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  1. #1
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    Default Treat or not to treat

    Anyone ever have a high mite count and let it go and the hive was ok?
    I have two nice healthy hives that have a high mite count and theres bee on the ground around the hive that have signs of DWV and i don't know if i should treat them with APIGARD or see if the the bee's can live with them . I have 17 hives right now and i'm sure some will make through winter. Any comments would be great i'm at across road TREAT OR NOT TO TREAT my hives seem healthy but this is only year 3 for me as a bee keeper and the first year was a floop.
    We have a goldenrod flow about to kick in and the one hive with well over 50mites in 24hours has ahoney super one thats 2.3s filled and i don't want to treat with honey on the hive i'm not sure if i want t treat at all but i'd hate to had them die out . What would everyone do if you were me? Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    How about caging the queens for a while...
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
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    May 2011
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    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    I was in the same dilemma not to long ago and chose to treat. Treating I believe saved my hives and I haven't had to treat since and they are doing very well. I did a 24 hour mite drop count yesterday on the hive that was infested the worst and had a mite drop of 7. I had many bees with deformed wings and I don't see any now.

    I'm sure you will get lot's of conflicting opinions on this topic but treating was the path I chose and I'm glad I did. Personally I used Hopguard because it seemed less harsh than some of the others and it worked great.

    for the record I only have 3 hives right now and in my 2nd year beekeeping.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2010
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    Lititz, PA, USA
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    710

    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    You're right in that your chance of losing all those hives is almost nil. That said, the only way to know if they can "live with them" is to let them try. It's all in how upset you'll be next year if you lose those hives. This is tough, but try to think to next year, and if you lose, say 7 hives, and have 10 remaining, will you be kicking yourself for not treating? Or will you be saying, "I made the better decision because I have stronger bees, even though I only have 10 hives."

    I treat w/MAQS. They have some drawbacks. But it's once and done and the honey can stay on.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2011
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    Portland, Oregon
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    If you don't treat them, and if they survive and recover, you will have mite resistant bees.
    You also may very well not only have a dead hive, but a possible "Mite Bomb" when the mites migrate to a nearby hive if the hive dies.

    I'd suggest a soft treatment such as a sugar shake. Have a look at what Randy Oliver says about his surprise at the effectiveness of sugar as a treatment in the articles on varroa treatment:
    scientificbeekeeping.com

  6. #6
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    Mar 2012
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    Ga,Madison county
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    55

    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    If we treated ourselves like our bee's would we still be here. I would not, when I had a heart attach I went to the doctor, I don't understand why we do not let the doctor treat our bee's when they are ill? I treat mine , they are dependent on me just like a dog. I do not treat for the sake of treating but I do before risking a whole hive

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    I have never lost a hive to mites in four years and never have treated with anything. I use plain old Italian bees, nothing special. I see several DWV bees on the ground daily when I look for them. I don't do mite counts. My bees winter fine and become boomers with 125lb. average the next season. My bees couldn't be doing much better in my area, so the mites are not an issue as far as I'm concerned. Obviously, nobody wants to watch their bees dwindle down and die off for any reason. I am committed to producing a treatment free product for my customers and they expect it, and it will stay that way even if mites become a problem in the future. I know for a fact that "certain" hives of bees will develop a resistance, tolerance, whatever you want to call it, to the mites if given the chance. I have bees that show hygenic behavior, I see it going on regularly in all my hives. They weren't always this way though, without my help they learned a way to handle the mites in order to keep the colony going, thats all I can say. You may have bees like mine, if losing everything isn't everything then why not give it a chance and find out. John

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Ok so i geuss i won't treat for my goal was to to biuld a better bee thats why i have 17 hives and at the beging of may i only had 3 i bought 3 nucs and the rest was swarms and what i made {splits} so now i have my stock and i can play. My goal now is to get all hives up to par for winter.
    I really non't care about honey sales and i've dumped a pile of cash in to this hobby that for sure but i love beekeeping and have nice bee yards .
    I've learned so much the last 3 years and as of now my bee's are strong and doing well we'll see how no treat go's.
    Plus i ordered APIGARD off BETTER BEE and the called a left a message saying the computer took a dump and they lost my c.card numbers and to call and they could get the order out so i took that as a sign that i should go the no treat rout and i do want strong bee's. I'll be glad i don't have to buy bee's again i sure did learn to make bee ya. Thank you.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted adams View Post
    I treat mine , they are dependent on me just like a dog.
    Bees are not people.
    They are livestock.
    Whether you believe it is nature or God who did it, selection is the process established to ensure that species as a whole remain healthy, suffer the least from disease or parasites like mites, and continue to exist rather than become extinct.

    When one chooses to select for mite resistance by allowing a susceptible hive to succumb to mite pressure, the honeybees species is strengthened, there are fewer susceptible genes in the gene pool, and fewer colonies suffer.

    It prolongs the suffering of the the species due to mites and is inhumane to interfere in this selection process.

    The primary reasons people do so are emotional and financial - no beekeeper wants to lose the profit a hive will generate by letting it succumb, and he may not survive financially should he do so on a broad scale.
    Manufacturers and sellers of the insecticides we use in our hives for mite control also have a huge financial interest in preserving the treatment paradigm.

    Some look at bees as though they are people, and not recognizing that they are promoting the suffering to the species as a whole, and, as the writer above acknowledges, making them dependent on men for their welfare and unable to care for themselves as they have for eons, feel it is compassionate to put insecticides in our insect colonies.

    To do so to protect short term financial interests, or out of not understanding the damage it does to honeybee species as a whole, is folly.

    We owe the bees better than that.

    Respectfully,
    B

  10. #10
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Here's how I look at it. If you want to kill mites, kill mites. If you don't want to kill mites, then don't kill mites. The bees may or may not survive either way. As a genetics major, it's too early to tell with this pest what is the best course of action. You have to look at the end goal.... do we want mite tolerance, mite resistance, or immunity? Looking at it ecologically is not treating and harboring a population of pests smart?? People have the one sided notion.... the bees will adapt.... what if the mite adapts more?? Treating or not treating you're still putting selection pressure on the mite to overcome. I don't think there's a right and wrong decision. I mean, if i treat and get 100% kill and the guy next to me is treatment free and harboring mites.... whose the problem in this picture? At the same time, treating needs to be done correctly and you really should try products with differing MoA's so resistance isn't built.

  11. #11
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    May 2012
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    Maryville, tn, usa
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    208

    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Bees aren't human they are livestock... Treating them would be inhumane? Let natural selection take place? Hmmm let's not treat them humane but treat them as livestock. Or if you are building a better bee get a program of different bee stock together and cross and cull. If a hive has hygienic behavior it cleans mites off and infected brood out it may have a smaller population because of this but it wont have high mite numbers. As you might be able to discern you can use IPM and build a better bee if you are breeding and introducing stock and doing mite counts. Raising queens breed to her brothers won't get you far and hoping a wild "survivor" is out there to add its genes to the pool is well hope and not much of a program.

    Best of luck whatever you decide

  12. #12
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    Aug 2005
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    Fort Wayne, IN
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Your goal of selecting mite resistant bees is admirable, however from a breeding standpoint you are fooling yourselves. I am a corn breeder and I figure I have to look at 20-30,000 corn hybrids to find one really good one. What would be my chance of finding that one hybrid if I only looked at 17? Virtually impossible. Unless you have the resources to select among thousands of queens over many years, your chance of finding mite resistance is nil. If your colonies survive it is more due to luck (weather, etc.) rather than the genetics of the bees. Ah, if breeding were only that easy....of course if it was I wouldn't have a job

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Not treating is considered irresponsible by many people on this forum, I have been chastised many times before for suggesting someone not treat their bees. It really is an individual decision, one that you need to be prepared to live with. My decision to not treat is rooted in wanting to produce and sell a product that I can say has not been exposed to contamination from substances that should not be there. Others will say that it is more important for the beekeeping industry to use treatments to keep the bees alive to preserve the species, to preserve investment, or it is the humane thing to do as bees are livestock or are like our pets. I wish I had the absolute correct moral answer or correct moral choice for treating or not treating if you know what I mean. Or are we over thinking this whole thing. I just hope that the no treatment guy is not looked upon as a "problem" by the other people. I certainly don't harbor any negative feelings for those who choose to treat, I just wish they were on my side because I think in the long run the mite problem will be solved by the bees. We may never be without mites, but hopefully we won't be without honey bees either. John

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    hilreal,

    I don't consider my bees success over four years to be luck. Were not talking about one colony here, I have many more than that. Once again, I have had mites for four years, bees with DWV every year in front of every hive on the ground. I have been told more than a few times that once you see DWV your hives are on the brink of collapse and won't make the winter. This is not what will happen in every case, so how do you explain their continued survival and prosperity, by saying it is luck, the weather, etc. How does the weather have to change for me to see the mites take control? What does the etc. refer to? Just because you and I don't know how the bees adapt doesn't make it highly unlikely that they do. John

  15. #15
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    Oct 2011
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    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Not treating is considered irresponsible by many people on this forum
    More than agree! I find very disturbing that people so resistant to learn something different/new. It is my opinion that US commercial beekeeping approach actually DOES create the problem. Numerous bees lost over the years is a result of unchanged methods used and promoted by many commercial beekeepers. Thus, this approach is not credible to me. My bees are survivors, I posted in some thread already: my large happy beehive has a constant 24h mite count of 50. My other beehive, which is not doing well has 7 mites count. I could trace those two colonies for 3-4 years (11 mo with me). They never were treated and they are very prolific. Mite counts must be normalized per bee, otherwise, it is meaningless since in the large hive, we have more bees...
    I wish I had the absolute correct moral answer or correct moral choice for treating or not treating if you know what I mean. Or are we over thinking this whole thing. I just hope that the no treatment guy is not looked upon as a "problem" by the other people. I certainly don't harbor any negative feelings for those who choose to treat, I just wish they were on my side because I think in the long run the mite problem will be solved by the bees. We may never be without mites, but hopefully we won't be without honey bees either.
    Agree!
    Officially, bees are a livestock. But in reality, they are wild animals/insects - they managed to escape domestication for 10 thousand years! They have very sophisticated genetics, they are not such easy as a corn. And even corn's genetic is very complicated. We had an arguments on this in bee-club. After that I read a lot of literature regarding bee-genetic. It is very sophisticated and not much known. What I know for sure is that any "good" gene may be "fixed" in genom by natural selection (old Darwin). It needs to go through sexual reproduction, many cycles. Annual requeening completely screw up the sexual cycle, thus - not much success in selection. Also, drones are equally important as queens. The whole commercial approach to minimize drones breaks reproduction cycle again. The natural way of reproduction for bees are swarming - swarming suppression again breaks the cycle! Sergey

  16. #16
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    Jun 2007
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    mineral county,Montana USA
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    824

    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    i had strong colonies through august last year. 60 or so. i made a good honey crop which i pulled in early september. by the end of september i had less than 30 colonies and by spring i had 8. i had planned to treat but we got a long cold snap late september. using hopguard september 1st this year. justin

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by GLOCK View Post
    i took that as a sign that i should go the no treat rout and i do want strong bee's. I'll be glad i don't have to buy bee's again i sure did learn to make bee ya. Thank you.
    So, does that mean you aren't going to treat at all? Not even after the honey supers come off? Let us know how that works out next Spring. And if you had orders your Apigaurd from Dadant's of Waverly, NY you would have had it two days aftrer ordering. Would you have used it?

    Were you me, sorta what you asked in your first Post, you would determine what your mite load is and use that to decide your course of action. Or, you would know that your hive has varroa mites and you would treat.

    Live and let die works. I'm glad you can afford to use it.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  18. #18
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    Winhall, VT
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    hilreal,

    I have had mites for four years, bees with DWV every year in front of every hive on the ground.
    I would be very interested to know what kind of honey production you are getting from these hives.

    Also, are other beekeepers in your area seeing an increase in DWV with your hives in their foraging area?
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  19. #19
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post
    To do so to protect short term financial interests, or out of not understanding the damage it does to honeybee species as a whole, is folly.

    We owe the bees better than that.

    Respectfully,
    B
    If we had followed that model I doubt that you would have bees now. Unless they were Africanized bees.

    Short term financial interests? What is short term when outfits have been able to stay viable in business since 1986?

    How many colonies do you have? How long have you kept bees? I'd like to know so we have some reference to know where you may be coming from. Where did you get your bees from?
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  20. #20
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    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    More than agree! I find very disturbing that people so resistant to learn something different/new. It is my opinion that US commercial beekeeping approach actually DOES create the problem.
    How does the successful treatment use of a commercial beekeeper effect you? If a commercial beekeeper uses treatments to keep his colonies strong, productive and reproductive year after year, how does that impact those who don't treat?

    I don't see those who don't treat as a problem to me. It's not what I do, but go ahead, don't treat. It disturbs me that those who don't treat see guys like me as the problem. Apples and oranges. I'm feeding my family thru beekeeping and others aren't.

    Sergey, from my point of view there is nothing new about letting bees die as a way to address the impact of varroa mites. It has been going on since varroa was found in the US, and in Russia as far as that goes. But, we decided not to goi quietly into the dark grey night of death to the industry by doing nothing. We addressed the problem w/ a new idea, miticides. All along during the last 26 years bees have been dying, managed and unmanaged. So, I don't see anything new about "Live and Let Die". I tried it. It didn't work out for me. Didn't work out for many.

    Let's not demonize any camp, small scale let em die beekeepers or commercial beekeepers who treat.
    Last edited by sqkcrk; 08-14-2012 at 06:36 AM. Reason: comments after "Sergey" added to original Post
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



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