Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany - Page 58
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  1. #1141
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    All the best with it Mischief.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

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  3. #1142
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    1,407

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    All the best with it Mischief.
    Say OT, are you keeping your ear to the ground and keeping tabs on other TF keepers in New Zealand? Any progress?

    When reading New Zealand topics I forget its spring. So hearing about DWV at this time of year doesn't sound good. I sometimes see a bit mid summer with a few hives having problems by fall. Others with higher mite counts this time of year are showing no signs of it.

  4. #1143
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    There are still people trying over here, Mischief for example, but it almost invariable ends in tears.

    We have a couple of problems here that really became apparent to me a few years ago when I tried TF.

    Which are first, that we have a much more narrow genetic diversity here than you do in the USA. Most if not all of your bees that have developed strategies to co exist with mites are descended from bee strains that were never imported to New Zealand.

    The second problem is we are an island country about the size of one American state. But we have around a million beehives. What this meant in practise when I was trying to breed resistant stock, is it was just not possible to find an isolated mating site. Even though I did identify some hives that performed much better against mites than average, this was lost in the next generation or two, I was not able to "fix" the trait.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  5. #1144
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    South Waikato New Zealand
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    212

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    ...and we have had a very bad habit of treating drones as useless eaters to be done away with, lessening the gene pool even further; treating feral hives as things that need to be put in a proper box or if not, destroyed, cos 'they are diseased'.
    And still I have hope.

  6. #1145

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by mischief View Post
    ...and we have had a very bad habit of treating drones as useless eaters to be done away with, lessening the gene pool even further; treating feral hives as things that need to be put in a proper box or if not, destroyed, cos 'they are diseased'.
    And still I have hope.
    Same here. Bet the beekeepers in NZ treated and treat prohylactically too.
    I have one colony third generation from a F1 elgon queen open mated from last year which has low mite counts.

    The F1 is still alive and now has zero mites for days, going into her third winter never treated.
    We as a group made some small splits from her. My split has low mite numbers.

    The F0 I brought back from sweden has zero mites now for days also after being installed on comb from a high mite number donator hive.

    Letīs see what happens. I have some hope too!
    But if a crash comes we now have good reserve among us and if this should happen I was offered treatment free colonies to go on with.

  7. #1146
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
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    2,998

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    As oldtimer notes, mite resistance seems to occur much more often in high percentage mellifera colonies. Next highest is Carniolans. Reading the literature, it looks like most colonies in Africa are now resistant to varroa.

    It is worth reiterating the mechanisms of resistance that we know about.

    Varroa sensitive hygiene - this is arguably the best known of the varroa resistance mechanisms. Colonies expressing VSH detect varroa, open the cell, and drag the affected pupa out which prevents reproduction.

    Allogrooming - bees will groom mites off themselves and sometimes off other bees. The mites are usually mauled which kills them.

    Breaks in brood rearing - This is especially effective in areas with both spring and fall flows with a relatively long dearth in summer. Shutdown of brood rearing prevents mite reproduction in the critical time prior to preparation for winter.

    Reduced days to maturity - Reducing worker maturity by just one day significantly reduces the number of mature mites that a foundress mite can produce. Some bees mature in 19 days which is a significant advantage.

    Mite entombment - This is when the pupal cocoons are shed in such a way that the mite is trapped and dies.


    There are 3 or 4 other minor effects that have been documented.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  8. #1147

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    As oldtimer notes, mite resistance seems to occur much more often in high percentage mellifera colonies. Next highest is Carniolans. Reading the literature, it looks like most colonies in Africa are now resistant to varroa.
    Interesting, Dar. My carniolans were susceptible. Even the "resistant" breeds. In our group we mostly have tf AMM, elgon bees now.

    It is worth reiterating the mechanisms of resistance that we know about.

    Varroa sensitive hygiene - this is arguably the best known of the varroa resistance mechanisms. Colonies expressing VSH detect varroa, open the cell, and drag the affected pupa out which prevents reproduction.
    Yes, we see it done in some colonies, The trigger might be too high though.

    Allogrooming - bees will groom mites off themselves and sometimes off other bees. The mites are usually mauled which kills them.
    I suspect my colonies do this to a high extent. IMO treatments prevent this because the communication inside the hive is done by chemicals.
    IMO bees communicate with chemicals and actions if they are stressed and start the grooming. Similar to Cerana but not as highly expressed.

    Breaks in brood rearing - This is especially effective in areas with both spring and fall flows with a relatively long dearth in summer. Shutdown of brood rearing prevents mite reproduction in the critical time prior to preparation for winter.
    We are not so lucky. No broodbrakes in summer and not always a break in winter or too short a break.
    Only starving colonies shut down which are packages installed after main flow. But they should not be left to starve.


    Reduced days to maturity - Reducing worker maturity by just one day significantly reduces the number of mature mites that a foundress mite can produce. Some bees mature in 19 days which is a significant advantage.
    Thatīs what the elgon bees are known for and small cell and narrow frame space seem to help with. Some races canīt build small cells.
    I found many light mites this year on the floor board. Could be they are not prolific or groomed off.

    Mite entombment - This is when the pupal cocoons are shed in such a way that the mite is trapped and dies.
    I see much propolis coming in when the bees are in a crisis. The treated mite ridden hive is full of sticky propolis between frames and on top, broodnests are heavily propolised.
    I donīt know if they entomb mites.
    Research says propolis comes in to climate a hive going into winter. I see that this is not the entire truth. It must have some other functions.

    There are races or colonies which have no or not much propolis. Itīs a trait that was bred.. They donīt last long here if not treated.. They die the first season before they go into the first winter.

  9. #1148

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Today we checked the weights.
    All are good prepared for winter.
    The pure bred elgon is a little light, but she is a nuc with only ten frames. Plus is 15kg.

    Yesterday I put a second treatment into the IPM hive. They had propolised the former pads entirely, so I know what they feel about them.

    The "ferals" AMM at the other locationare so strong! No mites on floor board, but I donīt check often and there is too much debris to see exactly. No defect bees on the ground or pupa expelled.
    While we looked at the entrance we were attacked ferociously by some watchers. The hive protects the honey stores. The neighbor 200m far just came back from migrating to the dark honey. He treated and now feeds. So his bees try to rob the stores but mine will not let them. Good I have robber sreens on every hive.

    400m near are my Buckfasts which have more problems with defense as I saw. They are bred for gentleness and you can touch the screens- no reaction. But they defend against wasps.

    We have a good flow starting and some more warm days to come. days are short though and nights getting cold.
    The elgons have more shade and are able to use 5-6 hours a day. Flow plants are 50m far.
    The others have more sun, some more hours to forage. Flow is 100m far.

    Some picts, the first two are the buckfast place and the flow, itīs rape and ivy, not very good for overwintering, but they have syrup.
    The third is the flow field near the elgons, which is very good nectar. I hope the take some more.
    I fed only the late split and the treated hive, the others had taken care of their stores themselves. I harvested some surplus after main flow late spring.

    Buckfast.jpg T1.jpg T2.jpg

  10. #1149

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    If the bees have access to the space between the screen varroa mesh and the bottom floor they pick up the living mites from the mite drop.

    Old bees, some robbers or disoriented bees can be in this small space if the board is not pushed in entirely.

    I neglected the placement two days apart and had 3 bees caught in this space. They were covered with living mites but still able to fly. So I had to kill them.

    If grooming is the cause of the mites still living this will bring back the mites into the colony. If they are still prolific they will breed again.

    In a tree or with an open floor the other insects or the microorganisms would have taken care of them.

    This is a disadvantage of the varroa boards. Itīs important to check often if mite drops are high, for example after treatment. Treatments donīt kill all mites. If not, these mites are the strongest and healthiest.
    Not good to have them back.

  11. #1150

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    I have a second hive with high mite numbers,not as high, but no DWV Bees to be seen. I decided against treatment.

    Treating can change your personal inhibition level very fast as was my feeling the last days! I reflected about it and I saw that I donīt want this, I still prefer bond and leave the fighting to the bees.

    Treat 50% of the colonies and you treat more and more because you donīt have tf survivors left.

    I decided to have as my threshold the comparison of two times counting with some weeks in between ( mite numbers could change very suddenly) and to act on Virus Bees even if mite count is low in this colonies.

  12. #1151

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Seasons over.
    Iīm glad all have their stores and capped too, they had some warm days after feeding ( I fed 6 colonies) to process the syrup.
    Nights are cold, this night 3°C.
    There will still be times to forage but this is surplus then.

    There is an end to mite monitoring now. Iīm not pulling the floor board when the bees cluster, Iīm only disturbing when there is traffic.

    Too late for treating, the high mite number hives have to make it on their own.
    The thymol treatments worked, the drop goes down. I estimate the mites killed at 3000 at all. They still have high mite numbers but not as high as before. I hope if they crash it will be in winter.

    Here is the last monitoring tablet:

    Milbenzahlen 2018 bis Herbst.pdf

  13. #1152
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    South Waikato New Zealand
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    212

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    I oil my boards quite heavily so if any live ones fall on it they get stuck and/or drown in it.

  14. #1153

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    I oiled mine last year but found the oils evaporating in the summer heat and influencing the hive climate negatively.
    Also I want to check the mites themselves, microscope them and see how many are living and how many are bitten.
    I cannot check oiled mites.

    Iīm not using the boards as mite traps, they are a monitoring tool.

    With my data I see that the colonies differ very much with respect to mites and that is is possible to evaluate them without disturbing the broodnest. The elaborate counting and microscoping by the floor board is a good tool. I have no queen excluders so I have to look for the queens before I can do an alcohol wash. IMO an alcohol wash must be done with nurse bees.
    The checking by counting the board can be done for a long time if I do not shun the work. It can be done by rain, storm or whatever, without going into the hive.

    Still, there are many facts to consider: are the colonies with low mite counts tolerant? Are those with high counts susceptible or is it a number they can bear to have?

    In the end itīs still bond and all about surviving. I have to take the risk if I want to be tf but Iīm glad to be able to avoid any "mite bombs" created in my own apiary in near future and hope to be able to improve my methods still.

    In my case I will start the monitoring in spring before multiplying and then decide how to breed. Then go on monitoring so I see whether the mite numbers stay the same or rise. Watch out for Virus Bees too.
    How I do my multiplying I donīt know yet. I would like to test some colonies without splitting but those which want to swarm I will split.
    It all depends on the survivors if I have any. The rate of survivors I compare with my mite data.

    Under my circumstances Iīm far from risking "accelerated bond" by my own managements. This is for tf beekeepers who keep bees in more isolated locations or who can distribute their own genetics in their location or are able to artificial inseminate, which will not influence the reinfestation from outside though and has nothing to do with the situation a "normal" beekeepers founds himself in, as much as it prevents a normal natural selection because this methods could never cover the different factors which work on the abilities of bee colonies to survive.
    Last edited by 1102009; 09-25-2018 at 10:44 PM.

  15. #1154

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Nights are cold but days still warm.
    A good flow started, fields with mustard, phacelia knotweeds and sunflowers all around.

    The bees are bringing blue and yellow pollen and are heavy with nectar. Today we spend a whole day in the fruit orchard to harvest the last apples, so I could see very well what goes on with the swedish stock.
    Mite numbers went down but one hive had a wingless bee on the grass. Itīs the hive which always had the most brood and survived one winter with the highest infestation level I ever had. Same queen.

    The treated hive still has the highest drop from all, the thymol still works.

    As the day passed every colony did an orientation or cleansing flight. The bees looked good, fat and lively.. defense is very good, many dead yellow jackets on the ground.
    No chilled brood taken out so the strengh must be ok for warming the brood patches.

  16. #1155
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    10,146

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    good report sibylle, many thanks for the update.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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