Ray Olivarez is nurturing specific lines of the Saskatraz project, he tells me he's warmed up towards a few lines they have helped develop. I'm going to try a few of these queens next season out of pure curiosity sake and provide some feedback
Mites really are not that big a problem for commercial guys compared to lots of other issues they have to deal with. Mites are a big deal to back yard bee keepers simply because all to often they are not practicing reasonable animal husbandry. Even if mites were not a problem at all the back yard bee keepers will still kill a lot of hives by neglect. There is no genetic cure for neglect.
They do this to lower labour costs, but the price is: driving pest and disease resistance, tolerating suppressed brood disease.
Last edited by WesternWilson; 12-27-2016 at 06:27 AM.
Of course mites are a problem for all beekeepers including the commercials but its a problem shared equally by everyone so the net effect is positive for those who have a good mite control program.
Year around med and pesticide applications? I suppose its done by a few but if honey production is part of your income then I think it would be pretty risky as all the major packers I deal with have a pretty extensive testing program.
"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney
One of the early post. First page. Commented on how one beekeeper does not like how a resistant colony looks. yet prefers the better to them looking colony that is susceptible to Varroa. Basically choose the bad choice because it looks better. Which brought me to the thought that for decades if not centuries bees have been handled to "Look Better". I suspect with little knowledge of what "Is Better". Not the same thing. And with evidence that you can look right at something make it impossible to deny that it is anything but better but then still say. "I'll take the crappy bees that die". you have your work cut out for you.
Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)
Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson
i'll refer you to jim's post #74 for confirmation that the industry is far from 'failing'. rather than varroa, the biggest threat appears to a market flooded with fake honey imported from china.
I didn't say it was utterly failing. I said it was failing to some degree. That is the sense I get from some reports. I'm not in the field, admittedly. Perhaps we are creating problems where none exist.
Regarding import, we all know that's what's killed most industry. I can empathize with that struggle.
Last edited by Nordak; 12-27-2016 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Autocorrect
but what we are discussing here is the fact that varroa has been with us for almost 30 years and the best we have been able to achieve is a stalemate. the question is: are the mites really that much smarter than we are?
randy and others are suggesting that it's the industry's fault for not being more proactive. i have suggested in my posts above that the 'band aids' are more convenient and cost effective for most. a concern for us all is the possibility that we may run out of band aids.
we have documentation that bee populations can become resistant/tolerant to varroa. we humans are pretty smart when we want to be. hopefully someone much more expertise than me will come up with a doable way forward. right now it looks like randy is taking the lead in that regard.
I think it could be done in a stepped gradual fashion with ecologists, virologists, and epidemiologists involved to document impacts on bee populations from those relatively isolated to those in the main current of bee movement. I'm guessing there is a sweet spot for the right amount of bee movement. If it was done over the long term, bee health could be gradually improved over wider and wider parts of the continent, allowing very slow adaptation by migratory operations, landowners and bee sellers. Local bee clubs could do a lot simply by aiming for bee self sufficiency within their club members and new members.
I understand. Clearly bees aren't in danger of going extinct. That's nonsense talk. The issue is just as you put it, from my understanding. I read Randy's articles often, and am amazed by his mind and foresight. An asset to beeks. Failing was a bad term to use. Failing to recognize the potential pitfalls of current practice might be a better way of getting to the heart of what I meant. Apologies I wasn't clearer. I have a tendency sometimes to think and write in shorthand. I know there are many skilled and successful commercial beeks on this forum and they know much more about the reality of the situation than I do looking from the outside.
"Looking from the outside "
Square, about this documentation about some bees developing resistance/tolerance to mites, I do not believe that there is any proof of such resistance only that bees are surviving treatment free. It could be that isolated areas have less virulent pathogens or perhaps those mites have adapted in some way, until some facts turn up as to what the reason of some colonies surviving we are still in the dark. We have been trying to breed better bees for 30 years maybe we should be trying to breed better mites or less virulent pathogens. As an aside I see a new bacteria has been discovered that is killing bees.