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  1. #21

    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Oldtimer,
    Ive followed your thread with interest.
    The data I reported were collected during the small cell study conducted at UGA several years ago. The cell size measurements were not a formal part of that study but were measured in a effort to verify the often stated idea that 4.9mm was the natural cell size for honey bees. While these data were not reported as part of that study Ive had personal communication with Jennifer Berry regarding them. Ive also heard her report these numbers when shes spoken at various meetings.
    If it is important to you Id be willing to follow up with her to see if they are in any publicly accessible documents.
    Best to you from another oldtimer.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  2. #22

    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by pascopol View Post
    I do not want to insult or offend anybody

    I see there was some insulting posts by hardcore oldtimer orthodox hardcore beeks who insist that orthodox (last Century way of keeping bees is still a way to go).

    And the Universities are corrupted by commercial, really pharmaceutical lobby.
    Whew.its a good thing that you didnt want to insult or offend anyone
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Thanks Beemandan,

    No need to follow up, I thought there might be a link to something she published.

    Just should clarify also, as I was partly involved, that because of some totally closed minded assumptions that have been said about your posts, that I read your posts before you decided to delete them, and there was absolutely nothing insulting in them at all.

    Sorry some people who have closed minds can only respond to anything other than their own opinion with abuse.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Whew... I am still waiting to confirm or deny that beekeeping industry in the last 100+ years
    years pushed for larger bees by promoting larger bees and larger cell foundation + promoted chemical and pharmaceutical treatment through all those years (Again follow the money trail LOL).

    And still no comments why we have wild bees who survived and doing well without any "experienced beekeeper interventions"

    Can we play straight?

    Instead of beating around the bush and claiming: " I,ve been around the bees much longer much longer than you" so I am right and you are wrong, let's discuss

    who's ideas and deeds are accuntable for indisputable bee decline worldwide????

    Surely not mine since I am a new beek.

    LOL

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Don't buy into books, groups, ot whatever, who focus on painting anybody with a different opinion to theirs, as the enemy. We learn by being open minded, not by blindly following the first persuasive argument we hear.
    I couldn't agree more with this wisdom. Be passionate about what/how you view/work your bees, but don't see everyone else that does it differently as the enemy. If a good workable change to the norm works, it won't need arm twisting and put downs to win anyone over. It will attract naturally. This is one major element that I can not, and will not, embrace with the "organic" crowd. Having no tolerance for treatments is one thing, but extending that to the personal side is not constructive IMO.
    Regards, Barry

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    The level of civility has been severely lacking in this thread in the last day.

    Keep it civil and keep it on topic or face post deletion.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    "Again wild survivor colonies are a living proof to the contrary, but you guys do not want to acknowledge it."

    I set bait hives in a redwood forest wanting to catch some of those wild survivor mountain bees. I caught swarms from my buddy's last years package bees flying from more than two miles away. Good luck proving you have found wild survivors.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    OK I'll give it another shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by pascopol View Post
    Whew... I am still waiting to confirm or deny that beekeeping industry in the last 100+ years
    years pushed for larger bees by promoting larger bees and larger cell foundation + promoted chemical and pharmaceutical treatment through all those years (Again follow the money trail LOL).LOL
    You are more or less correct, kinda.

    Once people discovered how to make comb foundation, experiments were conducted to find the "ideal sized" cell. Trials done at the time indicated the larger celled hives, made more honey. So over a few years, most beekeepers converted to a cell size within a mm or two of 5.5.
    Just for the record I'm not saying larger bees made more honey, I'm saying that's what they believed based on their experiments, back then.
    As to the statement about chemicals through all those years, I wouldn't know, the beekeeping industry in my country was completely chemical free until eleven years ago, when varroa mites arrived. Since that time the government has allowed chemical treatment to kill varroa, I wouldn't say it's been "pushed", and I know nothing about "money trails".


    Quote Originally Posted by pascopol View Post
    And still no comments why we have wild bees who survived and doing well without any "experienced beekeeper interventions"

    Can we play straight? LOL
    This subject has been discussed on this forum ad nauseaum, so I didn't bother going into it again, it's better for you to do a search. In my country there are no wild survivors. All wild hives died out when varroa mites arrived.

    Quote Originally Posted by pascopol View Post
    who's ideas and deeds are accuntable for indisputable bee decline worldwide????


    LOL
    No idea. In my country there is no indisputable bee decline. Never had CCD here. The wild and unmanaged hives are all gone, but properly managed hives are doing fine, there is also quite a hobbyist beekeeper revival going on. Long as people manage varroa mites properly the bees do fine. Some things are media hype.

    Haven't heard much about CCD from the rest of the world lately either, interesting.....
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Last fall I went to the Beekeeping Museum in Cassville Wisconsin to measure the cell size of a foundation mill donated by my Great Grandfather in 1924. The measurements of that mill, another on site, and 2 in our museum do validate the claim that numerous sizes of foundation have been used in the past. If I look, I should be able to report back with my findings.

    As to the survivors, and the reason why, the experiment done on a Swedish(?) island showed a decline in colony numbers for several years, until the numbers settled at a stable but low density. No one bothered to study the genetics of the mites to prove that the bees adapted and formed a stronger bee, or the mites developed a weaker mite. Peter Loring Boarst's(sp?) experience has been that survivor hives from the wild perish quickly when set in a high density apiary. This would tend to support the hypothesis that is the mites changing more than the bee.

    Crazy Roland

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Good points Roland. That scenario has been shown a number of times. A good example I read about was an island off South America where there is a thriving apis melifera population being managed by local people. The bees have varroa but have not been treated ever, and are thriving.

    A bunch of these hives were moved to the mainland in the hopes they were a varroa resistant strain. But over the next year or two they all died of varroa.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    The varroa that infests the bees on the island off the coast of Brazil are the less virulent Japanese genotype. The Japanese varroa was displaced by the more virulent Korean genotype on mainland Brazil. The big question in my view is why they where displaced. Could this have come about because of varroa treatments which in theory favor a more virulent pest?

    In North America we have both genotypes floating around and I don't think anyone is really following their distribution. So maybe there are pockets of the less virulent mite infesting some of our feral bees?

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Yes I'm pretty sure that will be why some people have varroa and see things like DWV but don't lose the hive, and you are correct, it's not being followed a whole lot. In my country, we only have one kind, unfortunately the more virulent. We have not so far been able to produce any "treatment free" bees, all hives must be treated, or die. I have some hives that are chemical treatment free, but I have to do other things such as drone brood removal.

    Probably one of the first steps to going treatment free, is to go chemical free, because some of the residual chemicals in the comb cause bee larva to take longer to reach adulthood, thereby giving the varroa longer to breed. So eliminating chemicals that are residual in the comb will be a first step towards helping bees tolerate varroa. But more than just that is needed. BTW some chemicals such as Formic Acid are not residual in the comb long term, so are OK to use when the long term goal is total chemical free combs.

    But just going chemical free, and having natural combs, is not enough to have bees survive the type of varroa we have in my country. If it was, we would not have lost all the feral hives when varroa arrived.

    An interesting thing about small cell, is that the old theory is wrong, that the cells are too small so suffocate the varroa, has been proved not true. But what could be more likely, is there is some anecdotal evidence that the bee larval period is a bit faster in a small cell, giving varroa less time to reproduce.
    However that too is a theory, some people have observed a particular cell and recorded how fast the larva developed, but there has not to my knowledge been a proper study on it involving a large sample and control.

    Re the Brazilian thing, I doubt it would have been caused by treatment, as the whole purpose of moving the hives was to try to get varroa resistant bees, so they wouldn't have treated them.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 10-18-2011 at 01:30 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Re the Brazilian thing, I doubt it would have been caused by treatment, as the whole purpose of moving the hives was to try to get varroa resistane bees, so they wouldn't have treated them.
    Did they bring in whole colonies or queens only?

    The Germans tried the same thing when they imported queens from the island and introduced them into colonies that where infested with the Korean mites which they also only have in Germany. They found that the island queens had no special mite tolerance against the mites in Germany and perished about as fast as the local bees.

    Seeley found the same thing when taking queens from the Arnot Forest and introducing then into colonies in his home apiary but as far as I know mite genotype has never been tested for on the forest mites. Would be interesting to know for curiosity sake.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    According to what I read, they took whole colonies, as nucs.

    Could be many reasons how / if they were contaminated with other mites, or could it even be a climatic thing.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #35

    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    So maybe there are pockets of the less virulent mite infesting some of our feral bees?
    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    or the mites developed a weaker mite.
    Tom Seeley has suggested the same thing.
    Going from memory here. Seeley located feral bee colonies in a remote area of the Arnot (?) forest during the late 1960s (pre varroa). A few years ago he returned to determine if the feral population had recovered. He discovered that it had. On closer inspection he found that the colonies were severely infested with varroa….and yet they thrived. He speculated that the mites were less virulent.

    Part of the same study, I believe.
    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    Seeley found the same thing when taking queens from the Arnot Forest and introducing then into colonies in his home apiary but as far as I know mite genotype has never been tested for on the forest mites. Would be interesting to know for curiosity sake.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    "Again wild survivor colonies are a living proof to the contrary, but you guys do not want to acknowledge it."

    I set bait hives in a redwood forest wanting to catch some of those wild survivor mountain bees. I caught swarms from my buddy's last years package bees flying from more than two miles away. Good luck proving you have found wild survivors.
    From what I have read established feral bees have died out. And I assume what most bee keppers are cathcing are bees escaped from other bee keepers not established races which survived from the begining of introduction to America. This is an interesting thread. ( without the wild out of the box into another insults) So many post point to bees being bigger due to foundation size and bees being smaller due to natural comb. I am learning here and very interested in what the more experinced bee keepers have to say. With todays economy it would be nice to not purchace foundation. So if it is not better for the bees to buy foundation and use it why would the commerical bee keepers use it after all?

  17. #37

    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by beeG View Post
    From what I have read established feral bees have died out.
    There are plenty of opinions on both sides of this but, to my knowledge, they are all only conjecture. Dr Debbie Delaney has begun formally investigating this question. Unfortunately she won't likely have any results for a year or so.

    http://www.savethehives.com/fbp/Research.html
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by beeG View Post
    So if it is not better for the bees to buy foundation and use it why would the commerical bee keepers use it after all?
    I haven't a lot of experience as a beekeeper, but I have a lot of commercial experience as a business owner.

    Commercial beekeepers are going to do what is best for themselves commercially, even if it is not the best thing for bees.
    When my bees draw comb, they draw it plumb--straight down toward the center of the earth. If a hive is not plumb, that comb will be drawn right off the side of the comb, and if the hive is badly tilted into the space within the bottom of the empty comb next to it.
    It takes time (read MONEY, commercially) to level the hive, straighten the comb, and secure it in the frame.
    It is my understanding that while having a level hive is still important, foundation is more forgiving if the hive is a bit tilted. If it saves fixing a couple frames per super, the foundation would pay for itself, I think.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    My hive is foundationless. I collected my bees from a cutout in the wall of an unheated, unoccupied hose down the street from my home.
    The entrance had been busy from early spring until October each year for the last several [years].

    I believe the colony had continuously inhabited the space during that time. I understand that if one believes that no feral colony can survive without treatment, and that there are no longer any feral colonies, that it can’t be so. I understand that bias and some of the reasons for it.

    I just trust my observations over that bias. I could be wrong. I have been before.

    You may not call a colony that has lived wild for several years without human care feral, but I do. In fact, in my language system, that is pretty much the definition of feral.

    I don’t have much beekeeping experience, so I am not an expert on the subject, nor much qualified to speak to beekeeping in general.
    But I AM an expert on my observations of my hives in my location.

    When I collected the bees, they were various sizes, but almost all of them are much smaller than bees in my friend’s commercially purchased bees on commercial foundation.
    I haven’t measured cell size. It’s noticeably small than that in my friend’s hive.

    I did not observe any mites when I collected them (ether jar test). I did observe one in August. I did a sugar shake the next week, and haven’t seen any since.

    The hive has done grown through the dearth this summer, and built up very well both in numbers and stores on the goldenrod flow before the population reduced as the flow stopped and it got colder. Still no mites observed.

    I don’t recommend all foundationless BTW. Next year I will alternate foundationless frames with small cell foundation and/or straight drawn comb to keep the combs straight. All foundationless was a pain in the neck this year.

    So I have a hive of small bees, captured after swarm season that has had no disease problem and a low mite load up to now, on foundationless comb. It has been treated only once, with a single sugar shake.
    I intend to split half of the brood to nucs next spring, and then split the original hive in two next year just before goldenrod flow. I don’t intend to do anything other than splits for mite control, absent emergency.

    I’ll let you know how it turns out.
    So far it looks promising.
    Last edited by Solomon Parker; 10-18-2011 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Requested Edit

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Small vs Larger Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    didn't Dee say that as one gets further from the equator organisms get bigger? Or is my old brain failing altogether? If I'm right, wouldn't natural cells up your way be even larger?
    Best to ya.
    Yes, I guess 5.0 would be the median size in my area according to her chart.

    http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...e/climate-map/
    Regards, Barry

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