ya'll are awesome.
ya'll are awesome.
I have always appreciated your calm and thoughtfull writings, which tell me of a person with great wisdom. As someone already said, I´m sure you will have survivors. As long as there is one left, there is hope. Been there, done that...
I have to admit that I would only burn for afb and would probably try to bull through everything else but have not lost half of my hives yet. I believe that will come someday and I will put it to the test though.Personally I would not be burning boxes, or frames.
I also say that since I am not facing it, the above is what I believe now but might be different when facing the pain. I don't think so but am not sure.
I do like your saying, paraphrased by me: "I'm just a hard headed bee keeper that decided to quit treating".
As you know I am not treatment free. However, 2 winters ago I lost every hive - still not sure what the problem was. That was after a previous disastrous winter. My solution was to burn everything and start with fresh equipment. Last winter I had 100% survival. So, whatever was killing them is hopefully gone. Anyway, I think burn everything from infected hives is the solution. JMO
juhani, gg, and cam - many thanks for the replies.
the strain of efb that ended up in my apiaries is extremely contagious and highly virulent. it spread very quickly and collapsed what were strong colonies in just a brood cycle or two. shook swarming and/or oxytet didn't do much to faze it.
that the bacteria can persist for long periods of time on the frames even after the colony is gone presents a risk not worth taking. i don't have access to irradiation so destruction by burning is the only thing that really makes sense.
i wasn't aware of this when i first learned about the request for samples and posted about it here. my apologies for the confusion to those of you who sent pm's expressing a willingness to provide samples.
I burned my frames as a precaution, melted comb from plasticell (plastic is quite toxic to burn) and gave the wax to someone making furniture polish just to be sure. Sorry for your losses
Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.
What temperature kills it?
Have you thought about hot wax dipping your equipment or a Kiln that can be turned down
I read here somewhere that hot wax dipping was hot enough (250°-350° F) to kill AFB so it may also kill EFB.
Started April Fools Day 2017
I used a lot of partial foundations and crosswired foundationless for quicker drawing and needing plenty of drones for mating splits. I have 5 complete double deep colonies stored for another year before I dare risk repopulating them.
What say SquarePeg; would you risk reusing them? Ever?
i've actually got a very strong caught swarm in a double deep right now with 17 of the 20 frames having come out of efb infected hives and then disinfected with bleach.
i'll be moving that hive to another yard soon and once moved it will get a thorough inspection looking carefully for any sign of efb.
most of the comb i have saved (and disinfected) is drawn on medium frames and for use in honey supers. i'll likely give those another spray of bleach before trying them out next spring and seeing what happens.
I think you should be good to go with those frames as honey supers. If the bacteria survive that degree of sanitation and still infect, it is a mean enemy indeed. I m
I think I will stick with my down sized half a dozen colonies; I wouldn't be up to suffering the kind of loss you have been dealing with.
it's been awhile since updating the thread, mostly because there hasn't been anything noteworthy to share.
today was once of those warm (mid-sixties) days we see here just before the passing of a strong cold front along with it's associated storms and big drop in temps on the backside.
the three (of 12) remaining colonies at the home yard were bringing mostly a chocolate brown pollen with the occasional bright yellow. i've no clue what plants are producing those.
the outyard has 0 of 9 colonies remaining, the overflow yard has 2 of 3 remaining, and i have a single colonies placed one each at two new locations.
this puts me at a total of 7 survivors at this point (down from a hive count of 28) with all of winter still to go, along with the promise of receiving one of fusion_power's spares.
it is interesting to note that the strongest of the colonies at present is a caught swarm that was given almost 2 deep supers worth of drawn comb that was washed and bleached after being recovered from efb infected hives.
the plan is to see what is left if anything coming out of winter, destroy any colonies and equipment in which efb shows up, and split agressively in an attempt fill up all the empty boxes taking up space in my garage and carport.
i'll likely ramp up the swarm trapping next spring as well. i'd like to end up with 10 - 15 strong colonies (20 would be nice) spread out between 4 - 5 yards to take into next winter. i'm not expecting much of a honey crop for 2020.
Good to hear from you sp. Glad your bees are still trucking along.
This spring due to "excessive" work I missed several swarms out of production colonies, which I thought amounted to my honey crop. I went along with my plan for the year to split a lot. So I had loads of nucs and no production colonies by July. Then during our July / August dearth we had a flow instead. So the earlier splits that were starting to get big made a crop anyway.
So here is to hoping you have some good, healthy colonies to split from in the spring, catch some nice local swarms, and get a surprise honey crop as well. "You never know with bees"
P.S. 60s? We did not get above freezing today and it looks like winter is coming. Some predictions for tomorrow are a foot of snow. Have a good winter everyone!
Sorry to hear your numbers are so low. Hopefully this spring will be bountiful and we will both be splitting like madmen.
Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida
Good update, SP. I was glad to see your post. Dealing with the same weather front here.
When you have the time and interest, I would be interested to know what the 'new normal' will look like for you going forward?
I assume based on some previous responses that you may have lower colony numbers per yard but more yards?
Any other structural changes you are contemplating as a result of your experience with EFB?
I am glad you are planning on gearing back up and best of success to you in the rebuilding effort.
I sincerely hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving.
many thanks for the replies and continued interest everyone.
russ, my plan is to carry on as described above with guarded expectations as to what the outcome will be. the 'new normal' will be determined by whatever success or lack thereof i have at propagating the survivors and obtaining resistant stock via swarms caught from the nearby woods.
time will tell how it all plays out. i'm prepared to accept the outcome either way. it will be 100% no treatments going forward with a strict destruction policy on any foulbrood should it rebloom.
Sp, Did you already write about what made you decide not to use treatments for efb if you get reblooms and do you know a post number? I have not seen it in mine yet but assume I will get hit and plan to have a plan. Input from a tf perspective, esp one with experience with the more virulent strains of efb that seem to be becoming the new normal, seem to be lacking in wider lit, besides this post.... Best,
that, and after seeing how quickly and easily the infection spread to neighboring hives i've decided that it's not worth the risk of further spreading while waiting for the treatments to kick in.
not to mention that the bacteria can remain viable in the honey and beebread for a long time, leading to the need for subsequent prophylactic treatments which we are supposed to be phasing out.
plus i like being able to tell my honey customers that no chemicals of any kind have been introduced into the hives.
combining oxytet with shook swarming and isolation from other colonies might be an option if it wasn't so much trouble. it's more palatable for me to follow the successful swiss model and just burn everything.
a copy of the letter i sent to the swiss research team today:
Here is some background about the bees from Northeast Alabama USA that ***** obtained samples from in early November 2019.
These bees are best described as locally hybridized survivors that appear to be exhibiting tolerance and/or resistance to varroa. This apparent tolerance/resistance manifests itself in anecdotal observations of bee colonies both managed (by beekeepers) and unmanaged (feral wild types in trees and other structures) that are able to thrive year after year despite being untreated for varroa.
Environmental factors that are likely helping to make this possible include:
Geographical Location: This area includes the southern most extent of the Appalachian Mountain Range. Biodiversity here ranks among the greatest on the planet in terms of numbers and quantities of species. This results in high quality forage almost year round. There are still very large tracts of land that are wooded here providing ample nesting opportunities to support a wild type feral population.
Weather: The climate here is described as humid subtropical. We do have distinct seasons and get below freezing at times in the winter, but our average mid-winter temperature is about 40 F. It is rare to go more than 2 or 3 weeks through the winter without an opportunity for a cleansing flight, yet it is cold enough that brood rearing will usually shut down for 1 - 2 months. We also will usually get a shorter break in brood rearing during our summer dearth period.
Lack of Large Commercial Beekeeping Operations: Unlike some of the other states located in the southern United States, the state of Alabama does not allow large commercial migratory beekeeping operations to move their colonies into our borders. This may help to buffer our local population to some degree against genetic dilution and the introduction of novel pathogens and pests. We do receive a large influx of package bees each year that are imported from other states.
My experience with these bees started in 2010. I purchased nucleus colonies from a nearby beekeeper who had been propagating queens and colonies sans treatments since about 1996. Over the years I propagated more colonies from these and was enjoying low winter losses and good honey production. Last year however an epidemic of European Foul Brood found its way into my apiaries and resulted in the loss of all but a handful of my colonies.
Because of this I was not able to provide samples for your study. Instead, the samples ***** collected from here came from ***** and ******. Both of these beekeepers started with splits and/or caught swarms that came from my apiaries. In addition, both beekeepers collected additional swarms and/or removed unmanaged colonies from structures near by.
Here at some details regarding the individual samples that ***** collected:
From ***** (Started beekeeping in 2017)
D2 - Swarm caught in 2018, origin unknown, survived one winter, may have issued a very small swarm in 2019.
D1 - Swarm caught in 2017, parent colony obtained from *****, survived 2 winters so far.
A3 - Swarm caught in 2017 and requeened with Wolf Creek Apiaries queen, survived 2 winters so far.
From ***** (Started beekeeping in 2014)
J-1 Entering 4th winter. Split out of the first cut-out we did as new bee keepers. Been a very good honey producer. 300 bees/ 51 mites
J-3 Entering 2nd winter. Caught swarm from a swampy, wooded area, where we have caught 11 swarms in the past 5 years. Average honey producers. 300 bees/ 41 mites
J-7 Entering 3rd winter, cut out from between floor joists of a split level home. Biggest colony I’ve ever seen, much less caught. Have remained very strong with huge numbers during honey season, and big honey producers. 300 bees/ 27 mites
J-8 Entering 2nd winter. Caught swarm from the same spot as J-3. Big propolis makers and quite fiery when we harvest or spend extra time inside the hive. Also good honey producer. 300 bees/ 18 mites
As you can see the mite counts are relatively high and above what most beekeepers would experience as economic threshold. These mite counts are consistent with what I have found when taking samples over the years. Perhaps this is suggesting more tolerance than resistance? Perhaps it suggests that the vectored viruses are less virulent? Would it be possible for you to run virology studies on these samples? Could it be that the favorable weather and the presence of pollen almost year round is allowing the bees to maintain greater fat body mass, thereby mitigating the issue of mites depleting those fat bodies?
I hope this information is helpful ***** and if there is anything else we can provide please let us know.
Last edited by JWPalmer; 12-01-2019 at 01:16 PM. Reason: Remove personal identifier