Sustainable Mite Control (SMC) - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    the season you remove your hands from the works, they quit working. That's not a very effective solution.
    With all due respect Solomon, any season the bees are not tended to they will not produce bees or honey to an acceptable level, and winter losses will be high. The only bees naturally suited to combat mites do so by swarming often or shutting down brood production often. I'd rather have a traditional Italians and break brood cycles at my discretion, not theirs. The commercial beeks I've talked to in my area still use the Italians for the same reason.
    Until a bee can be produced that actively rids the hive of mites there is no natural solution. Even VSH bees don't do that to any meaningful extent. Cleaning out dead brood is not combating mites IMHO.

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  3. #42
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    Dec 2010
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    Huntington ,VT, USA
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    What I find unfair is to dismiss the solutions people find that allow them to accomplish thier goal in what is a sustainable manner. Because you feel it is too much work/envolvement?

    Solomon, what you are describing is a system that does not require human maintainance to continue.
    That is self-sustainability. It's a great goal but rarely if ever achieved in agricultural endeavors and is quite different from sustainability, which usually requires a lot of work and time.

    Would you say that organic farming is unsustainable because it requires tremendous labor and management each year? Are they all going down the wro g path since they are not breeding frost resistant plants. Or crops that don't require weeding? Are the careful interplanting and rotation schedules just wasted effort?

  4. #43
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    Quote Originally Posted by DonShackelford View Post
    With all due respect Solomon, any season the bees are not tended to they will not produce bees or honey to an acceptable level, and winter losses will be high. The only bees naturally suited to combat mites do so by swarming often or shutting down brood production often.
    But the whole point of keeping bees is manipulating them unnaturally.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonShackelford View Post
    Until a bee can be produced that actively rids the hive of mites there is no natural solution.
    I agree with you there. But you say 'until' like it hasn't happened yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall View Post
    Would you say that organic farming is unsustainable because it requires tremendous labor and management each year? Are they all going down the wro g path since they are not breeding frost resistant plants. Or crops that don't require weeding? Are the careful interplanting and rotation schedules just wasted effort?
    Don't confuse lack of major efforts to control disease with doing nothing at all.

    Yes, it's true that if you don't manage bees they won't live up to their maximum potential. But we're not talking about making honey here, we're talking about keeping them alive. It's my position that they should be able to do that on their own. It's also my position that they can in fact and given the chance, they do. Mine have been doing it for coming up on a decade. I haven't had any swarms in years and I don't practice any of these so-called sustainable methods. The process is fairly quick. If they can't live on their own, let them die, or in StevenG's case, buy queens from someone who did. It's the only sustainable solution.

  5. #44
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    Nov 2009
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    St Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    The other day, I was researching the life cycle of the varroa mite, and searched for "expert on the varroa mite" or something similar. I thought a mite researcher might be able to add more to the discussion. I found the name, Dr Stephen J. Martin, of the Apiculture and Social Insect Laboratory of Sheffield University in the UK, and sent him an email.

    Here is the question portion of my email, and his response in full:

    Me:

    "My question lies in the lifespan of the mite. From what I've read, the adult mite can live for several months. But other sources say they only live about 27 days.

    So I wonder if you can tell me. How long does the female varroa mite live, and how long can she mate? Do you think that splitting is a good way to manage mite loads? I also wonder if you believe that smaller cell sizes in worker brood will reduce mite loads in a colony."


    And Dr Martin's full reply:

    "Adam
    Adult female mites mate once (for life) and can live at least one year, possibly longer. Smaller cell size doesn't work, loads of studies have shown this all you get is smaller bees. Splitting doesn't control your mites population. If you don't want to use chemicals drone trapping is the best way, in the summer then use some non-chemical method (icing sugar?) in the winter, but its not really practical on a big scale."


    Adam

  6. #45
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    Dec 2009
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    Adult female mites mate once (for life) and can live at least one year, possibly longer.
    I don't think I would beleive this life span is average. Try making a colony broodless for 30 days and count the mite drop over this time. Do an alcohol wash before and after. You will find a significant reduction of mites on the bees at the end date.

  7. #46
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    Apr 2012
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    Serrone - Italy
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    i split hives in early spring but here in Center Italy is a good time.but i will have hundreds of mites (300- 600) in August too. Here is so warm that we have to induce a broodless period caging the queen in july for 21-24 days. i will treat just colonies with more than 3% of infestation with liquid oxalic acid. and i see from 300to600 mites every summer and i cut drone combs every 7-10 days+ i use sugar dusting.

    Actually just organic acids combined with a broodless period can save colonies with mor than 3% infestation with 90% of mites loss . this 3% will bee soon 100% if the bees are robbing neightbours mitefarm.
    Hives with less than 3% of infestation are fine but they can re-infestate other colonies.

    In this way i never loose colonies for varroa.

  8. #47
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    I don't think I would beleive this life span is average. Try making a colony broodless for 30 days and count the mite drop over this time. Do an alcohol wash before and after. You will find a significant reduction of mites on the bees at the end date.
    X2 with Delta Bay .....and ask Mel his thoughts!
    Has been working well for me for 3 yrs totally med free and following Mel's tech.
    Hugus Creek Honey Farm: St. Maries, ID / Lewiston, ID
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  9. #48
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    Apr 2010
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    Highland, Michigan
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    I'm having trouble locating the queen, to many bees and bad weather lately. Question is: can you break the brood cycle later in the spring when the weather is better? So far I'm 2 for 4 on finding the queen. Seems like alot of effort just to put the whole mess back together without finding her. Any advice? P.S. These hives are huge ( 2 1/2 deeps brood and 1 or 2 supers on)

  10. #49
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    [QUOTE=beeup;787482]I'm having trouble locating the queen, to many bees and bad weather lately. Question is: can you break the brood cycle later in the spring when the weather is better? QUOTE]

    Sometimes it's just easier to not find the queen so I move all the combs that she is not on into a new hive body then put it on the old stand. The original being reduced down to a nuc size is placed on a new location. You can look the next day to see if the queen is in the nuc when there are fewer bees to make sure shes in there.

  11. #50
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    How sustainable is it then?

    Wouldn't it be actual sustainability to develop a method where you don't have uncharacteristic losses if you are unable to perform the perfunctory duties each year? Why won't people embrace a method that works in the long term so that when you lose a year, all you lose is swarms, relatively speaking?

    I just don't see the sustainability.

    There, I've kicked the AHB nest.
    Sol,

    It sounds like you are looking for self-perpetuating. Which, sounds like how the primorsky bees are. They have developed a mechanism, a high level of swarming, to adapt to varroa. Some beekeepers "like" these bees, others don't. Depending on who you ask they may, or may not be sustainable.

    Tom

  12. #51
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    I'm looking for (well, not really, developed) bees that don't require inputs for disease control. The Primorsky bees got it the same way my bees did, though 'it' is a different set of skills and solutions to the same problem. I'm sure some great great grandmother of one or more of my queens was Russian, but from what I've heard, Russians are not what I'm looking for.

    Incidentally, it's exactly the way the Russians got their status that I have consistently championed over the years. They dealt with it on their own. They're just ahead in the game by some decades. Our gentle productive bees have the same capability in there somewhere, they just need us to let them discover it.

  13. #52
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    Our gentle productive bees have the same capability in there somewhere, they just need us to let them discover it.
    If you look at the Russians it was the localized population that allowed them to draw high fitness from within that population to get where they are. I beleive as you do but also think that using the brood break is a way to keep beekeepers with bees without treatments. You can still pressure the bees with test colonies that haven't had the break. I think beekeepers really need to start working together as local groups to maintain local populations of bees in their locations. Possibly a way for the bee to realize that capability.

  14. #53
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    El Dorado County, CA
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    mite control or not queen right splits are an important part of my management technique. i'm making up for (below average) losses, building numbers and requeening without buying queens that i've found to be no better than queens from my own hives. i'm also controling swarming and generating a very saleable nuc. kicking mites in the teeth is only one of the benefits.
    if your unfortunate enough to have to keep your hive numbers down you still might find it a good idea to requeen, make up for losses and control swarming.
    when given star thistle make honey

  15. #54
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    Nov 2009
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    You can split later when colonies are stronger in the cold northern climes!
    Split too early with cold nights and you are asking for trouble, especially with weaker 2-4 frame splits that don't have enough bees to keep warm with the cold night temps.

    I don't have any trouble with swarming using Mel's tech. as remember you already mocked swarming by making a nuc with the old queen and frames of bees/brood/honey/pollen.
    Did not have 1 swarm last year out of my colonies that I split early and the colonies that I did not split swarmed several times on me and never really built up and had a high mite load later on in the fall! (I wanted to compare traditional tech against Mel's).
    Oh yeah, how did I know about if my colonies swarmed or not?????
    Easy to answer that one, I clip the tip of 1 wing on all my queens and my swarms continue to be MY swarms b/c they usually start a new colony under my bottom boards or pallets until I come with an empty box and brush them in!

    And do those new young queens lay nice solid brood patterns all the way up till fall!
    Not to mention that the extra frames of queen cells start additional nucs for you as they only need 1 frame with queen cells on it!
    Hugus Creek Honey Farm: St. Maries, ID / Lewiston, ID
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  16. #55
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    Peace River, AB Canada
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    For those of us that depend on our bees to make a living we can't afford to just step aside and watch hives die in hopes of one day having resistant bees. By using a splitting technique and grafting queens from our best stock we can keep hive numbers up and at the same time the bees are still being challenged by varroa. This may take longer to develop a resistant bee but as long as the final result is the same does it matter?

  17. #56
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    Quote Originally Posted by JD's Bees View Post
    By using a splitting technique and grafting queens from our best stock we can keep hive numbers up and at the same time the bees are still being challenged by varroa.
    X2 This is exactly what I do and it is working!
    Hugus Creek Honey Farm: St. Maries, ID / Lewiston, ID
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  18. #57
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    In the words of Doctor Zeuss "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple".

  19. #58
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    Quote Originally Posted by JD's Bees View Post
    By using a splitting technique and grafting queens from our best stock we can keep hive numbers up and at the same time the bees are still being challenged by varroa. This may take longer to develop a resistant bee but as long as the final result is the same does it matter?
    In my veiw having local stock to work with has to come first. So what you're doing sounds great to me.
    Are you able to over winter 8 frame nucs as 4 over 4 ? I've heard that there are quite a few Manitoba outfits that are starting to do this with good results. Just curious if it's doable up there in the Peace.

  20. #59
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    Nov 2011
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    Peace River, AB Canada
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    I winter outdoors in single 9 frame deeps but sometimes the cluster gets caught to one side of the box and starves.
    I already have 5 frame nucs (with bottom built in) so last week I made 64 boxes to place on top and will try wintering these outdoors. I have four wintering locations and will try two pallets per location and compare them to the singles.
    People have had good success wintering six frame nucs indoors.

  21. #60
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    Feb 2009
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    Enderby, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Sustainable Mite Control (SMC)

    This year the first management in regards to the varroa took place April 23/12. I managed as described in this thread, removing all capped bee brood (as done for the past 5 years) at the exact timing.
    Today I managed the bees as to the natural pointer "Dandelion", described in this thread. I checked for mites in one of the colonies, removing about 50 drone pupae. I found one mite (sorry, but it does not allow me to upload picture). Now this is not something that I do regularly, but it may stop those that still think it won't work from quarreling about how the mites populate during their reproductive cycle. Practical work is always a lot more instructive than numbers. Good luck with your bees.

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