Foulbrood then versus Varroa now
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Olmsted County, MN USA
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    86

    Default Foulbrood then versus Varroa now

    Our club had a highly respected retired commercial beekeeper give a history of commercial beekeeping in MN, starting back in the early 1900s. This particular beekeeper started keeping bees in 1949 at age 11, by high school was managing 100+ hives, and grew from there.

    He talked about the impact of foulbrood on the industry back in the 50's and 60's. When asked about the impact of foulbrood on the industry then versus Varroa's impact on the industry today, he didn't hesitate with an answer. He felt foulbrood was far more devastating for the industry. He didn't have time to elaborate as to why, but on the surface that would seem to give a guy hope.

    Are there any graybeards on the forum who can speak to this (meaning, they were managing bees back then and now)?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    3,021

    Default Re: Foulbrood then versus Varroa now

    I'm older and can remember when foulbrood was way more common than now, but in my opinion varroa is epidemic compared to foulbrood because of the number of hives affected. I never experienced foulbrood and when it was common I was very young at beekeeping, with not many hives. Those that were around back then as commercial beekeepers can probably recollect more stories about it.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    6,645

    Default Re: Foulbrood then versus Varroa now

    Ok. I suppose I would qualify if I quit shaving . Yes, a case could certainly be made that AFB was at least as bad as varroa in my recollection going back to the early 60's though I have only managed a commercial operation since the early 70's. Winter losses and infection rates ran high, so high that many operations would have gone out of business if they had burned every hive that showed any symptoms. Many simply covered their losses each spring by booking lots of packages and treated with tm and/or sulfa and just carried on. Ahhhhh for the good ole days, complete with .15 to .25 honey. But, hey, it was easy to raise a crop, right? My back hurts just thinking about it.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
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    2,278

    Default Re: Foulbrood then versus Varroa now

    I sold comb honey from a few hives when I was in high school back in the 1960's, the basswood squares were a challenge but satisfying. American foulbrood killed my bees over a year and a half or so. it was a slow death. back then the hives were more expensive than the bees. burning then as now is the only cure.... after 42 years a swarm came to me and I started over last year. raiseing the bees is a more difficult world now but we have far more information and tools available. it is just not varona that makes things more difficult its all the other parasites and chemicals out there. I am not totally impressed with the genetics available now.it seems like more claims are made than delivered. I used to have midnite bees from the sears catalog, they were pretty good but some hives could be moody, unfortunately they were not resistant to AFB at all. back then one of the desireable traits was a queen that would last for years and hives not in a rush to swarm. a goal was to not have to requeen for 3 or 4years. we seem to have forgotten those concepts. i also believe that the old lines were more winter hardy...overall it is more difficult now.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
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    1,313

    Default Re: Foulbrood then versus Varroa now

    Well this is my 4th year and I had mites so bad last year I lost all year old hives by this time last year and the ground was a walking DFW die zone very sad to watch a hive die from VARROA {PMS} lost 9 hives over winter . I have learned a lot {thank you BS}since last year and all my hives are strong and doing well plus I have 14 new nucs growing getting read for winter so I think i'm up to 26 hives and all looks good low mite counts .An got honey took 4 years.
    VARROA should be one of the first things you should study when you become a beekeeper.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    34,541

    Default Re: Foulbrood then versus Varroa now

    I can see what he means since AFB infects the equipment, but, if we had actual statistics to look at we might see that varroa has killed more colonies of bees since its introduction in the 1980s until now than AFB killed from the 1930s until the 1980s.
    Mark Berninghausen

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    3,021

    Default Re: Foulbrood then versus Varroa now

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    I can see what he means since AFB infects the equipment, but, if we had actual statistics to look at we might see that varroa has killed more colonies of bees since its introduction in the 1980s until now than AFB killed from the 1930s until the 1980s.
    No doubt about it.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: Foulbrood then versus Varroa now

    You don't have to burn the hive with a Varroa dead out...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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