MB, a location question. Are your bees isolated from the bees of others?
MB, a location question. Are your bees isolated from the bees of others?
Another question for MB, what was your percentage loss last winter?
I know countless beekeepers who've tried small cell and foundationless....and still had their hives collapse from varroa. I'm glad it works for you. If you claim that small or natural cell is a universal varroa fix....I'll argue that as well.
None of that has anything to do with me being angry at your success...which is why I assume you are referring to somebody else.
>MB, a location question. Are your bees isolated from the bees of others?
There are other bees around. I can't say if they are domestic or not, but my guess is some are and some are not. I do have Varroa, just no issues. I have seven bee yards. I would guess there are some domestic bees in flying distance of some of them, but I'm not sure where.
>Another question for MB, what was your percentage loss last winter?
Last winter, I would guess between 10 and 20%. We have hard winters here, sometimes -17 F for a week or two. (not as hard as when I was in Western Nebraska where I saw -40 every night for more than a month one winter and -40 briefly another winter). The losses usually occur in that hard cold snap that we usually get sometime in January or February. Some of the smaller ones just can't generate enough heat. Sometimes the larger ones get stuck on brood in late February or early March. No signs of Varroa issues in the deadouts. Hard to find any Varroa on the trays under the screened bottoms and hard to find any under the dead bees on the solid bottoms. No signs of Varroa feces in the cells.
Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 7 Lang hives + 2 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet
Happy Christmas everybody, Santa Claus has just left Korvatunturi with his reindeer!
Treatment free, honey production, isolation mated queens, www.saunalahti.fi/lunden/varroakertomus.html
My best guess? Human nature. It makes people angry if you succeed where they have failed. It's one of the less admirable aspects of human nature.
In this case, it seems to make people angry even if you say you're going to try to succeed where they have failed. I see that constantly when I attempt to defend my decision to keep bees without treatment. This decision evidently makes me arrogant and unrealistic as well as ignorant. I suppose they feel that by attempting to do something that so many have failed to do, I'm implying that I hope to be a better beekeeper than they are.
It's weird. I expect further angry analysis of my many character deficiencies to appear below.
I've seen a double standard in this sort of discussion. Folks have called TF beekeepers all sorts of unpleasant names... naive, True Believers, granola hipsters, liars, self-deluded, etc. But in a recent thread about why people treat, I said I thought it was because they couldn't keep bees alive without treatment. To me this seemed a simple statement of fact, but it was deemed insulting by one poster.
I was astonished.
Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF
Not to change it to a TF forum, but Ray, you got a ways to go yet...... I have tried TF for the last 5 years on several hives. and tried every trick published..... No magic. a lot of work. and poor results...... Just ordered a OA vaporizer. tired of deadouts from mites. Going to switch half teh hives.
Trying to cut back on the granola, I seem to be constipated....
I wish the trick was some of joes magic queens.
Has anybody thought that it may not be the bees that make the successful TF practitioners successful. Could there be microbes present that are pathogenic or some how suppressive to the mites, and our mite treatments remove these microbes. Michael B have you had your hives cultured to see what else is in them other than bees. I mean funguses, and bacteria?
I won’t be surprised if one day we discover that Tom Seeley is on to something. He has proposed that some mites may be less virulent.
The pontification and critical attitude that sometimes goes along with it can get old pretty fast though.
But I do enjoy the 95% of constructive treatment free folks who are able to have a sensible dialogue about these things without peppering all conversation with a chip on their shoulder. Those I can learn from and in fact encouraged me to try it.
When I tried to succeed but failed at treatment free beekeeping, admitting my failure certainly got some people angry, I was even told I should not post. IE, it should be kept secret cos it might mislead people. Which of course leads me to wonder about the openness of information from those sources. But that only came from 5%. The 95% are open, honest, and helpful. And were very supportive of me during the whole thing which was quite humbling.
That's what I'm thinking. Some ticks carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever of lymes, some fleas carry bubonic plague and others do not. Perhaps not all mites are carrying the same viruses. I know for a fact that I've been dealing with something over the past six or seven years that I wasn't dealing with 15 years ago. My goal is to use every possible means to kill every last mite for the next six months and see if that makes a difference come august.
> Michael B have you had your hives cultured to see what else is in them other than bees. I mean funguses, and bacteria?
No, but I think that is an important aspect of treatment free. Letting the microbes flourish.
>He has proposed that some mites may be less virulent.
And the only way to breed less virulent mites is to stop treating them. Treating them makes super mites and wimpy bees. We need wimpy mites and super bees... I've also been saying we need less virulent mites (as have many others) for years now.
First off I'd just like to say that it is my experience that anger is very easily perceived on the internet. It is like a breeding ground for conflict. I have been around the internet my whole life, and since the beginning, and there is no doubt in my mind that people will say things to others that they would absolutely never even consider saying in person. Not only that but the internet is devoid of intonation and gesturing, and we can't see the human faces of who we speak to. It is very easy to fight people for no reason; its a similar phenomenon to road rage IMO.
Otherwise after reading this thread I wanted to ask you guys a few questions.
Has anyone considered that the loss of habitat for plant species has caused the viral epidemics being associated with varroa parasitism? For instance, and I don't know if bees do, but throughout the history of mankind, people have used plants like say yarrow or elderberry as a source of medicine. What if loss of habitat is cutting down on medicine available to bees? In fact I would almost guarantee, (wager a healthy sum) that if you spread out 10 colonies a couple hundred feet from each other inside a plantation of strictly medicinal flowering plants for 2 sq miles and a healthy source of water, there would be almost no winter loss. Again I'm just speculating but with most livestock, if you ask the progressive types (ie sepp holzer) you will find the belief and practice of letting them medicate themselves with access to various, even toxic plants. If animals know this skill, I would have to believe that honey bees who basically speak in scent and consume flowers would be able to identify flowers that could solve their medicinal needs.
Has anyone found any plants that kill varroa? Or tried to use plants commonly converted into essential oils for EHB benefit planted densely in the area of the hive?
It seems to me a very common theme in reading about varroa that the EHB main defense is its mobility. It seems that many who suffer with varroa problems might be doing so because of their inability to allow their bees to be more nomadic. It seems it might be somewhat a problem of bee husbandry and not bees. Is it true many if not all the people having success without treatment are doing so with the use of a lot of splitting?
Someone mentioned healthy guts. I think this is an enormous point. Its a very common modern problem in man as well. Now I don't know much about the honey bee gut, but I do know that in man some alternative type medical practitioners consider it a 'second brain'. We use the phrase armies march on their stomach. It is possible that water sources for bees along with other sources of bacteria that enter honey bee guts in certain areas is more useful to the honey bee. Potential experiment... having success? send plant samples and water samples from the immediate area to someone not having success TF. When the samples arrive throw them in a bucket for a couple hours with a high level of aeration. Then strain out all vegetal matter. Aerate a half hour, mix with sugar and serve. Someone with some more knowledge could probably find a better way to share honey bee guts to novel hives.
Have there been any attempts at bee probiotics?
What is it about the dry climates that thwarts varroa? Can this be simulated?
I'm sure people have thought to check for natural varroa pests and disease... I assume they came up empty?
I like this thread. I want more than anything when it comes to bees to just let them do their thing. Small cell/foundationless, and TF are my ideals, as I stated on my bee forum post. But I don't have my own bees to work with, I am purchasing them. So while i think its great that some people have been able to make TF work, I do not know I will be able to accomplish that in my second season. The advantage of saving a "weak hive" is that the eggs are also a product of a foreign drone, so you may have better results from the next queen. But I think at the heart of this issue is probably something very similar as to what is going on in modern man. There are so many toxins, so much unnatural living conditions, unnatural foods, there are so many things that make us different than what evolution has accommodated for, that we are finding all sorts of weird illnesses pop up. And yet there are so many diseases which we carry the microbes for in our bodies and yet don't suffer symptoms. Then we get a mite like a tick and contract lyme. Say we lose our job. Then the whole bundle of problems may manifest when our immune system was compromised. The question becomes how do we allow the bees to breed themselves for the utmost health. Are there substances or flowers, or locations etc that can be provided for bees much the way we might use vitamin c, or turmeric?
Without getting too trippy hippy over it, you are correct in at least one thing, that there has been a loss of bee forage as would have occurred in the natural environment where bees came from.
Where bees are living in a near monoculture situation their diet can be lacking in some things, and this is evidenced by the results commercial beekeepers get by feeding pollen substitutes, and the hives do much better. All the pollen substitute is doing is replacing food the bees should have been getting naturally.
Just whether this affects their mite resistance is debatable, I've seen very well fed hives go down to mites just as quick, it is even possible mites may prefer a well fed bee. But I did see a pollen substitute manufacturer say that the hives fed his substitute suffered less losses to mites than the other hives in the same area that were not fed. So, it's possible you may be correct in that.
As to bees collecting medicine, just how and what they can discern is probably very different to how we see the world. They are not always as smart as we might think, for example bees have been seen collecting both sawdust, and coal dust, thinking it is pollen. However they do collect propolis, which is sometimes used by the bees for it's medicinal properties, for example sealing off and mummifying a dead animal such as a mouse in the hive, to prevent infection to the hive.
Interesting points you raise Boddah, I'll look forward to seeing how you do with your bees.
If either of us can come up with a practical way to achieve those desires….then that would be meaningful.
There is an abundant desert plant on the southwest called "Goberadora" -Creosote.
This plant, is widely ignored in the US as a medicinal plant, but in Mexico, especially amongst the Pima and Tarahumara Indians and people that was raised in the desert like myself, this plant is a miracle plant for a lot of illnesses. When Creosote is blooming, you can see the desert turn yellow and green, and people come to me asking me for creosote honey. Since the creosote blooming is one of many at the same time, I do not think I can gather just Creosote honey, and I just do not know if it produces a lot of honey or not but, I can see the benefit of the propolis and honey at the time of its blooming. The plant has a distinct smell, and when propolis is gathered, you can smell the same thing on the hives, plus, this propolis is clearly distinct from any other they bring in. If applied directly into an open wound, it heals it. If you have a sore throat or a bad cold, or cough; within hours of taking this propolis you are fine. My wife suffers from bad allergies and that is all she takes. We mix the propolis with honey collected during the Creosote bloom.
We run some orphanages and an old folks home in Mexico, our budget is so tight sometimes, that we just have to try to use any product at hand that is natural and free to us when it comes to treat health issues for those under our care. We use the Governadora at the old folks home for rheumatoid pain, also for athletes’ foot and a lot more. Some people in the high mountains of Chihuahua, where this plant does not grow, are always asking me for plants so they can heal prostate cancer for it is widely believed that it can heal it.
In Mexico’s department of health web site, under natural remedies utilizing native plants, that the different “Native Peoples” have used this plant urinary infections, inflammations, fertility, menstrual pain, abortion, rheumatoid pain, diabetics; and so many more, that it is just incredible. This plant has to be processed differently and the different parts of the plant are used for every illness.
We have an old Pima (90 years old) at the old folk’s home, I believe he believes he is a “Christian Shaman” or “Curandero Cristiano” for he does not practice the worship of idols plus he is gifted with knowledge of the use of plants for cures – no spells or moon walks. He waits for different seasons, moon faces, and especially plants collected before the rain and after the rain in order to make his “magical cures” from the plant.
The chemical composition is crazy and the studies are also intensive;
We have only used it on a limited way, but I can tell you that I have used it dried on my smoker, just because I had nothing else. I noticed that immediately after using it on my bees, they are calmer than usual and more mites land on my essential oil pads – who knows…
DBA Michas Honey House