On several posts I have seen references that the opening on small cell bees would be beneficial in comtrolling T-mites "if" the opening would be too small for them to enter. "if" being the word I'm focusing on. It seems like there is either a question as to whether this is true or the research has not really been done to back this up. Anyone have more than an assumption, like research figures or studies?
I try to be careful not to state things as a fact that I haven't seen measured by someone with some authority or measured myself. This is one of those. I don't know of any study on it, but T-mite resistance has already been measured in some strains of bees and bred for in Europe for some time. I would assume that T-mite resistance is related to the size of the spiracles, but I do not know that for sure. Smaller bees, of course, would have proporionately smaller spiracles, but I don't know if any studies have been done on what size they are and what size would discourage the T-mites.
Does anyone else know of any studies on the size of spiracles and T-mite resistance? Does anyone know if that is what the mechanism is for T-mite resistance in, say, Buckfasts?
Before switching over to small cell beekeeping, I had lots of problems with trachael mites and lost colonies to them every winter. Since switching over to small cell, trachael mites have been a non-issue for 4 seasons.
Others have had the same observations and some have speculated that smaller bees have smaller spiracle openings which block the mites entrance.
For me the whole bee size/cell size issue is not such a simple relationship. Why the positive difference with trachael mites and bees on small cell? I just don't know but have my doubts about the spiracle hole size proposal. I am not aware of any actual measurements.
'If' isn't such a bad word to include with speculation. It leaves lots of room for other observations. The fact that it should be used more and sometimes isn't used at all is more troubling to me.
[This message has been edited by BWrangler (edited January 02, 2004).]