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  1. #461
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Mike there are things I would / may do that are acceptable in this forum. But it would not be a full answer or the whole picture.

    If you want to know what I would do, a "part" answer will not be what I would do. Would it.
    I think what you'd say is 'I'd treat them', one way or another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    With your history of arguing with everything I say, I am certain my answer will be argued with and you will demand further explanation.
    I'd call it dialogue rather than arguing. Asking questions of people in pursuit of objective understanding, asking for evidence, references and so on are a method of building sound knowledge. Forums are marvellous places for this valuable activity.

    In that context, when people are cagy one way or another, it is understood that they don't have a good answer to give. Understanding is taken accordingly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    In fact an example of that has happened already. I have already given a "part answer" to what I would do, ie, a mite count. And the two usual suspects, you and Solomon, have immediately picked up on it and steering this towards an argument.
    Yes. That's because this is the no-treatment section, and we want to know whether you are leading toward a treatment, or if there is something else you would recommend, that, as no-treatment beekeepers, we could make use of. That we might be interested in.

    As you are being cagy we will probably all assume it was the former.

    (That isn't a personal thing, and I'm not impugning your motives. But the fact is: anyone being cagy gets suspected of not contributing in an earnest way to the aims of the non-treatment community. And then suspicions arise as to just what they are up to. People do try to figure out other's motivations - and with good reason. We have to try to filter out bad information, just as much as allow good information into our understanding. Trying to understand where others are coming from is part of that process.)

    Yes, my question was designed to discover your reasons for advocating a mite count. There's nothing wrong with that.

    So, after you'd treated them (if we're allowed to have this conversation here) what would you do subsequently?

    I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. But I want to hear it from you. If you are considering keeping bees without treating them, then you'll need to be clear about what comes next.

    But also: its not just about you (or me). Having conversations of this sort are, hopefully, useful to some of the people who read this thread.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 08-11-2013 at 03:38 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  2. #462
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    my question was designed to discover your reasons for advocating a mite count. There's nothing wrong with that.
    I did not say there was anything wrong with your question. In fact, it was a good question. No need to be so defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    One hypothesis is that a good strain with firmly embedded mite tolerance (as Solomon has developed) propagated vigorously down the queen side can offer good genetic defence despite high levels of mite-vulnerable drone input.
    It is hypothesised? But anything can be hypothesised so that particular argument is without foundation.

    Next time we disagree on something I'll put up a counter argument and say it's a hypothesis, so that proves it. LOL
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #463
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    Default Re: Winter losses vs. Summer gains

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I've already made a couple of splits from my best hive, and they are doing well. They probably have benefited from the brood break involved.
    The splits will have done, but has the mother hive also benefitted from partial brood breaks? That's something we never really got to the bottom of.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    If all three die over the winter (such as it is here in N Florida) well, the line was too weak to waste time keeping alive. But if even one does survive, then I would make increase from that one. And from other hives that do well.

    I don't know, but isn't this the way most beekeepers would approach the situation, whether treating or not treating? The point I'm struggling to make is that not-treating is going to remove the weakest bees from the yard.
    It'll remove, first and foremost, those with least mite resistance, probably pretty much regardless of any other strengths they might have.


    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    But you make increase from survivors, so your increase will be a mix of your strongest bees, your luckiest bees, and your middling bees that have survived... not necessarily due to their superior genetics.
    Sure, but you can use all-else-being-equal reasoning to say that on the whole, on average, it will be the best (genetically) suited to the (present) environment that will be the most likely to survive; that having done so they will be the most likely to thrive, and that being the case, will be the most likely to contribute to the next generation in the largest numbers.

    And, that being so, what is best for your bees is happening.

    Also: when treating beekeepers do this, what they get are the strongest genetics save for the fact that they need beekeeper input on a regular basis. That is a: a) warped view of what 'strongest' means, and b) undermines the nearby feral population, which is (some argue) a very important contributor to bee health and vitality generally.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Isn't the approach I've outlined a much more common approach to treatment-free beekeeping than simply setting up a number of colonies and waiting to see if any of them survive?
    Possibly. And where the 'help' aids ailing individuals, it undermines the process by which the local population maintains health. That's why its important to be clear about which actions are running with the grain of natural selection, and which are running counter.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  4. #464
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post

    Originally Posted by mike bispham
    "One hypothesis is that a good strain with firmly embedded mite tolerance (as Solomon has developed) propagated vigorously down the queen side can offer good genetic defence despite high levels of mite-vulnerable drone input."

    It is hypothesised? But anything can be hypothesised so that particular argument is without foundation.

    Next time we disagree on something I'll put up a counter argument and say it's a hypothesis, so that proves it. LOL
    Any argument is a hypothesis. Whenever you put up a counter-argument, you are challenging the standing hypthesis with your own hypothesis. That in turn may be challenged - or it may be accepted - depends if your point is good or not.

    The act of putting up a counter-argument (hypothesis) doesn't prove anything.

    A hypothesis with big fat holes it soon gets shot to pieces. Does mine have any big fat holes in it? Fire away.

    If you can't shoot it down it doesn't mean it is true (it isn't a scientific hypothesis, subjected to extensive or conclusive empirical testing). It just means that perhaps its worthy of consideration, as an explanation. Take it or leave it.

    If you can shoot it down its been shot down. Claiming its been shot down doesn't amount to shooting it down.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  5. #465
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Mike you amaze me... being a beekeeper thats new to varroa and treatment free beekeeping you have an awful lot to say for yourself.

    It will be interesting to watch your progress over the next few years to see if you can walk the walk and not just talk.

    Getting back to the question of counting mites I would have thought it would be an obvious thing to do so you know whats happening in your hives, treating or not treating dosn't come into it. It's just the same as looking to see how much honey or pollen is in the hive to get a handle on how it's doing.

    As for wondering if the mite population decreases if you take a nuc from a hive I would say that it obviously does as you will be taking all the mites from the brood and bees that you are splitting off.

  6. #466
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Ha Ha that's the weird thing. Mike does count mites LOL.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #467
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    It will be interesting to watch your progress over the next few years to see if you can walk the walk and not just talk.
    No one is more interested than me!

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    Getting back to the question of counting mites I would have thought it would be an obvious thing to do so you know whats happening in your hives, treating or not treating dosn't come into it. It's just the same as looking to see how much honey or pollen is in the hive to get a handle on how it's doing.
    Maybe. I have 40 hives to monitor and act upon, and limited time to do so, so I want to be sure that what I'm doing is spending my time in an efficient way. Many are fixed-floor nucs, which can't be easily monitored for drops.

    Then I have to ask: what am I going to do if I find a hive being overrun by mites? The same thing I'd do for any other problem probably: nothing. Let it de-select itself. That is because my current strategy is to throw lots of birds in the air and see which, left alone, fly.

    I'm trying to set conditions in a way that I can tell clearly tell better from less good genetics, without spending hours poring over microscopes or fishing through floor debris. Maybe that'll come in later. If a hive has lots of mites, its probably going down. Counting them won't alter a thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    As for wondering if the mite population decreases if you take a nuc from a hive I would say that it obviously does as you will be taking all the mites from the brood and bees that you are splitting off.
    I've tried before to get a conversation going that distinguishes between splits made in a way that do reduce mite load on the mother hive, thus skewing resistance evaluations, and splits made in ways that don't. Are you willing to have accept such a difference, enabling us to talk properly about the effects of 'splits', or are you going to continue to take the stance that 'splits are splits are splits' and they all affect the mother hive? Or is it some other sort of point you are making? Perhaps you are talking about the splits themselves raher than the mother hive.

    We need to be more explicit in order to be able to determine the conditions in which splits do and don't affect mite loads.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 08-11-2013 at 12:09 PM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  8. #468
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Ha Ha that's the weird thing. Mike does count mites LOL.
    No I don't. Don't you ever tire of being wrong?

    Mike
    Last edited by mike bispham; 08-11-2013 at 12:10 PM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  9. #469
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Oh OK, my mistake. The "readings" you referred to a number of times, I thought would mean counts, as that is the usual way the terminology is used.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #470
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    If you know your mite counts and your hive dies you will know if it was probable it died from mite infestation or something else. If a hive dies it's good beekeeping practice to know why.

    In my opinion any split that contains brood taken from a parent hive will reduce mite numbers in that parent hive. You have split aggressively taking a frame of brood from the parent hive on multiple occasions that will have an impact on the mite numbers remaining in that hive.

    I keep saying that I don't understand how you can call a hive resistant/tolerant to mites when you are always splitting it.

    In our beekeeping operation if running double brood hives we would only split if the hive looked like it was a potential swarmer. If it was split it would be split once as in the 2 brood boxs and one queen would become one brood box each with one queen. it wouldn't be split up into multiple nucs and it wouldn't be split more than once.

    Solomon has often said that he splits to keep ahead of the losses.
    After so many years running treatment free tolerant bees I wouldn't have thought there would be any losses. If there are losses what are they dying from? Mites? If you don't do mite counts how would you know?

  11. #471
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    Default Re: Winter losses vs. Summer gains

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Additionally, I can tell you that few beekeepers are as isolated from everybody else as they think. An example to prove that, would be the fact that all this time you've been thinking you are developing your own line, then only recently have discovered you have a commercial queen breeder and his drones right next door.
    I think you're in the bullseye. I'm continually surprised to find more and more hives in my area than I ever expected. The idea of controlling your surrounding genetics only happens if your bees are in the desert like Lusby's or similar. Even then, it's a constant work to have the higher influence.
    Last edited by Barry; 08-11-2013 at 08:48 AM. Reason: spelling
    Regards, Barry

  12. #472
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    > The "readings" you referred to a number of times, I thought would mean counts, as that is the usual way the terminology is used.

    Its not too difficult to see why one might think Mike does mite counts. For instance:
    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    The effect on the parent hive is limited to the loss of no more than 10% of oncoming brood, and often as little as 5%. I can't see this having much effect on varroa populations, thus giving false readings.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    The other way is making splits from young colonies, and I agree that this is riskier in terms of supplying false readings of mite resistance as I'm taking up to 20% or so of the brood.
    Graham
    -- Victor Hugo -- "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  13. #473
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    Default Re: Winter losses vs. Summer gains

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    The splits will have done, but has the mother hive also benefitted from partial brood breaks? That's something we never really got to the bottom of.

    Mike (UK)
    It's hard for me to believe that it has a positive effect on the mother hive. When I made these splits, the mother hive was carrying about a dozen frames of brood, so taking a frame or two of brood was not much of a difference. besides that, there is in fact no brood break at all if the queen continues to lay-- still plenty of brood for the mites to infect. By taking a frame or two of brood, all you're doing is reducing bee population, at the same time you reduce mite population, so the density of infection is unchanged.

  14. #474
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    Default Re: Winter losses vs. Summer gains

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    It's hard for me to believe that it has a positive effect on the mother hive. When I made these splits, the mother hive was carrying about a dozen frames of brood, so taking a frame or two of brood was not much of a difference. besides that, there is in fact no brood break at all if the queen continues to lay-- still plenty of brood for the mites to infect. By taking a frame or two of brood, all you're doing is reducing bee population, at the same time you reduce mite population, so the density of infection is unchanged.
    Well put.

    By 'readings' as quoted above: in case it isn't clear now, what I'm talking about is being able to 'read' a colony for mite resistance.

    If you leave a colony alone for a couple of years, and it thrives while others around it fall to varroa, I think we all agree there is a good chance you can 'read' that as a mite resistant colony.

    If a similar colony has been subjected to artificial brood breaks you cannot make the same assumption - it is likely that it is the brood breaks that are responsible for its continuing to thrive. (You cannot conclude that is the case, but the argument for believing it has resistance is much weaker as there is an alternative hypothesis.)

    If a similar colony has been split hard, taking most brood, the same thing applies.

    However if it has been split lightly (say no more than 10-15% of brood) it seems unlikely to me that will have had much effect - as rhaldridge has ably laid out. The circumstances are therefore the same as in my first instance above. And we can 'read' its thriving as evidence of mite resistance, and can take account of that in our all-important selection process.

    It is important that we limit brood extraction from those hives we believe to be mite resistant, and are using to provide genetics, in order to be able to know that they are continuing to be mite resistant.

    It's probably best to take just one or two frames from all our colonies to preserve clear 'readings' across the board.

    (Also: we wouldn't want to be preserving non-resistant colonies by splitting them hard, thus, without realising it, equipping our splits with a poor start, and raising unwanted drones.)

    For these reasons, in non-treatment apiaries, hard splitting (supplying brood breaks) is a no no.

    We have to be able to 'read' our hives reliably for mite resistance, in order to be able to make selections effectively. What we are 'reading' is health and vitality due to onboard mite management, not mite numbers.

    I can't think of anything else helpful to write. Maybe you have to be used to thinking like a breeder before it all slips into place. In my view to do non-treatment beekeeping effectively you have to think like a breeder. To understand what non-treatment beekeepers are trying to explain about the most fundamental aspects of their approach, the same.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 08-11-2013 at 12:23 PM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  15. #475
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    Default Re: Winter losses vs. Summer gains

    Here's another question: If you requeen a hive with a 5-frame nuc (just kill the old queen and dump a five frame nuc, queen and all, in there) does that count as a brood break? Because that's how I requeen. The other method I use occasionally is by putting ripe cells in, but if the virgin kills the old queen before mating I could see how that could cause a brood break, but I cannot confirm that's how it happens, especially since I have observed a new queen laying alongside her mother.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  16. #476
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    Default Re: Winter losses vs. Summer gains

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    I think you're in the bullseye. I'm continually surprised to find more and more hives in my area than I ever expected. The idea of controlling your surrounding genetics only happens if your bees are in the desert like Lusby's or similar. Even then, it's a constant work to have the higher influence.
    Just because you can't control genetics entirely doesn't mean its not a good idea to try to influence them as much as you can.

    If you only have a few hives, they'll control you - that can mean continuous failure. Fighting back hard makes good sense - at least it does if you are able to do so without extortionate cost.

    Mike
    Last edited by mike bispham; 08-11-2013 at 11:54 PM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  17. #477
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    Default Re: Winter losses vs. Summer gains

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    Solomon has often said that he splits to keep ahead of the losses.
    No, that's not what I said, I say that's what new beekeepers should do. I don't know how you can come to that conclusion when I'm losing a single hive each winter and keep having more bees than I know what to do with.
    I'm going to have to combine a bunch of them before October so I can pad my numbers for the Winter Loss Survey. I have too many, I just can't sell them fast enough and they won't die.

    I DO NOT SPLIT HIVES. I have not done for three years now. I grow new hives from mating nucs that are made from weak or middling hives that have been disassembled. There are no splits going on in the traditional sense. I can't split a hive to control mites when the original hive doesn't exist anymore. There are no walk-away splits done here.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  18. #478
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    Default Re: Winter losses vs. Summer gains

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I have too many, I just can't sell them fast enough and they won't die. :lpf
    Here I can help

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikect05 View Post
    Does anybody have suggestions of where I can buy 3 queens in the northeast from non-treated survivor stock?
    Have you contacted him yet?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  19. #479
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Its not too difficult to see why one might think Mike does mite counts.
    Seems resident archiving is a very useful thing in an environment such as this.

    Thank you Resident Archiver
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  20. #480
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    [Its not too difficult to see why one might think Mike does mite counts.]

    Seems resident archiving is a very useful thing in an environment such as this.
    Lets not get carried away. Reading the posts the context and meaning is clear. It was only easy to make that mistake by skimming and making assumptions, instead of reading properly.

    Maybe we should make a note: post #474 above explains (for those who didn't get it first time) what is meant by false readings in the context of selection for the strongest parents.

    That post and the next address the context; the danger of not making spilts carefully, giving rise to the problem of false readings about mite resistance. We know understand that if we make increase carefully we can avoid any such problem, allowing true evaluations.

    Think like a breeder. Get in the habit. That way you'll find the posts from serious non-treatment beekeepers are easier to read right the first time. Its all about genetics (with apologies to Michael Bush)

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 08-12-2013 at 12:05 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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