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Thread: Varroa question

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    Can you be a little more specific? Standard foundation? Bee genetics? I'm not proposing that a screened bottom is necessary for mite control, I just listed it as a common practice which has only recently come into use in a bigger way, I think that screened bottoms have many other benefits to having healthier bees that maybe we should have included them many years ago as a normal part of the standard hive.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Can you be a little more specific? Standard foundation? Bee genetics? I'm not proposing that a screened bottom is necessary for mite control, I just listed it as a common practice which has only recently come into use in a bigger way, I think that screened bottoms have many other benefits to having healthier bees that maybe we should have included them many years ago as a normal part of the standard hive.
    I am sorry but I worked with screened bottom boards for many years at the Dyce Lab and we could not see that they do ANYTHING. They certainly don't do any harm, but they don't have any benefit either.

    I also found out that if people believe in screened bottom boards, no amount of information will budge them. So there you have it, belief trumps facts once again.

    I have provided reams of evidence disputing small cells, screened bottoms, EOs and all the rest of it, but beliefs are very resistant to facts. I can't tell you why this is. I am a scientist, and I change like the weather.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    For what it's worth, I keep 15-20 hives, few losses, no treatments in 5 years, screened bottom boards, on standard purchased foundation. They are descended from 3 Nucs that I bought in '95 plus whatever ferals are around. I am not anywhere near any commercial colonies. I just got tired of the time & money of treating, accepted some initial losses and kept on keeping bees. Nothing really special. I have no background in genetics and don't know my bees' method of how they survive without treatments. I just read (I think in Beesource) that it could be done. It was easy.

    And for the life of me, I cannot understand why most any hobbyist or sideliner doesn't stop treating as well.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    I agree, it has to start with the hobbyist and small time guy when it comes to stopping all treatments. Initial losses will come with some, but I believe in the bees ability to survive naturally, then when the big commercial guys see that it can be done, they will fall in line too eventually.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    I am sorry but I worked with screened bottom boards for many years at the Dyce Lab and we could not see that they do ANYTHING. They certainly don't do any harm, but they don't have any benefit either.

    I also found out that if people believe in screened bottom boards, no amount of information will budge them. So there you have it, belief trumps facts once again.

    I have provided reams of evidence disputing small cells, screened bottoms, EOs and all the rest of it, but beliefs are very resistant to facts. I can't tell you why this is. I am a scientist, and I change like the weather.
    Peter, I am not a scientist but I very much believe in science and would like to keep bees based on scientific fact and not belief. I don't have the time to pour over scientific documents. I would like to request that you post a comprehensive list of what science says about the many practices of beekeeping.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    I agree, it has to start with the hobbyist and small time guy when it comes to stopping all treatments. Initial losses will come with some, but I believe in the bees ability to survive naturally, then when the big commercial guys see that it can be done, they will fall in line too eventually.
    Yes! Peter your opinion please.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    I have posted a clear explanation of the problem at thread: Natural Cell Beekeeping. I have tried chem free beekeeping in my area with little success, possibly due to the presence of other beekeepers. Location is very significant!

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    I am sorry but I worked with screened bottom boards for many years at the Dyce Lab and we could not see that they do ANYTHING. They certainly don't do any harm, but they don't have any benefit either.

    I'm of the understanding the biggest known benefit of screened bottom boards is increased ventilation. Are you saying you didn't find the ventilation to be of any benefit?

    My friend Mike Johnston has varroa resistant bees without small cells, nor screened bottoms. It's all about the bees.

    The user TwT also claims to be on 5.4 large cell, and doesn't treat. I don't know if he uses screened bottom boards or not. He also credits his success on good bees.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    We weighed 'em, we measured brood area, strength, overwintering, buildup, all of it. Screened bottoms or not, made no difference. But people still buy them. What can you do?

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    It would be nice if we could all have our own island paradise to ourself and bees, no mite infested neighbors, no worries, ever. Not gonna happen.

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    More people still buy standard solid bottom boards, do you have anything positive to say about them? I think those fancy screened bottoms in the catalogs look really sophisticated and impressive, I'm sure the bees do too? Who wouldn't want one of those at the entrance to their home?
    Last edited by jmgi; 02-06-2010 at 09:34 PM. Reason: wording

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    Last year was my first and all my hives have screened bottoms, originally I was using them to help against the mites but the more I read the more I became convinced that it was wishfull thinking. I will continue to use the screens, they really do appear to help with the damp, and we get a lot of that around here.

    Out of six hives, two got mites bad and I treated using powdered sugar, the only treatment I will use currently. Both hives died early in the winter. I lost one additional hive that had appeared strong. The remaining hives appear to be doing well including my TBH that got no feed or treatment of any kind.

    If these three hives make it through the spring they will become the foundation of my future splits.

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    Read this. According to this guy, with true VSH colonies your mite count will go down. Read the first four or five paragraphs to read this.

    http://www.americanbeejournal.com/si.../79431_828.htm

    Very interesting and tempting to buy these bees.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    >Michael, Do you foresee the day (say within 10 years) when we will be 99% mite free in the U.S. based on where we are today with a combination of mite research, bee breeding, and the growing number of beekeepers going natural and/or organic?

    If everyone quit treating we'd have the problem under control in about four years, in my opinion.

    I don't foresee any serious progress in the problem as long as everyone keeps treating.

    My opinion of SBB is the same as Peter's. I didn't see any difference in mites. It was easier to control ventilation and it was easier to monitor mites with trays, but I didn't see any difference in the number of mites.

    The advantage of drone comb for the Varroa is this. While the foundress mite is laying an egg every 32 to 36 hours or so, only one and possibly two make it to maturity in a large cell worker. While in a drone comb possibly two more will make it to maturity and mate. If they don't make it to maturity and mate, they are not viable and they die shortly after the bee emerges. The extra three days of the drone life cycle allows two more to make it. When you figure the rate in a worker is 1.5 on average and the rate in a drone is about 3.5 on average, that is more than twice as successful.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    >My opinion of SBB is the same as Peter's. I didn't see any difference in mites. It was easier to control ventilation and it was easier to monitor mites with trays, but I didn't see any difference in the number of mites

    I agree, SBB don't reduce active mite levels in the hive, increased ventilation which may contribute to a healthier hive is a positive.

    >The extra three days of the drone life cycle allows two more to make it. When you figure the rate in a worker is 1.5 on average and the rate in a drone is about 3.5 on average, that is more than twice as successful.

    When it comes to factual statements about varroa, this would rank as one that you can't argue with. I'm still not convinced however, that by artificially increasing drone comb in the hive, removing it and disposing of the pupae/mites will bring down overall mites levels over a period of time to where you can say that the hive has it under control. Is there a study on this (increasing drone comb) that gives solid evidence in favor of more drone comb/less mites that I could look at? Thanks

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    Pictures of uncapped and chewed pupae
    OK, now give us the details behind the pictures. Cell size, date of pictures, history of hive the combs came from, time of year, frequency you see this happen, etc.

    Let's get a show of hands from everyone and see who else has observed this with their bees.
    Regards, Barry

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    I have tried chem free beekeeping in my area with little success, possibly due to the presence of other beekeepers.
    And yet I have lots of beekeepers around me and have had success. As has Dennis with lots of commercial around him.
    Regards, Barry

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    belief trumps facts once again.



    Peter here is a reason that beliefs trump facts. I just retired from 32 years in science doing research. One of the reasons I retired was the sloppy way that research is done now. The data is so twisted and manipulated it just is not dependable. I started out with researchers in your generation and most of them knew how to do research. The new researchers coming alone now have a problem with how to do basic research. I have witnessed data being changed or discarded because it did not support the researchers beliefs. I am not talking about one researcher either. It is common practice now. I know or have to believe that this is not how all research is done now.
    Since getting into bees I have read studies on bees and varroa control that on the surface looked real good, very well written, but in actuallity they were only usable for outhouse emergancies. In the past 10 years how many new pharmaceuticals or pesticides have been released that had to be recalled or simply did not do what they were supposed to do?
    Peter I too am a scientist and I want to see facts supported by basic replicated research not some belief system of withches brews and kitchen concoctions.


    but beliefs are very resistant to facts. I can't tell you why this is. I am a scientist, and I change like the weather.
    Cultural Anthropoligists believe that it takes two generations to change a belief system.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    OK, now give us the details behind the pictures. Cell size, date of pictures, history of hive the combs came from, time of year, frequency you see this happen, etc.
    Barry and all,
    I worked as a NYS bee inspector for three seasons and inspected probably 10,000 hives. I never ran into more than a couple of people using small cell combs, and then not really in a big way.

    I don't have much in the way of records associated with my varroa pictures because varroa is as common as spit around here. The pictures of torn open chewed up brood was shot on Sept 30, 2006.

    Just one more hive with mites completely out of control. Probably died soon after. Hardly even worth talking about. Not anything unusual there. It would be unusual if they looked good at that time of year around here.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Varroa question

    Quote Originally Posted by Countryboy View Post
    I'm of the understanding the biggest known benefit of screened bottom boards is increased ventilation. Are you saying you didn't find the ventilation to be of any benefit?
    OK. How would know if there was a benefit? We can't ask them if they like it better, right? So we have to look at measurable differences. Therefore, we weighed colonies year after year, with a gigantic tripod scale (not my idea).

    We counted frames of brood before, during, and after. Even kept them on over winter and checked brood in the spring. We counted mites, checked for chalkbrood, never found any measurable effect.

    In science, if you can't measure it, it doesn't exist. Now there may be some effects that cannot be measured but what can you say about them?

    Look, I do know people that use them and they all have very good reasons. So, I don't think they are a complete waste of time, if you make them yourself. I wouldn't spend hundreds of dollars on them.

    I did an article in ABJ a few years back about beekeeping gadgets. I wrote about a lot of things that seem like good ideas but don't really work and some that may even be even harmful.

    My favorite is the No Swarm Cluster Frames. These were based on Aspinwall's idea, only this babies were plastic (modern! NEW and improved!) You were supposed to stick them in the brood nest between the regular frames.

    Idea; they gave places for the bees to hang out, thereby preventing swarming. They were advertised in the journals for a few years back in the 1970s, then disappeared, probably 'cause they didn't work.

    About the same time Pierco Plastic frames were just starting to catch on, if you want an example of a really good idea (although these days, I prefer real fdn)

    Well, a few months went by and sure enough, didn't I get an email from somewhere in the world from someone wanting to know where he could but the No Swarm Cluster Frames. Anybody who has any, I'd love to have one for my collection!

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