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From my very humble vantage point, .......
Right.
For my rather classic "crappy" location EVERYTHING should be imported - both male and female sides.
Then the imports absolutely must be protected (i. e. treated) - so to protect them and allow them to gain some sort of a foot hold.
And this should be done on some significant scale and with persistence.

At which point, I resign to my simplistic DC beekeeping ways and (newly introduced) mild and Eco-friendly treatments.
And see what happens. :)
 

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Then the imports absolutely must be protected (i. e. treated) - so to protect them and allow them to gain some sort of a foot hold.
And this should be done on some significant scale and with persistence.
Thanks, Greg. I'll go along with treating as might be required, but I think Cory is advocating for allowing the mite pressure to support the behavioral gains unless it becomes necessary to treat to forestall collapse.

It would be interesting to see how some of his mated queens might fare in your operation with a clean start and entrances equipped with robber screens- might not need to treat at all.
 

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It would be interesting to see how some of his mated queens might fare in your operation with a clean start and entrances equipped with robber screens- might not need to treat at all.
As a matter of fact, the "clean start AND robbing screen" setup is pretty well approximated what I am testing right now - winter 2021/2022.

The robbing screen IMO is pretty closely matched in mite import prevention by my standard small round entrances - not a scientific claim though!

2-3 weeks before my next monthly report (it has been solidly cold January - very good testing is in progress).
 

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I like your idea of Cory’s queen. I was going to get some and use them for drone production. You now have x number of hives that are great drones (theoretically). Found someone locally that buy breeder II queens and will just get QCells. Same result just cheaper. My queen rearing is not big enough to control anything. Have to scatter these hive in my area. Another way to improve your area is to buy an II queen and flood the area with her open mated daughters by given then away. I did not see or remember what percentages of good queens Cory is getting from his II queens. Randy is starting to see result, but still low results, about ten percent.

Some of Randy’s reasults have some hives with wild mite counts in yards with decent mite counts. I always assumed the mite drift was because of your hive robbing a bomb colony, not being carried by drones. Am wrong with that assumption?
 

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I'm game- but as my wife's uncle cautions, "I'm real cheap, but I'm not very good."

For that matter, I have threatened Cory that I'd like to come by and tour his operation. Conducting a little business while there would certainly help grease the skids.
I have seen the "try VHS" in many places, And I am open to try.
IMO my drones are not optimal.
In a place where TF works IMO should have good to best drone DCAs

lets start a PM to discuss.
the NUCs and bees for the mating hives need be sourced and clean.

think on it and reach out in a few days.
you can do the "come by and check the operation" while there pick up some fresh Virgins or cells.
I can come down with Wooden ware, and Bees or not.
then later pic up "some of the NUCs" I want you to try a few as well.

I am very interested if these "special" queens can be moved to new places and still work as expected.
I would then set up a new yard with them and try to get some of my best Hives Cells mated in fall for some over wintered NUCs.

it will either be a waste of time or work , again, I am intrigued enough to spend a few 100 on 6-10 queens to give it a college try.

GG
 

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I always assumed the mite drift was because of your hive robbing a bomb colony, not being carried by drones. Am wrong with that assumption?
Thorting:

Good question- and my apologies. We're mixing metaphors in this thread with another thread that is also currently under discussion relative to the robbing screens:


To your point, it is my very humble opinion that the drones produced by these II VSH queens may be one of the more underutilized resources that might be available to us in changing our genetic landscape.

Obviously this presents a classic case of competing priorities as one would no doubt have to trade production efficiency for the proliferation of genetic resources.

That said, I think your idea is a great one- and the idea of giving away daughters from your II queen to your neighbors seems brilliant to me. Assuming these daughters are allowed to rear drones as well, you'd be putting a lot of VSH genetics into the air.
 

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... it will either be a waste of time or work , again, I am intrigued enough to spend a few 100 on 6-10 queens to give it a college try.
Sounds like the American spirit to me! Cory has always been good about responding back, so I say we develop a rough outline and then run it by him to get his input. I imagine he is as interested as you are to see his stock perform well in your situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
Blame the drones.
Like a certain former US President, they feel at home wherever they go.
I have noticed that the expulsion of the drones is highly variablee from hive to hive. Some colonied kick out the drones in August, some still have quite a few in november.

My son has a salamander, and drones are cheap food for salamanders, so I was looking for drones all fall this year. I had plenty drones right through October, and on warm days in November. I even retrieved a drone from the snow a week or so ago, that revived upon being warmed.

Now for the armchair science:

Robbing is very bad for a strong colony with lots of reserves, because they don't need more food, and they risk all sorts of diseases and pests in exchange for food they don't need.

However, robbing is the only hope for colonies with low stores as the summer days grow short.

So I would not be surprised if strong colonies that are well provisioned do not have such a strong tendency to rob.

At the same time, a colony with a relatively weak field force (due to varroa infestation) is likely to run short of food, which (I read somewhere) is what precipitates expulsion of the drones.

Since the drones will die rather quickly if they don't find another home, as they rely on the workers to feed them, drones expelled from a failing hive (or any hive) will show up at YOUR hive, where food is abundant, and living is easy. Of course, they are loaded up with mites, as mites probably know when a colony is crashing. and know to hitch a ride on the nearest bus (or drone).

This is all speculation, but it leads to an obvious experiment:

Repeat the experiment with robbing screens, but use screens made with queen-excluder sized openings. Workers, (robbers or not) will pass through easily, while drones will be excluded.

If the results are the same, then we may reasonably infer that the mites are riding in on drones looking for a home, and not by robbers or drifting workers.

If the effect is somewhat attenuated, it is caused by both (robbing or drifting workers and visiting drones)

If no effect is observed, then drones are not the problem.

If I were a drone, and I got kicked out of MY hive, I would be looking for another hive, with lots of sweet sisters to feed me....
 

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So I would not be surprised if strong colonies that are well provisioned do not have such a strong tendency to rob.
Historically it has been clearly documented that the robbing was an attribute of a bee race (well documented in Russia/USSR).
To compare the Caucasian bee races have been clearly more prone to robbing vs. the Black bees.
This is old (but not very old) scientific fact.
So - the robbing is more about the hereditary genetics, not the colony status.
 

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I met with A. Novice this afternoon at a coffee house, and learned more of his views. He may report on what I spoke of. We did postulate a simple experiment that might help resolve if the "Snotty" brrod is the fault of the queen or of the comb the brood is in.



Crazy Roland
 

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I met with A. Novice this afternoon at a coffee house, and learned more of his views. He may report on what I spoke of. We did postulate a simple experiment that might help resolve if the "Snotty" brrod is the fault of the queen or of the comb the brood is in.



Crazy Roland
good
tests
results
we all will wait with baited breath.
He seems well rounded Jesus in one post beer in the next.
You likely got along fine.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
Historically it has been clearly documented that the robbing was an attribute of a bee race (well documented in Russia/USSR).
To compare the Caucasian bee races have been clearly more prone to robbing vs. the Black bees.
This is old (but not very old) scientific fact.
So - the robbing is more about the hereditary genetics, not the colony status.
Hi Greg.

I have read that, though I've not observed it personally. I'm not saying that isn't a factor. I'm just suggesting it may not be the only factor.

What I am saying is a thin bear may be more aggressive than a fat one.

Enjoy your bees!

Jon
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
I met with A. Novice this afternoon at a coffee house, and learned more of his views. He may report on what I spoke of. We did postulate a simple experiment that might help resolve if the "Snotty" brrod is the fault of the queen or of the comb the brood is in.



Crazy Roland
Sadly, while the conversation was stimulating and educational (to me), much of it touched on matters which must be held in confidence for the time being.

Jon
 

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Bing Bing Bing...Winner winner chicken dinner.
Joe says:
I’m also more isolated than anyone I know.

So the bees on Gotland survive, the bees by Cornell survive "In The Woods" , but not when removed. Joe's bees survive, but only in his isolated spot. I follow a bee tree in the middle of a State Forest that survives. Are there mites in all of these locations? Yes.. And viruses? YES.

What is NOT in all of the spots that bees survive?? Humans in quantity.

As the wise Possum Pogo once said "I have met the enemy, and he is us".

Crazy Roland
Yep. Not many humans around here. In a 2.5-3 mile radius there are probably 1000-1500 cleared acres (a few family farms) and the rest is woods (14K-15K rough guess). Total population in that range, ... probably 70-80 people down a back road or two.

So it’s great for breeding your own brand of bees (assuming the Cali folks across the road don’t bring in something), but admittedly it’s a bit sheltered. Basically we have a feral variety or two that appear to withstand a light mite infestation for years, but I feel most would be wiped out by a so-so year as they are swarmy and not particularly productive. And there’s my Russians that left to their own ways can produce a zero or negative mite growth count by means which I subvert by feeding them like feeder pigs.
 

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Hi Greg.

I have read that, though I've not observed it personally. I'm not saying that isn't a factor. I'm just suggesting it may not be the only factor.

What I am saying is a thin bear may be more aggressive than a fat one.

Enjoy your bees!

Jon
Hard to say.
In the US we mostly have not a clue what our bees are anyway (genetic-wise).
Hence we may have all kinds of conclusions made up - while not having a good idea what your bees' heredity is (mutt upon mutt upon mutt .....)
At this rate pretty much anything is inconclusive.

Do a study "fat bear vs. thin bear" and see?
Someone needs to do it.

I am too busy with my own "study" to take on another one. :)
 

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I've been thinking again, A dangerous habit, (I know).

It has occurred to me that the best survival strategy for mites depends a lot on how many hives are in an area. (not that mites think these things through, so using strategy to describe pattern of behavior)

A hive that dies over winter (at least in colder climates) is a loss for the mites and for the bees. In this part of the country, if the only losses to mites were overwintering losses, the mites would die out pretty quickly.

Now when I say mites, I mean mites and their complement of viruses. "Bad" mites are likely mites with virulent viral strains, "manageable" mites are mites with less infectious or deadly viral strains.

So let us postulate "bad" mites, and "manageable" mites. How "bad" mites go bad is another rabbit trail...

Consider the hypothetical case below:

I am a beekeeper living in relative isolation. There are a few feral colonies in the area, perhaps, but they don't have "bad" mites, and so they survive in relative isolation. I have (just to pick a number) 100 hives located in relatively close proximity, so my bees rule the skies.

When I started beekeeping, I had horrible losses at first, because most of my bees came from somewhere, and brought a mixture of "bad" mites and "manageable" mites with them.

I didn't treat of course, but I kept my hives small by using 8 frame and not trying to prevent swarming. So the hives with mostly "bad" mites didn't thrive, and didn't swarm much, and mostly died off in the winter. Some of them died off in the summer, and I mite bombed my own hives, but since not all of the surviving colonies got in on the robbing, a few colonies, with mostly "manageable" mites survived and I split them. I also caught swarms which were second generation from my own bees that swarmed the year before. They survived because they didn't have "bad" mites. So mites that killed colonies over winter were strongly selected against, and in a few years I had mostly "manageable" mites.

I looked at this and saw that my winter survival rates were better than my brother could get where he was keeping bees, even though he was treating them year-round.

So I sold him 100 packages of my survivor stock and explained to him they were superior bees. highly resistant to mites, and that there was no need to treat or monitor for mites.

He put those packages to work right away, and they started off great. Being packages, they didn't have a lot of mites, and the ones they did have were "manageable"

But he lived in an area where there were other beekeepers, and winters were really mild. Those other beekeepers had bees with really "bad" mites, and their drones brought them around. Pretty soon, his colonies started collapsing. I didn't know why, but I thought maybe the bees needed to acclimate to their new surroundings. After all, I had that happen to me at first too. His neighbors didn't know why, but their hives started collapsing too, because their bees were robbing his hives, which now had lots of "bad" mites.

I sold them packages too, but even though they treated regularly, my superior bees didn't do any better in their hives.

Winter was very mild where my brother lived, and so pretty much every time a hive collapsed, it was warm enough for robbers to carry its mites back home.

My brother bought another 100 packages from me, and a copy of my new book, "EASY BEEKEEPING". But it didn't help him much at all. They all died.

I told him to rebuild using local feral swarms, and he tried that. Sadly, the local swarms were mostly from his neighbors' hives, which had a mixture of "bad" mites, and "manageable" mites, and his neighbors' drones also brought him plenty of "bad" mites. His hives all died.

I explained to him this was just weak bees dying, and it was better that way. I encouraged him to try again.

He told folks at his local beekeepers' association he had gone TF, of course, and several of them decided to buy packages from me. But later he didn't tell them how all his hives collapsed. It was too embarrassing.

This went on for a few years. My brother still keeps bees. I think he is treating them, but I'm not sure. He doesn't talk about it, but he did stop buying my bees. Family gatherings are awkward.

...

Notice that in this parable, the bees are all the same, resistant bees are an illusion. This may not be true in some cases.
Notice that "bad" mites are strongly selected against only in the case of winter losses, where both bees and mites die.
Mites that are "bad" enough to cause late summer losses, but not so "bad" as to cause high winter losses in the hives that rob out the hives they killed, would possibly do better than either truly "bad" or "manageable" mites.

DISCLAIMER

I have 5 hives, and I treat them as needed, which is quite a bit more than I like.
This is armchair science - where anything we suppose is true because it sounds true, where the most significant factors are the ones we think of, where no other factors are very significant, and there are no unintended consequences of our actions, so don't take it too seriously.
You should attempt to prove at least a small portion of your theories. To just throw all this out there, doesn't do anything, and gives the impression that you're scatterbrained. Try focusing on one part of this at a time. You might want to start with the "bad" or "manageable" mites.
 
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