Mite bombs
Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 114

Thread: Mite bombs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Avon, CT
    Posts
    74

    Default Mite bombs

    So after a recent pissing match with a treatment free beekeeper in my area Id thought Id do a little research/poll. Maybe im just young, dumb and ignorant. Im a firm believer of intervention when someone who is trying to be treatment free but has created a mite bomb. The end result with these untreated mite bombs is someone like myself, who is not treatment free with a couple hundred hives, battling mites unnecessarily. I understand you mostly battle mites due to their exponential reproduction within the brood cycles, but they start coming from somewhere.....?

    Can a completely treatment free keeper claim they do not create mite bombs? My personal opinion is there is absolutely no way they can so certainly make these claims.

    And

    What are some actual #'s of hive survival rates that treatment free beekeepers have now a days?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,145

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    beekirk
    The bee imformed partnership survey has side liner numbers for people who use no mite reduction product at just 3 percent more loss then those that use a product over a five year period for all states combined.

    I am going into my third winter with ten treatment free hives and have only lost one so far in previous years but will know more next spring. I have ten hives which I am sure would not have much effect on a couple of hundred hives unless they were really poor stock.

    I bet even in your hundreds of hives that they all do not have the same mite count in them all year long. I wonder if a study was done of all our hives combined, who would have the biggest number of hives that might be considered mite bombs?

    With that many hives, it would not surprise me if you lost enough swarms that might end up adding up to more possible mite bombs before the year is out then I have hives at this point.

    At least if my hives all do die, I will know who to blame with out having to look at my neighbor too hard. I could blame it on all the weak bees that rely on treatments messing up my drone pool but figure why waste my time on stuff that will never be controlled and so will just blame my own beekeeping skills and adjust what I need to do to fix it or get out of keeping bees.

    I do not know if you would consider the bee informed numbers as treatment free numbers but they are at least chemical free compared to chemical reliant.

    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,338

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    hi randy. i moved your thread to the 'diseases and pests' subforum as i believe you'll get more feedback here.

    congrats, it looks like you've come a long way since this post:

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...25#post1347125


    here's a older thread on 'mite bombs' from last year:

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...846-Mite-Bombs


    has your treatment free friend been keeping bees as long as you? are the winter losses much different between the two of you?

    treating doesn't necessarily guarantee against becoming a mite bomb. the reason usually given when that happens is the treatment was too little too late.


    if you have time and are interested in a pragmatic primer on the subject i recommend reading through randy oliver's entire series entitled "the varroa problem":

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/arti...lication-date/

    (scroll down to november 2016 for part 1)


    here's a quote from randy out of his latest installment that is in this month's issue of the american bee journal but not yet posted on his website:

    "The British Columbia Honey Producers Association publishes an excellent quarterly called Bee Scene. In last fall’s issue, an article by beekeeper Kerry Clark caught my eye—“Mutual Respect in the Treatment-Free Debate.” I’m in full agreement, since either side has grounds for making a case. I find closed-minded finger pointing, blaming, and demonization of others to be counterproductive. Although proponents of either side can convincingly rationalize and justify their positions, the truth is that both sides are often right, and both sides are often ill-informed about the biology involved."

    abj, july 2018, vol. 158 No. 7, p. 771

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,812

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    In the last decade or so a new wave of idealistic beekeepers has emerged, many of whom march under the banner of an approach described as 'Natural' Beekeeping. Central to what has essentially become a new religion is the core belief that unmanaged bees are capable of 'naturally' resolving problems of any disease or infestation which befalls them.

    However, what is being overlooked in this current climate of giddy optimism is that in all countries in which beekeeping is conducted (and do we know of any in which it isn't ?) the density of beehives is now such that it broadly equates to a state of intensive farming. And as we know only too well from past experience, intensive farming - unless managed appropriately - is a sure-fire recipe for the outbreak of both disease and infestation.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Avon, CT
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    I meet Oliver and have followed just a smidge of his literature. He was the one who got me interested in the mite bomb idea and also alcohol washing every single one of my hives. I did last year. Between today and next saturday i will be doing an alcohol wash on every single one of my hives. Ive done a handful the past week and found 0 mites on about 10ish hives. I can wash a yard of 25 hives in probably an hour and a half by my self. It pays for me to know which hives i dont need to treat, Ill know the 0% hives that dont need treatment and the ones to re wash after treatment that had 5%. So right now I can firmly say that by next weekend i will know my "mite bombs" and i doubt ill even find over 5% due to all my splitting. Im sure what little swarms I have had are mite bombs, just like im sure theres foulbrood in the woods from past poor beekeepers.


    I just find it hard to believe that a 100% treatment free person can make such a claim that they do not create mite bombs. And then claim that i have no facts to back that they do have mite bombs. Obviously im not doing alcohol washes on their hives........I asked what his hive losses were for the year and he claims he doesnt count losses......? Too high to want to know? Probably no way sustainable..... and is probably rebuying or trading bees every year. obviously mites are why said individual doesnt want to "count losses".

    No blaming anyone here on having mites of my own, and have absolutely no problem with treatment free beeks, untill they do not intervene with a treatment. Thats just craziness.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,192

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    IMO, mite bombs are real. It really has to do with the population of mites in the untreated, under treated, or improperly treated colonies. I've seen it too many times...especially evident in two of my apiaries.

    Until a few years ago, NY sampled all my NY apiaries. Mid-July samples were always 0-2 mites in 300 bees. Except two apiaries, 2 miles apart, where a TF beekeeper has an apiary of 10-20 colonies. My two apiaries there are always showing high mite loads...13-15 mites per 300 bees...when the rest of my operation has 0-2. This year we sampled all the apiaries in mid-July when going through them for requeening. Most apiaries had 0 mites. A few hives had 1 -3. What do you think my two apiaries near this guy samples? 13. I talked to him last summer, asking about his varroa management plan. He told me he was using MAQS. I asked him if he samples his bees. "Well, I was gonna, but...

    Yep, under of improperly treated and never sampled to see if he got any control at all.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Avon, CT
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    IMO, mite bombs are real. It really has to do with the population of mites in the untreated, under treated, or improperly treated colonies. I've seen it too many times...especially evident in two of my apiaries.

    Until a few years ago, NY sampled all my NY apiaries. Mid-July samples were always 0-2 mites in 300 bees. Except two apiaries, 2 miles apart, where a TF beekeeper has an apiary of 10-20 colonies. My two apiaries there are always showing high mite loads...13-15 mites per 300 bees...when the rest of my operation has 0-2. This year we sampled all the apiaries in mid-July when going through them for requeening. Most apiaries had 0 mites. A few hives had 1 -3. What do you think my two apiaries near this guy samples? 13. I talked to him last summer, asking about his varroa management plan. He told me he was using MAQS. I asked him if he samples his bees. "Well, I was gonna, but...

    Yep, under of improperly treated and never sampled to see if he got any control at all.
    Well as a treatment free beekeeper michael, sounds like you agree with all my beliefs. Out of curiosity, what do you do with these high mite loaded hives, do you requeen or something before they get ridiculously high?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,192

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    I'm not a TF beekeeper. Don't know why folks think I am. I treat all my colonies after harvest. Just don't like losing them, or severely compromised before I can get the honey off.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Avon, CT
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I'm not a TF beekeeper. Don't know why folks think I am. I treat all my colonies after harvest. Just don't like losing them, or severely compromised before I can get the honey off.
    whoops, mistaken your name for micheal bush

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    I used to have a greater problem with mites (despite treating, and monitoring my hives like nobody's business.)

    Then I started reaching out to the neighboring beekeepers within my flight range and a little beyond. Mostly they were backyard beekeepers without a good handle on mites as a critical issue, as opposed to being TF on principle.

    So I taught them to monitor, and began treating their colonies along with mine.

    Result: I don't have much of a mite problem any more, and they have less of a one. If we move on to monitoring and treating the ones farther beyond them (and way out of my flight range) then I think we'll do even better.

    Sadly, what was once a pretty rich area for feral colonies has now dwindled down considerably (nobody was treating those poor bees).

    I also teach my neighbors how to prevent swarming, so for awhile the number of feral colonies should stay low. That's OK for now. That will allow some troubles to burn themselves out. Honeybees, after all, are not native to North America, so less pressure from feralized colonies won't hurt native pollinators. (I would never kill a feral colony, however.)

    And I also teach them how not to lose colonies in winter, and how to make splits from their strong overwintered ones, so fewer packages and nucs are coming in bringing fresh rounds of problems with them.

    Since no beekeepers really want to have unhealthy, short-lived bees my neighbors are happy with the results I've showed them are possible and picking up the plan on their own.

    All it took was some of my time, patience - as opposed to fingerpointing - and probably less than $5 of wood bleach. A good investment in opinion.

    Nancy

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,145

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    beekkirk
    I just find it hard to believe that a 100% treatment free person can make such a claim that they do not create mite bombs. And then claim that i have no facts to back that they do have mite bombs.
    I look at it a little differently. My position relies more on the finger pointing of who leaves the biggest foot print on an area in a bad way. The fact that mite bombs may or may not be a bad thing when put into perspective of a shared area is not as important as the fact that all people could do better with the bees they keep (and I mean all people).

    So if we started picking things that may be hurting each other on what the individuals are trying to accomplish, there would always be legitimate blame to go around and if it were studied with all factors involved, no one would be innocent.

    Maybe a ten hive treatment free might have some impact that some one else may need to recognize in their bees and they may need to find ways to live with that situation just like if you lived by a guy that took bees to pollination or followed flows and then brought everything those bees came in contact with back to your area compared to and aria that had only local beeks using local stock, who may have to react to different pressures. One may manage bees by making a split of every hive prior to swarm season where another may keep his bees and let them move to swarm season in the hopes that the ones that don't swarm may make more honey knowing some will swarm. Both positions are fair options for bee keepers and given as advice in many books but have different impact on those around them.

    So it is not that all could not do something different then what they do that may make them have a better foot print on a shared environment but more who gets to decide.

    So in the end, people are going to do the thing that they justify as most important in their mind and have some excuse for doing it. This being what I believe is real rather then what I wish, my belief is I am better off just figuring out what it takes for me in my area to get bees to give me what I want from them regardless of what others want from theirs that live around me.

    I can spend all my time trying to add up things I don't like that they are doing and they could spend the same amount of time on me and we could all have some merit to our arguments of things that have an impact on the whole area and put math to it and try to see who is hurting it the worst or I could just recognize what is going on and what I need to do for my bees under those circumstances and adjust to where I am successful regardless of the things I can not control.

    Nobody is totally guilt free or that much more guilty then the next guy cause they want what they want from their bees just like the other guy who may want other things from his. Picking which persons wants is more important then somebody else's want is a slippery slope. Might be better to do so well that the other guy wants what you want and wants to copy you. Of course if what you want is not better then what he thinks he is getting, he will not change. Then it just comes back to adding up with numbers whose foot print is worse. There, everyone could do better somewhere which means also that every one is doing something bad also depending on who gets to do the counting.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ardnamurchan and Fife, Scotland
    Posts
    190

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    "Treatment free" (at least actively choosing not to treat, rather than simply forgetting!) is either less common in the UK or they're a lot less vociferous. There are exceptions, but most beekeepers I know tend to treat.

    Over the last decade I've kept bees in two locations, one with a very high density of beekeepers (and bees), the other with a very low density. Absolute numbers are hard to get, but in terms of registered apiaries there's at least a 10-fold difference.

    Two things are very noticeable in the 'low density' location. Firstly, mite levels in my own colonies (using broadly the same treatment regimen) are much, much lower. No DWV-related symptoms during the season, much lower mite drops at end of season treatment and exceptionally low (or no) mites when uncapping brood. Even complete frames of drone brood. Secondly, swarms arriving at bait hives usually also have only low mite levels (though they're often higher than my own colonies and they're always treated shortly after arrival).

    Mite bombs and in particular the impact of drifting and robbing are well documented (nice studies by Mangum in ABJ 2011) but often ignored by beekeepers.

    I've argued that there's a compelling case for coordinated i.e. simultaneous, mite control over wide geographic areas. The same strategy is used in control of a number of other parasites, ranging from sea lice on salmon to ticks on cattle.
    The Apiarist - beekeeping in Fife, Scotland

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,145

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    fatshark
    Mite bombs and in particular the impact of drifting and robbing are well documented(nice studies by Mangum in ABJ 2011) but often ignored by beekeepers.
    We discussed that study earlier that your article was about. I also found it interesting, as your article mentions, that the hives being effected by an influx of mites from drifting were those hives that already had the higher mite counts and also that the mites were coming from out side the study apiary to those already mite infested hives. It is a shame that they did not, as they mentioned, went ahead and seen what the final out come was with those newly newly infected hives and documented if they eventually became robbed and the effect of that.

    I could easily see where more bees in a concentrated area could show more shared bee problems then less dense bee area might as you mention your experience to be.

    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,145

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    beekkirk
    This is meant to be a good natured poke. No ill will, just a neat video. You move your bees to apples to pollinate. If we were to take possible impact on bee environment of say my ten untreated hives or something like this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpXTK0E7Gco&t=84s
    Which might cause the biggest impact?

    It could be considered bad due to the drifting bees or as opportunity like dirt rooster made out of it. But is was a large impact on bees of the area.

    When I was young, we had some cows and a couple of sows that would give us thirty or forty feeder pigs a year. Now there were some big operations of 35,000 sow operations around that had collage graduated workers and feed ratios and genetics that gave recognized weight gain per pig.

    Those operations could look at what we were doing and make a good point that we were doing it wrong but every time we took the weaned piglets to the auction house and sold them and came home with the money, we thought we were doing it pretty good for us. We had other jobs and this was just one little job added to the others that helped in the big picture.

    Both were using those sows in some fashion to help themselves but in different ways. We may have had more sows step on their babies due to different equipment but we also probably raised more runts with bottles rather then just throwing then in the waste pile and so maybe it was a wash.

    This did not make us more right or wrong but was more, it was right what we did for us and right what they did for them.

    Chickens may even be a better correlation in this then pigs would be due to the transfer of disease that is possible through wild birds but I am glad that I am still allowed to keep free range chickens on a small scale. I am not convinced that more like me is not better then only having corporate chicken raisers and feel over all that it might be better for the chickens and/or people even with the extra risk of disease transfer that might be involved. I am sure the chicken raising skills of small scale chicken raisers is all over the board. I still think it is better and that problems that arise from it have to be handled on an individual bases, cause handling them all in one fashion may make for very few chicken raisers and that is a whole other risk of its own.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,363

    Default

    I know this would probably be controversial, but what if it were required that every hive have a robber screen? J

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,192

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    What about the mites they pick up on flowers in the neighborhood while foraging?

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    2,134

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    I think its far less then they will pickup robing

    fivej we cant get bee keepers to follow pesticide labels buceause they "know better" then the gov....
    but yes, if new beekeepers were taught to hit packages with oa at install, cull drone brood, put on robbing screens, pull a nuc the 1st year, etc the mite landscape and gentinc landscape would change..

    The bee imformed partnership survey has side liner numbers for people who use no mite reduction product at just 3 percent more loss then those that use a product over a five year period for all states combined.
    not quite what is says....
    but it comes down to this,as Mike Palmer said
    It really has to do with the population of mites in the untreated, under treated, or improperly treated colonies
    if you run the numbers for those who do alcohol washes or use Amitraz you see a significant survival difference, why? these are the fokes who take there mites seriously.
    arguing mite bombs with most TF types is like arguing evolutionist theory with some of the creationism folowers...
    It goes against there core beliefs so not amount of data or study's will bring them to an informed or educated position.

    The "let them die" message has been very damaging to the TF cause, and to beekeeprs around them... I used to be TF with feral based stock and was doing ok... 300 yards or so away some one went 007 on 20 packages. and kept replacing the losses with more packages.. I took 100% losses 3 years in a row and coudn't figger out why... I had mythical ferals in magic topbars and and I don't treat....its not the mite killing my hives its(Insert long list of excuses)... 2016 I did a fall treatment and took zero losses they lost all 20 ...
    nuff said I can't go TF in that yard, the mite invasion rates are just too high

    all beekepers create a mite bomb at some point... its just going to happen... the difference is the ones that sit there and watch a hive die with out intervention are choosing to hurt outer beekeepers, not doing it by acedent
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,145

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    msl
    quote from me
    The bee imformed partnership survey has side liner numbers for people who use no mite reduction product at just 3 percent more loss then those that use a product over a five year period for all states combined.
    Your answer
    not quite what is says....
    Really?
    https://bip2.beeinformed.org/survey/
    Used any product 1004 33.5% 31.9% to 35.1% 139101 138.5 105.1
    Did not use a product 252 36.6% 33.0% to 40.1% 26034 103.3 71.6
    Cause that is what it seems to say to me except I said over five years when it is actually over about 10 or 11 years average.

    Perhaps you were looking at this one which puts the loss difference at about 6 percent. Still not an insurmountable number.
    https://bip2.beeinformed.org/survey/
    Used Varroa Treatment 885 32.4% 30.7% to 34.0% 122565 138.5 104.7
    Did Not Use Varroa Treatment 374 38.0% 35.1% to 40.9% 43165 115.4 86.9
    Cheers
    gww
    Last edited by gww; 08-04-2018 at 02:38 PM.
    zone 5b

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,338

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    ...the density of beehives is now such that it broadly equates to a state of intensive farming.
    randy has made the point a few times now in his series of articles that our practice of keeping multiple colonies in close proximity has created a niche which encourages the mite/virus complex to become especially virulent if not deadly.

    normally a parasite will reach an equilibrium with its host in such a way as to not completely obliterate the host. but with multiple colonies in close proximity and due the the dynamic of spreading via robbing there is a never ending supply of host, and this means the mite/virus complex is actually rewarded in the evolutionary sense for being deadly.

    the widespread use of robber screens is actually not a bad idea. if anything it might call to attention a problem that could be remedied by the beekeeper before the mite bomb 'explodes'.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,338

    Default Re: Mite bombs

    Quote Originally Posted by Beekkirk View Post
    I just find it hard to believe that a 100% treatment free person can make such a claim that they do not create mite bombs.
    late season alcohol washes on my colonies have revealed 8% - 14% mite infestation rates, yet i am averaging below 20% overwintering losses.

    fortunately for me the colonies that die almost always do so in the cold of winter when robbing is not possible and the mites and the viruses die out as well.

    so high mite loads alone do not a mite bomb make. it's the collapse of the colony and the subsequent rob out that causes a big problem to other nearby colonies engaged in the rob out.

    i wonder if your tf friend would be willing to let you help him/her monitor the mite loads in their hive(s)? perhaps they would be willing to install a robber screen?

    just curious randy, did you have any collapses/rob outs prior to winter last fall and how were your winter losses?

Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •