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  1. #61
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    9,221

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Dead mites on the bottom board of a failing hive disappear pretty quickly. Scavengers of all sorts collect them. In our part of the country ants and yellow jackets make short work of them.
    This doesn't appear to happen in my neck of the woods. If I didn't dump and kill the live ones in my trays I wouldn't have a good indication of whether the fall is increasing or decreasing. Also, there are no ants or wasps in the dead of winter when the hive dies. I will give Solomon the benefit of doubt that he can tell if mites did his hive in. I could be wrong.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  2. #62
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    They collapsed after I moved them after doing fine untreated for five years. Give me a theory that fits the evidence.
    fair enough. some have been offered already.

    but let's suppose these hives happened to have some resistance to varroa, and were never really challenged in their original location. then they were moved, and ended up robbing out other hives collapsing with varroa. in the process of robbing, they picked up a lot of mites, brought them home, and were challenged with a load that even their resistance could not handle.

    if you didn't do mite counts, what other method(s) were used to determine the absence of mites?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #63

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Also, there are no ants or wasps in the dead of winter when the hive dies.
    As of today, here I see plenty of both.

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I will give Solomon the benefit of doubt that he can tell if mites did his hive in. I could be wrong.
    Keep in mind, I never said that mites did his hives in. I do strongly believe that mites are part of nearly any collapse and small, sickly winter clusters are typical symptoms.
    At least Ace, it appears that you know you have mites in your hives. And if those hives fail, I hope you will accept that mites contributed to their demise.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    549

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    is there any way to establish the presence of mites other than a mite count? i shook out a dink last week that was down to a few hundred bees. an alcohol wash revealed more than one mite per bee! but there were none with deformed wings, and none seen on the bottom board.
    Squarepeg

    I look at brood patterns. When I see any significant spotting and/or workers uncapping brood it is usually a sign of mite. Then you test for them if you are so inclined. I did not test this fall. When I pulled honey and extracted I noticed spotty patterns. Then when uncapping the honey I had a few drone cells in the comb(I don't use excluders, except during the tupelo bloom) I saw mites on the drone brood I pulled. So I treated with apiguard.

  5. #65
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    thanks jb, nice to have another 'clue'.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #66
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    9,221

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    I hope you will accept that mites contributed to their demise.
    That and me putting supers on too fast and taking too much honey on two of my hives. If we have another light winter they might make it otherwise they are toast.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #67
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    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    Squarepeg

    I look at brood patterns. When I see any significant spotting and/or workers uncapping brood it is usually a sign of mite.
    Hmmm, I just learned something today... hygenetic behavior. If you are following a philosophy of no treatments you might want a spotty brood pattern.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #68
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    Oct 2009
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    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    549

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Hmmm, I just learned something today... hygenetic behavior. If you are following a philosophy of no treatments you might want a spotty brood pattern.
    Ace,

    You never really want a spotty brood pattern. But yes, it is a sign of hygienic behavior and pretty much all my hives exhibit it. But I still treat if the mite levels look to be too severely depleting the overall hive populations. In my area a weakened hive will succumb to SHB.

    I have only purchased 4 queens (six if you include the two that came with my original purchase hives) in three years. The balance are from my selected best performers and the cutouts and swarms I collect( mostly cutouts).

    So what do you guys think. A should I just let a hygenic hive that is weakened succumb or treat. You know my answer so answer this for yourself not me

  9. #69
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,368

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    looks like sol had to run, hopefully he will share his methods of determining the presence or absence of mites later.

    jb, i'm pretty new at this, so this is not from experience, but....

    what i think i will do if i encounter that situation, and i probably will, is....

    pinch that queen, wait for the brood to emerge, treat for the mites, and requeen from a stronger more resistant colony or bring in a queen bred for resistance.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #70
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    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Yes I know what your referring to Brian. Like I said long cold spells can prevent the hive from accessing honey. Especially if there is brood present late winter. But I will also tell you that I have not had a single strong wintering colony starve like this. Only the smaller ones. We will sometimes get cold snaps that hover in the -30 degrees C for weeks on end, 5 year ago or so we had a three week streak that our daily highs did not rise above -32 degrees C. That year I was wintering outdoors still and most all of my small hives died, but the larger hives chugged along!
    Most winters there are mild breaks that allow the hives to reorganize

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Back when this happened to my second hive I didn't know what the other possibilities could bee. I have seen it explained as a set of circumstances where the bees consume the honey upwards normally. If they eat up far enough and there is no break in the weather where they can break cluster long enough to move the honey from below they starve because they have reached the cover so they can't go up anymore. I would also say that it is late in the winter, maybe early spring where brood is being raised so they can't leave yet their need for food is greater. These conditions will not happen in the south because there are not extended periods of cold weather. Is it a beekeeper mistake? Probably, but what can you do or not do to prevent it?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,305

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    But I will also tell you that I have not had a single strong wintering colony starve like this. Only the smaller ones.
    Same here Ian. Strong colonies don't get stuck on one side of the hive and starve...or "freeze" with honey a frame away. They have a large enough cluster to be in contact with the honey.

  12. #72
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
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    800

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    OK, so what do you, Michael and Ian, consider a strong colony? And, when do you decide that?

    Is 8-10 frames of bees late summer/early fall strong? Do you like to see stronger?

    Tom

  13. #73
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    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,308

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    OK, so what do you, Michael and Ian, consider a strong colony? And, when do you decide that?

    Is 8-10 frames of bees late summer/early fall strong? Do you like to see stronger?

    Tom
    Tom: If you have a full box of bees in a fairly tight cluster I would say you have a pretty strong hive anything more than that would be a bonus. I would think if they have ample stores and reasonable protection from the elements that they would be a lock to make it through an Ohio winter. I am assuming varroa levels to be fairly low to have come into winter with a cluster that size.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #74
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Whats your thoughts on that?

    Its not whether your hives are 10 plus frames or not, thats not the point. Its whether or not you hives have meet your targets strengths.
    Ill give you some examples

    I winter in Canada, COLD. Now when I was wintering outside, my target population was 10 frames of bees plus. Anything entering at 10 frames I would consider a sure bet to survive. Now I winter indoors, my target population is 5 frames of bees plus, anything entering at that or above I would consider high chances to make it through. I also winter nucs, I want 3 frames with them.
    I would never be able to winter a nuc entering winter with three frames outdoors here,

    The point is, if the hive is managed to be a certain target strength according to your area's "climatic rules" and the hive misses the target, then something went wrong along the way. That hive entering winter smaller than was expected has a higher chance to die, cold and hungry.



    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    OK, so what do you, Michael and Ian, consider a strong colony? And, when do you decide that?

    Is 8-10 frames of bees late summer/early fall strong? Do you like to see stronger?

    Tom
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  15. #75
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    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    OK, so what do you, Michael and Ian, consider a strong colony? And, when do you decide that?

    Is 8-10 frames of bees late summer/early fall strong? Do you like to see stronger?

    Tom
    I would say that if you had a double deep hive w/ a colony when the two boxes are tipped forward you could see the bees hanging below the bottomk bars of the bottom deep and then when you removed the cover(s) you coulkd see bees between the frames in the upper deep, that would be a strong colony, in Oct. or Nov.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  16. #76
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    >>look at the feral colonies, they are getting by just fine without any intervention......

    and related to the point of the topic,
    those ferals had to meet certain targeted strengths and targeted disease control on their own accord. If they didnt measure up in anyway, the good old arm of mother nature would kill them off. Those hives would starve inches away from honey also, but it wasnt starvation that killed them. Thats the only point I was trying to make
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  17. #77
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Sorry to leave you hanging there boys. I went to see a movie.

    I don't have any solid proof that those hives didn't die of mites or problems related to mites. That wasn't the point. Nor did I ever say if anyone had been paying attention that I have no mites. The point was that where they were they were fine and when they were moved they died. The isolation argument is irrelevant because they are more isolated here not less. The small cluster argument is irrelevant because they weren't small clusters. But they did die and as far as my methods go, the only response is move on with the living.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  18. #78
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
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    731

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Is it a beekeeper mistake? Probably, but what can you do or not do to prevent it?
    Adding frames of brood to weaker colonies earlier in the season will help ensure that they have strong clusters in the winter.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  19. #79
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    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    >>look at the feral colonies, they are getting by just fine without any intervention......

    Show me the studys. Show me the data. Show me the books. I think there are a lot of assumptions about feral colonies amongst beekeepers. I think it is safe to say that feral colonys exist w/out beekeeper intervention, but to say they exist, or survive, "just fine" w/out intervention may be a stretch. Unless you consider how long a colony continually occupys a cavity in a live state.

    What is "just fine'?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  20. #80
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    >>look at the feral colonies, they are getting by just fine without any intervention......
    What is "just fine" in relation to "getting by" in the unmanaged environment? I think we may be making assumptions about the state of feral colonies which may not be true. Where are the studys?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

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