treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread - Page 5
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  1. #81
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    For instance, someone signed me up into the TF FB group, and I was trying to discuss how actual breeding is a much stronger selector than natural selection. Of course, this concept was immediately dismissed, nature has been selecting for millions, well, billions of years, how can we compete, but the concept is totally lost on them
    bingo! if you just split everything that lives to make up for losses you not puting enough selection pressure to make head way and you end up with a lot of sub par queen VS using select breeder queens...nature culls 80% or so of the queens per year and 1/2-2/3s of the colloneys die each year just to maintain advrage perfomamce, to beat that and make improvements you have aply strong selection pressure breeding from the exceptional queens and culling the poor performers....

    Johno is SP's case it seems to be limited restiance... He has been playing with Randys mite modle, and with his build up/delcine rates and brood breaks is showing it only takes a slight amount of restiance for bees to surive in his area
    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    (with some coaching) i've been playing around with randy oliver's mite model.
    from my journals i've entered typical numbers for frames of bees and frames of brood at semi-monthly intervals throughout the year.
    i found that when using the 'default' colony characteristics a six week mid summer brood break was not enough to keep the colony from crashing.
    however when i 'dialed in' a minimal amount of 'mite resistance' the colony remained sustainable.
    Those bees when exported to say your area would liky crash.

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  3. #82
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Dan the b......
    There was one study that it was not done in isolation as far as isolation from comercial stock goes. I swear I did read about one tf keeper working almounds but would be hard put to find all the things I have read again.
    I am in a rural setting though I do think on a small scale that small beekeepers buy packages with in flying distance from me. My swarms were caught over a 30 mile radious and I do not believe there are comercial bees in that radious.

    Luck and lazyness of me and maby the people in my area might make more poeple keep bees like I do.

    So for me in my situation, I would have to say that I am mostly issolated.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  4. #83
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    squarepeg, I think you have opened up Pandora's Box and created a new Frankenstein...
    perhaps.

    i started this thread primarily to provide a venue for comments from all sides of the topic and hopefully keep other threads from becoming derailed.

    so far so good. it's interesting to see how the thinking in community has evolved over the years.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #84
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    I had supper with Gerry and Christine Rozema, Irene and Randy Oliver at the BCHPA this past October. Randy had some extremely interesting results come out his early operational mite sample trial. His only criteria was mite suppression. He was not looking for function.
    There were hives within his operation (1000 plus hives) which showed impressive mite suppression “ability” , then others which fell apart completely, those of which he’d identified, bombed with Formic and requeened.

    I do believe an open mind is key...stretching mine ever so slowly. A plan slowly develops
    hmm, me thinks you forgot to mention one more person that was with us at that dinner, I seem to remember your wife was there too

    The way Randy described the methodology was interesting, because it was indeed a focussed selection program, much the same way you do it with cattle and we do here with chickens. Use your cattle example, it's calving season now, and in another 6 weeks or so you will have a few hundred calves on the farm. Statistically half of them should turn out to be bulls, but not all of those bulls will be the show winning prize bulls you can sell for huge bucks at an auction. I'm pretty sure your program is similar to ours, as those young bulls mature they will be graded according to a breed standard, and those that make the grade will be segregated into a group to become potential future breeders, the rest will end up in a herd that is ultimately destined for the butcher shop. We dont call that 'culling' because the animals are not wasted, they just go into a different stream, and you are picking the best of the crop out for future breeding potential. But a true breeding program must include culling in some way, shape, or form. In a well set up program, culling from the breeding pool doesn't involve wasting the animal.

    The dual track nature of the presentations on Sunday at that event meant nobody would see them all, so Chris and I split up, she went into one room I went into the other. You missed the other presentation by Randy because you were busy in the other room giving another talk to a group. Randy started that presentation with an interesting question, worded along this line. If we have a healthy, stable feral bee population in an area, how many colonies die off annually ? Lots of muttering of the word 'none' around the room. His response, 'WRONG ANSWER'. Think it thru. If we have a healthy strong colony in the spring, on average they will throw a prime swarm and an afterswam. Colony count grows by a factor of 3 during swarm season, so if we have a stable population year over year, then 2/3 of those colonies will die off annually. It does get one to thinking a little differently when you pose the situation in those terms. From another of his talks about doing targetted research, one detail I remember well, due to the wide variance between colonies, for any kind fo bee study it is accepted that there must be at least a dozen colonies in each test group to be statistically significant.

    As a beekeeper it's fairly easy to replicate this kind of behaviour, just do 3 for 1 splits every year, then we can survive a 66% annual loss and continue with a stable colony count year over year. The problem with this methodology, if we split 3 for 1 there isn't going to be a lot of honey production, and none of the units will be up to grade at the times they are needed for pollination. We cant sell any of them as surplus as they need to be kept for covering the losses moving forward. We may have a stable bee population, but, it's not a tenable situation if we are trying to have something to sell so we can make a living. Another problem that comes up trying to replicate feral behaviour, feral bees tend to spread out when they swarm, so, they dont end up with a dozen colonies in a row where bees are drifting between colonies. So as a beekeeper, to replicate this, I need to start the season with a dozen colonies, split them all 3 for 1, then place them in widely separated locations, not all bunched together in a single yard. The wider separation is really important to help reduce the lateral transmission of diseases between colonies due to drift. 36 colonies in 36 separate locations is going to run up a huge gas bill and provide nothing in return. That only works if you are keeping bees for the sake of keeping bees, and have no expectations of any return on investment.

    I take issue with many of the folks doing a bond style program where they essentially throw a bunch of bees in a yard and deprive them of any form of treatment as a way to 'select for the fittest'. That is not a focussed breeding program meant to enhance one or more specific traits, it's just plain negligence. In the bee yard type of setting, lateral transmission of problems places pressures on colonies far greater than they would experience in a feral setting. The original title is 'treat vs non treat', and does not specifically state with respect to varroa, so I'll home in on other diseases and pressures that afflict our bees instead, it's less 'emotional' that way. if we have a yard with a population of 30 colonies, and are testing them for a specific trait and/or response to a specific management method, that is a valid reason to potentially withhold some form of husbandry that would otherwise be deemed appropriate. BUT, if during that test period some other affliction shows up, use EFB as an example, then we have a new influence that should be dealt with. EFB can easily be managed, but, if left for the bees to 'figure it out' in a bond style of selection process, one infected colony will very quickly spread that infection to all of the colonies as it collapses and bees drift to neighboring colonies, then the sick colony ultimately gets robbed out. In a feral situation where colonies are farther spread out, it's likely not all colonies in the population would end up with the infection simply because of spacing. Not all of the would discover the collapsing colony to participate in the rob-out before it's fully depleted of stuff to rob, but in the tightly packed bee yard, everybody is going to join in the party quick enough. This scenario creates an artificially high level of selection pressure as compared to feral colonies when we group them together in a single yard. In this extreme example, one could easily conclude that 'none of the bees in this yard can cope with mites' if that was your initial goal, but in fact, it's quite possible all of them could cope with mites just fine, but none of them could cope with EFB. When selecting on a trait, it's so important to isolate that one trait, and not let other factors confuse the issue. Bone yards dont do that isolation, it's just a 'throw some **** at the ceiling and see what sticks' kind of methodology.

    In this respect, Randy's concept is very different. Leave the bees be without treatment until they reach a threshold deemed to be to high, then remove them from the selection group, knock back the problem and requeen with different stock, hopefully better stock. If after that requeening they start to show promise, they can be re-introduced into the population from which selections are being made. This is a very targetted breeding program, the culling of undesirable is accomplished by requeening, and no colonies are left to just wither and die. The drawback to this method, it's VERY labor intensive, doing mite washes on a thousand colonies doesn't happen in an afternoon if you only have 3 or 4 folks working on it, and there is a LOT of paperwork to track it all. On the other hand, after the first round of testing the target colonies can be whittled down to a manageable number, so it's not as labor intensive moving forward after the first round.

    ofc one other thing that many seem to take for granted, there is an underlying assumption on the part of many that we can coax a trait out of the European Honeybee that will bring on some form of resistance, and do it without losing all of the traits that make them valuable for honey production and pollination. History is littered with examples of species that didn't survive the changes when a new predator or pest was introduced, they went extinct, unable to cope with the new pressure on the population. I'm not convinced that complete resistance to any pest or disease can be achieved in a setting where yards of many colonies are kept in close contact with each other.

  6. #85
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    >>>hmm, me thinks you forgot to mention one more person that was with us at that dinner, I seem to remember your wife was there too <<<

    Oh ****!! Ah ha ha ha , you are right!
    Good thing she doesn’t read up on beesource regularly lol

  7. #86
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    it's interesting to see how the thinking in community has evolved over the years.
    Certainly is. Back when I signed up one had to be very careful admitting to treating bees, cos you would instantly have a horde of year one beekeepers calling you ignorant, mindless, and worse. Being a "treater" was like having leprosy.

    Reading between the lines of what people were saying back then, it could be seen how the current situation was probably going to come about. Because although noone ever admitted it, the bee math revealed that most TF folks were losing most or all their hives. Give it a few years and it had to happen that those folks would quit, or convert. Add to that the introduction of 2 effective treatments being Apivar and OAV, meaning people could actually treat and it would work, they would see the results, and the balance had to swing to where it is now, other than folks in places where they can actually keep bees successfully and be treatment free.

    Rather than the agro of the past, most TF folks are prepared now to accept that for some folks in some places, TF is not going to work, and most treating people accept that for some folks TF can work. So there is more of a live and let live attitude, each to what works for them. Which is healthy for the community, we all share a love of bees, and should not be trying to kill each other.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  8. #87
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    great post ot, many thanks.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #88
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Gerry,
    That feedback and reflection is exactly why I use you (secretly) as my “thinking” contact.
    Love the input

    Guys, that was a long post, read it twice

  10. #89
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    I just want to see a treatment free beekeeper with more than 30 hives, less than say 200 that makes an average honey crop of at least 60lb per hive minimum for longer than 5 years and a surplus of bees. Grozzie was typing while I was. What he said is how i think. I can’t have 50 hives at 50 locations split 3:1 and make any money.

  11. #90
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlestonbee View Post
    I just want to see a treatment free beekeeper with more than 30 hives, less than say 200 that makes an average honey crop of at least 60lb per hive minimum for longer than 5 years and a surplus of bees.

    I could have met those requirements for many years, but not because my bees were not dying. But because I am able to bait hive in 70 new swarms a year and use other propagation methods. All very time consuming. After 60% loss last winter I went to Apivar this year. In my neighborhood treatment free means 50%+ annual losses.

  12. #91
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    Yeah I should have said that. No catching swarms. Also another caveat HoneyHouseholder is the best treatment free beekeeper. His method doesn’t count in what I was saying lol

  13. #92
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i certainly do not consider myself a "pusher" of any philosophy, but there are several of us in my area are having year after year success with survival and honey production while keeping bees off treatments.

    see post 1331 on this page for 2015-2017 tallies:

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...erience/page34

    please post your numbers so that we can do a side by side comparison.
    Square I have checked out your thread and I think it's great your willing to put your #s down as proof of your success. I wouldn't consider you a "pusher" of tf and the existence of your thread indicates you were not someone I was referring to but I have no problem putting my #s up. Started 2016 1 package and 3 mite ridden nucs. Did a half strength formic acid treatment that Aug. Had 2 hives dead by Jan. (had a moisture issue which I fixed) did a mite wash had over 40 mites per 100 dead bees which was major cause of crash. Got a vaporizer and did a couple OAV tx on the 2 remaining. Took my 2 hives in spring made 3 splits raising my own queens. About 6 weeks later took another 2 splits home raised queens. 3 weeks later 4 more splits purchased queens from advertised tf stock and 3 splits home raised queens. Total of 12 splits plus 2 original hives did a few combines in fall ended with 10 colonies going into winter. Had probably 60 deeps and 40 medium frames drawn, harvested couple gallons of honey from a nuc started early. I have no mentor completely self taught and responsible for all my success and failures. Wouldn't have gotten anywhere near the rate of expansion I got without keeping mites low by treating. What I'm truly interested in know in knowing is the #s on some of the big tf beekeeping "gurus" apiaries. If they're confident enough to tell beginners it's possible to be tf successfully why not confident enough to give a yearly summary of their apiary. And although I'm not pushing anything other than the need to practice good animal husbandry I have no problem giving a rundown on mine whenever asked.
    I went back and looked and couldn't find the graph I was thinking of on Randy's site might have been somewhere else but I did find some good quotes on his site. This one under first year care, "Question what should I do?" "Answer: There are no shoulds in bee keeping other than practicing good animal husbandry. Bees need only a dry caveat, food, and PARASITE MANAGEMENT."
    My problem with a brood break alone is even if some of the mites are killed during it most won't as well as the bees that are left have been compromised. Think about it the bees are dinner for the mites which depletes vittogellin (think I spelt that right) levels in the bees. Lots of research indicating once those levels are depleted the bee is not long for this world as well as being unable to produce top quality brood food. Makes it tough for a mite ridden colony coming out of a 5 month winter to hand over the colony to the summer bees without crashing and burning

  14. #93
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    As opposed to mite resistant bees vs less virulent mites, perhaps the bees have developed resistance to the associated viruses in TF locations.

  15. #94
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Odfrank, that's what many deem as successful TF beekeeping though... sustaining their numbers with swarms and cutouts, I don't see that being successful at all in terms of progress that is. Also, the other thing that comes up, is how genetically superior feral bees are to commercial stocks... I kind of face palm every time I have to read that statement which means my hands keep pretty warm when I'm reading the TF FB forums.... When you look at populations, the most pure lines in terms of the original or novel stocks will be the most isolated ones. Co-mingling diversifies the rest from the isolated lines. As long as diversity remains, there's always the chance to be able to select back to something that resembles the original strains, but there's no new genes introduced and the isolated lines are not genetically superior in any way.

  16. #95
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    I'm all for starting with original strains, AHB anyone? It's my understanding they might possess an undesirable trait or two though.
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  17. #96
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    One of my genuine irritations with the "TF catechism" is its reliance on "factoids" that are never demonstrated. After a number of other magic theories have been discarded over the years, the center of gravity of the TF belief system is found in the catechism postulate that "feral bees" are more diverse (and by implication better) than commercial stock.

    A recent paper (open access) from David Tarpy lab throws doubt on this endlessly repeated item of catechism. http://elsakristen.com/docs/LopezUri...y_immunity.pdf Higher immunocompetence is associated with higher genetic
    diversity in feral honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera)
    Margarita M. López-Uribe · R. Holden Appler · Elsa Youngsteadt ·
    Robert R. Dunn · Steven D. Frank · David R. Tarpy

    This paper sampled 1) domestic commercial stock and 2) feral honey bees in North Carolina. It found (as did an earlier paper by the principal author) that commercial stock had significantly higher allele diversity than the feral bees. Let's repeat: Commercial stock is more diverse than wild collected bees. It did find that within feral bees the more diverse the allele diversity was, the better your immunocompetence to virus innoculation compared to more impoverished feral diversity. The feral bees showed evidence of a genetic bottleneck and recolonization from domesticated bloodlines.

    This reduced genetic makeup may have allowed local 'resistance' to develop in a process of natural selection aided by the restricted (rather than expanded) diversity. In other words, the paper has encouraging words for both sides of the TF-Treat debate and the role of Bond culling, however the crude argument that feral bees represent some sort of pure survival of "ancestral bees" unsullied by evil commercial breeding is not supported.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 01-15-2018 at 11:03 PM.

  18. #97

    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Some experience of a commercial beekeeper you find here if you scroll down.
    http://www.elgon.es/diary/?cat=88
    he uses antibiotics against EFB while queen cells are built but no treatment on his production hives.

    I´m looking forward to work with Erik Österlund in summer. I informed him of this thread as I know he is very interested in such discussions.
    The mailing with him starting 2 years ago convinced me of changing my methods from "live and let die" which means 100% loss in my area to IPM strategies, treating the susceptibles or isolating them or shift the queens and to the strategy of finding a group to work with in my area.

    I've heard TF works exceedingly well somewhere in Nebraska
    I explained this change of my attitude to MB in a private mail. He is no "pusher" and he is no "guru". He understands this. He is a guy convinced of the truth in his own approach and it works for him and many others.
    Why don´t you accept this? Treaters or not, you do just the same. Do you envy his self efficacy?

    We call someone a "Guru" or a "pusher" when we don´t want to be responsible for our own decisions whether they fail or are successful. The decision to follow someone is entirely our own.

    What I realize reading this thread is once again the treaters will not change their attitudes if they have no silver bullet. But the mites will not go away and there will never be a silver bullet.
    The tf interested are more realistic about what work should be done and what the chances are.

    I´m more and more proud to stay convinced of my work. Even if it is hard on me and the bees in my area.
    Last edited by 1102009; 01-16-2018 at 12:08 AM. Reason: more

  19. #98

    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Lauri,
    thanks again.

    A colonies peak performance and longevity don't last forever, there is a point a beekeeper needs to take control to keep colonies fresh and clean.
    Tf or not tf this should be considered.

    And it would not be everlasting, just a seasonal nip in the endless fight to suppress an opportunistic pest.
    My quest for alternative mite management is in my realization If I don't get something sustainable figured out, I am setting myself up for eventual failure if the treatments I rely on eventually become no longer as effective or no longer available.
    Whether you treat right now or not, every beekeeper should have a plan for the future if they want to continue with any kind of success.

  20. #99
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    What I realize reading this thread is once again the treaters will not change their attitudes if they have no silver bullet. But the mites will not go away and there will never be a silver bullet.
    The tf interested are more realistic about what work should be done and what the chances are.
    Isn't a more gracious view that those that use the full range of effective animal husbandry techniques would use other techniques if they are shown to be repeatable and effective as well?

  21. #100

    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Isn't a more gracious view that those that use the full range of effective animal husbandry techniques would use other techniques if they are shown to be repeatable and effective as well?
    But there are such techniques already!
    IPM strategies.
    And if the discussions come to a more natural beekeeping, why is that not considered on the treater`s side?

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