Page 1 of 22 12311 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 430
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default The Scourge of Varroa?

    My first decade here in the Tucson/Marana area, I started my colonies with a cutout and increased my colonies with walk-away splits. Since then I have managed to requeen all colonies that exhibit traits that might indicate they have AHB genetics. Because I once kept them and am in their occupied territory, others have assumed that I am continuing to keep AHB, but I am not. I import queens and I constantly requeen any colony that exhibits behavior I deem unacceptable.

    I do not now, nor have I ever, used any mite treatments.

    It was, after keeping about a dozen colonies, for my first decade, that I heard, I should expect my colonies to succumb to Varroa, after their second or at most, third year. Thank goodness neither my bees, nor the Varroa, can read.

    I began this thread, because it is difficult for me to believe all the hype being promulgated about Varroa - especially how devastating they are, since they have yet to show any of that devastation to my own colonies.

    I believe that those who are reporting Varroa devastation, are sincere. However, after my own experience, it is difficult to believe that those beliefs are entirely justified.

    Even some fellow beekeepers, in my own area, are treating for Varroa. Either they are mistaken, or somehow my bees, in my area, are immune from this dreaded curse, while colonies in nearby areas, are being devastated by them.

    There is only one factor, that is entirely different in my location, than almost any other location I am familiar with: I am on the edge of a national park, and my rural area has virtually no gardening or landscaping that would warrant the use of any pesticide, at all. Additionally, the nearest agriculture is several miles beyond normal flight range.

    Belief can be a very strong influence. But, no matter how many times people tell me my hives will die if I do not treat them for Varroa. Not treating them, now, for more than 20 years, seems to make that prediction, obviously false.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 12-21-2013 at 09:21 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,016

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    I'm glad to hear that Joseph, its hard to argue with 20 years of TF beekeeping.

    I think I've seen you write that all beekeeping is local. Along that line of thought, i saw a world map highlighting areas infested with varroa. The arid regions of East, Central Africa (Kenya, and the Sudans in particular) were not included in the infestation. Is your arid environment, and subsequent lower hive humidity a factor in your good fortune?
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,704

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Do you see mites in your hives? Location is everything. If you really want to test your bees bring them this way...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Would you agree that a high degree of African genes within the DNA pool in your area might be a large factor in the results you speak of? It may be that some of the Varroa eliminating benefits are being exhibited while some of the "attack" genes have dissipated!!!! The Africans sneak in queens on a regular basis from what I have read.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,250

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Joe: Good for you. A couple of questions. What percentage of your queens would you estimate are locally mated? Are your imported queens marked so you can monitor supercedure rates?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    I began this thread, because it is difficult for me to believe all the hype being promulgated about Varroa - especially how devastating they are, since they have yet to show any of that devastation to my own colonies.

    I believe that those who are reporting Varroa devastation, are sincere. However, after my own experience, it is difficult to believe that those beliefs are entirely justified.

    Even some fellow beekeepers, in my own area, are treating for Varroa. Either they are mistaken, or somehow my bees, in my area, are immune from this dreaded curse, while colonies in nearby areas, are being devastated by them.
    Very good job!
    The real change in beekeeping happens only and then when beekeepers realize that varroa is our friend. We are now killing the mites as well as we can, target 100%. In fact we should be killing so few of them as possible, to keep bees alive. Many times the local beekeeping advisor has told me that my losses are equal to many treating beekeepers. Makes you wonder what is wrong with them...

    This thread could also be under "Treatmentfree beekeeping"
    Treatment free, honey production, isolation mated queens, www.saunalahti.fi/lunden/varroakertomus.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    What color are your queens?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,820

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    I know beekeeping is local, but is varroa infestation also? I don't know if it is, but sometimes it appears so. I read here on the forum of beeks who apparently don't treat and at the same time have no varroa problems to speak of, they may lose colonies here and there, but it's not varroa related according to them. Its hard to believe that a colony anywhere in the U.S. is totally varroa free, but is it possible colonies like that exist? Doesn't it seem that colonies in southern areas of the U.S. where it never gets extremely cold, and where the bees are actively flying most months of the year and rearing brood would have the greatest varroa issues?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lburou View Post
    . . . Is your arid environment, and subsequent lower hive humidity a factor in your good fortune?
    I hope it is our climate that is making this difference. At least something positive, from such uncomfortably warm and dry Summer experiences.

    There are Varroa in my hives. I don't believe I've ever inspected a hive that was Varroa free, yet. Since they're present, I'm sure they are doing harmful things to my bees. Just not harmful enough to be a major problem, or kill a hive. I even see a little DWV and sometimes a hive, or two with PMS (Parasitic Mite Syndrome). Though it is alarming for me to witness these things, none has ever persisted for very long, or escalated beyond an annoyance.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Do you see mites in your hives? Location is everything. If you really want to test your bees bring them this way...
    Yes, I see mites almost every time I open a hive. I often think about relocating (I am particularly fond of the eight years I spent in Oak Harbor, Washington), and would love to return there, but my wife is still determined to remain here, having escaped Michigan to naturalize in Tucson, Arizona more than forty years ago.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    Because I once kept them and am in their occupied territory, others have assumed that I am continuing to keep AHB, but I am not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    or somehow my bees, in my area, are immune from this dreaded curse
    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    Belief can be a very strong influence.
    Yes….I see exactly what you mean.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  12. #12

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    From the original post you’ve suggested that those countless beekeepers the world over who lost massive numbers of colonies during the debut of varroa and since have done so solely because they believed they would.
    On the other hand, if they’d simply followed your lead and ignored the news of catastrophic bee losses …all would have been well.
    Preposterous!
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post
    Would you agree that a high degree of African genes within the DNA pool in your area might be a large factor in the results you speak of? It may be that some of the Varroa eliminating benefits are being exhibited while some of the "attack" genes have dissipated!!!! The Africans sneak in queens on a regular basis from what I have read.
    I raise many of my own queens, for myself, and for many other local beekeepers. I regularly import several queens (with Cordovan coloring) from those who are producing them, in areas predominantly AHB-free. I raise daughters from those and use them to saturate the area with drones. I also encourage swarms from my drone producing colonies, and I mark the queens as soon as they start laying.

    There certainly are AHB colonies in my area. We get our water from a small community water company, and they, being aware of my beekeeping, request my assistance whenever the meter reader encounters a colony residing in a meter box. Of their several hundred customers, I've, so far, dealt with three colonies in meter boxes, and we've been at our present location for 15 years.

    I've also had feral AHB swarms, voluntarily occupy idle equipment in my bee yard. It is nearly impossible to get AHB swarms to stay, with any other swarm hiving technique (even open brood does not work - though perhaps a queen includer might). I've captured several swarms that behaved as though they might not be AHB (most AHB swarms are extremely defensive, even when newly clustered), only to have their AHB behaviors, present, soon after hiving them (now, I always cage their queens for at least a day or two and give them a donor frame of open brood). I usually requeen them with young virgins, as they often reject mated/laying queens. I've also seen AHB swarms, of various sizes, take over my colonies. Once you've seen this happen, a time or two, you will likely stop doubting its occurrence, as I did, and start keeping an eye out, so it can be halted, or reversed ASAP. It seems that EHB colonies, once they accept an AHB queen, are difficult to again requeen with EHB queens. I've had success doing this only with ripe cells, or sometimes, young virgins. It is, as if, the AHB queen pheromones, spoil the bees, so they resist EHB queen pheromones, thereafter.

    I do consider the possibilities you mention, as likely contributing factors to my experience. Though I do my best to reduce invasion of undesirable AHB genetics. It could be that this intense level of screening is helping to incorporate desirable AHB genetics and reducing undesirable AHB genetics. I believe other breeders are doing similar work (such as the Weaver's).
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    296

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    I often think about relocating (I am particularly fond of the eight years I spent in Oak Harbor, Washington), and would love to return there.
    It is nice here ..damp though. The weather hasn't changed much but the population has grown. Still a great area and I'm glad I get to live here - especially on those sunny fall days when the bees are flying and the salmon are running strong!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Joe: Good for you. A couple of questions. What percentage of your queens would you estimate are locally mated? Are your imported queens marked so you can monitor supercedure rates?
    Most of my queens are locally mated, being daughters of the few queens that I import. Those MQs (Mother Queens) are maintained in nucs, and some are now starting their third year with me. Few have ever made it beyond their third year.

    I use the Cordovan coloration to help keep track of genetic purity, and I mark each queen, right after they begin laying. I also replace any queen that is non-Cordovan colored, as soon as practical, with one that is. And if a queen produces runny, or overly defensive workers, she is quickly replaced.

    Supersedure is less common than usurpation.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    What color are your queens?
    Most are Cordovan Italian colored. It really helps keep track of their genetics.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    jmgi,

    My colonies are certainly not Varroa free. It's just that the Varroa seem hardly worth mentioning as a source of problems.

    I see your point, that we, in warmer climates, should actually be having more Varroa issues, not fewer.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    From the original post you’ve suggested that those countless beekeepers the world over who lost massive numbers of colonies during the debut of varroa and since have done so solely because they believed they would.
    On the other hand, if they’d simply followed your lead and ignored the news of catastrophic bee losses …all would have been well.
    Preposterous!
    Not at all. I'm simply suggesting that more factors are interacting to create the observed situation, than are commonly assumed.

    For instance, I know that if I were younger, and in perfect health, that I could contract many illnesses, and they would hardly even slow me down. But if I were first exposed to various toxins, the results, for me, would likely be very grave.

    And what I am proposing, is that we are standing in front of a forest on fire (Varroa), and perhaps missing the fact that it was ignited by a nuclear bomb (prevalence of pesticides).
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 12-22-2013 at 11:09 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  19. #19

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    And what I am proposing, is that we are standing in front of a forest on fire (Varroa), and perhaps missing the fact that it was ignited by a nuclear bomb (prevalence of pesticides).
    Agriculture where I keep hives is typically livestock. Trust me….mites don’t need pesticides to do their damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    I began this thread, because it is difficult for me to believe all the hype being promulgated about Varroa - especially how devastating they are, since they have yet to show any of that devastation to my own colonies.

    I believe that those who are reporting Varroa devastation, are sincere. However, after my own experience, it is difficult to believe that those beliefs are entirely justified.
    Hype?!
    Countless beekeepers experiencing devastating losses but you qualify that as hype?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    Belief can be a very strong influence.
    As I said….I see exactly what you mean.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: The Scourge of Varroa?

    So then Dan, what is your belief as to why Varroa are devastating to so many, and only a slight annoyance, to others?

    I'm not trying to be offensive, or insulting, I'm just trying to understand what's happening.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 12-22-2013 at 12:14 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

Page 1 of 22 12311 ... LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads