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  1. #1

    Default HITS method of mite control

    I expect that most of us have heard of the ‘Bond’ or ‘Live and Let Die’ method of mite resistance selection.
    I would like to propose a new term for a different one. I want to call it the Head in the Sand (HITS) method. Going forward, I will try to use this term when responding to those who make statements such as ‘I don’t see mites, I don’t test for ‘em and they aren’t a problem’.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  2. #2
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    Where's the like button?
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    Where's the like button?
    1 user agrees
    Beeless since 2012; coming back in 2014. Suffering from apicultural withdrawal!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    Mr. bush doesn't agree.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    I know Mike doesn't agree. And he puts his health certificates up for all to see... His book(s), web site and participation on BeeSource and other internet bee sites (Dee's Organic Beekeepers List and BeeMaster that I know of) have helped many, many people. Gotta wonder, doesn't he run many more colonies than the 23 that were inspected in 2012?

    It seems to me the main thrust of HITS is not recognizing that mite infestation exacerbates colony loss in a variety of ways. It seems problematic to say "The colony died of X" when X might not have been a problem for the colony had Varroa not also been present.
    Last edited by Andrew Dewey; 05-19-2013 at 02:45 PM. Reason: not sure I want to open this can of worms
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  6. #6

    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    Quote Originally Posted by dphillipm View Post
    Mr. bush doesn't agree.
    I find it surprising that ol' W even has an opinion on the subject.......
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  7. #7

    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    It seems problematic to say "The colony died of X" when X might not have been a problem for the colony had Varroa not also been present.
    Here’s one analogy.
    I’m in an auto accident and hurt my arm. Friends tell me to get it x-rayed. Nope, says I…it ain’t broke….I’ve broken bones before, so I can tell. A couple of weeks later it is even more swollen and painful. Another week passes and I start running a fever. Must just be the flu….darn that arm is swollen and painful. Gangrene? No way….that arm ain’t broke. A week later I die in bed. They do an autopsy and discover fluid in my lungs. Cause of death….pneumonia.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  8. #8
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    I tend to think the Varroa mite problem has echoes in the introduction of rabbits in Australia in 1859. At the time, their initial response was to do nothing about them.

    I believe those who choose to ignore varroa mites or insist they're not "really" a problem for honey bees are paving the way for a similar outcome.
    Beeless since 2012; coming back in 2014. Suffering from apicultural withdrawal!

  9. #9
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    Arlee MT USA
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    Sure, they are a problem, probably the biggest one. And one without an effective solution. I'd rather work on the things I can control than worry about the things I can't. Bees are going to die either way.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    But varroa can be controlled. There are all manner of methods, from strong chemicals to specialized hive furniture and everything in between.
    Beeless since 2012; coming back in 2014. Suffering from apicultural withdrawal!

  11. #11
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    I think HITS applies where mites are an issue. I think evidence provided by Mr. Bush points to him not really having a mite issue which I bet he would address if he had in some manner.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    Unfortunately, mite treatments or not, the viruses transmitted by Varroa have found their way into native pollinators. Pathogen spillover.

    We need to beat the mites and their viruses.

  13. #13
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    May 2012
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    Litchfield, CT, USA
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    It is difficult to face the fact that we cannot beat the evil Varroa the bees need to. Spraying, applying, misting, fogging only prolongs the inevitable. Selection is the only true cure. The problem is as soon as hygenic behavior is selected properly it gets watered down by less hygenic genetics via open mating.

    Unfortunately the process of biological selection takes time and sacrafices and unfortunately humans don't like to wait or sacrifice
    Last edited by dnichols; 05-19-2013 at 05:27 PM. Reason: Spelling

  14. #14
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    Natural history has shown us that biological selection might just as easily choose the mites over the bees. That kind of thing has happened countless times in geological history.

    So much of apis mellifera's development has been directed by humans - its distribution over the world, the creation of so many of its subspecies. It's really our "fault" so to speak that honey bees as we know them even exist in the Americas for instance; likewise, it's our "fault" as it were that varroa has ended up in all these places. The "natural" component to the relationship between bees and varroa, at least in the New World, is already well out the window.
    Beeless since 2012; coming back in 2014. Suffering from apicultural withdrawal!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    But varroa can be controlled. There are all manner of methods, from strong chemicals to specialized hive furniture and everything in between.
    When the pro treatment guys stop having 30%+ losses I'll start treating. I really don't care about natural, I care about what gives the most reward for the least effort.

    Treat=bees dying anyway, possibly making stronger mites and weak bees.

    Don't treat= bees die anyway, possible making stronger bees.

    Head in sand? maybe, but Forum rules won't let me say where I think pro treatment people have their heads stuck.

  16. #16
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    Lititz, PA, USA
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerindel View Post
    When the pro treatment guys stop having 30%+ losses I'll start treating. I really don't care about natural, I care about what gives the most reward for the least effort.
    This past winter my losses were 0%. Estimated average losses for my local club....40%. Am I *that* much better of a beekeeper. No way. I treat. Most all of the losses were the typical booming hives in August-September, then small dead clusters with plenty of honey.

    It sure is good bees aren't cute. Don't construe this as me saying my bees are my pets because they're not, but imagine saying, "I'm not treating my dog for heartworm, I'll let him die and then keep buying dogs trying to find one that's able to fight it off."

    I really liked one of Randy Oliver's recent articles in which he said, and of course rightly so, that the ability of a colony to keep mite counts low is all in the the genetics and they're all coming from the queen. It's daft (my word, not his) to sacrifice all those workers and their working colony because the genetics of the queen are subpar. Treat the hive and replace the queen. Keep monitoring. Lather, rinse, repeat until you find those great queens.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    What do the pro-treatment guys have to say about a 30% annual loss of bees? Lets have the opinion of those running over 100 hives only. John

  18. #18
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    Well first of all a "loss" is a pretty loosely defined term but if the definition refers to the total hives lost in a spring to spring year the 30% figure is actually quite manageable assuming that the other 70% are strong hives. With that scenario you could easily make increase if you wanted.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  19. #19
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    Nov 2011
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    Johnson City, TN
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    I like what one guy said on here. Beekeeping vs beehaving. Beekeeping you obtain bees and watch after them feed them and treat them when needed and keep them alive. Beehaving you obtain bees and they sit in a hive and you have them till they get sick and die, which they will, and then obtain more bees repeat.
    All beekeepers can agree on one thing, and that one thing is, that all beekeepers can't agree on one thing.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: HITS method of mite control

    Dan , I like it, a well chosen moniker.

    Crazy roland

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