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Discussion Starter #1
Here's a little survey of live bees in rolling the snow 11AM this morning.
mid 30's sunny, a little breezy.
I grabbed as much trachea as I could find,
and checked the undercarriage for varroa

bee.....varroa.........tracheal
1...............1.....................3
2...............0.....................0
3...............0.....................0
4...............0.....................1
5...............0.....................0
6...............0.....................0
7...............0.....................0
8...............0.....................0
9...............0.....................0
10.............0.....................0

There's two tracheal mites in this pic, one is kind out of focus NW of the obvious one.
There's also a third that just ran back up the tube.



Been lurking in the forums for a while, just though I'd share.

-John McNeil
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.

What I should do is a survey of 20 bees from each colony (6) rather than the pickings from the bee yard.

OT: BTW 31 and 32 that I got from you this summer are doing fine.
 

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Amazing. Is that photo taken through a microscope? Thanks for sharing!
 

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Yes, I have an old student microscope and I carefully held a standard digital camera up to the eyepiece. 10X objective with a 10X eyepiece. Roughly 100X.
 

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Nice stuff. Thanks for sharing! I'm wondering if there's value in doing such observations over a period of time as opposed to diagnosing a problem. Any thoughts? Is this something you do often?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've only been at this a couple of years, so I haven't done anything often. I was a microscopist in my former life so throwing something on a slide to see what's happening is kind of natural for me.

I didn't treat for anything last year, so I was curious if any of the colonies were having trouble that wasn't obvious. No k-wings, unusual death levels or overt dysentery, and all of my colonies are still alive, so far.

I don't know which hives these bees came from since I picked them up from the ground. I'll crack the hives open on the next nice day and do a better study. If that bee with varroa and tracheal mites is representative of her sisters, then at least of my colonies is about to be selected against, naturally or otherwise. I need to practice my dissection technique anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
OK I'm back. I know you've all been waiting with bated breath for my results. :rolleyes:

I took a 15 bee sample from each of my 6 colonies.
1-5 are rough approximation of their lineage, all were the results of supersedures or swarms in my beeyard last year.



1: Yugo-russo-carnie
2: Yugo-russo-carnie
3: Italian
5: Yugo-russo-carnie
31: VSH
32: carnie

So two questions spring to my mind. 31 and 32 share a double nuc box.

1: Is it likely that the varroa mite load seen in 31 is due to 32's apparent lack of control?

2: Assuming 32 is able to survive until spring, would one requeen or am I better off sticking them in a snowbank now with no lid and giving their stores to some other hive in the spring?

I guess both get at mechanisms of transmission and resistance.

-John McNeil
 

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Do I have this correct? Randomly grabbing 15 bees from each colony and colony 32 had 5 bees with varroa mites on them?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Actually that's correct but the legend appears to be wrong. The legend says mites/sample but the data were # of bees. That was the only sample that had a bee with more than one mite. So the correct tally for colony 32 is 6 varroa mites on 5 bees.

The bees were taken from the top bars under burlap which is acting as an inner cover. This is a four frame colony in double nuc shared with 31. I have since moved them out to a single nuc to make room to rescue mouse refugees from another hive ( and another thread ). There were about as many dead bees on the bottom as live ones on the frame, so requeening may be a moot point. They'll probably die off anyway.
 

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Great job, Bot. IMO there would be quite a bit of drift since they were sharing a hive body depending on how the entrances were differentiated, so 31's varroa is probably due to varroa's lack of resistance. I was going to suggest to kill 32's queen, take out the divider and let them combine. I would be interesting to recheck the varroa count after a few brood cycles.
 
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