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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    JW, have you had bees disected to actually determine Tracheal mite presence?

    Solomon, those bees must have been dwindling since last August don't you think?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    Interesting theory JWChesnut, I'd have to see some K wings to give credence to that hypothesis.

    No Mark, I don't think that.

    As usual, I am largely unconcerned what killed them as long as it wasn't me. At the top of the list as to the reason would be the undue influence of the "commercial" queen breeding population down the street. I bred things like this out of my population years ago by letting them die. I've been to visit his yard (disguised as a newbee in a beekeeping field day) and I was in no way impressed with what I saw, open feeding, mean bees, and malnourished mating nucs.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    So when did they start dwindling down?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    I don't know.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    What is your autopsy for since you don't care why they died and you don't know when they started dying?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    To see what they died of and if it was my fault, as I've mentioned. If there's some obvious disease, then good riddance. If they starved and I harvested from the hive, then could likely be my fault. The goal is to become a better (and more utilitarian) beekeeper.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    So what could it have been that caused them to dwindle to such a small cluster size? If it were nosema ceranae, which you won't do anything about being a treatment free beekeeper, how would knowing that make you a better beekeeper?

    How are the colonies that are still alive? Are their clusters small too? Is there any value to you knowing whether they have nosema or not?

    What influence do you think your neighbor apiary had on your colonies?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    Feral clusters (and naturalized kept hives) here are generally quite small. They have to be to survive the long dry summer. So while these clusters are small, they're not irredeemably small. The primary reduction in cluster size happens in May/June. Whatever caused them to dwindle to such a level, it's not an unsurvivable level. And it's survival I'm after.

    The knowing that a hive died of nosema ceranae does not make me a better beekeeper. Seems pretty irrelevant. Knowing how to manage earlier in the season to produce the best results and does not get in the way of the bees' survival makes me a good beekeeper. If I manage optimally and a hive dies, it's their problem.

    The remaining colony in that location is fine so far, having a pretty typical cluster. The first good opportunity I get, they're coming back home and we'll go from there.

    When I moved those six hives to that yard, they immediately became mean. Chances are, they weren't all superseded so quickly, so they were likely upset due to robbing pressure and over-forage. The first winter they survived fine and I requeened a couple of them last year due to the meanness. I can only speculate as to the actual effects, but 5/7 losses so far this winter have been from that yard. That has to say something.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    The first good opportunity I get, they're coming back home and we'll go from there.
    That's why I think it would be useful to know the tracheal and the nosema loading. You don't want to bring them back to your primary apiary if they are infected with high levels of internal parasites. Isolation and quarantine are the watchwords.

    I caught a ride back from a meeting with a nearby college professor that runs a queen breeding biz on the side. I quite innocently offered to give him my stack of queen cages I have accumulated over the seasons. He nearly threw me out of the truck. That's a big no-no. He wants his queen yard uninfected with anything coming from the hoi polloi.

    I had a cut-out go down with AFB this fall. Luckily, I keep the cut-outs in major quarantine (and use specially marked tools exclusively).

    I think you would be well to be cautious about your sole survivor from the apiary. Might be robbing stress (but the combs are not chewed and honey is still on the frame), as you purport, but is equally possible to be some quasi-infectious condition. Nothing like AFB in evidence though.

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    If you want to autopsy a bee for tracheal mites it's actually reasonable simple long as you have some dead bees in good state of preservation.

    No special tools are required other than a low power microscope but if your eyesight is good a decent magnifying glass can spot a severe case.

    I won't explain it all here but google & you will find some instructions.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    You don't want to bring them back to your primary apiary if they are infected with high levels of internal parasites.
    An excellent case can be made that I am not worried about it. But I see stress and parasites as a good thing in a breeding program.


    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Might be robbing stress (but the combs are not chewed and honey is still on the frame), as you purport, but is equally possible to be some quasi-infectious condition.
    I reported robbing stress as a trigger for meanness not death. It has not apparently been warm enough at that location to allow robbing of the dead hives.


    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Nothing like AFB in evidence though.
    That one I do keep an eye out for. Do you expect AFB in the winter? I guess in your location you would. Do you even have winter?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #52
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    >You don't want to bring them back to your primary apiary if they are infected with high levels of internal parasites.

    Odd. Dann Purvis would do it on purpose... how else would you breed for resistance?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >You don't want to bring them back to your primary apiary if they are infected with high levels of internal parasites.

    Odd. Dann Purvis would do it on purpose... how else would you breed for resistance?
    Just what I was thinking. If Solomon wants survival bees seems like exposing them to everything would further the development of survival bees?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Odd. Dann Purvis would do it on purpose... how else would you breed for resistance?
    A population of 20 colonies is *not* a sufficient breeding unit. This is the fundamental misapprehension of the "backyard" breeders. The belief that a miracle clone like the Hass Avocado or the Pettingill Apple can be discovered in someones backyard. Bees are not clones that can be grafted onto resistant rootstock and distributed.

    Pushing disease into an apiary in the belief that cream will rise to the top only results in a lot of spoiled milk.

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    Miracle clone? Watch out, your straw man's clothes are falling off.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Pushing disease into an apiary in the belief that cream will rise to the top only results in a lot of spoiled milk.
    Like. Nominate for 2014 Quote of the Year.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    The problem is, that's not what is happening, so again, a straw man.
    Last edited by Solomon Parker; 02-19-2014 at 07:58 AM.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    >Pushing disease into an apiary in the belief that cream will rise to the top only results in a lot of spoiled milk.

    I think Dann has pretty well proven that is not true. He has produced some fine queens.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #59
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    It all depends on the frequency of tolerance in the target population. Given that varroa tolerance is measured in number per thousand colonies for unselected bees, that twenty colonies would be a very long shot. But given that tracheal mite tolerance has had 26 years to build up in the bee population, the odds are very good that he could find tolerance in a population of 20 or so colonies. The difficulty lies in the fact that breeding and selecting can involve a lot of dead colonies on the road to developing full tolerance.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  20. #60
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    Jul 2013
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    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    Default Re: Parker Farms January 2014 Update

    During my time in Costa Rica, I was involved in a disease challenge trial against Black Pod in Cocoa. BP is an aggressive, fruit wasting disease caused by Phytophthora. This effort is somewhat similar to the logic of the Primorsky selection, as Cocoa was brought to the Caribbean coast in aboriginal times from a South American/Amazonian center of origin, and it was hypothesized that natural selection of wild sports would have favored resistant genotypes.

    More than 1200 separate lineages were trialed in four common gardens, and the mature plants showing some resistance after deliberate disease challenge (about 120) were carefully crossed and recrossed. As of this year, selection and reselection (more than 20 years later) is still going on.

    The assumption that resistance breeding can be short-cut is a deeply magical myth.

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