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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Burlingame, CA
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    67

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    Bear with me as I'm new to all this. But in reading up on beekeeping I've heard two things that don't match up in my mind. On the one hand smaller cell size and smaller bees is supposed to help with the mite problem. On the other hand, the feral bee population was decimated by mites. I would assume that the feral bees were using naturally small cell size yet that didn't prevent them from being wiped out. Am I missing something here?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
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    597

    Post

    Thera are bad stories about varroa protection with small cells. There are no official recommendations to reduce varoa with small cells.

    On the area were exist Africanized bees system works.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,752

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    >Am I missing something here?

    The problem is that this question typically comes with several assumptions.

    The first assumption is that the feral bees have all but died out. I have not found this to be true. I see a lot of feral bees and I see more every year.

    The second assumption is that when some of the feral bees did die, that they all died from Varroa mites. A lot of things happened to the bees in this country including Tracheal mites, and viruses. I'm sure some of the survival from some of this is a matter of slection. The ones that couldn't withstand them died. We know that tracheal mite resitance is inherited and easily bred for.

    The third assumption is that huge numbers of mites hitchiking in on robbers can't overwelm a hive no matter how well they handle Varroa. Tons of crashing domestic hives were bound to take a toll. Even if you have a fairly small and stable local population of Varroa, a huge influx from outside will overwelm a hive.

    The fourth assumption is that a recently escaped swarm will build small cell. They will build something in between. For many years most of the feral bees were recent escapees. It's only recently I've seen a shift in the population to be the dark bees rather than the Italians that look like they are recent. Large bees (bees from 5.4mm foundation) build an in between sized comb, usually around 5.1mm. So these recently swarmed domestic bees are not regressed.

    The fifth assumption is that small cell beekeepers don't believe there is also a genetic component to the survival of bees with varroa. Obviously there are bees that are more or less hygenic and more or less able to deal with many pests and diseases. Whenever a new disaease or pest comes along the ferals have to survive them without any help.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Burlingame, CA
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    67

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    Thanks for the load of info! I had gotten the impression that the consensus was that the Varroa mites were the cause of the recent crash in the feral bee population. But your posting provides a lot of food for thought.

    I've just captured 2 swarms in the San Jose area and I'll be quite curious to see what size cells they build. I'm not sure what a "dark" bee would look like but these have a gold upper abdomen with yellowish and black stripes at the lower end (towards the stinger). I would guess that the cell size these bees generate will say more about whether these are recent escapees than their coloration.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,752

    Post

    >I had gotten the impression that the consensus was that the Varroa mites were the cause of the recent crash in the feral bee population.

    That probably is the general consensus. Which, of course, does not make it true.

    >I've just captured 2 swarms in the San Jose area and I'll be quite curious to see what size cells they build. I'm not sure what a "dark" bee would look like but these have a gold upper abdomen with yellowish and black stripes at the lower end (towards the stinger). I would guess that the cell size these bees generate will say more about whether these are recent escapees than their coloration.

    That would be my theory also. But it seems like the Italian looking ferals have died out around here. The ones I'm finding here are the black ones.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
    Posts
    597

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    >That probably is the general consensus. Which, of course, does not make it true.<

    Every one has his own trues and adult people tends to gather such truths which support his earlier opinions. But in Jaruany 2006 they write in South Africa:


    http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/200...ber/varroa.htm

    .

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Romney Marsh Kent England UK
    Posts
    292

    Post

    Finman,

    Regarding the link you have put up, it would be a same if they lost sum of they wild bees to varroa, but if they set up a small/natural cell program and let them colonies swarm this might help repopulate any loses of the wild colonies.


    Tony


    Just think out loud

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
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    597

    Post

    Tony, if it so easy, varoa would not be world wide problem.

    Do you know any in England who have resisted varroa with small cells over 4 years and hive is still alive?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Romney Marsh Kent England UK
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    292

    Post

    No,

    I think I am the only one that is going to try [img]smile.gif[/img] .

    Beekeepers that I have talked to over hear seem to dismiss the idea of s/n cell working.
    They think it will not work, which I find a bit frustrating coz they haven’t try it them selves,


    Tony

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
    Posts
    597

    Post

    I know one beekeeper in Finland who says that he use small cells and don't control mites with chemicals. He has Elgon bees. Elgon has African blood. He has over 100 hives. But feral bees vanished here when varroa spread. To control varroa here is not a problem. It is not worth playing with all kind of systems.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Romney Marsh Kent England UK
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    292

    Post

    Have you ever considered trying small cell with a nuc and see if it works or not.

    Tony

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
    Posts
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    Post

    To "try" small cells is not my job. Many have tryed and met catastropbe with their bees.

    I have nursed bees 45 years. I have had mites 20 years. I manage well with bees and mites. I do not waste my time trying all ideas what beekeepers get into their heads. Beekeepers have hundreds of vain tricks. With them you spend your time happily but tricks do not bring honey into hive.

    First you need "mite resistant bees". I bought them but they had mites as much as others. Where you get them? How you keep them "mite resistant" when they mate with ordinary bees?

    If you know genetics you may find out that it is impossible to change world in the issue where hundreds or thousands have failed before you during last 30 years. It will be very expencive hobby.
    .

  13. #13

    Post

    OK Finman,what is your agenda here?
    This is biological beekeeping forum,not chemical endorsment forum.
    What is your idea of beekeeping,whats your solution for mites,chemicals?How long will that solution last?You think its OK for the bees to develop chemical dependence?You think its a good evolutional path?Whats important ,to get few kilos of honey more and who cares will for your grandson be posible to be a beekeeper.Will there be any bees in close future?Should beekeepers ingest poisonous chemicals,sell poisoned honey as a health giving food...Etc
    What are you talking about?
    "Do nothing. Time is too precious to waste." Buddha

  14. #14

    Post

    I have two hives going on 3 years on SC with NO treatments and they are my strongest hives........go figure........only difference is they are small cell........they get the same queens that I buy for the others that require treatment year after year..........but not these two........go figure.........but i MUST be mistaken because NO hive can survive the mites........go figure.........maybe FINMAN you can explain to me why these two hives are doing the best with the same queen lines as the others yet require NO treatments for mites using only SC for my treatments.......would you like to come look at them as my beeyard is always open to any doubters........

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Mason, MI, USA
    Posts
    1,015

    Post

    My hives at home. I have 3 that are on small cell that I regressed 4 years ago. and 6 others that are 5.4 the standard size. The 6 standard are test hives I am using in my FGMO/Thymol fog test and the 4 on small cell have not had any treatment in 3 years. The average mite counts on these hives for 24 hours in a sugar roll test or Ether roll have been 31 at the worst. These small cell hives have out produced all of my other hives by 20 to 30 percent as far as honey production and don't cost me money for mite treatments. This is my facts on small cell.
    Clint

    Clint
    Clinton Bemrose<br />just South of Lansing Michigan<br />Beekeeping since 1964

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
    Posts
    597

    Post

    &gt;OK Finman,what is your agenda here?&lt;

    Why I am here? - I like facts. I have got education as biological science researcher. I know biology a lot more than average beekepers. My special are was plant physiology. It means "life chemistry".

    When I read these writings against my knowledge, I just want to correct worst imaginations and mistakes what beekeepers are doing.

    I respect biological beekeepers if they try to differentiate with biological products but when they speak "facts" which are from imagination, I love to correct them.

    Biological beekeepers make customers to understand that "my honey is chemical mixture" and their are pure. My agenda is to correct biological facts.

    This was a question about feral bees how they resist varroa. Very badly. Feral bees in beekeeping is really bad mixture. That is my agenda. It is like drive a car without hands.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Romney Marsh Kent England UK
    Posts
    292

    Post

    &gt;Tony, if it so easy, varoa would not be world wide problem.

    Yes it is a worldwide problem, but if more beekeepers had a go at small cell then maybe the problem wouldn’t be so big.

    Is it working for the beekeeper that has 100 hives, if yes then wouldn’t it work for you?

    From what I understand you do not have to have a particle strain of bee to get them on small cell.


    Tony

    [size="1"][ April 29, 2006, 03:24 AM: Message edited by: tony350i ][/size]

  18. #18

    Post

    But,Finman ,there are many reports here of feral bees,also reports from people who keep bees without chemicals for many years.Is this imagination?
    Or is it against your knowledge of biology?
    Do you have evidence that biological beekeeping is not possible?
    "Do nothing. Time is too precious to waste." Buddha

  19. #19

    Post

    &gt;&gt;When I read these writings against my knowledge, I just want to correct worst imaginations and mistakes what beekeepers are doing.&lt;&lt;

    Just because something is against your knowledge does not mean it is not true........I for one do not know how an atom is able to be split but that does not make fission a not true thing.....

    I for one am raising bees on small cell with no chemicals and yes they do have mites but they are not affecting them adversely.....so why don't you listen to all of us beekeepers that are doing Small cell succesfully and add that to your knowledge base so that next time you hear it mentioned it is not "against" your knowledge and you will not have to correct it......

    Is it not the "unkown" scientists that usually make the major discoveries in this world?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    211

    Post

    flewster
    Here you can learn a little more about the New Zealander who split the Atom.

    http://tinyurl.com/sx44u

    Some of us in New Zealand are working hard on the mite problem.More on this later today.
    BOB

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