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  1. #1
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    Default mite counts in tfb

    primer: for the sake of this thread, and if barry is ok with it, it's not against any 'rule' to mention any intervention or treatment.

    my interest in primarily toward understanding how beekeepers who avoid treatments deal with the varroa mite.

    we all understand the bond method, but i am guessing that not all treatment free beekeepers are bond beekeepers.*

    so, other than letting colonies just die out from varroa infestion, how do you who avoid treatments:

    1. ascertain mite levels
    2. decide on mite level that necessitates action
    3. decide on an action, and what is it?



    * if all treatment free beekeepers are bond beekeepers disregard this thread.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  2. #2
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    *In fact, not all of them are.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    shewee, i was worried about that. i feel better now, thanks sol.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    If you'd like me to explain the sort of actions one might take, the whys and why nots and whatnots, I can, but I'd rather leave it up to those who actually use those methods for now.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    i would like anyone to feel free to chime in as they feel led to do so. i guess it would be more meaningful if folks are reporting real life experiences, but i don't mind the 'well, i was thinking i might try this.....' kind of post as well. at this point, i'm addicted to my laptop anyway, so it don't matter.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
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    5,113

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i'm addicted to my laptop anyway
    Oh yeah?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #7
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    Apr 2010
    Location
    Garfield, Arkansas, USA
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    88

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    So, what is a "bond beekeeper"?

    Dave

  8. #8
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Well, bizzare as it may sound, my hives that have a large (natural) amount of drone comb and drones, have done better mitewise than the hives that have a restricted amount of drones.

    Of course that goes against everything we've ever been taught, we all know it's a fact that drones are mite factories, right!

    It could be that i've only got a few TF hives and it was just chance. But anyhow I'm going to keep observing this to see if it starts looking like there's a correlation.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #9
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Quote Originally Posted by RedDave View Post
    So, what is a "bond beekeeper"?

    Dave
    James Bond as in live and let die. A Bond beekeeper does not do any mite treatment and if the hive is going to die he lets it. The theory is the strong survive and you breed from them. Actually I think there's another reason why the method got named the Bond method, but that's how most people remember it, live and let die.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #10
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    Sep 2009
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    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    876

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Im trying out small cell, queens that were born after june 15th, with a brood break, adding some survival feral stock. Nothing new just following in the footsteps of some others.
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  11. #11
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    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    primer: for the sake of this thread, and if barry is ok with it, it's not against any 'rule' to mention any intervention or treatment.

    my interest in primarily toward understanding how beekeepers who avoid treatments deal with the varroa mite.

    we all understand the bond method, but i am guessing that not all treatment free beekeepers are bond beekeepers.*

    so, other than letting colonies just die out from varroa infestion, how do you who avoid treatments:

    1. ascertain mite levels
    2. decide on mite level that necessitates action
    3. decide on an action, and what is it?



    * if all treatment free beekeepers are bond beekeepers disregard this thread.
    Apparently those who don't treat don't do much or any mite counting. When I asked if anyone was interested in participating in Randy Oliver's Monthly Mite Count Study I got a resounding "NO!!". So, sp, good luck w/ your Thread.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  12. #12
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    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    hmmm I buy from treatment free breeders, and never do mite counts nor treat for mites. Haven't lost a hive to mites since starting this method, going on 6-7 years now. I guess that makes me a Bond Beekeeper.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    591

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    hmmm I buy from treatment free breeders, and never do mite counts nor treat for mites. Haven't lost a hive to mites since starting this method, going on 6-7 years now. I guess that makes me a Bond Beekeeper.
    Regards,
    Steven
    What have your losses been from?

  14. #14
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    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Mostly starvation late winter/early spring. Lost one hive to the small hive beetle. Lost a nuc to robbing. Had a newly hived swarm abscond.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  15. #15
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    many thanks for the replys. i'm looking forward to joining the conversation, but the day job is holding me hostage.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #16
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    i'm back, and just finished reading adam's new thread 'how long......'. i really enjoyed that.

    i confess that my mite assessments didn't go beyond pulling a few drone larvae early in the season. i assumed all was well because the bees came from treatment free resistant stock, and by gross observation all appeared well as the season progressed. no mite treatments were used this year.

    then i had a hive die. this one had been lagging behind the rest all along, but the number of mites i found in the alcohol wash took me by surprise. it makes me wonder if two other hives that i have, which are light on stores, are perhaps struggling with mites.

    oldtimer, you have mentioned having several hives that you are managing treatment free. are you measuring mite loads in them? are you considering any intervention if they start to fail?

    steveng, i know you've been at this for awhile, and i congratulate you for having one of the success stories. i mean no disrespect, but is it possible that your starvation and beetle losses occurred in colonies that were already weakened to some degree by mites? i think that you have mentioned having used 'soft treatments' in the past, can you elaborate on that? and, what is your approach to managing a hive that is in a death spiral?
    Last edited by squarepeg; 11-20-2012 at 05:51 PM. Reason: sp
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #17
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Yes I do a rough method of monitoring mites, just by eyeballing the brood and the odd bit of drone sampling, same as I do for my treated hives. Wouldn't recommend this method to anyone else though especially someone just starting out. It is VERY easy for someone to underestimate their mite numbers plus the damage they are doing, I see this all the time, your last post Squarepeg, gives an example. Many people think there is no mite problem, and only wonder after the hive is actually dead. But even then they'll often attribute it to something else, I've seen claims of starvation, when honey was 1/2 inch away from the cluster.

    No I won't be intervening if they fail, goes a bit against the grain but to give it a fair shot I have to use exactly the same methods as those who claim success.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  18. #18
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    understood, thanks ot.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #19
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    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    We check for mites in the drone brood with a cappings scraper.

    More than one mite in a "coop" is concerning.

    We strike drone brood at all times.

    Crazy roland

  20. #20
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    thanks roland. is a 'coop' a cappings scraper full of drone larvae? sounds like you don't normally see many mites, are you applying preventative treatments? by 'striking' drone brood at all times, you are getting rid of it, correct?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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