Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution
Sorry Solomon was it me you wanted to respond? I did read your post at the time but didn't think to respond as your post at the time was good information, your findings what would be expected, and the mechanisms already well understood. But I can offer some comments now if you like.
Originally Posted by Solomon Parker
That mites prefer drone brood is not one of " the theories treatment-free beekeepers have had for a long time". It's a fact. There is no need to wonder why nobody responded, I don't think there was a conspiracy, just it's normal in any hive large or small cell, to find mites preferentially breeding on drones.
Couple of other bits of info on it you have not already mentioned, mites can reproduce from twice to four times as quickly on drone brood than worker, thanks to the better new mite survival rate, and also, infested drone larvae are more likely to have multiple foundress mites in the cell with them, allowing outcrossing of the mites through sexual reproduction with a different family, so this is probably a good thing for the mites and a bad thing for us.
As you don't treat you may not be aware, but one way beekeepers who treat decide when treatment is needed, is "maximum mite thresholds". A common maximum mite threshold is 25% of drone larvae infested, or 6% of worker larvae. I noted at the time that your hive was over this on both counts, at 7% for worker larvae, and 27% for drone larvae. Now here is where it gets interesting. When varroa were first introduced to your country and mine, the critical thresholds were higher. Then over the next few years as mite related pathogens such as DWV became more widespread, the critical threshold had to be lowered to the levels I mentioned.
So, your hive has more mites than the critical levels for both worker, and drone larvae. But ( i'm assuming), the hive appeared healthy. Is it still healthy? If so, it may be less mite resistance you have in your bees, but more of resistance to mite related pathogens. Allowing the bees to appear healthy even with a high mite load.
Just a few thoughts. Make sense?
Last edited by Oldtimer; 07-30-2013 at 03:07 PM.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).