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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    To all people who got offended by my statement regarding commercial beekeeping.

    First, I apologize for generalization. I had no intention to hurt anybody personally. My statement was mainly not about beekeepers but about traditional beekeeping practice used in commercial beekeeping. The practice has been developed before Varroa mites. Thus it had no tools against Varroa. "Treatment" (chemical) was urgently introduced to mitigate the problem. The chemical treatment (any) normally stimulates the resistance to the treatment (Varroa resisted to the treatment). So, everybody who treat - actually is working hard to produce more resistant Varroa mites. It is just biology. It reminds to me the story with penicillin, when people unwisely used it and produced penicillin-resistant strains of bacteria. When penicillin did not work, another antibiotic was invented and soon we got resistant strain. Using this approach, we already developed the strains of bacteria, which are deadly - there is no treatment for them available now. Right now, people are dying from bacteria, which originally was sensitive to the ordinary penicillin, but not anymore. It seems to me, commercial approach is heading in the same direction demanding more and more "treatments" (chemical) and making more and more resistant mites!

    Another aspect of this is the bees. Any chemical treatment weaks the body and suppresses the natural resistance. Treatment technically is a poison. You are trying to establish the dose, which is deadly to mites and not for bees. But low dose of poison is still a poison and affects bees biology. So, one, actually do a weird selection - bees tolerate the poison and do not tolerate the mites. Is it sounds like reverse to what one wanted?

    This is why I feel skeptical about "traditional" commercial approach in Varroa time - it is just against biology. It was reasonably good before Varroa. It needs to be adjusted to new reality. Chemical treatment just creates the super-Varroa. Treatment must be a temporary solution - you could not keep human on antibiotics all the time. Russian says - there is nothing more permanent than temporary solution. It is exactly about Varroa - treatment was used as an emergency remedy at the beginning but becomes a standard now. I am against treatment to be a standard procedure. It must be an emergency remedy.

    Spreading super-monster-Varroa in feral bees population is extremely bad since if bees could mitigate a normal Varroa, it does not mean that they are prepared for super-Varroa.
    Sergey

    PS I am using the word "treatment" meaning a chemical treatment.
    Last edited by cerezha; 08-14-2012 at 02:37 PM. Reason: clarification

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    My guess is that like what has been stated Survival is more luck than anything else if nothing is done either with treatment or management. We normally don't have populations large enough to let natural selection work. Skilled breeders with thousands of queens to evaluate are our best hope until then I try and keep my bees alive via every means at my disposal including treating when all else fails.

    I haven't seen a feral colony here in NE Mass in quite a few years

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    cerezha,
    making rash thoughts about commercial or what was it, traditional ways of beekeeping and also about treating vs not treating with only 10 months under your belt...thank you.
    At ten months, I could hardly think of telling others what they should do cause I was still learning, and had yet to survive a winter let alone 2 winters.

    Please get some experience and then trash talk us commercials who practice "traditional beekeeping"
    .

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by honeyshack View Post
    At ten months, I could hardly think of telling others what they should do cause I was still learning, and had yet to survive a winter let alone 2 winters.
    Honeyshack/Tammy
    Many thanks for your comment. I knew that somebody will rise this. It is not a problem. As you probably noticed, I was talking about resistance in any animals including insects. It is a general subject. I feel having 30+ years of expertise in biology (bachelor), human and animal physiology (masters) and two PH.Ds in Molecular Biology and Immunology I could express my personal opinion on this subject with full understanding that I am not an expert in traditional commercial beekeeping. I have to admit that I took commercial beekeeping classes this season, so I have an idea how it works. It is disturbing to observe people talking about "practical experience" and without any reference to basic science, genetics, physiology etc.
    Please get some experience and then trash talk us commercials who practice "traditional beekeeping".
    At the time I got sufficient to you experience, bees will gone if you will continue to do it your experienced way... I am sorry... could not help!

    I am not trying to offend anybody, I am just trying to deliver a simple message - systematic use of ANY chemical will create a resistance not in bees, but in Varroa! Could you understand this? It is a science, not beekeeping.

    By the way - I am in So Cal. We do not have a winter. I adopted bees 10 mo ago, but it is the same bees, who is in the hive for 2-3 years. They are survivor bees. In another words, each bees-colony is approximately 3 years old. In your language, it survived at least two "winters" untreated. In our neighborhoods we have total 4 colonies, who survived and doing very well for a few years already. I am new, bees are old. I apologize for any inconvenience my post could cause. Sergey
    Last edited by cerezha; 08-14-2012 at 05:14 PM. Reason: softer language

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    This is why I feel skeptical about "traditional" commercial approach in Varroa time - it is just against biology. It was reasonably good before Varroa. It needs to be adjusted to new reality. Chemical treatment just creates the super-Varroa. I am against treatment to be a standard procedure. It must be an emergency remedy.
    Theoretically, what would you have people do? What do you think someone w/ 10,000 colonies should do?

    "It must be an emergency remedy." How would you determine what is an emergency and then what would you use?
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  6. #46
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    It always seems kinda funny when people start saying their bees are survivor bees, when they do absolutely no manipulation on queens and open mate., etc. It is highly unlikely that the queen in your colony today was there a year ago. And as such since the original queen mated with 5 to 10 drones, you have no idea of her genetics or her survivability. All you really know is that bees hive lived in your hive for certain amount of time. You don't know their genetics or how long those genes have been in the hive. Genetics in bees are not the same as mammals, etc as they are haploid. I won't pretend to be an expert in bee genetics, but when you don't manage your colonies, you have no idea what is in them.

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Bees are haploid? I know drones are, but I thought that since workers and queens come from fertilized eggs, that theytwere diploid. Maybe I don't understand haploid and diploid.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  8. #48
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    Westchester NY
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Good post jbeshearse!

    I am no Gregor Mendel, but I think that in order to have "survivor bees" you would at least need to have some clue as to the queens origins and then work on getting good drones, an operation that requires a lot of hives to get off the ground, not one or two.

    I would like to hear from more members here with at least 10 hives that do not or have not treated for several years to get more of an idea as to expected losses and success rates. One or two hives is just a fluke but to have a sustainable system of treatment free every year is much more impressive ( I know there are some of you out there!)

  9. #49
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    Jan 2009
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    Bristol,MA,USA
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Am recommending to all concerned an excellent article in this August 2012's Bee Culture magazine found on page 51 "Is monitoring for mite levels necessary?" (We all have mites. Should we just treat?) by Ross Conrad
    Personally, I never have tested for mites in my hives - keeping it simple. They all have screened bottom boards. Every one of them is treated after the Clethra flow (Aug.) with formic acid, they produce well and winter well. OMTCW

  10. #50
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    Apr 2011
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    Wright, MN, USA
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    If you plan on not treating, I would suggest that you buy bees that are known to be resistant to varroa. Like VSH strains or Russians.

    If you don't have varroa resistant bees, expect lots of them to die when you don't treat them.

    Those of you worried that treating bees is some how going to doom honey bees to extinction, its not going to happen. The Varroa mites aren't going anywhere either.

    Varroa destructor was originally a parasitic mite of the Asian honey bee Apis cerana. And Asian honey bees have/had no problems living with varroa. Apis mellifera in Primorsky, this is where the Russian bees are from, have been living with varroa since the 1800s. And 200 years of varroa have not wiped them out yet.


    /2 cents

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Theoretically, what would you have people do? What do you think someone w/ 10,000 colonies should do?
    Mark
    This is what I was afraid! How I could teach you what to do with 10000 colonies?! As it was pointed out many times, I have only 10 month of beekeeping. It is true that I am not experienced in classical beekeeping. But, I strongly believe that "knowledge is power" - if you understand what is the problem (one out of many), you could choose a better option. Many years ago, people would argue that organic farming is impossible. These days organic farming is doing quite well. I would imagine, something like that may happens in beekeeping when commercial beekeepers will be forced to change their methods under the pressure of public opinion. Like with chickens - non-caged chickens, now! I am sorry Mark - I am not a genius, I could not solve your problems, Mark.
    "It must be an emergency remedy." How would you determine what is an emergency and then what would you use?
    Emergency is when you must use an epipen! Seriously, even with humans, we are not using medicine "in advance" - we use it when prescribed and often do not use it even when prescribed, because we do aware that any chemical may have a side effects etc. And antibiotics are strictly regulated. I would think about chemical treatments as an antibiotics.

  12. #52
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by Tohya View Post
    Apis mellifera in Primorsky, this is where the Russian bees are from, have been living with varroa since the 1800s. And 200 years of varroa have not wiped them out yet.
    But they were not treated as far as I know.

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Bees are haploid? I know drones are, but I thought that since workers and queens come from fertilized eggs, that theytwere diploid. Maybe I don't understand haploid and diploid.
    Yep, Sqkcrk, you are correct of course, the drones are haploid while the workers and queens are Diploid. So much for my biology...lol...

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    Genetics in bees are not the same as mammals, etc as they are haploid. I won't pretend to be an expert in bee genetics, but when you don't manage your colonies, you have no idea what is in them.
    Absolutely agree! Genetics in bees are very tricky. Currently, I am trying to figure it out - I'll report to society. By the way, drones are haploid and queen/workers are diploid. The trick is that any good/bad changes in genom (what we needed) may be possible only via sexual cycle, insemination of the queen and next queen must be a decent of existing queen - repeat this 100 times and one may have one gene stick to the genom. Since swarming and drones production in commercial approach is limited and requeening is common, the natural selection does not work. But, it does not necessary means that only big "queen factory" may handle the task of selection - mother nature do it all the time without any help! Just do not interfere! Sergey

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    I guess we should just kill all the honeybees in the US anyway, as they are an invasive species and are not suitable for the US as they are non-native. Furthermore, since we feed millions of people by mass producing food on large farms, which is not natural at all, the whole ecosystem is off kilter. So it would follow that any attempt to allow "nature to take its course" is folly.

    Seriously, if we let natural selection take over for all our farm and livestock practices, half the people in the world would starve to death.

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Sergey: While I appreciate the tone of your post I think, despite your education, that you simply don't get it. There is no longer a traditional commercial approach. It has evolved with the development of different compounds, different hive manipulations and the introduction of better and more resistant lines of bees. From my perspective we are not losing the battle by breeding super mites we are, in fact, winning the battle. The days of using lots of hard chemicals ended nearly 10 years ago for us when we came to the realization that varroa was building resistance faster than products could be approved. In addition, the major honey packers began much more stringent testing for residues. Last year our honey crop tested 0% ppb for any mite treatment chemicals. That includes coumaphous, amitraz, and fluvalinate. We have developed a "less is better" mentality when it comes to mite treatments. For us it has been fall treatments of thymol and oxalic and spring brood breaks. Thats it. I am not saying everyone has gone that far, but I'm trying to help you to understand that treatments and treatment mentalities have changed considerably in the past 20 years.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Jim
    Many thanks for your respond. It is very interesting that you figure this out 10 years ago and congratulations on your 0 ppb! Did they check your wax as well? When I took commercial beekeeping classes at the commercial apiary, they instruct us to start treatment 1/2 normal Apiguard and continue once a week until December! It was just last week. So, I could make my conclusion only on my own experience (which is limited) and reading the books/papers. I think it is very important that people like yourself provide the examples of successful beekeeping with minimal treatment. Hopefully, it will motivate other beekeepers. Many thanks for your post, it was very useful! Sergey

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    I'm convinced that one really has to try different approaches to pest management to have any understanding, and an idea for which method is best. For every experienced beekeeper who touts a method, there is another who disagrees with that method, and recommends another.

    There simply is no right answer, and no singlular authority on mites who can tell what is right for your goals and specific location. I think you have to try different approaches and test the advice you receive for yourself.

    Adam

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    I'm convinced that one really has to try different approaches to pest management to have any understanding, and an idea for which method is best. For every experienced beekeeper who touts a method, there is another who disagrees with that method, and recommends another.

    There simply is no right answer, and no singlular authority on mites who can tell what is right for your goals and specific location. I think you have to try different approaches and test the advice you receive for yourself.

    Adam
    I agree. different climates and seasonal lengths make what might work in one scenario impossible in another. That was my point, that there is no "traditional" commercial approach. It's just not that simple.
    Sergey: I don't have any test results for beeswax. My guess is that there are some trace amounts of miticides. Anybody know who tests beeswax?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    Just do not interfere!
    I am trying...
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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