a scientific look at 'mite bombs'
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  1. #1
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    Default a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    "Indeed, we found that few mites passed from the heavily infested (MDC) colonies to the weakly infested (MRC) colonies through either worker drift (mostly to nearby colonies, Fig 4) or drone drift (almost exclusively to nearby colonies, Fig 5). It was only when the MDCs were weakened so much that they became irresistible robbing targets that mites passed in large numbers from the MDCs to the MRCs. We suggest, therefore, that “robber lures” is a better term than “mite bombs” to describe mite-source colonies, especially in contexts where weak colonies are readily robbed by neighboring hives."

    from:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6588223/
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    "Indeed, we found that few mites passed from the heavily infested (MDC) colonies to the weakly infested (MRC) colonies through either worker drift (mostly to nearby colonies, Fig 4) or drone drift (almost exclusively to nearby colonies, Fig 5). It was only when the MDCs were weakened so much that they became irresistible robbing targets that mites passed in large numbers from the MDCs to the MRCs. We suggest, therefore, that “robber lures” is a better term than “mite bombs” to describe mite-source colonies, especially in contexts where weak colonies are readily robbed by neighboring hives."

    from:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6588223/
    A "scientific look" - or a suggested semantic fudge - to put the blame for mite re-infestation elsewhere than on the presence of a terminally infested hive ? Robbing in an innate component of bee behaviour and will never be stopped - so such hives remain a major source of mite re-infestation, regardless of the terminology used to describe them.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    my take away john it is the robbing event that is most responsible for wreaking havoc on nearby colonies, which i believe has long been suspected as being the case, but is now actually demonstrated to be so.

    the implication is than any steps to mitigate robbing in the event of varroa induced collapse could go a long way to prevent the spreading of mites to nearby colonies. we have long been proponents on this forum that at a very minimum beekeepers should put a stop to robbing when they see it occurring in their apiaries.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #4
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    long been proponents on this forum that at a very minimum beekeepers should put a stop to robbing when they see it occurring in their apiaries.
    Of course, the best way to prevent that is make sure the hives don't sicken and die from untreated Varroa infection. There has been a lot of "denialism" from the TF crowd claiming that epidemic spread of mites from non-treated colonies can't be relevant. However, the Peck and Seeley research knocked the legs from that stool.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Hmmm
    " Some have proposed that these mites may be adapted to disperse by selectively infesting foragers, and that they may even increase the rate at which these infested foragers drift by impeding their orientation [12]. This is the concept of a “mite bomb” colony, suddenly “blasting” mite-infested, drift-prone worker bees into neighboring colonies like shrapnel from an exploding bomb"
    "therefore, that “robber lures” is a better term than “mite bombs” to describe mite-source colonies"

    feels like someone has an ax to grind... I have never heard a mite bomb described as drifting, always robbing. all of a sudden the population of mites in your hive explodes... while "mite bomb" may be a bit alarmist language, (ie we don't say AFB bomb) it has come into common usage at a time when peoples opinions are not so much guided by facts and studies.... (how many "mite bombs don't exist" debates have happened here? with very smart and skilled beekeepers on bolth sides) I assume the langue was chosen to make a strong point, I don't know why they are trying to soften it

    The take home is simple
    It is irresponsible/unethical beekeeping to let a hive collapse and spread pathogens....
    Be it mites, foulbrood, or whatever... you're hurting those around you, such behavior should never be condoned or promoted

    this should be highlighted as well
    "One of us (TDS) [8] had previously presumed robbing to be unlikely among colonies living in the wild due to the wide spacing of forest colonies, but we have recently recorded bees from widely spaced forest colonies quickly discovering and robbing from unguarded honey combs in their environment. Thus, robbing may be common even across large distances."
    I find it odd that Seeley felt wild bees unlikely to rob, bees don't tend to keep unuseful traits very long

  7. #6
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    ........
    I find it odd that Seeley felt wild bees unlikely to rob, bees don't tend to keep unuseful traits very long
    This "Seeley distance" idea is ... silly?
    The bees easily come from 1-2 miles away to rob.
    Cost/benefit is huge for this type of foraging work (especially in August dearth).
    It is very much worth the effort to grab already made honey (imagine the energy savings on the nectar evaporation alone).
    Very useful trait.

    I have been robbed by a friend's bees - direct flight was just about a mile away over the forest.
    I knew his bees too - little, small-cell ferals (and he confirmed; he actually came over to help me with the anti-robbing screen rigging).
    There were large-cell, conventional robbers also (coming from a keeper few blocks away).
    Maybe others..

    But the observation of very distinct SC bees a mile away from their base, robbing my backyard nuc was quite a show.
    Last edited by GregV; 07-11-2019 at 10:21 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    This "Seeley distance" idea is ... silly?
    The bees easily come from 1-2 miles away to rob.
    Cost/benefit is huge for this type of foraging work (especially in August dearth).
    It is very much worth the effort to grab already made honey (imagine the energy savings on the nectar evaporation alone).
    Very useful trait
    Yep! which is why its odd Seeley presumed they would not rob at a distance that was much less than they fly to collect nectar.
    my point (made poorly) was that if wild bees didn't rob, we would see much less of this trait in managed stocks

  9. #8
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Best bet is to hope to get bees that find some way to live through all these things like some of those wild bees in the trees seem to do. Rely on robbing screens or bees? I do realize this may not always be possible. I do not think that most commercial bee keepers mess with robbing screens but more rely on treating as much as it takes. I use entrance reducers but don't mess with robbing screens.

    I have robbing sometimes when I pull honey or mess up in some way with feeding. I sorta figure that the bees need to be strong enough to fight past it or I deserve to lose them and am maybe better off with out them.

    Other then mites, I think when you notice disease and special situations, you have to respond different then just normal running of your bees.

    The last study I read seemed to be a little different then this one as it was saying most of the drift was coming from outside the apiary. It also made the case that the drift accepting hives were the ones that were already the most mite stressed hives before the drift to them. I do not believe it addressed robbing though. I can not remember which thread that study came up in and am typing this from memory.

    It does make you wonder about studies and the things that make for different results (or reading of the results meaning) from one to the other.

    I have seen some welcome the ideal of mite bombs as putting stress on their bees to keep them stronger. I don't have a position on this but just recognize that perspective of meaning or use of something can be different depending on goals.

    I do believe healthy can be made unhealthy with the right stress. Think of how many people get sick in hospitals.

    Thanks for posting the study.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  10. #9
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    Yep! which is why its odd Seeley presumed they would not rob at a distance that was much less than they fly to collect nectar.
    my point (made poorly) was that if wild bees didn't rob, we would see much less of this trait in managed stocks
    +1 MSL.

    Cost/benefit ratio in favor of robbing is huge.
    Energy savings are huge - worth the risk every time.

    In fact, robbing/theft are very common place in the Nature because it make sense in every possible way imaginable.
    Most all animals are thieves and robbers, as soon as they have a chance.
    People too carry these genes.


    So yes, donno what is Seeley thinking.
    This is one example where I have to downgrade his work. Sorry.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Quote - "When honey bee colonies collapse from high infestations of Varroa mites, neighboring colonies often experience surges in their mite populations. Collapsing colonies, often called “mite bombs”, seem to pass their mites to neighboring colonies. This can happen by mite-infested workers from the collapsing colonies drifting into the neighboring colonies, or by mite-free workers from the neighboring colonies robbing out the collapsing colonies, or both. To study inter-colony mite transmission, we positioned six nearly mite-free colonies of black-colored bees around a cluster of three mite-laden colonies of yellow-colored bees. We then monitored the movement of bees between the black-bee and yellow-bee colonies before, during, and after mite-induced collapse of the yellow-bee colonies. Throughout the experiment, we monitored each colony's mite level. We found that large numbers of mites spread to the black-bee colonies (in both nearby and distant hives) when the yellow-bee colonies collapsed from high mite infestations and became targets of robbing by the black-bee colonies. We conclude that “robber lures” is a better term than “mite bombs” for describing colonies that are succumbing to high mite loads and are exuding mites to neighboring colonies". End Quote

    Nothing here is anything nobody knew already, except that we should now call these hives robber lures instead of mite bombs. However in my view mite bomb is a better description it immediately implies what it is, whereas robber lure does not imply a hive loaded with mites but could imply an empty box of honey or whatever, does not really capture the meaning.

    People who do studies are under pressure to come out with some kind of result. This study has produced nothing new, so to achieve at least something, the author has proposed a reason to introduce a new word into beekeeping vocabulary. However it is highly likely the term "mite bomb" will persist.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  12. #11

    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Nothing here is anything nobody knew already
    I think that most of us intuitively believed in the mite bomb/robbing theory but a controlled study is the step needed to take it from theory to scientifically established.
    Many such studies appear to test obvious truths and seem to many of us lay people to be a waste. Yet…every once in a while those accepted truths are disproven. Just ask Galileo.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  13. #12
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    I certainly agree with proper testing of long held ideas.

    However far as the mite bomb thing goes, many beekeepers have already seen it in action, in as good or better form than the experiment done in the study, which was in fact very small sample.

    Myself, I have seen varroa infected hives close to death with the varroa so concentrated onto a few bees you can see the mites crawling around. I have watched as such hives are robbed and mites flip onto the robber bees. It can be seen they can not only identify the robber bees, but can transfer onto them in a split second. I've also had hives with low mite levels next to another site collapsing from mites, and my own hives go from near zero mites to fatal levels in a few weeks.

    If i have seen this, other commercial beekeepers must have seen it, i don't think the the mite bomb idea was just a theory someone dreamed up.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  14. #13

    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    i don't think the the mite bomb idea was just a theory someone dreamed up.
    I used the term theory. I certainly never suggested that it was 'dreamed up'. The whole idea makes intuitive sense and, as is often the case, is a product of personal observations. That should not, in my opinion, keep researchers from conducting controlled experiments to confirm it.


    Just my opinion.
    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: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Good comment.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  16. #15
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    There is an issue with gen pop confusing law, theory, hypotheses, and some youtuber's "good idea" (OAD fogging, FGMO fogging...etc)
    This moves the hypotheses of other studies that mite bombs are robber driven to Theory.
    yes, an important test... how many years did people "know" mites feed on bee blood because that's what ticks do and no one bothered to test it?
    but, like what mites really eat, it changes nothing. The mite is the same, the way to fight it is the same. Sure it validates what we "knew" 30 years ago, but that changes nothing.

    given the Seeley "robbing range" hypotheses and other points... I wonder what the intent was and how it was sold to the funding source which says
    "We are avid practitioners of biomimicry, the conscious emulation of natural wisdom. We look to nature as “model, measure, and mentor” – and even beyond that, as muse."
    me thinks some preconceived ideas go shook with this one
    but thats one thing I like about seeley, he changes his tune as the data comes in
    Last edited by msl; 07-11-2019 at 10:47 PM.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Some of us have known what was happening. For years, NY State sampled all my NY apiaries in July. All rolled 0-2 mites per 300 bees. Very acceptable numbers for July. Then there were my two apiaries (2 miles apart) with a TF 20 colony apiary located between the two. Those apiaries rolled 13-15.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    5% infestation levels are almost always fatal unless treated immediately.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  19. #18
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    5% infestation levels are almost always fatal unless treated immediately.
    if you are a treatment free beekeeper then your bees can live with that! ROFL

  20. #19
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    sugar roll to count mites in a scientific test??? I learned early on alcohol is far more accurate and i'm sure no scientist
    Terrence

  21. #20
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    Default Re: a scientific look at 'mite bombs'

    Alcohol is more accurate than a poorly conducted sugar roll, but it has been shown that a properly done sugar roll is also accurate and accepted for testing. If you don't want to take the time to learn how to do it and do it right, alcohol will always be more accurate. J

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