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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    Drops can be quite variable, and that is why alcohol washes are done if accuracy is important. I did a comparison on Saturday September 26th, 2009.

    From http://honeybeeworld.com/diary/2009/diary092009.htm here is my calculation based on a 100-day mite lifespan and 35,000 bees.


  2. #42
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    Jan 2008
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    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    There is something that i think is missing from this thread. Tina mentioned that the bees are eating the pollen from last summer.

    If your weather was a crazy as our weather was last year, there is a good chance that the pollen has no protien....bear with me here please...

    two years ago we had massive rains...I am in Manitoba just above ND. The rains did not stop. We got our hay tested and the results came in Jan 09. The hay had the protien level of straw, which if you understand anything about feeding cows...no protien for the cows. The TDN...total digestable nutrients was as i said like feeding straw, no value. We ended up supplementing the cows so they could make it to calving, then rebreed on time and still feed a calf. Had we not done that, the cow might have calved a really weak calf, the calf performed weakly and the dam would more than likely not bred back on time
    ...what does this have to do with bees....

    our bees foraged on the same fields the cows did. I have no scientific data to back this up, however, if the hay was garbage, it stands to reason that the stressed out plants pollen was garbage. I mean the apple will not fall far from the tree.
    ...what does this have to do with bees
    bees that feed on stressed out plants will not get all the TDN they need to survive. Basically, the pollen had the TDN or protien of straw.

    If a cow who is 1200+ pounds can not survive on straw, can not raise a healthy calf on straw, and can not breed back...how can we expect the bees to?

    So lets fast forward to the summer of 2009

    again the plants are stressed. Too much water, not enough water = not enough TDN in the pollen where the bees get the protien. Add to it the # of no fly days due to the poor weather, add to it the incredible honey flow when the bees should have been preparing for winter...which shortens their life span ( a forage lives less time if the bee is gathering in the summer than when trying to keep warm over the winter) . So you have the young bees who were meant to grow up and over winter in a cluster now foraging when they were to be preparing for winter. Everything was thrown out of whack.

    Is it any wonder we have hives crashing at this point, based from a weather related nutrition stand point, I would say NO. Would this be a stress which would allow other diseases to become more prevailent...yes.
    The weather stresses, the feed stresses will lower the disease threshold. So for example...If mite pressure at September 15th was 2%...in a normal year, 2% would be acceptable and wintering success would be good. However, with the stress on the bees with the odd fall flow, and with the lack of protien in the summer flow, that 2% might be above the threshold for mite pressure. Since now the stress is protien, an odd fall and mites, the threshold for the bees to withstand any nosema type will now instead of 1 000000 spores could be 500 000 spores or less.

    For us as beekeepers to be surprised at bee losses this spring is crazy....again back to the addage everything we do here and now affects our bees 6 months to a year down the road. This includes weather, plant stress, mite loads and disease pressure.

    Please, we need to remember, "just because bees brought in pollen, does not mean the pollen had the protien in it." If a plant is stressed due to weather or even plant pests...like lagus bugs or alfalfa weavles on alfalfa, the plant will not produce the "quality" of protien it normally does. The volume will be there, the but the quality will not.

    Just a reminder for those who are not ag growers, plants in a field take several years to recover from stresses...just look at the perennials in your garden.

    Cows take two years to recover from a bad summer/winter (drought/flooding, poor quality hay). Why should bees be any different. Plants need atleast a year if not more to recover from a bad year. Maybe if we took a look at this we might realize nutrition has alot to play---or the lack of nutrition.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Leith ND USA
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    30

    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    We have samples going to MT today - then at least we will have a baseline

  4. #44
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    honeyshack, excellent points about nutrition, that many of us probably did not realize. So, do you then feed supplements to give your bees the nutrition they need?

    And Sheri, your earlier observation about newbies blaming colony death on CCD when it was starvation is right on also. That's why a post-mortem is crucial. Its also like newbies calling a hot Italian hive Africanized...

    Seems like the learning curve is so much steeper today than 20-30 years ago, and the frustration and anxiety levels that much higher also.

    I miss the good old days, but man, they're gone forever!
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    I have to say I agree 100% with honeyshack. I've seen this before.

  6. #46
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    Concord NH
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    It necessarily makes you also wonder about the quality of commercial pollen patties that folks purchase.....if they were made with pollen that has effectively no protien/nutritional value then dropping these on your colonies as a substitute will accomplish little.

    The hard part is going to be how to tell what the quality of the patty you're buying is.
    Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    NE Calif.
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    When we added pollen to our sub in the past, we did it as a 'flavor' so the bees would eat the sub.We assumed old dried pollen was worthless nutritionally. The nutrition is in the yeast.
    I also agree with honeyshack. But our losses have corresponded with the drought here in California. Some of us speculated that the pollen was lacking nutrition for the bees.
    Also Buds post about leaving the supers on late. Thats an old joke(not funny) around here.
    "We left the supers on late to get an extra 25 lbs of honey, but the hives crashed and we lost $150 almond pollination"

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    LA Co, Calif, USA
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    87

    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    Also noticed that hives seemed to go downhill when they start eating their reserves. Never been near sunflowers or corn, tho. Been trying to figure out what 'bad' got into the pollen - never thought what pollen might be lacking! thanks, it makes sense.

    After several years of drought here in CA, no wonder the bees are struggling !

    Do bees store dry sub mixes like they do pollen? Would this be way to enhance nutritional value of pollen? Patties in the hive, tubs of dry sub outside? I see the dry sub being hauled in just like pollen. Maybe they mix it with the pollen before storing.

  9. #49
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Dick View Post
    based on a 100-day mite lifespan and 35,000 bees.
    Do I understand you correctly? Varroa mites live for 100 days? I didn't know that. How many times during their life do they reproduce?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by JPK View Post
    It necessarily makes you also wonder about the quality of commercial pollen patties that folks purchase.....if they were made with pollen that has effectively no protien/nutritional value then dropping these on your colonies as a substitute will accomplish little.

    The hard part is going to be how to tell what the quality of the patty you're buying is.
    That is why any "reputable" company selling pollen patties should have a guaranteed feed analysis like they do for cattle feed.
    This would incorporate at the bear minimum..
    TDN---total digestable nutrients
    Fat
    protien
    and fibre.
    It should include basic vitamins and trace minerals as well, but that might be asking to much




    In cows, when the TDN reaches the same or near the same level as fibre, that is when you have the comparable to straw feed. In cows you can visibly see when feed is "out of whack" Cows where you have to stand 10 feet back from their back sides cause they are shooting out, have a high protien diet, low in fibre. When you see them pooping out and it mounds up like cool whip when you dish it out, results in a high fibre diet, and not getting enough TDN. When both are in sink the patty is a nice formed flat patty that the final drop will splash up a bit....yes to much info...
    ...how that matches with bees i'm not sure. The only way i can tell is by how they behave or do not behave rather than how they poop.

    As well when it comes to cows, a balanced mineral is important. Without it, breed back is a serious problem, retained placentas are hard on cows, milk quality and colostrum quaility are poor. Foot rot, lumpy jaw, white mucsle disease, milking fever, and a whole host of other problems can be attributed to poor protien and mineral consumption.

    In bees...i am thinking, poor build up, poor disease management (by the bees), weak emerging brood, shorter life spans and more would be the result of poor nutrition and lack of minerals in the feed.

    Some how we as beekeepers need to push the pollen sellers for a guaranteed feed analysis. Chicken, pig, cattle, any other livestock have it....so should we.

    Just looked at my bag of bee pro

    Crude protien 40%
    fat not less than 3.8%
    Ash Max 7%
    Moisture 10%
    Understand that crude protien is different that TDN There is a formula to get the TDN but that is not something i am strong at

    Global patties is :
    http://www.globalpatties.com/pages/specs.htm
    Last edited by honeyshack; 02-17-2010 at 10:59 AM. Reason: adding pollen info

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by loggermike View Post
    Also Buds post about leaving the supers on late. Thats an old joke(not funny) around here.
    "We left the supers on late to get an extra 25 lbs of honey, but the hives crashed and we lost $150 almond pollination"

    this is very true. It is like looking at a snapshot of the "here and now", and not really looking at the big picture and realizing what might happen down the road with the decision I made today...

  12. #52
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    Jan 2009
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    > Do I understand you correctly? Varroa mites live for 100 days? I didn't know that. How many times during their life do they reproduce?

    For my purposes, 100 days has been a useful number, however mitye life expectancy depends on many things. In summer, when they can be in brood, life is easy. In winter, when they have to hang onto a bee and wait, life is harder.

    Some bees groom more and in some bees, the number of phoretic mites compared to those in brood may be more -- or less. For a mite, phoretic life is risky. Fall down out of the cluster, and you are toast unless a bee goes by fairly close.

    In VSH hives, being in the brood does not guarantee reproduction,since the bees will disrupt the process and prevent development of the progeny, even if they do not kill the foundress.

    How many times do they reproduce? I don't know, but I am sure some do, and a quick Google should turn up the life cycle of the varroa mite.

    Try this: http://www.google.com/search?q=life+...he+varroa+mite

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    So, do you then feed supplements to give your bees the nutrition they need?
    I place out pollen feeders in the spring with Bee Pro powder. As well, I drop pollen patties in the hives. It seems to help the weaker hives whose energy is in brood build up and decreases their need to send out as many foragers to get the goods they need. They can then focus on feeding the brood and themselves for a bit longer. In the spring of 2009, if i remember correctly, I went through 3 pounds of pollen patties per hive and almost 4 gallons of syrup before they started to store. But then the weather was most uncoperatative and we had no dandilion flow.
    In the fall, i gave each hive a minimum of 1.5 patties + syrup and would have given more if the weather allowed...i hope it was enough

  14. #54
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    Jan 2005
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    souris, manitoba, canada
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    . The average life expectancy for Varroa mites is about 50 days.


    http://gears.tucson.ars.ag.gov/rf/varroa/varroa.html





    "It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion." Joseph Paul Goebbels" Jesse's Café Américain

    "

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    > The average life expectancy for Varroa mites is about 50 days. http://gears.tucson.ars.ag.gov/rf/varroa/varroa.html

    If only things were that simple.


    From my 2002 study on which I based my monitoring, and which is available at http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/2...2.htm#mitedrop
    • ARS.says: "The average life expectancy for Varroa mites is about 50 days".
    • MAAREC says: "Female mites produced in the summer live 2 to 3 months, and those produced in the fall live 5 to 8 months. Without bees and brood, the mites can survive no more than 5 days. They can, however, live in a comb with sealed brood at 68 ° F for up to 30 days."
    Personally, I'll go with the MAAREC info and consider the Tucson page to be a generalization for purposes of education. Also, remember that Tucson is Tucson. I have seen swarms in January near Tucson.


    For my purposes, at the times of year that I do drops, 100 days works well. My recent comparison to alcohol wash this fall verified that number, to my mind, at least.

    Mite drops are necessarily a very rough guide. Even alcohol wash does not account for the mites in brood.

  16. #56
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    Allen, when I worked for NYS Apiary Inspection I was instructed to take the sample of bees for an ether roll sampling or an alcohol wash sampling from a capped brood comb, making sure that the queen wasn't there. In your opinion, is that the best place to take the sample?

    Another question is, can one extrapolate w/ any accuracy how many mites there are in the hive according to how many mites one finds in the sample? The answer I usually get is, "No, there are too many variables."

    One time I was inspecting a yard and needed to take another sample. Which I didn't remember until after closing the hive. So, I thought that I'd be clever and just scoop a bunch of bees off of the front of the hive, where they were bearding. No mites found. I didn't believe it, so I went back into the hive and took the sample from the brood comb. Mites found. I don't recall how many. I don't think it was alot. Probably 7 or 8, but not over 10.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    > ...I was instructed to take the sample of bees for an ether roll sampling or an alcohol wash sampling from a capped brood comb

    Yes. That is what we do. I suppose the main thing is to be consistent, but near the brood is where the mites tend to be.

    > Another question is, can one extrapolate w/ any accuracy how many mites there are in the hive according to how many mites one finds in the sample? The answer I usually get is, "No, there are too many variables."

    That is very true, since the percentage of phoretic mites of the total mites is dependant on the season (brood area), the strain of bees, and other factors.

    > ...I thought that I'd be clever and just scoop a bunch of bees off of the front of the hive, where they were bearding. No mites found. I didn't believe it, so I went back into the hive and took the sample from the brood comb. Mites found. I don't recall how many. I don't think it was alot. Probably 7 or 8, but not over 10

    Interesting. That anedote illustrates how variable sampling can be. As well as location in the hive, time of day and flow conditions probably have an influence, too.

    We actually have to take two samples, since the nosema one should come from outer combs and the varroa from near the brood. A friend has a little vacuum he likes to use and when I did his hives he wanted to use it and gathered flying entrance bees, not the ones from the outer combs. I used the vacuum on another outfit later before deciding it was too much trouble. The lab people could tell which ones I used it on.

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    Back in 1988 I participated in gathering bee samples for Gard Otis of University of Guelph. We did this on the US side of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Doug McRory and some of his Inspectors came over to take samples also. They had a nice simple hand held car vac w/ a jar connected to the underside and a 1/2 inch tube at the mouth of the vac, battery run. We just cracked the deeps apart and sucked up a sample of bees.

    Last summer, at the ESHPA (empire state honey producers association) summer picnic Allison Skinner ( i forget her married name now) used the same sort of vac to suck up some bees from the entrance of hives for nosema testing. Found 'em.

    You Canadians are some clever, buy.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  19. #59
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    >The average life expectancy for Varroa mites is about 50 days.
    >http://gears.tucson.ars.ag.gov/rf/varroa/varroa.html

    That may be the average, but obviously the ones in winter live longer or there wouldn't be any left in the spring...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Prevalence of CCD in untreated colonies

    I bet there are some folks who would be surprised to know that the average life span of a bee is longer than 6 weeks. It is, isn't it?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

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