mike syracuse ny
Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan
If ---- big if---- there is a factor of some resistance to the treatment, and some loss of effectiveness by somewhat late treating, the combination of things could lead to high net losses without pointing to really PPBeekeeping.
Would there be any factor of a common source of many of the queens involved with the heavy losses? Miticide resistance and bee susceptibility both could quickly be moved to different areas this way.
Are the losses highly stacked towards bees that are doing similar pollination gigs and absent in others? If there is a stark difference it would seem the cause should not remain mysterious for too long.
A lot of the losses were discovered coming out of the buildings people use for overwintering. By the time they come out of the building, they have been shuffled and stacked and it is hard to know which hives came from which yards, which pollination etc... I know there are ways of keeping track and isolating.
We are still adding sugar bricks and pollen sub even after two weeks in the almond orchards [we did it again today]. It may have to do with all the rain and cold weather we have had here in the Central Valley.
In the almond orchard we are pollinating we are at approximately 70% bloom, yet the bees are still devouring the sugar bricks and pollen sub...and growing in numbers daily.
BUT, we cannot figure out how or why we saw hundreds upon hundreds of dead bees on the ground in front of the entrances a few days after placing the bees in the almond orchards. It was really weird because most dead bees were only on the north side of the colonies even though the colonies were facing north and south. Still scratching our heads on that one. It was kind scary at first, but inspections revealed the queens were outlaying the losses. Have no clue at all what caused that type of loss.
mike syracuse ny
Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan
Yep, I've captured a few known commercial swarms.... Apivar didn't do much for them...
Its interesting and sad how we all worried about Adee, and yet he plods on as one of the biggest. Never talk about the others that are doing great and busting ass. Look at Millers, or Zach browning, or Oliveraz, Heitkum and Ward, but poor poor Adee? Sorry Harry, but the reason were not getting help, is we keep looking at all the wrong problems and answers. look at the successes and imitate them.
All of us here should know just how quickly bees go to ****, when you have more hives than you can reasonably take care of properly. ever notice its always the same guys? and always the same ones cashing in.
500-1000 hives mostly honey
Well, it's been a while since I've been on here. I thought I'd come sleuthing through the commercial threads to see if anyone started a thread on losses after hearing of some very bad situations here in my neck of the woods. but maybe I'll start with my story...
Last May, I had my hives inspected par for course to ship my 600 nucs. At the time, my might count was 1.3%. This should of been my first clue. In the previous years my mite counts have been 0. I thought I'd ride it out until I start my treatments at mid August. This year I had used apistan, Which had worked well 2 and 4 years ago using them for a break from apivar. However, by August 23, I still hadn't noticed any mites falling but I was also noticing large portions of capped brood being uncapped by the bees (my hives were still strong singles at this point). Nervous, I bought a Easycheck and some windshield fluid and started sampling. 300 bee washes were throwing out 50+ mites (16%mite load) and I panicked.
So I had wasted $1700.00 CAD on apistan. I didn't what to risk buying some other type of treatment unknowing whether it would work or not but after reading up about the OAV, I purchased a provap 110, a generator, extension cord, 25kg oxalic acid, and protective gear which all cost less totaled than the apistan did. I did two treatments of formic (mite wipes for TM mostly) and started the OAV. but I only got 2 treatments of the OAV in before I got nervous about their food situation so I took 4 days to feed patties, filled the inboards with 2:1, and even laid sugar on the inner covers. Since I stopped the OAV for about a week, I had to start new. I did 4 treatments 3 days apart. at the beginning of these treatments, samples were ranging from 5-13% and the brood started looking like shotty pattern (Interestingly there was no PMS. other than the brood dragged out by the bees, the remaining brood was surprisingly healthy nor was there any DWV).
I was finished the final treatments by October 4th but so much time had passed from the bees to actually be rearing good brood for good winter bees, quite a few hives had diminished to a 4 frame population. I had 240 hives at this point and started consolidating by pinching queens in anything with 4 frames of bees or less and uniting it to colonies with five frames or more so by the time I was finished, I was down to 176 hives with 8 frames of bees and 4 frames of brood (the brood was starting to look much better by now). Another 2 pound patty was given, Another inner cover of sugar, and then I started feeding 2:1 as long as could placing rocks on the colonies as they reach back breaking weight until the weather turned ugly in mid November.
I did another 3 more OAV, once in November, another between Christmas and New Year's, then another in the second week of January. I should note that after the fall treatments were done, I didn't have the heart to sample anymore, I just made the call that my hives couldn't afford the loss of anymore bees. Anyway, up until the end of January, I had only lost one hive. November and December had been unusually mild and then January was just crazy mild. I couldn't resist the urge one sunny day at the end of the month to go through one hive and she was already brooded up on 3 frames which is highly unusual for us here, its something you'd expect by 3rd or 4th week of February.
But then the f****in' vortex happened for February. apparently, this has been the coldest February since records had started being kept in our area in 1939 with an average day time high of .3 degrees which is 4 degrees below the monthly average. Yeahhhh, you can laugh at us with our weak weather, but once the hives have started brooding like that, the constant cold makes them cluster around the brood to keep it warm and they start having trouble reaching the stores at the outer parts and then before you know it, there shimmering on the frames on their way to starvation. I've been trying my best to prevent it but the bees clenched up tighter than a cows butt in fly season so... In the month of February I've already lost 26 hives bringing me to 14% loss. I'm sure to discover more dead outs on the next outing. on the bright side, I've now been able to lift the inner covers to assess the populations and between the strong and medium sized hives there are 109 total and 45 which are on the weak side, many of which will regress into oblivion if I can't get out there to boost them soon. Really, all I need to make a go of it this year is 120 hives.
So looking back, I remember thinking in the fall that this was going to be a bad, bad, bad year for anyone not paying attention to there mite levels and doing something about it. At the time, almost any beekeeper I talked to were dealing with extraordinary mite loads and I was already predicting a heavy loss year for many beekeepers in BC. So far, I know of 4 beeks that have breeched the 70% loss and two others that won't say but the grim look on their face says it all. I don't know, it seems like for us this year that we've had the perfect storm to create colony losses.
But looking back, I realized how little I knew about varroa behaviour. I never monitored and always assumed that a particular treatment would work. I learnt a lot last year about mite behaviour. I won't take a 1.3% mite population for granted. I will be monitoring at least once every 3 weeks, and if I have to drop everything to do a 2 week OAV treatment, so be it.
Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC
Sounds like you did everything right under the circumstances CB!
"Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker
Interesting account chillard. My take is Apistan just can't be trusted even in a multi day rotation.
"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney
Apivar may be suspect too in some areas. A long treatment time like that requires, makes it too late to recover with something else if it proves to be ineffective.
I had 530 that went into November alive. I brought them to California ~January 10th and 504 alive. Went this weekend to feed and oa treatment, still 504 alive. That would be about 5% overwinter loss. Could have been less if I overwintered them all on my good winter yard. Almost all the ones that died were from the yard that i haven't wintered there before and they had smaller frame counts than the hives on my good yard. It's crazy considering the yards are only 5 miles away.
I took a decent loss in the fall when pretty much all the hives that i had them raise their own queens in the spring became really small and died or the queen became drone layers(It was about 120 hives and I think only about 10 of those hives turned out okay). I'll stick to buying all queens from wootens this year.
Hoping to increase my numbers to 800-1000 for next year's almonds.
Last edited by R055; 03-06-2019 at 07:53 PM.