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  1. #81
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    It's the 'Bond: Live and Let Die' methodology, that treatment-free gurus advocate as a way to produce 'survivor' colonies, that is the problem.

    Plenty of colonies will develop heavy pest and pathogen loads, that will affect the local environment, before survivor colonies are obtained.

    They're taking a risk, with everyone's 'environment', to reach their goal.

    That's not 'green'.

  2. #82
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    >I can't really see a scenario where treating your own hives helps other hives.....

    pedro, the scenario that helps other hives, managed and feral, is the one where the beekeeper does what is necessary, be it good management, 'natural' treatments, synthetic treatments, or otherwise, to not allow their colony to collapse to the point of not being able to defend itself, and succumbing to robbing by other bees, which then carry pests and diseases back home with them.

    i have only dealt with american foul brood myself. that was a no brainer. the hive was destroyed.

    i have not had to deal with collapse from varroasis. if it shows up, i would consider removing this hive to a safe location, busting it down to a single box, reducing the entrance, installing a robber screen, killing the queen, using a soft treatment to rid of the mites, requeen from resistant stock, and try again.
    Squarepeg is, according to his own signature, a novice but boy does he catch on fast.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  3. #83
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    pedro, the scenario that helps other hives, managed and feral, is the one where the beekeeper does what is necessary, be it good management, 'natural' treatments, synthetic treatments, or otherwise, to not allow their colony to collapse to the point of not being able to defend itself, and succumbing to robbing by other bees, which then carry pests and diseases back home with them.
    .
    I don't see how this helps at all. No one claims to be able to keep bees without varroa touching them and mites will grow fast in bees that are not resistant to them. So I can't see any real difference between a hive coming into contact with a few mites from a well treated hive and a huge amount of them from robbing a mite dead-out.

  4. #84
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    It's the 'Bond: Live and Let Die' methodology, that treatment-free gurus advocate as a way to produce 'survivor' colonies, that is the problem.

    Plenty of colonies will develop heavy pest and pathogen loads, that will affect the local environment, before survivor colonies are obtained.

    They're taking a risk, with everyone's 'environment', to reach their goal.

    That's not 'green'.
    Did you see my reasoning for why having a high or low pathogen load should make no difference? Could you tell me where you think I'm mistaken?

  5. #85
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by G Barnett View Post
    ...If the super mite is to appear (let's hope not), i would think that this would take some time, since it is a complex multi-cellular organism. Whereas, a single celled bacteria can evolve much more rapidly and become treatment resistant.
    True. The resistance to penicillin in Staphylococcus Aureus has been developed over 20 (more than that!) years. Now we DO have the super bacteria, who practically tolerates any antibiotics. The trick is that, yes, we DO have a super bacteria, but somehow we are still alive! The reason is, that our bodies have a natural immunity to many pathogens, thus luckily to us, the super bacteria in most cases could not penetrate our natural protection. Chemistry - fails, but Nature - not yet... I would imagine that similar situation is with Varroa - since more and more people select/prefere feral, more healthy (and resistant) stocks, the general population of bees slowly enriched with "good" genes and, yes, good beekeeping practices help a lot.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  6. #86
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    pedro, i believe it is generally accepted that most hives have a least some mites, so i don't think we're talking about completely isolating a healthy hive from mites.

    and i'm not sure how a healthy hive would come in contact with unhealthy hive in any other way except robbing. in what other ways are you considering?

    if i a hive is being robbed, it has been weakened. perhaps by an overload of mites, which could hitch a ride back to a healthy hive, and maybe pushing the mite load in the healthy hive above tolerance.

    in varroasis, the bees in the sick hive may have also succumb to virulent pathogens, which would also be brought back to the healthy hive.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  7. #87
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Few things, just because your bees don't show signs of being sick does not mean they're not vectoring the disease. Treatment free or not, bees are still having to adapt to mites. Letting hives die off to create survivor stock isn't necessarily the smartest approach. You could be sacrificing a lot of genetic diversity this way. Selecting mite tolerant hives etc... isn't rocket science, I think everyone tries to select from their strongest hives that would survive w/o treatment. Selecting for traits already present in the organism isn't evolution, it's just pushing the genetic diversity into a spectrum with the desitred trait(s) you're looking for. I would imagine a true evolved novel mite respsonse will come from a treated hive since the mite pressure affects them more. Genetic analysis on survivor stock definitely needs to be a key focus in bee research.

  8. #88
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    pedro:

    http://www.fgp.huck.psu.edu/pdf/Singh_PLoSOne_2010.pdf

    If you take the time to read the above, you'll understand why increasing the Varroa load, and subsequently the virus load of a colony, as part of a beekeeping practice, is a cause for concern.

    It affects native pollinators. So, it's almost impossible to justify with an 'environmentally friendly' argument.

    It's not just an environmental risk, it risks the whole premise behind 'treatment-free' beekeeping.

    The 'Bond: Live and Let Die' hypothesis is deeply flawed.

  9. #89
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    pedro, i believe it is generally accepted that most hives have a least some mites, so i don't think we're talking about completely isolating a healthy hive from mites.
    Right, that's my point, the fact that your neighbours treat or not has no bearing of if your bees will be in contact with varroa as it's widespread. It only changes how many mites you'll be in contact with.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    and i'm not sure how a healthy hive would come in contact with unhealthy hive in any other way except robbing. in what other ways are you considering?
    We've just established that all colonies will come in contact with varroa, are you saying that robbing is the only vector for it? I don't know which vectors exist but I assume robbing isn't the only one.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    if i a hive is being robbed, it has been weakened. perhaps by an overload of mites, which could hitch a ride back to a healthy hive, and maybe pushing the mite load in the healthy hive above tolerance.

    in varroasis, the bees in the sick hive may have also succumb to virulent pathogens, which would also be brought back to the healthy hive.
    I see your point that if you have a hive that already has pathogens and gets a sudden influx from a robbed hive, it might take it over the top in it's own mite count. But since pathogens multiply exponentially if your hive was already unable to deal with the ones it had it was going to die anyway. At best this means your hive was depending on your treatments to stay alive and since the pathogen load went up and your treatment regimen didn't it tipped the scale. I think this says more about how unsustainable treatment is than how dangerous not treating is. And it certainly doesn't explain how it's a danger to natural pollinators who nobody is treating anyway.

    My point is very simple:
    - The amount of pathogens in your neighbor's hives shouldn't affect *if* your bees will come in contact with pathogens only to *how many* of them.
    - Since viruses and varroa can multiply very fast getting 10 pathogens or 1000 pathogens into a hive that has none should only be the difference of a couple of pathogen life cycles thanks to exponential growth. Since these life cycles are pretty short this isn't really a substantial amount of time.

    Michael Bush has some simple math to illustrate some of this here:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesvarroatreatments.htm

  10. #90
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    pedro:

    http://www.fgp.huck.psu.edu/pdf/Singh_PLoSOne_2010.pdf

    If you take the time to read the above, you'll understand why increasing the Varroa load, and subsequently the virus load of a colony, as part of a beekeeping practice, is a cause for concern.

    It affects native pollinators. So, it's almost impossible to justify with an 'environmentally friendly' argument.

    It's not just an environmental risk, it risks the whole premise behind 'treatment-free' beekeeping.

    The 'Bond: Live and Let Die' hypothesis is deeply flawed.
    The article you linked actually helps establish one of my premises, that you don't need very high pathogen loads concentrated in a single hive to spread disease. Here's a vector that doesn't require robbing or even direct contact between bees. You still haven't explained why you think my reasoning for why that doesn't have a big effect on the health of other bees is wrong. I'll state it again:

    Treating an apiary might reduce the pathogen load in the polen but it will surely not eliminate it completely. Native pollinators will still be bringing in the pathogens back from foraging and getting infected by them. Those pathogens will multiply within their populations exponentially. If they don't develop resistance the difference between bringing in 10 pathogens or 1000 is how soon they'll die, not if.

  11. #91
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    pedro:

    "Our finding that RNA viruses have a broad host range and are
    freely circulating in the pollinator community has important
    implications on export/import and movement of managed
    pollinators that may bring in new or more virulent strains of
    existing pathogens into the environment, with the potential for
    deeper impact on our agro-ecosystems and natural ecosystems."

    Can you understand why allowing hives to succumb to viruses by not treating them for varroa is THE issue now?

    It's higher virus titers that cause death. Not simply virus infection.

  12. #92
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    pedro:

    "Our finding that RNA viruses have a broad host range and are
    freely circulating in the pollinator community has important
    implications on export/import and movement of managed
    pollinators that may bring in new or more virulent strains of
    existing pathogens into the environment, with the potential for
    deeper impact on our agro-ecosystems and natural ecosystems."
    All your quote says is that RNA viruses circulate broadly between species and then makes the point that moving bees around helps bring into contact with the local pollinators viruses that might not have been there yet. It doesn't mention concentrations at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    Can you understand why allowing hives to succumb to viruses by not treating them for varroa is THE issue now?

    It's higher virus titers that cause death. Not simply virus infection.
    Nowhere does your quote (or as far as I can tell the article) establish that higher concentrations imply higher mortality. Restating the same facts instead of engaging my argument isn't helping me understand your viewpoint better.

  13. #93
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    pedro,

    although i do have a science background, it is neither in entomology nor microbiology.

    as far as the rationale for not exposing healthy hives to collapsing unhealthy ones via robbing, i am relying on what randy oliver, who's background and experience gives him standing, has written in this regard. (see scientificbeekeeping.com)

    mr. oliver absolutely recommends removing sick colonies from healthy yards. he quarantines them, or puts them in what he calls 'hospital yards'.

    interestingly, mr, oliver was among the first of commercial beekeepers to abandon the use of synthetic miticides, due to comb contamination and the development of resistance to them by the mites.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  14. #94
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    >Nowhere does your quote (or as far as I can tell the article) establish that higher concentrations imply higher mortality. Restating the same facts instead of engaging my argument isn't helping me understand your viewpoint better.

    on this point pedro, my background does allow me to say unequivocally that it is generally accepted a higher titer of pathogen does result in increased morbitity/mortality.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  15. #95
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    on this point pedro, my background does allow me to say unequivocally that it is generally accepted a higher titer of pathogen does result in increased morbitity/mortality.
    I can easily believe that higher concentrations of pathogens in a hive lead to higher mortality. My point is that given how fast the pathogens multiply the limiting factor for the concentration in the hive isn't concentration in the environment it's how well the bees/pollinators handle the exposure. They're going to get it anyway and when they do the limiting factor for the concentration is going to be their ability to handle the pathogens. I don't see where the environment concentration is going to make much difference. That's the main point of my argument that no one seems to dispute. I'm not necessarily convinced by it myself but any argument that states that treatment free endangers other hives has to explain why that's wrong.

  16. #96
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Pedro:

    An untreated colony that is allowed to succumb to viruses will release a huge amount of virus particles into the environment.

    Allowing an entire apiary to do so continuously is ill-advised.

    You should consult the scientific literature if you don't understand the relationship between varroa mite counts, virus titer, and Honeybee mortality.

    The quote from the article is clearly stating that these viruses are a threat to native pollinators.

    As for your argument...



    WLC.

  17. #97
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Is there not a threshold level in the number of organisms necessary to initiate contagion. Mark's reference to the difference between infection and infestation seems to be of importance also. Maybe some broad brush painting here.

  18. #98
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    as far as the rationale for not exposing healthy hives to collapsing unhealthy ones via robbing, i am relying on what randy oliver, who's background and experience gives him standing, has written in this regard. (see scientificbeekeeping.com)

    mr. oliver absolutely recommends removing sick colonies from healthy yards. he quarantines them, or puts them in what he calls 'hospital yards'.
    This might make sense from a management perspective. In the short term you may want to reduce exposure to get any hives whose chances of survival might be marginal to have a higher chance and thus get a bigger crop. But it certainly doesn't avoid that any hives get a given pathogen (they probably already have it if it's so far along in one hive in the same apiary), and if they do and they're not resistant, you'll still need to treat or they'll die. And you'll still want to breed from the hives that wouldn't have died even if you hadn't quarantined the sick colony. So the quarantine seems like a "let's maximize honey production" measure and not a "let's save the bees from the treatment free folks" kind of measure.

  19. #99
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    the flaw in your point as i see has to do with what is called threshold. if the amount of pathogen that they 'get' exceeds that which their immunity can handle you will get disease. if your are not convinced that robbing can lead to levels of pathogen that exceed this threshold, then maybe there is no convincing you.

    i see no problem with being treatment free, as long as responsible measures are taken to prevent robbing should a hive collapse.

    and i certainly respect your right to your point of view.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  20. #100
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    Pedro:

    An untreated colony that is allowed to succumb to viruses will release a huge amount of virus particles into the environment.

    Allowing an entire apiary to do so continuously is ill-advised.

    You should consult the scientific literature if you don't understand the relationship between varroa mite counts, virus titer, and Honeybee mortality.
    So you restate the same thing without actually discussing anything, refer me to "the literature" that even though I assume you know doesn't allow you to make simple statements derived from that knowledge that teach me anything new that might help me gain knowledge. That's not helping me learn anything, it's just a suggestion that if I want to learn I should not read this forum and instead go read something else (the literature).

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    The quote from the article is clearly stating that these viruses are a threat to native pollinators.
    That would be swell if the question was "are RNA viruses a threat to native pollinators?". Since the question is "are treatment free hives a threat to native pollinators?" it doesn't help.

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    As for your argument...


    WLC.
    I made the argument, not because I wanted to convince anyone, but exactly because I wanted to put into something debatable the extent of my knowledge on the matter, hoping that it would either advance the discussion or allow someone else to explain where my knowledge was lacking. Your ellipsis helps neither of those goals. I see why these discussions can get tiring.

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