As usual, good stuff!
one of the reasons it has fallen by the wayside as a method, daily count can swing up or down by a factor of 22. There does not appear to be a linear correlation between time and number of mite drops
Amazingly, #1910 still shows no outward signs of mite stress and these evaluations underscore for me the complex interaction between tolerance and resistance.perhapsArguably #1910 exhibits both the highest percentage of mite damage and the most significant damage on the mites themselves but they continue to have high mite drops two evaluations in a row.
2nd issue with NMF is you have to compare apples to apples... same pop size, same amount of brood, etc. it doesn't give you a % witch makes hive to hive comparison
3rd issue is it measures mites on the floor, not mites on the bees. #1910 as an example. They are biters, the grooming may be knocking off a high number of undamaged mites giving you more on the sticky board and less on the bees compared to the other hives, so there mite load could be lower as the mites may be ending up on the board
Your doing a lot of work to record you data. I would offer the suggestion to collect better data, a shake or wash.. wash prefered, but I get why some don't like it.
it would be particularly interesting to know the wash numbers of #1910 as that would tell you weather or not they indeed have tolerance (living with a high mite load) or resistance (keeping the mite load down). That knowledge will help you with breeding choices
"oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr
Thank you for your detailed and helpful feedback. I sincerely appreciate it. I enjoyed the Randy Oliver article, and I was particularly interested to note how his 24-hour mite drop results compared to the alcohol wash- makes intuitive sense to me.
I think you are absolutely right that a wash would be a much better tool for evaluation. I suppose I always figured it would be a more time-intensive method than the mite drop counts, but I am certain that I spend more than the 4 minutes per hive collecting data that Randy suggests he can do a mite wash in.
There is no doubt that the NMF (Natural Mite Fall Method- I had to look that one up) suffers from the huge limitation of not telling you anything about the hive population and thus does not directly tell you anything about the infestation rate.
That said, I do hold out hope that over time it may represent an analog that serves as a first-pass evaluation tool that likely should be augmented with a corresponding wash on promising colonies- because as you rightly point out I am only left to hope and speculate about #1910 with no other baseline information to compare against.
Thanks again for the input- I appreciate it.
Here's a preview clip we do before the streaming service at church a while back. https://www.instagram.com/p/BqN0kG7Fwfh/ (shameless plug)
I had a friend who was ripped like an Olympian. He said his childhood friends would ask what the best exercise routine was for this or that. He always answered something you really enjoy doing 3 times a week, doesn't matter what. That will yield results. If you don't like it, you won't do it. With guitar, 5 minutes a few set days a week will do more good than 8 hours straight once a month. Grandpa (who taught choirs to read shape notes decades ago) said, "Your talent is your want to." Roy Clark is a loftier goal than I ever set, but you can be good, and 60 years will not stop you. Record yourself and record again in 4-5 months. You and everyone else will be amazed with your progress!
As for bees, I enjoy them, but still kill them frequently. I hope you are right Litsinger, and some discipline starts translating.