Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Mites and winter

    Our club President and I were discussing training of new beeks last night. We got onto the subject of TF and whether our personal views should influence what we teach new people. I think that I have read that part of TF management for varroa is brood interruption. In that vein of thought here where our winters are rather brutal does the queen cease at some point in laying, and would that help with mite management? Please forgive if I am way off track here, but hey just wondering.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,209

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    Queens normally stop laying sometime in November and take a break. How long they stop is genetic, Carniolans tend to take a 6 to 8 week break where Italians only take 2 or 3 weeks. My highly mite tolerant bees took a break from the 1st of December until the first of February. This is long enough to have an impact on varroa population. I would definitely talk to them about options for going treatment free and emphasize that longer winter breaks are helpful. It would be more important IMO to discuss with them options for obtaining bees that have already been selected for mite tolerance.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    The number of mites does drop to a great degree over winter but it is more about the mite numbers in summer going into winter. A brood break in July will be the best time to reduce numbers. One of the important aspects of the brood break is having a new queen that lays vigorously after the break, to the close of the season. She will need at the least 2 months of brood production so that there are plenty of bees to produce a good crop of winter bees. You should also take into account that mite levels are only taken down to tolerable levels.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Hardin Cty, KY, USA
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    In my experience (heavy European winters, NJ, GA, KY) Waiting for the winter is too late the damage is done. Think about it in population sizes. Bees vs mites. Bees do one key thing that makes them super vulnerable to mites that beeks associate with winter and it actually happens in the fall. The mite and bee populations are both rising so the colony tolerates the mites as long as the mite population (load) does not cross the line where the host parasite relationship turns on the host (the economic threshold). Bees going into the winter cluster DECREASE their population (the queen does not lay AS MUCH) Mites DO NOT. This is the point where the decreased bee population has to handle a LARGE Mite population feeding on less bees makes for a very sick colony. These colonies will die out right before winter giving the impression it has something to do with winter , cold, laying activity when nothing is further from what is actually happening.

    watching the natural mite drop will give you an idea of the mite population in the colony. If the natural drop is increasing the mite population is increasing. Knocking it down at the right time sets them up for success thru the winter "In that vein of thought ".

    Now this is only one small aspect of getting to a state of TF beekeeping. The corner stone is to have strong colonies. ALL bees can be mite resistant. Africanized because they are aggressive to hive intruders. Russians because the common belief is they have been dealing with mites the longest and have adapted somehow we really don't know why Russians are good with mites. Any other species will either will adapt somehow or perish (Darwin). These are the ONLY things (IN MY OPINION) that we "know".

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Hardin Cty, KY, USA
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    All a brood break is going to do is give you 2 colonies with a Bee population and a mite population. Kind a like pushing the reset button.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    Thank you everyone, such valuable information! I can take this all back to the club and share it with them. I hadn't thought at all about the mite population increase as the bee population decreases in the fall/winter. As a club we did a poll on dead outs this year and we had a 30% death rate. I am wondering now how many of those were because of the weather and how many were mites. hummm.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    I think teaching beginners you should identify and present your views/practices as well as some alternatives -- you can't present every alternative, to be sure. If the beginners are beginning with non-VSH packages, that decision has consequences which may lead away from TF the first year or two. Michael Bush and Randy Oliver's websites are two obvious places for them to go for detail.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,209

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    watching the natural mite drop will give you an idea of the mite population in the colony. If the natural drop is increasing the mite population is increasing. Knocking it down at the right time sets them up for success thru the winter "In that vein of thought ".

    Now this is only one small aspect of getting to a state of TF beekeeping. The corner stone is to have strong colonies. ALL bees can be mite resistant. Africanized because they are aggressive to hive intruders. Russians because the common belief is they have been dealing with mites the longest and have adapted somehow we really don't know why Russians are good with mites. Any other species will either will adapt somehow or perish (Darwin). These are the ONLY things (IN MY OPINION) that we "know".
    Nope, not all bees can be mite resistant. We don't have to know why some bees are resistant to mites. All we need to do is ensure the mite tolerant queens propagate their genetics.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    [QUOTE= All we need to do is ensure the mite tolerant queens propagate their genetics.[/QUOTE]
    Would that be done by choosing a colony that is more resistant and creating queens from that one!?
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    Drones from her would probably spread those genes a little wider. A few of her daughters in the yard to keep the line going would be good also.
    Last edited by Delta Bay; 02-07-2014 at 04:20 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Hardin Cty, KY, USA
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    Quote Originally Posted by hideawayranch View Post
    Thank you everyone, such valuable information! I can take this all back to the club and share it with them. I hadn't thought at all about the mite population increase as the bee population decreases in the fall/winter. As a club we did a poll on dead outs this year and we had a 30% death rate. I am wondering now how many of those were because of the weather and how many were mites. hummm.
    Ask commercial beeks and they will tell you that 30% is normal.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,209

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    Ask commercial beeks and they will tell you that 30% is normal.
    Your posts and responses say that you have always treated your bees. I have not had 30% losses in over 8 years and that is with zero treatments. Just curious why you are posting in the treatment free area?
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Hardin Cty, KY, USA
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Nope, not all bees can be mite resistant. We don't have to know why some bees are resistant to mites. All we need to do is ensure the mite tolerant queens propagate their genetics.
    Really, that's a bold statement. So you have kept all species. "All" we have to do is propagate mite tolerant queens.

    I say ALL bees but I have not kept all species myself either, But here is what I have done.

    Kept Elgons when they were being touted as the silver bullet. Hived them and they didn't make it thru the first fall, they got decimated. next season got them again from the same guy in Munich. Treated and culled drones holy cow they made it thru winter 100%. Had nothing to do with genetics and everything to do with environment.

    Met a guy who's mother kept bees in Romania, went there because her problem was she had too many swarms and not enough equipment. I asked her what she treated with I expected her to say OA but she laughed. Her son explained she could not afford chemicals. She didn't have a mite problem but she did have Russians which are the native bees there. They are not doing that good here.

    Lastly good old feral GA black bees. other than natural comb no treatments no mite problem.

    I suspect all bees can handle mites on their own if other stressors are removed from the colony. I believe these stressors to be but not limited to foundation, GM crops, sugar water and fondant, shipping bees all over, over tending beekeepers to scratch the surface.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Hardin Cty, KY, USA
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Your posts and responses say that you have always treated your bees. I have not had 30% losses in over 8 years and that is with zero treatments. Just curious why you are posting in the treatment free area?
    That's Great and I am happy for you. Your not a commercial beek either are you? I got my colonies treatment free and I did it with treatments because you don't get natural comb from package bees on the first shot. I do not stop using powdered sugar and culling comb until the second shake down and I shake them down every spring until the mite drop stabilizes. At this point you have STRONG treatment free colonies. Next step is propagating the STRONG colonies. Anyone who has done the work to get their OWN TF colonies and did not depended on stock from who knows where will know this. THIS IS NOT mite resistance this is getting the brood nest to a point where the mites CANNOT breed fast enough to overcome the colony.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,209

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    I suspect all bees can handle mites on their own if other stressors are removed from the colony.
    If this were so, feral bees would not have been nearly wiped out in the U.S. 20 years ago and would not only now be recovering. There is a clear genetic component to mite tolerance. See John Kefuss' writings if you want to read what others found. Most commercial bees do not have the genetic basis to survive much more than a year.

    Elgons were touted as mite tolerant for a few years, but the clear evidence is that they are just about as varroa susceptible as pure Buckfast. If you want more detail I have Erik's email around here somewhere. He is still working on mite tolerance, but the bees are not there yet. Russian bees definitely have the genetics to make it, but there are a ton of negative genetics in the mix such as excessive swarming, defensive stinging behavior, and extreme brood shutdown at any pause in pollen availability.

    I don't claim to have kept all species of honeybee, but I can name all 28 currently recognized species and describe where they are found and what their basic traits are. I can tell you which have been challenged by varroa and which are still unexposed and which four have demonstrated significant tolerance to varroa. I can also tell you that Russians are not a race, they are a hodgepodge of bees that were imported into eastern Russia over 100 years ago.

    Yes, I guess I am bold. I made a decision 21 years ago to find and propagate honeybees that are resistant to varroa. I found the first moderately resistant colony in 2004 and built from them to the bees I have today. They have their flaws, but they are alive and they make a crop of honey each year and they overwinter with very low loss levels. My bees have survived and thrived for 8 years untreated. I have most of them on small cell, but keep 3 colonies on large cell just to show that it is not the cell size that allows them to survive. I've lost 2 colonies so far this winter. One was a purchased queen that never built up enough to make it through winter, the other went queenless in late fall. I deliberately let them both die though I could have combined them with other colonies and claimed zero losses. Neither died from varroa.

    It might help to remember that we each want other beekeepers to figure out how to go treatment free. So instead of going ballistic and thinking I am challenging you, think through what you are doing and why and what message you would like to give to other beekeepers.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,368

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    i think i may have ended up with some of the same mite resistant bees that fusion power has and they are doing well despite being put on large cell plastic foundation. my oldest colonies are now four years old treatment free.

    i attribute their success on good genetics, local adaptation, good nutrition, and me trying to stay out of their way as much as possible. i don't use supplemental feed, although i do redistribute honey from stronger hives and dead outs to the lighter ones when needed.

    my best colony is coming out of its third winter now without requeening and treatment free. it gave me 180 lbs harvested honey last year running a single deep and medium supers. this was in addition to drawing out new comb in two medium supers of plastic foundation.

    we have exceptional foraging here and there are feral bees contributing drones which i believe helps a lot.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Hardin Cty, KY, USA
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    It might help to remember that we each want other beekeepers to figure out how to go treatment free. So instead of going ballistic and thinking I am challenging you, think through what you are doing and why and what message you would like to give to other beekeepers.
    DID you read that as ballistic or defensive. I apologize it was not meant that way at all. I don't get "ballistic on forums I politely agree to disagree. You wondered why I was talking about treatment in a treatment free forum. So I explained, remember the written word conveys no emotion.

    I will say (because now you have challenged me) I have no need for anyone's e-mail or your advice about messages. However your 21 years of experience are valuable so if you want to keep talking about bees we can keep going if not we can be gentleman and agree to disagree. Nobody on a forum benefits from unnecessary chest pounding.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Hardin Cty, KY, USA
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    Two beeks from Alabama getting the same results...... I would look at the feral population too.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,368

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    i believe dar found his not more than a few miles from where i live. mine have a treatment free pedigree going back to feral cut outs from trees 17 years ago. they are likely similar genetically. locally adapted hybrids.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,368

    Default Re: Mites and winter

    the two things alabama appears to be good at is cranking out championship football teams and resistant feral bees.

    i guess we tend to be a little too proud of both.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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