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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Bertie County,NC
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    870

    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    just want to throw some of my thoughts out there.

    Could it be that the bees themselves are trying to overcome the varroa problem? What I mean by this is could it be that the bees swarm sometimes for the exclusive purpose of reducing mites in the hive? And if this is the case if we allow nature to take it's course in the swarm situation and not get involved (catching and re-hiving) would it or could it allow the bees to naturally "control" the mites in their own way?

    Please do not crucify me...I have no science to back this....just thoughts.

  2. #42
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    That could work for some colonies, but not for beekeepers who want to make a living from keeping bees. Not a bad question.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    Also constant swarming might work to control mites, but make it difficult for colonies to acquire sufficient winter stores in the North.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  4. #44
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    Feb 2010
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    New York City, NY
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    sqkcrk:

    We know a lot about Varroa. And, there's more on the way.

    By the way, it's the viruses with which Varroa can infect Honeybees that are the real killer.

    DWV really has me concerned since I learned that it has jumped species into the common eastern bumblebee.

    By the way Newjoe, there is a method that uses artificial brood breaks (but not swarming) called MDA splitter. One set of bees is used for production and allowed to fade to the mites, The other set is split one or more times to provide artificial brood breaks and are then overwintered for next year's production.

    You could always get hygienic stock though.

  5. #45
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    Jan 2009
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Shouldn't the ultimate goal be to not need to use any chemical mite control at all?
    Of course that is what everyone wants. And hopefully to get to that point with sufficient bees and genetic diversity to weather the next big thing too.

    And when I said "get rid of them" I meant something like get to the point where they are not an all consuming threat to bees and bee keeping like they may be now or have been in the recent past. But I suspect most of us understand that.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  6. #46
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    Feb 2010
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    Africanized bees in Brazil don't have a problem with either the Korea, or Japan, haplotype of Varroa.

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
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    279

    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    After doing cutouts for several years and doing it as a business this year one question has constantly crossed my mind when I cutout hives that have been in the same location for several years. How did these bees survive with no intervention? I know sometimes the bees in some of those hives may have died and been replaced by other swarms but many of these hives have comb in them that show they have been there for years without a break that allowed the moths and shb to clean up the old comb. One thought that comes to mind is that we as beekeepers are contradicting nature by placing a large number of hives in close proximity to each other. In nature you don't see feral hives located near one another. I think this makes it harder for hive pests to migrate from one hive to the other due to predation of the pests. When we place hives as close as we do its easier for the pests to spread without having to worry about predators getting them before arriving at the next hive. I know that to be profitable we need the hives where we can work them efficiently but maybe we can look for ways to increase the number of predators to these pests (if we can figure out what they are) into the areas where we keep our bees.
    "Of all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves its environment and preys on no other species."--Haydon Brown

  8. #48
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    Feb 2010
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    I think that I can say, without fear of contradiction, that Varroa has forced us all to have a truly profound understanding of Honeybee Biology.

  9. #49
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    What is the natural predator of Varroa? A virus? Is there a biological control?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  10. #50
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    Have you ever been bitten by a VSH bee? Ouch!

    There has been some work on entomopathogens for Varroa treatment.

    I don't know of any natural predators for Varroa. You'd probably have to send an expedition out to Asia to find any.

    What ever happened to pseudo-scorpions? Or should I say, Chelifers.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...al+maintenance
    Last edited by WLC; 08-28-2013 at 08:23 AM.

  11. #51
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    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    Mites aren't much of an issue where I am. The only bees I have had that had problems with them were bees I bought and had shipped in.

    Some of those African bees could be considered predators of VSH.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  12. #52
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    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    1,256

    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Shouldn't the ultimate goal be to not need to use any chemical mite control at all? Maybe there is a way we can address Varroa through management techniques. We already see benefits to the use of Drone Comb Manipulation as done by Roland.
    One thing you have to say for mites is that they've forced people to try to understand the complexity of the hive inner ecosystem. When my grandfather was keeping bees back in the 50s, the general view was that beekeeping was a fairly simple and undemanding form of animal husbandry, compared to other livestock. I don't suppose any thoughtful person sees it that way these days.

    The mites have certainly caused me to learn about the subject in much greater depth than I would have imagined possible a year ago.

    Regarding that complexity, drone management is an example. It sure sounds like a plausible way to cut mite load. But according to the BeeInformed survey, it makes no difference in colony survival. What to believe? That same sort of thing seems to be true of many other cultural practices rumored to be effective... as well as, I'm starting to think, the genetic approach.

    My opinion is that the solution to treatment free bees is going to turn out to be a whole bunch of little things, including genetics. There isn't going to be a silver bullet, and this is usually the case with living systems.

    Complexity.

  13. #53
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    >What is the natural predator of Varroa?

    Pseudo scorpions.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #54
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    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    I know a lot of you have heard it before, but here is my unscientific idea about these mite resistant wild dark bees we find now in most parts of our country... I think they are remnants of the Brazilian invasion. As they headed north, they express the european genetics they have absorbed as they moved out of the tropical regions. That ends up being mostly black/dark bee traits. The only way to know would be to do test their MtDNA, but who can afford that?

    It would explain the mite resistance, and the sudden appearance of darker bees where lighter ones used to predominate - especially after the others were pretty much wiped out by varroa.

    By the way - maybe we don't have as much varroa here in NM because we are crawling with Pseudo-scorpions? And just scorpions in general.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  15. #55
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    > Respectfully and truly curious, are their other livestock that a similar approach has been effective with?

    I've taken it with chickens. I never by medicated feed. I never medicate them. I used to dust them for lice, but they seem to do fine with dusting themselves with dust...

    The more we don't take this approach the more we create animals who can't survive on their own and require our help...

    > Michael Palmer has said that Kirk has had very high losses recently. Do you know the reason for this?

    I do not. However, I know that winter losses vary much from year to year depending on things like the length of winter (no cleansing flights and no days to rearrange stores), a failed fall flow or a good fall flow, and just how bitterly cold it gets and for how long. Also, in my experience until you either let the bees build their own comb or you get them on small cell, you will continue to lose bees to Varroa. Kirk's foundation is about 5.1 or 5.2mm. In my experience you don't get real Varroa control until you hit about 4.9mm or smaller in the core of the brood nest.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #56
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    Feb 2010
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    New York City, NY
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qw3eVjQPXQ

    That's a pseudoscorpion eating Varroa mites.

    Paul:

    I think that those dark bees you're seeing may be the descendants of the bees introduced into New Spain by Cortez.

    They certainly fit the description of Spanish bees.

    They've probably been in the Sierra's for centuries.

  17. #57
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >What is the natural predator of Varroa?

    Pseudo scorpions.
    Were we to propogate them what would the negative impact be?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    >Kirk's foundation is about 5.1 or 5.2mm. In my experience you don't get real Varroa control until you hit about 4.9mm or smaller in the core of the brood nest.

    Every single cutout I have performed has had a worker cell size of 4.9mm or just under 5mm. Is this commonplace in your region?

  19. #59
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    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    Pipiyolti - if you are using the wild bees here, you will more than likely never see mites as a problem - and yes, they are tiny. I have one cut-out going on just about 5 years - never treated for anything. Never feed them either. That is one BIG hive of bees too. They aren't always the most well behaved, but they are definite survivors. I have sold several splits of them to locals who want a bee that is workable, but doesn't require a lot of care - all with the caveat of I don't really know what they are. They are dark and overwinter here at 7-8000' really well.

    Sqkcrk, you are probably right about the Cortez bees, but I have no proof other than circumstantial evidence.

    By the way, you can come to my basement and catch all the pseudo scorpions and centipedes you could ever want.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: "What is Varroa good for?"

    Cortez bees? Did I mention them? I forget.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

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