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  1. #21
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Sally: Sticky boards are good and they dont kill bees. You will, however, get a more accurate count (assuming your sampling is consistent) with an alcohol shake or ether roll because you physically dislodge the mites and you are working with a finite number of bees plus you get an immediate on the spot assessment without having to return another day. Sticky board counts will vary with cluster size and how active the bees are.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  2. #22
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    Dec 2011
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    Springfield, MO, USA
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Jim, you didnt provide "SPECIFIC CRITERIA/EVIDENCE" in determining your hives died due to mites
    Neither did you Ian except for some very specific tolerance levels. How are you determining the "viral loads"? Are you testing or assuming?

    Jim is correct in everything he says except for the assumption that I don't "choose to accept" the mites. I am well aware that mites affect everything (and also aware that he has much more experience).

    The point of this thread is to challenge folks to look beyond mites as the cause of every hive crash. It is just too easy to blame mites and stop looking at the rest of your operation. I was hoping some of you would be able to give us some more specific diagnostic tools to help us see that there may be MORE causes to the hive failures than just "mites". I was hoping for more than assumptions and "I would bet's" and general re-hashing of well known effects of mites on the hives. I think I was hoping for something that would help determine the differnece between when mites were the major contributing factor or when it was something else. It is a lofty hope.

    My hives survive and even thrive with mites. I have hives that are over 8 years old. I see feral colonies that also do well for years. So I become a little cynical (sorry) when I see so many people say "mites killed my hives" as if mites were the only contributing factor. I was hoping to encourage them to see not just the mites, but the other things that caused the hive to crash.

    If we don't look at mites as only part of the problem, then we are doomed to keep repeating management practices that also contribute to the problem. Mites are a huge problem but they aren't the ONLY problem we have.
    Jeffrey Maddox
    www.MaddoxBees.com

  3. #23
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    Jan 2003
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    I dont have the facility to test for viral loads, neither does my extensions office. I do however look for evidence of viral infections, visual diagnosis can be done for a few viral infections. Read up on virus in bees and their interaction between the mite, nosema and other viruses.

    If you notice, and I dont think you do, most all the posters who have contributed to this thread suggest a common theme. Compounding factors take the hives down, with a focus on the mite. So when someone suggests that mites took the hive down, they initially did, but it usually was the secondary infection that finished the hive off.
    Your arguing a point that everyone has already accepted,
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  4. #24
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Jeff: Hey I think we are getting somewhere and I apologize if I was being presumptive. For the record I am not one of those folks who think the Treatment Free folks are on another planet in their thinking. Quite to the contrary, I am intrigued by reading about their experiences with an eye towards learning something. Yes hives have other stresses, no doubt, and yes its impossible in many cases to assess the cause of death of a particular hive in some sort of proportional way as to what may have been the culprit or culprits. The main point I am making is that varroa remains the biggest problem that beekeepers face. To assign the cause of death to a hive that freezes in the winter as simply the cold or a hive that had a specific nosema count as death by nosema while overlooking the biggest known stress that hives face as being at least a contributing cause is not being very realistic. I think its fair to even go as far as to say that every hive (at least in countries where mites exist) faces varroa stress to some degree its just a fact of beekeeping.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #25
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    Dec 2011
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    Springfield, MO, USA
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    102

    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    I am not arguing a point. Just trying to raise awareness.
    Jeffrey Maddox
    www.MaddoxBees.com

  6. #26
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    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
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    1,849

    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    I dont have the facility to test for viral loads, neither does my extensions office. I do however look for evidence of viral infections, visual diagnosis can be done for a few viral infections. Read up on virus in bees and their interaction between the mite, nosema and other viruses.
    Dave Wick in MT does this for a reasonable price. I'll be using him again this year. Didn't last year and am seeing some evidence of virus issues. Should have used him.

  7. #27
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    Dec 2011
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    Springfield, MO, USA
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Thanks Jim. No worries here.

    Again, you are right that there are many factors in the collapse of a hive. Mites are not the only thing that cause hives to collapse. And, the causes are often very difficult to sort out - dealing with living organisms is rarely easy.

    I was hoping to encourage folks to look, not just at the mites, but also at these other factors.
    Jeffrey Maddox
    www.MaddoxBees.com

  8. #28
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by camero7 View Post
    Dave Wick in MT does this for a reasonable price. I'll be using him again this year. Didn't last year and am seeing some evidence of virus issues. Should have used him.
    Interesting info to be sure but would it have changed any of your management decisions?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  9. #29
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by SallyD View Post
    Can you explain this? What do you do with alcohol for mite counts? I use the sticky board for mite counts.
    as was mentioned, it's a better way to calculate % infestation.

    i.e. 9 mites washed out of 300 bees = 3% infestation.

    (if someone doesn't want to kill bees, powdered sugar can be used instead of alcohol. i choose alcohol so i can have a better comparison to others using alcohol)

    what's not clear at this stage of the game is what percent infestation is being tolerated by bees in treatment free operations. i know about my own in the next year or two. in the mean time, i'm hoping i can get some numbers from other treatment free beekeepers. the problem is that many of them don't sample for mites.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #30
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    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    2,667

    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by camero7 View Post
    Dave Wick in MT does this for a reasonable price. I'll be using him again this year. Didn't last year and am seeing some evidence of virus issues. Should have used him.
    Not sure I understand how you would proceed differently with significantly positive virus test results. Can you elaborate?
    Last edited by AstroBee; 01-04-2013 at 02:30 PM. Reason: typo

  11. #31

    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maddox65804 View Post
    I was hoping for more than assumptions and "I would bet's" and general re-hashing of well known effects of mites on the hives. I think I was hoping for something that would help determine the differnece between when mites were the major contributing factor or when it was something else. It is a lofty hope.
    You don’t think this is a viable answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    And if you are testing, you already know the answer to your original question.
    In your measuring to see how each hive performs…so that you can do solid comparisons…what method of varroa testing do you use? And when those hives fail and your refer to your notes…how were their mite loads?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  12. #32
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by camero7 View Post
    Dave Wick in MT does this for a reasonable price. I'll be using him again this year. Didn't last year and am seeing some evidence of virus issues. Should have used him.
    what would he charge for a single sample? How many of the viruses does he look for?
    Does he measure the viral infection on a scale of low to high? Do we know enough about viral infections to be able to measure infection yet?

    How is knowing the viral infection within a beekeepers operation going to aid in our mite treatment response?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  13. #33
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maddox65804 View Post
    Mites are not the only thing that cause hives to collapse. And, the causes are often very difficult to sort out - dealing with living organisms is rarely easy.
    I am not sure this is what you are looking for but some hives die from mistakes. Last year when I got flustered pulling frames I got the two queens together in one hive. I am sure that killed the other hive even though they both had mites.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #34

    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Perhaps I am misreading but the tone of the OP seems to be a challenge to prove what he may not accept and that is that varroa kills hives.
    I think you are in the right neighborhood with this Jim. I'm thinking that he wasn't really wanting ideas...he wanted to express his opinion. If he were really doing any sort of real queen selecting, he'd know if varroa were killing his colonies.
    Oh well...got to run. A beekeeping class a hundred miles away. One of the topics for today I call 'the Dark Side of Beekeeping'. I bet you can guess what that covers.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  15. #35
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    3,072

    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Sally: Sticky boards are good and they dont kill bees. You will, however, get a more accurate count (assuming your sampling is consistent) with an alcohol shake or ether roll because you physically dislodge the mites and you are working with a finite number of bees plus you get an immediate on the spot assessment without having to return another day. Sticky board counts will vary with cluster size and how active the bees are.
    Alcohol wash gives a more accurate count and mites do kill bees. So spare a cup full of bees and kill a colony.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  16. #36
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    Dec 2008
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    syracuse n.y.
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    here is the BVS web site which gives some information, but to get most of the info. you need an id. If I remember correctly they were set up by dr. jerry bromenshank as part of the work he was doing with the army. But what to do when you know you have a virus? I would treat for mites again?

    http://www.bvs-inc.us/index.php?opti...d=17&Itemid=25
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  17. #37
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Jim, you didnt provide "SPECIFIC CRITERIA/EVIDENCE" in determining your hives died due to mites
    Actually he does. Hive losses before and after mites.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maddox65804 View Post
    The point of this thread is to challenge folks to look beyond mites as the cause of every hive crash. It is just too easy to blame mites and stop looking at the rest of your operation.

    I was hoping some of you would be able to give us some more specific diagnostic tools to help us see that there may be MORE causes to the hive failures than just "mites".

    My hives survive and even thrive with mites. I have hives that are over 8 years old. I see feral colonies that also do well for years. So I become a little cynical (sorry) when I see so many people say "mites killed my hives" as if mites were the only contributing factor. I was hoping to encourage them to see not just the mites, but the other things that caused the hive to crash.

    If we don't look at mites as only part of the problem, then we are doomed to keep repeating management practices that also contribute to the problem. Mites are a huge problem but they aren't the ONLY problem we have.
    I see plenty of looking beyond the mite as a problem with bees. It may be you that is fixated on the mite. I see far more winter prep conversations. splitting in the spring conversation. feeding. inspection and many other management issue targeted toward many bee health and colony strength issue. Mite management tends to be a part of most issues as well.

    As for other monitoring. In addition to the evidences offered for mite determination in a dead colony. a microscope to monitoring nosema levels and tracheal mite levels. I have not seen anything on monitoring deformed wing virus or any of the other minor diseases of the colony. There area also some fairy well documented techniques for foul brood, chalk brood etc.
    Mites get rehashed and will until a solution is found . and that is as it should be.

    If it is true that colony can thrive with just an infestation of mites. this would be evidence that it is not the mite that is the problem for the bees. As others have said. the mite may very well be only the carrier of what is fatal to the colony. The presence of the mite is still the cause of the problem. I do agree that at least to some degree more exact and in depth discussion of exactly why the mite is a problem. and that discussion does not necessarily begin with "If the mite is a problem".

    I have seen two symptoms among my bees that caused me to be concerned about mite levels.

    1. I would from time to time see a few bees, although very few. with deformed wings.
    2. far more frequently But still mot a lot, I would see bees unable to fly running across the ground. the impression was that they where being attacked by something and extremely frantic. They would fall over and roll around on the ground then start running again. always directly away from the hive. (Tracheal Mites?)

    I have no link to say that either has any connection to mites. I did pull drone brood from it's cell and found a very high mite load. So this confirms that mites can be present in high numbers in an otherwise nearly completely healthy hive.

    I do agree on this principal. You cannot keep doing the same thing expecting different results. I believe the results of current methods are well known and almost utterly poorly reported. They are exaggerated in one direction or the other. And even with that very little if any actual documenting or track of of actual results are found.

    That results vary widely indicates the problem is far more complex than is currently being looked at. I believe the related factor may span as far as environmental conditions where bees in a drought will be effected more than those on a flow, etc. Humidity may play a part. average temperature. a colder or warmer than normal winter. a hotter or cooler than average summer.

    Yet suggest doing one thing different and it is met with venomous rejection. "We are doing it as our forefathers did it". So what your forefathers would be bankrupt and keeping rabbits by now.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Yet suggest doing one thing different and it is met with venomous rejection. "We are doing it as our forefathers did it". So what your forefathers would be bankrupt and keeping rabbits by now.
    I dont see any of that right now.
    Conventions are full, ideas are being shared, this discussion board is active.

    What is this "old" method of beekeeping people keep referring to
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  20. #40
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    Default Re: How do you KNOW that mites caused the hive to crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    I dont see any of that right now.
    Conventions are full, ideas are being shared, this discussion board is active.

    What is this "old" method of beekeeping people keep referring to
    I plan on being at the AHP convention next week to catch up on the latest old stuff. Whatever it takes to avoid "venomous rejection".
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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