doomed when the strips and other
    one-shot, no-monitoring-required "treatments"
    fail to work.

    > Honey selling below cost of production is also
    > a factor.

    Wholesale honey prices are set based upon world
    prices, rather than the US cost of production.
    Beekeepers who willingly put their livelihoods
    in the hands of packers and brokers get exactly
    what they can expect from these people - no more
    than the lowest price paid for what might pass for
    honey on the "world market". The answer is to
    vertically integrate, and package one's own honey.
    Even the co-ops have turned on their members,
    such as Sioux Bee, who has become a co-op of
    both US and South American beekeepers.

    The future of beekeeping is just like the past
    has been for 20 years, and either you "get it",
    or you aren't going to be a beekeeper for much

    "The price of honey is eternal vigilance."

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Frankfort, Kentucky


    Excellent post Jim! I like Beesource because I do not have problems getting what I want to say past the moderators.

    Hey Rob

    You shoot straight I don’t shoot back.

    Keep up the good work

    Rob Mountain – moderator
    If a job is worth doing - Then do it well

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Odessa, Missouri


    I am not going to argue. You are indeed out of touch. Period! Especially on the package infestation issue!

    WE WERE NEVER TOLD WHEN APISTAN AND LATER WHEN COUMAPHOS CAME ON THE MARKET CONTAMINATION OF WAX WOULD BE A PROBLEM! I have been around since the start!The first talk of wax contamination came after checkmite came on the seen. Jeff Pettis (USDA-ARS Beltsville)told me at the Apiary Inspectors meeting in Savannah in 2002 for the first time about the big wax contamination problem.
    I told Jeff I was aware of the problem two years before through private testing.

    You can take me at my word or disagree all you want. The beekeeping industry is in trouble because of lack of control which worked like Apistan & Checkmite did when first used.Severe wax contamination! Period!

    If those on this list want my position & methods I suggest a search on BEE-L using my name,varroa and read my posts on the subject.

    I am not going to rehash the whole story over again! I came on these lists to share as I travel in the circles of the largest SUCESSFUL beekeepers
    the world has ever seen.

    They told me I was wasting my time on internet lists. I don't believe so. At least I hope not!

    Jim may not like what I have posted but many beekeepers say I say what needs said.

    Jim knows it is not my way to post names of beekeepers in trouble or researchers. A policy I do not break. Some consider this my weak point but if I posted sources before long I would not be getting direct information out of the bee labs and from large beekeepers. Which I do!

    As with all internet discussions. You can read all posts and make up your own mind.
    Bob Harrison

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    New York City


    OK, Bob... but when even PDB was known to be a
    build-up problem for comb for years before the
    introduction of Apistan, I don't think anyone
    has any excuse for claiming ignorance.

    But, exactly like Bob, I'm not about to argue. [img]smile.gif[/img]

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Odessa, Missouri


    PDB is a known but little talked about wax contaminant. Most large beekeepers use Phosdin gas.
    I use PDB but store supers in a 40 foot air tight ship container. I seal the four air vents. Once 20 skids of supers are placed in the container I toss a *pound* of PDB crystals in by the door.
    Big difference than several tablespoons per five to seven supers.
    I could use phosden gas but see no need in a airtight container. In fact I might not even need the crystals but I do get moth larva & eggs in supers brought in late fall or simply not extracted fast enough.

    I believe phosden gas (legal) is less of a contaminant than PBD crystals but I have not seen any research on the subject.

    Cyanide gas works best (with zero contamination I have been told) but not legal and certainly dangerous (as is phosden gas). Both pull all oxygen from the air which kills all life forms and eggs within minutes. Cyanide is used in death house gas chambers.

    PBD is available at WalMart and easy and safe for the small beekeeper. When you move into the relm of containers or buildings full of supers cost,labor and contamination becomes a concern.

    I thought the use of cyanide was old history when phosden became legal until I heard of the cyanide problem in the Dakotas. I knew most those beekeepers charged (and convicted). They made a poor choice when phosden would have worked as well but both are dangerous to use.

    A drum of liquid cyanide in the wrong hands is a dangerous situation but so is phosden gas.

    I have never used either of the above but I have seen both used first hand.

    Cyanide was sold in tabs and crystals by bee supply houses years ago and was used in the sixtys at at least one bee lab that I know of.
    Bob Harrison

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    New York City


    > PBD is available at WalMart

    Not in any form that would be labeled (and hence
    legal) to use on honey supers, unless MallWart has
    expanded to the point where they carry bee supplies. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    > ...Phosdin gas
    > ...phosden gas

    I don't know either of those names.

    You don't mean Phosdrin, do you?
    Certainly not Phosgene! [img]smile.gif[/img]

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Odessa, Missouri


    I did an internet search once and got many different spellings. I believe brand names. I do not know the exact chemical name or numbers.
    I have never bought or used any.
    I did call our local chemical gas supplier once and he knew what I wanted and said he had the gas in any size bottle I wanted.
    I understand tablets are available but know little about the source.
    I asked at an apiary inspectors meeting I believe in Austin,Texas if the gas was legal and they said yes but used by only the largest beekeepers.
    A very large beekeeper told me a building was expensive to fumigate and if the door was opened for a single super the whole building would need fumigated again.
    About all I know about the gas and I don't expect those which do to comment.
    You are correct on the Wal Mart PDB crystals not having the correct label. However the product is correct. Demand would get the Walmart product labeled for bees but if sold with the correct label by bee supply houses many hobby beekeepers would still by the cheaper Walmart product.

    NEVER USE REGULAR MOTHBALLS. Different product and will contaminate combs in a big way.
    Bob Harrison

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    New York City


    > I understand tablets are available...

    Oh, you mean Phostoxin!
    Its just "Aluminum phosphide", if you want the real chemical name.

    That stuff requires a pesticide applicator
    license, and is very nasty stuff for the
    person trying to use it. I wouldn't touch
    it with a 10-foot pole myself.

    I can't imagine anyone trying to use it
    except the largest operations. You certainly
    couldn't hire me to be the one who works with
    the stuff.

    And yeah, you gotta have an airtight chamber to
    use it. Perhaps a decommissioned submarine... [img]smile.gif[/img]

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Odessa, Missouri


    I agree the stuff is nasty & kills all life forms in a closed area. The 100 pound gas bottles are the most common use I have seen.

    Found out the stuff is legal to use on supers yet Jim?

    Pesticide applicator license.

    Now those are hard for beekeepers to obtain in Missouri. You have got to pay a fee and watch a one hour video.
    Bob Harrison

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    New York City


    > Found out the stuff is legal to use on supers yet Jim?

    Are you asking me if its legal?
    I thought you said it was legal.

    I don't give a darn if it is or not.
    I'm not going to even consider using it.
    If someone else uses it, that's their problem. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Legal or not, it sounds like a problem just
    waiting to happen.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Eden, NC


    The post of Rob and Jim are extremely informative. Differing views from two distinct areas of the industry.
    The largest beekeepers use of chemicals (approved or not) is in a effort to remain profitable and in business all togather.
    Mid-size, sideliners, and hobbyist use chemicals in an effort to be profitable, increase size, and because the industry as a whole suggest that this is the only way to keep their hives alive.
    It was not until last year that I had heard of increased chemicals in the wax. Not to say that this was not being discussed, for I now know that it was. The problem is that it was not being discussed in all circles and there will always be learning curves for hobbyist, sideliners, mid-size and large beekeepers.
    What I understand from when the mite treatments were put forth, the beekeeping industry just wanted a mitecide that worked, and then when resistance started showing up the industry wanted another mitecide that worked. I doubt that there was any consideration for wax contamination. I doubt that it was even discussed. As we see now by the different treatments available and approved there is still mitecides being approved that may or may not contaminate wax.
    It is through list, like this one that we learn of different methods of treatments, wintering, queen rearing, and opinions other than our own.
    The Great thing about beekeeking is the bees; no matter what different methods we use and how we abuse our wards of nature, they forgive us by continueing to survive and reward us with a little honey.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    New York City


    > The largest beekeepers...
    > Mid-size, sideliners...

    It is simpler than that - some beekeepers have
    concern and respect for the health and safety of
    their employees, and some apparently don't.

    I hope I am not alone in putting human beings
    before bees, but I simply would not ask anyone
    to handle or apply highly toxic and very dangerous
    stuff like Aluminum phosphide or sodium cyanide
    when plain old carbon dioxide works just as well
    in killing wax moth eggs, larvae, and adults.

    I may be slightly more "fascist" about employee
    safety than some others, but I hire teenagers,
    for pete's sake - they require an approach that
    eliminates hazards rather than expects them to
    follow complex safety rules.

    And yeah, you won't ever see any Check-Mite in
    my hives. Not because of the now well-documented
    impact on drone fertility and queen fecundity,
    but because I will not expose my employees to an

    It is just beekeeping - there is no reason we
    should ever take even a single casualty.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Eden, NC


    If we have to treat we should only treat hives that absolutely need it, and how would you know if you don't test for mites. Sugar shake the hives and only treat the ones that are peaking during august or sept. depending on location. I have only used Checkmite one time and that was on some hives that I purchased, in bad shape. The reason I used it then was because the previous owner used Tactic,& Apistan and I was finding cardboard squares and Apistan strips that had been in these hives for years. He never removed the strips.

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