Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!
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  1. #1

    Default Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Randy Oliver wrote a post on BeeL recently. I am twisting his intent but I believe my thinking is correct. Randy had about a thousand hives that had queens from breeders that he’d selected for reduced mite populations. By the end of their first year only 16 hives had survivable mite populations. Less than 2%! From selected queens!
    I only say this because there are some who make fun of people who immediately suspect mites as a cause of hive failures.
    Those of you who are new to beekeeping and have chosen a treatment free path…or those who ‘never saw any mites’….or those who believe their bees froze…..remember this. 2%....from selected queens!
    I am not suggesting that you abandon your tf philosophy. I don't care. I am suggesting that you keep an objective mindset when it comes to varroa.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    beemandan
    I say that even those 16 hives in the right conditions could be stressed. It is sorta like chalk brood or efb. Some bees are better at handling it and it is at its worst when there are other stresses and then sometimes when the food becomes plentiful the bees build up the stregth to make it go away. When dealing with live animals, it is sometimes a bigger picture than just one thing having an impact. That would probly never go away and mites would be part of that picture. Randy set arbritary standards with no room for variations to see what happenned. So I doubt mites will ever go away just like cases of chalkbrood or many other diseises will ever go away but they might be got to where it can be lived with and where it does as well as cheimical intervention does. So your point may be correct but if cheimicals are also what is weakening the bee from getting there cause they don't have the pressure to have a need, it is kind of a double edge sword is it not?
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  4. #3

    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    When dealing with live animals, it is sometimes a bigger picture than just one thing having an impact.

    Randy set arbritary standards with no room for variations to see what happenned.
    Randy Oliver seems to have a fair idea of the complex interactions of various pressures.
    I would be reluctant to make any presumptions about his research practices. I've read enough of his work to realize that he has a better grasp of it all than I do.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Beemandan
    I have no doubt that randy has a much better grasp then me also. I would also say you could find merit for what I posted on his sites and in his vidios and post.

    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  6. #5

    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    I really don’t have any interest in debating the tf/conventional philosophies. That has been done countless times here without anyone having a change of heart. I simply wanted to point out to new beekeepers the seriousness of varroa, using data collected by an independent researcher.

    If you believe that his numbers are significantly wrong….please feel free to correct them but I would ask that you use data collected by an independent researcher. Simply stating ‘varroa aren’t a problem for me’…or any of its variants…..belong in some other thread.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Gww the idea that bees would "evolve" some resistance to varroa if we let them is a flawed logic. They are as likely to face extinction as they are to "develop resistance".

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    I think ( correct me if I’m wrong gww) what he meant was that Randy Oliver set arbitrary standards with no room for variation BECAUSE he was doing research and with out this practice the study cannot identify the causitive factor. However, real beekeepers utilize multiple factors that may have a different outcome. Both of these practices ( research and realistic practice) are necessary. We need more information about specific factors so we can adjust. Neither treatment free nor treat with chemicals as needed mindsets should be set as dogma. We can all learn from each other

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Beemandan thanks for your wasted breath bringing Mr Oliver's work foreward for consideration. It may help those who can be troubled to read. But most just sway to the siren song requiring you do nothing 'unatural' to your bees.

    I avoided the wrenching reality of losing all my bees when mites came on shore having went out of bees before their arrival. When I re entered beekeeping, I thought I needed to at least try TF. Since I had money and time, I was able to embrace every bit of EYE PEE EM- well except for SBB's, that was always just too silly!

    My problem was I just loved my bees too much not to medicate my livestock. I could indeed winter half my bees without treatments and they would produce a drib and drab of honey, but it was NOT beekeeping.

    I fear a good portion of new beekeeper by ignorance or indoctrination are going to keep repeating TF history.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    i was surprised at the low percentage as well. randy has pointed out in previous articles that the very trait that most commercials are selecting for, i.e. relentless brooding regardless of field conditions, is also selective for high varroa numbers.

    randy's bees have been employed primarily for almond pollination and nuc production. it is reasonable to assume that the traits his bees carry would be similar to other commercials and likely to most packages and queens sold to the public as well.

    it will be interesting to see if keeping mite counts low in a heritable trait. if so we might see a higher percentage of randy's colonies coming through with survivable mite populations when he reports his numbers next year.

    while no where close to 1000 colonies, the half dozen or so of us here in north alabama managing off treatments represent a little over 100 colonies. we are averaging more like 20% losses over the years. it appears that we may be working with a very different population to what randy is working with.

    or maybe it's something in the water?
    'no wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes' - the doobies

  11. #10

    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Whether or not one believes that Randy’s fixed mite treatment thresholds would result in a collapse of the colony, it is hard for me to believe that a significant number would have succeeded. Randy has been beekeeping ‘scientifically’ for quite a while. He is a semi bright fellow. If he says 2% have survivable mite loads, I believe that it would be close to that.
    If you think he is clueless…so be it.

    I am not trying to convince anyone to treat. I only hate reading all of the new beekeepers posts on their losses and their beliefs that it is everything but varroa. If it isn’t varroa that killed your bees, it is pretty likely that they were a significant part of the failure.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    vtbeeguy
    Gww the idea that bees would "evolve" some resistance to varroa if we let them is a flawed logic. They are as likely to face extinction as they are to "develop resistance".
    To counter this ideal and also kinda show the principle that randy is working off in a controlled way. This is a study that randy posted to show the possibilities of what he is doing having a chance.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4601502/

    Now he is getting from point A to point B in a controlled fassion in the fastest way he can come up with with out also losing his butt in bee loss. But to think that one does not affect the other when it comes to keeping mites below a certain threshold rather then maxamum pressure of live and let die is a compermise that can be lived with and allows more bees to work with while doing it. That still does not change the principle of how things work as shown in the study that he himself posted. But, yes there is proof that things have gone extinct and more will in the future.
    Cheers
    gww

    Ps I also read randys stuff like it is manna from heaven and try to understand it as best I can with my smaller capabilities. I read alot and understand a little.
    zone 5b

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    I only hate reading all of the new beekeepers posts on their losses and their beliefs that it is everything but varroa. If it isn’t varroa that killed your bees, it is pretty likely that they were a significant part of the failure.
    agreed. this is precisely randy's point about why the industry needs to roll up their sleeves and work to move the ball forward. he should be commended for 'walking the walk'.
    'no wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes' - the doobies

  14. #13

    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    randy's bees have been employed primarily for almond pollination and nuc production. it is reasonable to assume that the traits his bees carry would be similar to other commercials and likely to most packages and queens sold to the public as well.
    From Randy's post 'The queens of all the colonies were daughters of roughly 15 queens whose colonies had previously appeared to exhibit resistance to mite buildup.'

    Once again....I'm not looking for another tf/conventional argument. I simply want to point out the seriousness of the threat posed by varroa.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    From Randy's post 'The queens of all the colonies were daughters of roughly 15 queens whose colonies had previously appeared to exhibit resistance to mite buildup.'
    yes, randy began this endeavor using a low mite count as the criterion. i was just considering the gene pool not having much depth in the 'survivor' category but rather being comprised of what commercials have been selecting for over the years.

    we're not arguing, are we?
    'no wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes' - the doobies

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    One other thing shown in the study I posted a link to. It shows that many times a single pathogen does not work by its self to cause issues but more likily several are working at once. Mites are one. In a healthy bee with no stress, mites would have less impact then bees with several stressors. They are part of the picture but it is still a whole picture and not just one part though it may be the worst part right now.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Here is his post:

    "One thing that comes to mind is honey bees surviving without treatment."

    Many people claim to have them, but often produce no evidence, or else anecdotes and just so stories.

    May I offer some hard evidence? I monitored mite levels in a starting population of slightly over 1000 colonies this past year, in order to see what proportion would actually survive without treatment. The queens of all the colonies were daughters of roughly 15 queens whose colonies had previously appeared to exhibit resistance to mite buildup.

    At each monitoring event, I eliminated from consideration any hives in which the mite counts were on a trajectory towards eventual colony death from varroa (I treated them, l so that not a single colony died from mites during the trial).

    As we approach the 1-year mark, of those 1000+ hives, it appears that perhaps 16 have maintained mite counts below 4 mites per 100 bees--that's less than 2% "survival" (over 50 actually survived, but their counts as of this week required immediate treatment;I'm estimating the 16 since I've only sampled half so far).

    Had I not treated the rest over the course of the year, I'm guessing that their inevitable collapses would have overwhelmed even those 2% with mites.

    This is not to say that others may be starting with bee stock that exhibits a higher degree of mite resistance (VSH, Russian, or confirmed feral), but would certainly apply to anyone starting with commercial stocks (which exhibit far less resistance than the bloodlines that I started with).

    I'm as enthusiastic as anyone about breeding bees that exhibit mite resistance, but the take home message is that one should indeed be extremely skeptical about claims regarding the long-term survival of any bee stock without hard supportive data."


    --
    Randy Oliver
    Grass Valley, CA
    www.ScientificBeekeeping.com
    Last edited by bison; 02-24-2018 at 11:31 AM. Reason: added quotation marks

  18. #17

    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    we're not arguing, are we?
    Naw. In fact, if we were....it wouldn't be tf/t. It would be interpreting Randy's post. That is fair game.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    This was a quote from a differrent poster and what is below it was in answer to this.
    "One thing that comes to mind is honey bees surviving without treatment.

    Many people claim to have them, but often produce no evidence, or else anecdotes and just so stories.
    Just to keep the whole thing that was copied by bison in context.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  20. #19

    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    Quote Originally Posted by bison View Post
    This is not to say that others may be starting with bee stock that exhibits a higher degree of mite resistance (VSH, Russian, or confirmed feral), but would certainly apply to anyone starting with commercial stocks (which exhibit far less resistance than the bloodlines that I started with).
    Indeed....this is telling as well. Randy states that more highly selected stock would confer a higher level of resistance. Yet...he also indicates that the stock he was using was still superior to ordinary commercial stock.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Less than 2% had survivable mite loads!

    'no wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes' - the doobies

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