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  1. #81
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    Aug 2012
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    Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: something to think about

    As someone who comes here for info on "treatment-free" I say Thank You to Michael B. for his straight forward, honest answers. I have your book Michael and it is well used, even over the winter months.

  2. #82
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    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    The reality is not that commercial beekeepers are bumbling fools who cannot even make a living from their bees.
    I can't find where Dean made this statement.
    Regards, Barry

  3. #83
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Barry, I think he was implying that I am a bumbling fool because I don't make a living with my bees...and that commercial beekeepers do. The other statements of mine that he "paraphrased" are "factually challenged".

    Deknow

  4. #84
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    Oct 2011
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    Coopersville, Michigan
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Anyway, it was the original post that interested me ignoring most of the last several pages I'll respond to that.

    <to me this sounds like a kind of unfair disadvantage to rebel beekeepers should someone successfully raise treatment free colonies. it means that even if your bees are treatment free and thriving, people would still want you to spray to prevent spreading bee diseases, meaning your own stock will be weakened and eventually no more resistant than anyone else's. does that sound right? >

    If you have thriving bees that would indicate to me that they don't have any major pests or diseases to spread. On a small scale it is doubtful that you will actually generate stock that is any different than anything around you. Since barring instrumental insemination your stock will be breeding with everything around you unless you have sufficient isolation or colonies to flood the area. If you are purchasing stock to bring in resistance you will have to continue to do so because of the aforementioned reasons.

    I'm trying russians this year and setting up a separate yard for them, I am aware however that I will have to continually buy queens each year in order to keep pure russian stock because I simply don't have enough hives to breed them myself. Stock selection is an admirable goal, but don't expect to make any lasting gains unless your hive total numbers in the hundreds. I've run into lots of very small bee keepers hoping to do breed a better bee, though it's true they will add to the gene pool it's not likely they will have any significant impact. It's a hard fact to swallow for some /shrug.

  5. #85
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    Nov 2012
    Location
    waynesboro va USA
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    24

    Default Re: something to think about

    well i was under the impression treatment free bees are still vectors for disease.

  6. #86
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    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,375

    Default Re: something to think about

    Only if they're diseased, yes? For instance, I haven't used antibiotics in years. Are my colonies vectors of American Foulbrood disease?

  7. #87
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Regarding posts 82 & 83, firstly Barry, my statement taken in context wasn't a quote, read in context, that's obvious. It was made because a picture had been painted of the old commercial beekeeper steriotype we used to see talked about on Beesource several years ago, you remember, the ones who pour chemicals into their hives, of commercial, sick, weak bees.

    Dean you keep making assumptions about what I say that take even me by surprise. After your comments pointed at large beekeepers, including implying that they pour feed syrup into their sick hives in such a way that the hives then get robbed out, and of course the beekeepers are so stupid they don't even know that, if this type of stuff was actually believed, then how come these beekeepers got enough brains to even make a living. Because if they were as stupid as that, they wouldn't.
    So my reference to them being capable of making a living, was to draw attention to the fact they are not the type of bumbling fools they are made out to be in these types of posts where gross over assumptions have been made by people who quite clearly don't know what's going on.

    I've gone back and re-read my post, and yes, I can see how it could be taken the way you have so my apologies on that. But in fact I just meant what it plainly said and it was not a comment on your beekeeping. Not everything I say is about you.

    And just so you know Dean, although we often dissagree, I actually think you are pretty intelligent, you are not a bumbling fool.

    Sorry if there's anyone else I've offended, my intention was simply to correct what I believe to be a misrepresentation of commercial beekeepers, a misrepresentation that should not keep getting dredged up and infecting the new and unknowing.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 01-07-2013 at 12:05 PM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #88
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: something to think about

    mr. c makes a good point.

    although we can certainly select and cull for the best genetics in our individual apiaries, we are very unlikely to make a significant dent in the honey bee gene pool, treatments or not.

    on the other hand, there is evidence of the mite gene pool being altered by prolonged exposure to the synthetic miticides, which has already resulted in the mites becoming resistant to some of the miticides.

    this is actully a much greater concern for the large scale commericial beekeeper than for us sideliners and hobbyists, and is why these big boys (and girls) are very interested in feasible and sustainable alternatives.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #89
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    Oct 2011
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    Coopersville, Michigan
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    260

    Default Re: something to think about

    There's a twofold problem with mite selection that often gets ignored. Yes we are worried about mite resistance to miticides, but of equal concern should be mite virulence. You see this with human diseases as well. The pathogen will tend to favor the method of quickest dispersal. In places that are unsanitary virulence is favored (cholera is a good example). The pathogen breeds as fast as possible killing the host and spreading that way. In places with better sanitation cholera tends to be less virulent. Merely making people sick so that there is more opportunity for transfer from person to person over a longer period of time.

    Mites spreading from crashing hives are likely to be more virulent, spread crash, spread crash. These are not the mites we want around (well greater of two evils I guess since I don't think anyone wants mites.) Other than avoiding crash and rob scenarios (whether treatment or treatment free) I won't claim to know how to breed a better mite, but it's something to be aware of.

  10. #90
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,120

    Default Re: something to think about

    >but of equal concern should be mite virulence.

    Yes. We are breeding stronger and stronger mites, which, in my opinion, is not what we should be doing.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #91
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Yes, no doubt, mite virulence should be a concern. Let's not forget, though, that at the same time there is also natural selection for more mite resistant bees. We don't select breeder queens from the most mite infested hives neither do the drones that dominate the mating process come from such weak hives. If mite virulence were outpacing bee tolerance I would expect a steadily increasing mite population in our bees in the 25 years since we first saw varroa. Such has not been the case.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  12. #92
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >
    Yes. We are breeding stronger and stronger mites, which, in my opinion, is not what we should be doing.
    I'm not sure what you mean by stronger so I'm not going to assume anything. The mites are going to evolve to whatever makes them more fit, or they will perish (which really doesn't seem likely at this point). A strong mite is not necessarily a bad thing, it just depends on what you mean by strong. If by stong you mean virulent then yes that is bad. If by strong you mean difficult to kill, well that's only as bad as the damage it does to a colony. If a mite is hard to kill but is not very virulent it's not much of an issue.

    Treating or not treating will not necessarily result in more virulent mites. Virulence is likely going to be most strongly correlated with how the mites are spread (at least this is the case with diseases). Mites that kill a colony and spread by robbing (horizontal transmission) are likely to be the most harmful as they primarily spread by killing the colony. Ones that spread by leaving with a reproductive swarm (vertical transmission) are going to be more successful with live colonies.

    Crashing hives still end up being the most dangerous, whether that is from allowing them to crash w/o treatments near other bees or because a treatment didn't work because the mites were resistant or whatever. If crashing hives are controlled it should help with mite virulence as well as disease prevention etc.

    Incedently I have no clue what role bee/mite drift would play on virulence as that would also be horizontal transmission.

  13. #93
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Well thought out post Mr. C. The idea of stronger and stronger mite virulence makes sense on some level. To me, though, I have seen no first hand evidence that it is actually occurring.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #94
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Yes the word "stronger" has been getting used in an overly simplistic way.

    Bit like years ago when rats got immune to some of the poisons used against them. Newspaper headlines of the day called them "super rats". But in fact they were no meaner, bigger, or nastier, than any other rat.

    In fact an argument could be made, that if a mite has to devote some of it's resources to maintaining resistance to an assortment of chemicals, it might even be less efficient in other areas, than a mite that does not have to bother.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #95
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: something to think about

    as one who has taken the use of synthetic miticides out of the equation, mites with resistance to them pose no unique problems to me.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #96
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    Default Re: something to think about

    another excellent point mr. c.

    i agree that we should be the most concerned with mites who crash colonies and are spread by robbing, and less concerned with mites that are able to achieve equilibrium without crashing their host.

    do you have any thoughts regarding mite management practices that would support selecting for the less virulent over the more virulent?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #97
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    Oct 2011
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    Coopersville, Michigan
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    Default Re: something to think about

    I can only claim theory as I haven't done or know of any studies that look at varoa virulence (not to say they aren't out there). But most best practices are things that would benefit that type of selection. A treatment beekeeper should keep levels low to prevent crashing, the same can be done by different methods for "treatment free" brood breaks etc. The main thing would be catching dwindling hives before robbing begins. That could mean isolating them, euthanizing them, combining them or any number of things I haven't thought of. A good beekeeper from either camp should probably be doing those things anyway.

    The only practices that I can see that would favor virulence are PPBing and possibly the "Bond Method" if measures aren't taken, as the method implies, and you just let them crash out. It should be pointed out that strong selection can be done without letting bees die, after all you only have to swap out the queen to change the genetics of a hive. To me it seems a huge waste to just let bees die intentionally, there's enough killing them out there I don't need to add to it. If they aren't up to snuff replace the queen and see what happens. If you don't want to treat them and they are too infested you can always shook swarm them and dust them with powdered sugar and start over with a new queen if you don't let them go too far downhill.

  18. #98
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    Default Re: something to think about

    now that's definitely 'something to think about'. many thanks mr. c.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #99
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    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    In fact an argument could be made, that if a mite has to devote some of it's resources to maintaining resistance to an assortment of chemicals, it might even be less efficient in other areas, than a mite that does not have to bother.
    I'm assuming that here, you are referring to the same concepts I was bringing up wrt antibiotic resistance gut bacteria?

    There is a piece missing. In the case of the gut bacteria, we were talking about non-target, non-pathogenic organisms...organisms that help the bees be bees. In the case of those bacteria, if they are in an environment free of antibiotcs, the burden of maintaining antibiotic resistance hinders their ability to accomplish their other tasks/functions efficiently (supporting the bees). Of course, if antibiotics are present, the cost of resistance pays off big time.

    Now, a mite that is adapting to a miticide is different (even though it doesn't seem so at first). Sure, a mite can come up with resistance mechanisms given time and selection pressure (apistan resistant mites are a reality). ...but, we can't choose what "method" the mites will use to overcome the miticide...especially those miticides that we are told the mites cannot develop a resistance to.

    So, yes, there very well can be (and probably is) some metabolically expensive resistance mechanisms that have developed in the mite as a result of treatment. Yes, these adaptations may put the mite at a metabolic/reproductive disadvantage when the specific treatment isn't used.

    But protein production protecting from a specific miticide is only one way that mites can "fight back" against miticides. Other options include:

    faster reproduction
    more offspring/mating
    behaviors that increase the amount the mites move from hive to hive
    hosting of more viruses to keep the colony weak enough for mite infestation

    ...these kinds of adaptations might well be a disadvantage in a "natural system" where the mites and bees are simply working things out....but mites with these kinds of traits are going to be harder for all beekeepers to deal with...treatment or no treatment.

    deknow

  20. #100
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    I'm assuming that here, you are referring to the same concepts I was bringing up wrt antibiotic resistance gut bacteria?

    deknow
    No it never crossed my mind Deknow. For goodness sake, everything i say is not about you, or to do with you.

    As to the rest of your post, some valid points.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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