I apparently didnt do a very good job of reading your earlier post. I missed that part about you NOT treating for the last 4 years.
Yes. NO treating at "all". I decided to follow the Lusby's original model. I believe Barry Birkey the owner of beesource, Dennis Murrel, and a few others have gone a few years without treatments too.
Your are trying to let us know that anyone in the regression phase of 4.9 will have to expect to treat due to the fact that the bees are not at their natural size yet and do not have the full benefits of being smaller.
I'm saying there is three choices here:
1. Don't do small cell
2. Eliminate all chem's and go for it (all honey is chem free and your methods are 100% clean)- you select for everything at once this way
3. Regress using only soft chemicals such as FGMO, then somehow find the courage to remove the chem's- you have maximum survivability this way, but may loose a low % that is unknown to me
Once bees are fully regressed no Chems are needed from your viewpoint, but IPM is still recommended.
No not IPM. Just good beekeeping practices. IPM has some good practices. If you choose method 3. from above instead of focusing on mite populations, watch the bee population, there health, ect. You are raising honeybees not mites! Your view of kill them mites will have to change and focus on your bees. The small cell will trigger different hygenics in the bees with no special breeding. Many of these will occur a certain times in the season, if you don't pay attention you will miss there. For example mite populations will rise during a honey flow, then there will be a heavy purge on the down flow. Natural mite drop at these times can be high but it is a good sign as it will indicate the bees are dealing with the mites. This very much different that a chemical mite drop. In which the chemical knocks down the mites. Which in reality means the bees are harboring and carrying a large mite load. In the former the the bees are controling the mites via natural methods. Such as grooming, attacking, chewing larvae down, throwing larvae out, tossing out infested bees and drones, not to mention the suppressing effects of the cells themselves, other things I don't know about or understand at this time.
If small cell bees are purchased and put on 4.9 foundation then the regression phase has been eliminated and chems may not be necessary.
I dare not comment on this as I have not brought in any bees in 8 yrs. But I will be this spring. But in theory yes.
Scroll down to my post. Crown Point is in the northern end in the adirondack mountains. Probably 2 hrs from Canada.
>how many mites dose small cell get rid of 50%? 75%? dose anyone have a rough estiment? thanks
Sounds like you got one estimate from the field, which is the more valuable estimate. In theory a sooner capping could cut it by as much as 40 to 50% and the early emergence could cut it another 40 to 50% (of what was left over) The SBB will get rid of 30% (of what was left over). But let's assume the figure of 40% for small cell and 30% of what was left over for SBB. If we started with an assumtion of 100 mites as a result and decrease by 40% we get 60 mites. If we get rid of 30% of the 60 mites, we have 42 left. I say this to illustrate that compounding methods helps, but the return is diminishing, so you can't assume that two methods that cause a 50% reduction will cause 100% reduction. It doesn't work that way.
I have about 40 hives of which half are fully regressed. If I had the time last year to coat all the PermaComb and cull all the brood comb, it would have been 100%. Hopefully I'll get it finished this year and perhaps try some with no treatments.
I started treating with soft chemicals in 1996. I am on small cell and haven't treated since 1999. Once the hives got beyond the first season, normal mite fall has remained constant and peaks at about 1 mite per week. Yep, that's right per WEEK! And that's across all different kinds of races/selections.
My thinking has changed regarding the importance of loosing all those bees during regression to find the 'small cell survivors'. And my observations with natural comb building have confirmed it. See:
My conclusions aren't popular with some small cell beekeepers. Yet, if accurate, they could be the key for obtaining the advantages of small cell without killing most one's bees. And the difficulties of getting small cell comb drawn might be eliminated.
You guys with small cell hives that are still treating with soft chemicals are in an excellent position. I have actually re-established some large cell hives to get to that point. I would like to demonstrate that it's not necessary to kill most of ones bees to save them if soft chemicals are used. That's a sacralege in the organic circles but will make small cell possible for the rest of us.
You guys can remove the treatments and the bees will take care of the mites for themselves. Don't worry about 'the small cell genetics' or a small cell survivor. Just say 'no' for a whole yard and not just a few hives in a yard, as the whole beeyard acts like a superorganism.
I replaced my small cell survivors. They were highly susceptible to para foulbrood.
They weren't the best bee, just the luckiest bees that survived the mite overloads when regressing.
I have used Lus Bees, Boiling Caucasions, Russians(4 different lines),SMR, Strachan New World Caniolans, Miska Italian and Carniolan, Buckfast, Weaver All American, Weaver Harbo and a few others I've probably forgotten. All averaged about 1 mite/week natural drop. I will admit that some dropped up to two mites/week and others averaged 1/2 mite/week. Can you live with that?
And these mite counts remained stable in spite of the fact that I am surrounded by 4000 commercial hives. These hives have been devasted by chemical resistant mites over the last two years.
I had been using screened bottom boards on all my hives since 1996 and counting mites. No more screens, counts, treatments. I have tossed all my literature on mite treatments. It's a none issue for me.
Lot's of other speculation has been attached to small cell. I have observed that the small cell bees overwinter better and build up faster in the spring. They are not disease proof. The rest needs much objective testing.
Much of small cell rhetoric and management is based on the observations of the Lusbys. As others become involved with small cell, additional observations in different environments should result in a better understanding of the process. And small cell beekeeping should become easier as management practices become better aligned with the bees behavior and the hive environment becomes more natural.
[This message has been edited by BWrangler (edited December 13, 2003).]
Bwrangler you just answered one of my fears about my other hives bringing in a varroa problem to my regressed hives. I definately will stop my FGMO treatment to the regressed hives but keep an eye on them. Thanks
just South of Lansing Michigan
Keep some records on those hives and let us know what you see.
I don't keep bees for anything but pleasure now and would like to move/reduce my hives into about 5 top bar hives(small cell hive sale in two years). I have seen enough evidence with small cell beekeeping to know which way I want to go.
Yet, I can't quite escape my commercial beekeeping background. Some loose ends keep me entangled such as making small cell beekeeping work better with standard equipment. And of course the whys and hows which appear much different to me than what the Lusby's have proposed.
I have been quite surprised at how a small cell yard can handle the influx of immigrant mites from surrounding yards. You can't travel more than a mile without finding a commercial sized yard here in central Wyoming. And resistance mites have been around here since the mid 90's.
I don't think you will have any problems.