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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    julysun - excellant article. There is a lot to absorb there but certainly good info. as you will note below, I may be looking at acquiring one of Glenn's queens next year.

    To the rest of you following this discussion - someone suggested I needed to do a mite count on the drone larvae. Well, I've just returned from the beeyard. I uncapped drone brood and had a look. Bingo, lots of mites, tons of mites. So now I'm challenged to stick to my guns. I swore I would not treat the two nucs of survivor bees I purchased. Its going to be a hard thing to standby and watch, but I am committed to that. It's interesting to note the other survivor nuc I bot has very few mites. I hope it survives. I would like to learn how to do a split or even raise some queens from it if it makes its to next spring. Ourside of the mite count, both hives look healthy. Good brood patterns, nice cresent shape of honey around them and lots of pollen stored. Considering I only acquired them in June, there is actually a lot of honey stored in the second super of each hive so both appear healthy - BUT the one hive has a ton of mites. Could be a sad thing to watch but I'm not going to treat. It's just not the way to go. I'm beginning to think I might requeen my other two hives from non-survivor stock, with queens from Glenns Apiaries noted in the article by julysun.
    Last edited by whalers; 07-24-2012 at 12:07 PM.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Stick to your guns dont treat you will have losses but next spring catch swarms and do splits. If you are going to requeen use local queens not something shipped from far away locations that you now nothing about.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Been busy so I'm just "weighing in". There seems to be a bit of certainty/assumption, the survivor bees are that, because they clean themselves. Maybe I just stuck on that. There are IMHO, so many ways the bees could be "pressured" into dealing with mites left to their own devices. Bite them, knock them off, 5th instar larvae scent changed so mite can not recognize them. (thought you'd like that one pupation time change, larvae spins cocoon with mite outside. On and on. The ones that apparently are dealing with the mites, continuously, and successfully, not by swarming, must be dealing with them on more than one level with more than one trait involved . MO . Reason, as I understand things, most traits, like grooming, seem to get lost after three generations or so. So, where is, or what are the back up, trait/traits? True, "survivor" bees, IMHO, have run the gauntlet, more than once. If you got that, then,,,,,,,,,,,,I think you might have something. I'm still looking and hoping 2 cents

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    I always like to point out that feral bees have broadly varying expressions of the VSH trait. No single trait is what does it. Selecting for a single trait unnecessarily shallows the pool. Leave the bees to figure it out.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    I will stick to my guns and let the bees work it out. Hopefully they have the traits needed to deal with things. And to wadehump, I don't have much choice but to use queens from outside the area, there simply are none within 250 to 300 miles. I'm hoping by next yeat to take my limited experience and work up to doing a split.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Oregon



    OLD SOL APIARIES
    17101 Ford Rd.
    Rogue River, OR 97537
    Ph: 541-582-2337
    email: john@oldsolenterprises.com

    RUHL BEE SUPPLY
    17845 SE 82nd Drive
    Gladstone, OR. 97027
    phone: 503-657-5399
    - Italian and New World Carniolan

    SWEET BEE HONEY CO.
    P.O. Box 558
    Milton-Freewater, OR. 97862
    phone/field: (360) 907-0842
    fax: (360) 883-2679
    email: Ryanlieuallen@yahoo
    Last edited by wadehump; 07-25-2012 at 06:40 AM. Reason: more info

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    wadehump - Thank you for the info. Old Sol is where the survivor stock I have is from. We will see how they do.
    I have purchased bees from Ruhl Bee a few years ago but did not know they sold survivor bees. Appreciate the heads up.
    Sweet Bee Honey is a new one to me, but I know that country well and it is certainly more similiar to the environment here than the other places. Again, we will see how the Old Sol bees do, but its good to know there are other resources nearby. Thank you.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    I wish you luck Whalers!

    Can someone point me to a list of definitions? I am a bit confused on the term "survivor" and how it differs from VSH.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    VSH means varroa sensitive hygiene. It's unfortunately mixed and conflated with SMR (suppressed mite reproduction). It's the ability of bees to chew out defective brood (depending on the testing method, not necessarily cells containing actual varroa as none of the test that I know of use actual mites.) The idea is to keep mite levels below what is generally considered necessary for treatment.

    'Survivors', bees able to survive without treatments, have been shown to have broadly varying levels of VSH trait expression.

    Therefore, survivors and VSH are not necessarily the same thing. If somebody wants, I'd be happy to allow them to come test my bees for VSH to determine the exact correlation.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    To Keth Comollo my apologies. Beeing fairly new to the beek game I simply lump it all together under the term of "survivor" bees. Sorry for any confusion. I'm still learning "One mistake at a time." Which by the way, I am also in a zone 5.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    520

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    VSH means varroa sensitive hygiene. It's unfortunately mixed and conflated with SMR (suppressed mite reproduction). It's the ability of bees to chew out defective brood (depending on the testing method, not necessarily cells containing actual varroa as none of the test that I know of use actual mites.)
    Took a day long course on 'selecting queens' this spring, learned a lot about these traits, and, the process of selecting. From what I learned, VSH is a combination of traits. First is the Hygenic part, for which we did hands on testing, using the nitrogen technique. 20 hives lined up, half of them the instructor had done the freeze on the day before. We did the freezing part on 10 of the hives, then we inspected the other 10, to see how well they did on the hygenic test from the freezing a day earlier. The test is to measure how well they removed the dead brood, ie the hygenic trait. The 'Varroa Sensative' part, is a whole different piece. Apparently some bees will sense the presence of varroa in a brood cell, and they will chew open the cap, effectively making that brood cell defective. After the Varroa Sensative part has been accomplished, along comes the Hygenic bees, and they haul that one out to clean up. The goal in breeding for VSH is to end up with a hive, that displays both traits. Nobody ever mentioned a way to test of the VS part of the VSH, the tests were were looking at focussed on the Hygenic trait.

    The subject of 'survivors' was lightly touched on, and, really there is only one way to test for it. Take a hive, stick it somewhere, come back in a year, look inside. If the colony is healthy and working, they are survivors. If not, well, maybe they got 'voted off'.

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    No disrespect, but mo, it is more complicated than leaving them alone for a year. Too many things could happen in an unmonitored situation. The original bees could have died and a swarm of un known origin moved in. I have hives that are in their fourth season w/o treatment. I still would not advertise and sell queens/nucs under the VSH, survivor, or other suggestion like that at this point. Too many variables. I try to monitor for swarms, but I'm not 100 %. That changes things. Just me and my ways. I do advertise treatment free, cause they are. they are healthy, cause they are, low/single mite counts in fall, cause they are, but I do not have a complete explanation as to why at this point. I sold several nucs to a young lady. After explaining all that, she said, "oh, mite resistant." I told her I don't know that. I do not know what the bees are doing, they just are for now. I'll ride the wave for however long it lasts

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    That's a good distinction to make, as 'leaving them alone for a year' seems to be the perspective of one critical of the idea.

    My bees are handled in the same way that bees generally are by everyone except that I don't bother with treating or testing for mites or other maladies. I still inspect, split, raise queens, combine, adjust entrance size in winter, manipulate for foundation drawing, super, etc. The hives that survive (lately in the majority), that are gentle and produce honey are used for breeding. Mean or unproductive hives are requeened just like everyone else, except that I use my own stock.

    It's a great way to keep bees, I just don't bother with diseases. Of course if a hive came down with AFB, I would deal with it appropriately, but destruction is not treatment.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Yours is the example I am attempting to follow.

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Keep us updated.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Me or you LOL
    I like to do mite counts in the fall. Personal preference. One more element of info for queen preference.

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    I've read about the sugar treatment and mite counts and decided it would be interesting to try it once (so may experiment) but it is not something I would want to do often! (I already know I would be too lazy). But I've also read and taken a class from someone who doesn't treat but describes how natural hives go into a period of days of no egg laying during the summer dearth and that this is one form of mite control. Bee keepers may see lots of dead mites on their bottom board and think they are infested; yet this indicates the bees are taking care of the problem. The 10 days or so of interrupted egg laying leaves the mites with no where to lay. I hope I'm explaining this right.... I never see this come up in the forums and wonder what beekeepers here think about it?

    Rick do you take these things into consideration when you are timing your fall mite counts? Or do you think it is hogwash?

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Something for you to consider, I won't draw any conclusions, but many of my hives do shrink the broodnest way down in the middle of the summer. Many supersedures take place during this time as well, likely creating brood breaks.

    Not all though, I have been doing a round of mid-summer inspections and have found probably a quarter of hives still with large patches, even multiple full frames of capped brood.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    I count mites and have 45 or so hives of what were feral bees that I've caught as swarms or removed from structures or trees.

    My observations are that our local feral population here is thriving mostly because of long brood breaks. They swarm in the spring and/or they shut down brood rearing hard in mid to late summer during our summer dearth. Like Sols I've observed a lot of queen supersedure during this time.

    New Spring queens are an exception and don't take a summer brood break, but keep producing right through our dearth.

    Fall mite counts last year showed a drastic drop in mite counts for those hives that did take a long late summer brood break. Hives that kept rearing brood through the summer the fall mite counts didn't fall.

    Don

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    So for the hives that have the long brood breaks in mid to late summer: do they gear up again for the fall flow and store more honey?

    The ones that also supercede...does that queen have enough time to grow, get mated, come back, and raise enough bees to store more honey?

    Or would you say once a hive takes a mid summers brood break that you are probably not going to see any more stores for winter?

    I love these observations; thankyou , thankyou, thankyou!

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