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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    375

    Default Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    Good morning everyone:
    A beautiful day here in sunny southern Alberta. I would just like to ask a quick question. In a video I watched on YouTube about the Varroa mite and bee Hygienic behavior, the beekeeper said that if you can see Varroa mites on the bees the colony is close to collapse. I'm hoping I interpreted this wrong because the big feral hive I'm feeding definitely has Varroa, I've seen them on worker bees returning to the entrance to the hive. This hive is at least 8 years old, should I be concerned?
    Thank you.
    Here is the Video:
    http://youtu.be/GTFs7wv4F2s

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,981

    Default Re: Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    Beekeepers say a lot of things on YouTube, pretty much similar to the diversity of opinions on Beesource. Just because it is on the net does not make it reliable.

    Virtually every hive in North America is likely to have varroa mites to some degree, and I'm pretty sure it is possible to see some of those mites if you look hard enough. That does not necessarily mean that each hive is "close to collapse".

    However, mites are a serious potential threat to every hive.

    This certainly has the possibility of being one of "those" threads!
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,861

    Default Re: Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    If you are feeding a feral hive it is no longer feral. And why are you feeding it?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    St. Petersburg, fl, USA
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    Rader is correct. Frequently someone tries something and it seems to work. Then they think they have made a great discovery and blather it about like it was gospel..
    If I look hard enough I can see varroa on bees. Almost every hive in the US probably has some level of the mite. The question becomes how many are too many and do I treat or not treat. Some of us on Beesource are total treatment free keepers who would never treat, some treat everything and others like me are in between. Do some research, read all the posts on beesource about varroa and make your own call about treat or not and when and with what.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,405

    Default Re: Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    I am not quite sure what you are asking.
    "should I be concerned"?
    The simple answer answer to this is, yes.

    Everyone should be concerned about mites, whether you treat or not. If you are asking if you should treat, that's something you will have to make your own personal decision about. It's impossible to know what the outcome will be with this colony. They may have built up a tolerance to mites and will do just fine. Or, the genetics could have changed over the years and they are ready to collapse. Time will tell.

    Personally, i think if you are able to spot mites on the bees then the hive is in trouble. Best thing for you to do right now would be a sugar roll and see what you come up with, then decide what path you will take.
    To everything there is a season....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,788

    Default Re: Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    If you are feeding a feral hive it is no longer feral. And why are you feeding it?
    If he tends to them like a beekeeper they are no longer feral. Perhaps he means that they were a captured swarm or a cutout of unknown origin.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    I meant I feed them in the spring before the honey flow. that's what I did last spring because around here there is nothing until we get dandelions.
    A Bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it rains.- Robert Frost

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,794

    Default Re: Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    To me seeing mites means two things and the context of where you're seeing them also plays a role. Seeing mites on bees at the landing board to me says they have a high mite count. Seeing mites in the broodnest during inspection either means a lot of mites or not a lot of capped brood is present for the mites to be hiding in.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    Thanks for the reply JRG13:
    I don't actually manage the hive because it is feral, other than a bit of syrup in the spring. I'd have to rip a wall open to get a look at the brood nest so the only place I have seen them is on the landing. I watch them from time to time and observe discards on the ground below the entrance to try to learn more about whats happening. After watching I sometimes come to the forum and try to correlate any posts with what I've observed. I'm happy knowing that I know now how to identify Varroa on a Bee. "Last Year I couldn't even say Bee Keeper and now I are one."
    A Bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it rains.- Robert Frost

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,794

    Default Re: Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    If they got mites they got mites, it's how they deal with them that's important. I have a colony that moved into some equipment, I pretty much ignore them. They had mites in drone brood a month after moving in but they built up to 3 deeps and seem healthy and ready for winter. If you're seeing bees with shriveled wings that's typically a bad sign but if they make it they make it, if not, I'm sure a swarm will move in next year to replace them.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,925

    Default Re: Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    Couple things about this, every feral hive that is healthy or even half healthy will swarm a minimum of once each year, possibly a lot more often than that. Each swarm means a new queen in the parent hive, which mates with other drones so there is a change in the genetics of around 50% each time.

    So unless very inbred, a feral hive that has been there 8 years will likely be a totally different bee to what it was originally.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,317

    Default Re: Varroa spotted on Feral hive bees

    Just a note on feral vs domestic bees.

    Feral bees can be runny, flighty, drippy, swarmy, and in a lot of ways, noticeably different from domestic stock.

    If Colino has those kind of bees, why worry?

    If they make it, they're resistant. If not, find some that are resistant.

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