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  1. #21
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    It would seem to me that you could debate this issue until your blue in the face and not resolve it. If commercial beekeepers choose to use chemicals over other methoeds without at least trying these other ideas, that even if you had a study that was above board in everyone's view, they still wouldn't try it. Having said that, Jim, this is directed right at you, why don't you try a very limited study of your own? What would it cost you to set up a yard with x-number of hives in it and try small cell? It certainly shouldn't cost anymore than the cost of the chemical controls your using. My point being that anything that might work to lower mite levels is worth trying, even on a limited basis.
    We kinda have to help ourselves out of this mess, researchers arn't going to do anything more than toss us a patch to temporary fix the problem, which in the meantime becomes harder to deal with as time goes on. Resistant strains of mites will continue to show up, and then what? I for one would as Micheal said, put a hive on the table for a specified study, for a specified peroid of time, for a specified hopeful outcome. Now for you na sayers: put up or fold.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  2. #22
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    OK, I'll bite...

    > If commercial beekeepers choose to use chemicals
    > over other methoeds without at least trying these
    > other ideas...

    Commercial beekeepers bet their livelihoods every
    season. Don't expect them to try "other ideas"
    that require several seasons of work to implement,
    often result in losses of 50% or more during the
    "regression" process, and have not been shown by
    controlled studies to provide any specific
    long-term advantage. (On the other hand, they
    clearly ARE willing to try all sorts of "other ideas"
    that take less time to implement, even if the
    approach is not quite legal just yet...)

    > why don't you try a very limited study of your own?

    Because it would prove nothing, would settle nothing,
    resolve nothing. It would be merely another
    anecdotal report from yet another random beekeeper.

    ...oh, wait a sec - I get it, you want me to
    set up the study, fund it, do all the work, write
    a paper, get it published, and then, if the results
    don't match with what you want to be true, put up
    with the hate mail, all so those who believe in
    small-cell can avoid facing up to doing anything
    at all to back up their claims. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    > What would it cost you to set up a yard with
    > x-number of hives in it and try small cell?

    You wanna talk about lost honey crop, just while
    I try and get them to draw all that new comb, or
    do ya wanna talk about lost pollination income?
    Or do you wanna talk about the cost of losing
    colonies as I refuse them treatment, and watch
    some significant fraction of them die?

    > researchers arn't going to do anything more
    > than toss us a patch to temporary fix the
    > problem

    I disagree. Strongly. That's why I advocate
    the loan of existing small-cell colonies to
    research programs by small-cell owners. Why
    not make it easy for them to use colonies that
    you yourself would agree are true "small cell
    colonies"?

    What is everyone afraid of? I'd think that
    people would jump at the chance to prove what
    they claim to be the salvation of beekeeping.

    Not to be insulting, but the operative phrases
    here are "Put up or shut up." "Actions speak
    louder than words." "Put your hives where your
    mouth is." And so on.

  3. #23
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    >I get it, you want me to set up the study, fund it, do all the work, write a paper, get it published, and then, if the results don't match with what you want to be true, put up
    with the hate mail, all so those who believe in small-cell can avoid facing up to doing anything at all to back up their claims.

    No, what is wanted is (not to be insulting) for you to "put up or shut up". It isn't that difficult or expensive to try. Why even I can do it.

  4. #24
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    > No, what is wanted is (not to be insulting) for
    > you to "put up or shut up". It isn't that
    > difficult or expensive to try. Why even I can do
    > it.

    I have made no extraordinary claims.
    Therefore, I need not provide extraordinary proof,
    or any proof at all.

    I've gone to great trouble to explain several
    times what would be a path to getting the proof
    that is desired, and the steps proposed do not
    involve me in the least. Don't expect me to spend
    any time on it, as it is not my pet project.

    Don't expect any more help from me on this -
    you can continue to languish in your self-imposed
    exile on your Gilligan's Island of science, or
    you can join the real world, and give people
    a reason to view your claims as something other
    than comedy.

    There is a growing acceptance of the idea that
    there "might be something to it" among researchers,
    so a wise man would take advantage of the
    current conditions.

  5. #25
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    Jim, I just don't get you. You drone on all the time about you elitist elevation in life, your money, your education, your sucess, and the fact that you are not in need of anything in life, and then you show concern about losing honey crop (minor for a sideliner) or pollination money and the cost of setting up a couple of hives.

    The real cost is a couple of already regressed packages and some SC foundation, less than one of your high roller dinners you spoke of reciently. You are the one doing the bashing asking for proof, I would think that you would have enough interest in beekeeping to try a little experiment for your self even if it is only for your own interest.

    I am sure that a wise man like you could take advantage (and credit in a bee mag) for a little experiment. If YOU said SC worked, I might even believe it.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  6. #26
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    At first most beekeepers scoffed at small cell. I was among those, but I did try a couple of small cell hives. Plain and simple, they didn’t have mite problems. No ifs, ands, or buts. They simply weren’t pestered with mite infestations. The first small cell hive I ovewintered did have problems with EFB the following season, but no mites. I admit to still having some skepticism, so we’ll see how this winter’s hive turns out. My ‘regular size’ bees will be treated this summer with Sucrocide. The small cell is going to be left to its own devices.

    >Don't expect any more help from me on this - you can continue to languish in your self-imposed exile on your Gilligan's Island of science, or you can join the real world, and give people a reason to view your claims as something other than comedy.

    Lighten up Jim. You were the first to throw out the “put up or shut up”. I simply cut and pasted what you wrote and sent it back. Do you suffer from the ‘dish it out, but can’t take it’ syndrome?

    Here is a famous quote from Herbert Spencer:

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

    Bill made some good points. With all the education and money you regularly inform these lists that you have, it seems to me it would be no trouble at all for you to try a few small cell hives. You have claimed before to have spent money and time doing research on the mite fungus, but can’t afford the money and effort to downsize a couple of hives. Or, is it a simple matter of not quite understanding the process and being afraid to ask for some help from those who are of less stature than yourself?

    Some people find pedantic drivel entertaining; others grow weary of it after a time.

  7. #27
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    As I suspected, even if it does work, and it does, large commercial beekeepers just can't be bothered by alot of extra work regressing their bees. Even one or two swarms is too much to mess with, as is clearly evident from Jim's reaction to a simiple suggestion. That suggestion was not ment to inflame anyone, it was ment to point out the fact that if it will work with one or two hives, then it will work on a larger scale. After the bees have been regressed, most of the labor used to treat bees would be gone, and look at the increase in the profit from not having to buy chemicals to treat your hives. Again, this is a personnal matter, simply put, most people want a magic "pill" to make all their problems go away, without any real investment in work to accomplish it. Seems to me if you increase the number of small cell hives and decrease the population of mites in your area it would be a win-win thing. But that's just me.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  8. #28
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    A childish trick.

    Dodge and weave and avoid any effort to support
    YOUR claims, but turn the whole thing around, and
    make it seem like everyone else (including me,
    apparently) has some sort of obligation to do
    the work of supply proof for you. Don't even
    say "thank you" for the effort put into mapping
    out a specific game-plan for attaining the
    credibility you desire so much for small-cell.

    I am under no such obligation. Get over it,
    and please understand that I have other things
    to do with my time. Apples will bloom soon, so
    this is the busiest time of the year for us
    in the beeyards as we super up the honey colonies,
    prepare the pollinators for movement, make
    splits, and so on.

    Make demands on someone else's time, please.
    I'm booked solid.

  9. #29
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    Jim

    I'm not the one who needs "proof". I accept things as they are, knowing that those who will only accept irrefutiable proof are the ones who won't change no matter how many studies are done to prove that something works. It matters not to me what you do, and being angry at those who make suggestions for you to try something is misplaced folley. I have in no way indicated that you are under any obligation to try anything, nor is anyone else obligated to try anything. I am simply pointing out that if something as simiple as small cell regression cuts down the enviromental load of verona mites in your area, it is worth considering. Nobody is going to come to your house, pin you down and force you to try it! But in the same respect, don't continue to bully those who feel it worth doing into providing you with proof, when you wouldn't do it anyway! Continue your chemical treatments, replacing your deadouts, and be happy.
    And some of us are willing to supply hives of small cell bees for study if and when a researcher comes up with a study that will truely define the advantages of small cell bees, withing a set time frame. So WE have put up, and in writing too!!

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  10. #30
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    Catonsville, MD. USA
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    Cool

    Wow, Can't say that I have "officially" tried the small cell yet (other than what the PermaComb's smaller cell size has afforded me). But I will say that I sure am enjoying this thread. Great reading!! Thanx, all.
    John Seets
    ...When seconds count, 911 is just minutes away....

  11. #31
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    Seeing is believing. My mother, (rest her soul), had a favorite saying, "There are none so blind as those that WILL not see." (For you wise-guys out there, that means to REFUSE to accept what is clearly in front of you.)

    I don't need someone in a lab coat to tell me what I can see in my own yard. And that is the simple reading of the trays, my PC (5.1) hives have less mites than my all LC and mixed hives have. The logical conclusion to me is IF I had true SC hives (mine got robbed out and died), I would probably see the same results others have been reporting.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  12. #32
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    >you can continue to languish in your self-imposed
    exile

    Personally I'm enjoying my bees and I don't think "languish" or "self-imposed exile" are at all descriptive.

    >Don't expect me to spend
    any time on it, as it is not my pet project.

    Nor is it my pet project. Small cell wasn't my idea. I'm just doing it because it works, not because I have any STAKE in PROVING it works.

    >"Put your hives where your
    mouth is."

    I repeat myself at the risk of being rude:

    "If you can get a SPECIFIED researcher in a SPECIFIED location that will do a SPECIFIED protocol that is workable, then I'd probably seriously be interested..."
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #33
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    I have an idea: let's start a discussion forum where we can all share our experiences in beekeeping, ask questions of each other, and discuss new possibilities for the future. Maybe even debate which of several methods in a given area may be better.

    Then let's invite someone in to advise us at every turn that we are undereducated, that the things we observe in our hives are "comedy", that we languish on a "Gilligan's Island of science," and that we all often drink kool-aid. Also, that person should inform us of the fact that when we share our observations on that forum, and then defend them when told we must be hallucinating, that we then must crave credibility, and should rush our hives off to some unknown person to prove our observation. If we are not willing to do so, that person should remind us to "shut up". As a side benefit, that person should pick apart every post that BjornBee and Michael Bush make.

    Wouldn't that be fun?
    Rob Koss

  14. #34

    Post

    On testing, the paper cited above, which checked small cell in AHBs for mite control, used what I think is a wise approach.
    They started with regressed bees, then created three hives, I beleive with a queen and so many pounds of workers each, then gave some hives small cell and some large cell. After a season, they used SBB and catchments or sugar rolling to screen for, and quantify, varroa mite levels.

    This seemed like a good method to me - at the start, all the bees are the same, only the cell size varies. This isolates the variable as cell size, instead of both cell size and bee size.

    Do you think this is a worthwhile approach? Are there other factors that would help make a convincing study?

    Brian Cady

  15. #35
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    >Wouldn't that be fun?

    Your funny! But how true.

    BTW, was the kool-aid bit a referance to poison kool-aid of Jim Jones in Guiana, or the Electric kool-aid of Ken Kesey era?
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  16. #36
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    Hi Guys,

    Jim has a point regarding implimenting the commercial implimentation of a long term strategy. But I know that commercial beekeepers are more than willing to test an unproven short term mite solution, especially if it appears to be cheap and easy. And if it can be sprayed, fumed or dropped into a hive.

    If small cell was a dust, liquid or a pill, the proporters o fsmall cell couldn't make enough of it to meet the demand :&gt))

    I suspect most beekeeping equipment, in this country, is contaiminated beyond re-use. Those costs haven't been factored into the total. Small cell make look alot more attractive to the commercial guys when they have to trash their equipment in order sell their hive products as food, especially in the health promoted honey market.:&gt And with the new testing limits and focus on food safety, beekeepers won't be the neglected stepchild of the food industry.

    And under some circumstances, bee equipment might incure some extra hazardous waste charges just to dump it :&gt)))

    For me, varroa mites are not an issue in my small cell hives. They are, if I put the same bees back on large cell comb. And there is no comparison if they are placed on contaiminated large cell comb. Since the initial hive loses in 2000, I haven't lost a single hive to anything, including overwinter, but only to queen failure.

    When I first reported my results on another list, they were met with scepticism. Most beekeepers wanted to see what the long term results would be. When those were met, the time frame was extended. Then the stock/selection issue came up and was debunked with the multiple races I'd run on small cell. Eventually, one beekeeper suggested it was MY responsibilty to prove to him that it would be economical at his location for his operation. Can you believe it?!!!! I can't figure out whay such a risk taker was in the bee business.

    That's when I stopped sharing small cell specifics. I'll still talk generalities but the information is out there for anyone who has the desire. I not going to waste any more of my time on it.

    I would suggest that anyone wanting to do research on small cell, just get some bees on some kind of clean small cell comb. It doesn't have to be perfectly drawn. The bees don't need to be regressed. Just get the bees on it and keep them on it for a few years. If the bees need an initial treatment to survive the mites, use a non-contaiminating treatment. Shift the poorly drawn comb upward and outward until the broodnest is mostly small cell size. Then watch what happens.

    All that takes is a few hundred dollars and some time. That's less than a air fare from anywhere to Casper, Wyoming.

    Regards
    Dennis

  17. #37
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    Dennis:

    You opened up a whole new area that hasn't even been touched on, and that's chemical contaimion of equipment. This chemical treatment thing is a big witch's culdron of future problems being faced by beekeepers everywhere. I hadn't thought much about contaimnation of stuff until I read an article about beeswax foundation being contaimated. That's when I decieded I would make my own, or use none at all. And now you bring up the possibility that woodenware could also be contaimated beyond reuse. With all the different chemicals that have had to be made to deal with these mites, and restant mites, it's a wonder that some of these chemicals arn't reacting(between each other) within the hive and causing "real" problems, beyond just messing up the queens ect, ect. How much do we really know about how these chemical treatments interact with each other? I will be the first to admit that this will be my first year back into beekeeping since the mites hit in the nintys. I have always had some kind of animal, be it cows, chickens, turkeys, bees ect, and have not relied heavally on antibotics, or chemical treatments, that did not have all the cons clearly posted on the label, and usually only as a last ditch effort to save the animal. The first posts I read on small cell use told me there was something too this, and it was logical. Logical being the key word here. I don't need alot of studies to look at to know that if something didn't work, it wouldn't be raved at like this is, besides, it just makes sense.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  18. #38
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    Hi Peggjam,

    Lots of non-sense has been linked to small cell beekeeping. Much of it contradicts basic genetics and bee behavior that has been documented for almost a century. But a beekeeper doesn't have to swallow it all in order to get the benefits from using clean wax and a small cell size.

    One of the most destructive aspects for small cell testing and acceptance is the almost fanatical following that has developed with some in the small cell camp. That attitude turns alot of people off who have had a experience similiar to this in another area such as religion or politics.

    For others this issue has become bigger than the problems it addresses. I truely feel sorry for anyone whose whole reason for existense or self importance/value depends upon a specific understanding of beekeeping.

    So, keep your common sense intact, especially around the small cell camp. Try it. Keep the best. Discard the rest.

    Regards
    Dennis

  19. #39
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    I would be interested in doing a formal study on small-cell. I don't think it is as simple as getting a couple small-cell colonies and monitoring mites on some time interval. Maybe this is just the science geek in me, but - to be valid, I think such a study should address:

    (1) Duration of study: this could likely take a year, and quite possibly two or more. I have frequent monitorings from 'large cell' bees that started on normal foundation, and the mite population developed so slowly in some of these, that I didn't have to treat them until the 2.5-year mark. These colonies were headed by queens of non-mite-tolerant stock. The reasons for occasional slow mite development are likely many.

    (2) Genetic factors: The small-cell bees should come from a common source. Ideally, these would be daughter queens from artifically-inseminated queens, where both the mother queens and daughter queens were themselves inseminated by drone semen from a common small-cell breeding stock. Or - small-cell bees from a truly closed-population breeding yard. This would help at least reduce the wide genetic variability in all bee stocks with respect to hygienic behavior and its impact on varroa. Having queens produce offspring already geared to small-cell seems to be an important aspect from what I read above and elsewhere.

    (3) After the small-cell foundation was drawn, each frame would have to be inspected to confirm that the colonies met the criteria for qualifying as true small-cell hives (is this 100% small cells, 90% good enough?).

    (4) For statistical validity, there would need to be 10 or more small-cell colonies, which would have to be compared simultaneously to 10 or more large-cell colonies. The common source of stock requirement should be applied to the large-cell colonies as well.

    (5) All colonies would have to start with a known population size and a known varroa infestion level. The USDA Baton Rouge lab has a great method for this, and it's on their website: http://msa.ars.usda.gov/la/btn/hbb/j...re/measure.htm

    (6) Sticky board readings are not universally accepted as the ideal monitoring device for mite populations - probably because hygienic behavior (mite removal) will throw-off the counts - more mites could be on these sticky boards which can be read as "high mite levels", when in fact, it's simply evidence that there is hygienic behavior going on in the hive. Ether roll, sugar roll, and alcohol wash samples also have correlations to actual coloy-level mite populations that may not be strong enough to provide "good enough" mite load estimates. That USDA website also has a way to accurately estimate mite loads over time. If you visit this website, you'll see that it does take some time to do these measurements.

    (7) More than mite counts should be addressed, such as the other qualities we desire our bees to have: honey production, gentleness, burr-comb, propolis use, swarming tendency, robbing tendency, overwintering, etc. Most, or all, of these traits are genetic, and should not be affected by small-cell or large-cell, but for thoroughness, I think those characters should be evaluated as well.

    A project like this, when you take all the factors in, would not cost a great deal, but it would cost a great deal more than most people believe. There is equipment, bees, and labor.

    I agree that more attention should be given to small-cell, and these trials can be done by researchers and/or beekeepers if they follow a specific plan. I'm not saying my study style above is the best, and it probably isnt't - but you get my point.

    For researchers, our projects usually occupy 2- or 3-year chunks of time (or longer), meaning that almost invariably we are tied up with existing projects needing attention before we can move onto something new.

    I bet there will be more formal small-cell trials over time - and it will be interesting.

  20. #40
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    There may be a few people who are not worried
    about comb contamination, but they would have
    to be living under a rock somewhere to not have
    heard the bad news by now.

    I really don't think Apistan use caused much
    problem. While the contamination was there,
    it did not test as harming the bees, nor was
    it at a high enough level to cause mites to
    become resistant. Tiny amounts at the very
    edge of detection were claimed to have been
    found in honey, tests that I would not want
    to see repeated with the current crop of
    "parts per trillion with ease" gear.

    The scary one was (and still is) CheckMite.
    Its an organophosphate, for crying out loud,
    what more need I say?

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