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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really hope that I’ve not just jinxed myself! :shhhh: We reached a high temp today of about 40 degrees, after an unseasonably cold February. We’ve had a lot of sub-zero F mornings, and many days with highs in the low 20’s. I just paid the girls a visit, and both hives had activity. I suppose they were doing some “cleansing flights”!

After every previous attempt ending in failure over the years, we bought two packages last spring.... to make another attempt. In the past, we’ve had, hives make the winter and then die- out for no apparent reason. We’ve had seemingly healthy hives die off in early fall. It’s been perplexing! :scratch:

My first package several years ago were Carniolan. They produced very well their first season, survived the winter......only to die-off in mid spring. So.....last spring, I managed to get some more Carniolans. It is kinda “deja vieux” all over again. They thrived last summer, produced well, and survived the long hard winter. Now,if they’ll just survive the spring .....I’ll be in “unchartered waters”! :) Wish me Luck! :waiting: memtb
 

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There are options for mite control if you are all natural. Read this.. But you are going to loose hive some day (and affect several neighboring colonies) if you don't control mites.
 

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Attempting to go “au naturel”. But, haven’t determined a high mite count. memtb
Here might lie your problem/perplextion. These packages have most likely been treated, & may not thrive without some kind of IPM or treatment.
 

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I'm sorry to be the one to shatter your dreams but someone needs to tell you the hard truth without all the sugar coating. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL KEEPING COMMERCIAL BEES TREATMENT FREE. Even if you get "mite resistant" queens and do every IPM tactic out there the reality is that you are going to lose a lot of hives. If it was possible to throw bees in a box and be successful that's what everyone would be doing. They're not because it's not. You need to make a decision right now are you going to continue being a source of massive mite infection for neighboring colonies or are you going to be a BEEKEEPER? Beekeepers KEEP their bees and to do that you must keep them healthy. The amount of damage that has been done by certain idiots on BS and other sites (I won't mention names but we all know who they are) is mind-blowing. They are by and large not making their $ on their bees as their bees are to sickly and they're constantly having to split to make up for losses. They make their money selling their bogus books and methodology for failure that is ate up by the modern "au natural" mindset. There is nothing "natural" about what we're doing with bees they are a livestock. They need management. Be willing to do it otherwise you're nothing but a burden to fellow beeks and even to the "wild" colonies. Sorry if it comes across harsh or I seem like a dick but in reality I just might be your best friend right now. I'm the one willing to tell you the truth. You need to get good keeping bees then if you want to experiment trying to find "resistant" colonies go for it. But don't do the hard bond method. When it is clear the colonies are not going to be able to keep varroa in check don't just let them die treat them. You can always sell the colony to someone if it doesn't fit your criteria or you can requeen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the tips/sources for a more natural mite control! The formic method seems like a good method to consider! Thanks again! memtb
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
vtbeeguy, Yep a bit harsh....but so is reality. I guess that the best thing about my failures, if mite related, I don’t have any neighbors that can be affected.....unless my bees are “ultra-marathoners”!;) I certainly researching methods to help maintain my bees. memtb
 

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I really hope that I’ve not just jinxed myself! :shhhh: We reached a high temp today of about 40 degrees, after an unseasonably cold February. We’ve had a lot of sub-zero F mornings, and many days with highs in the low 20’s. I just paid the girls a visit, and both hives had activity. I suppose they were doing some “cleansing flights”!

After every previous attempt ending in failure over the years, we bought two packages last spring.... to make another attempt. In the past, we’ve had, hives make the winter and then die- out for no apparent reason. We’ve had seemingly healthy hives die off in early fall. It’s been perplexing! :scratch:

My first package several years ago were Carniolan. They produced very well their first season, survived the winter......only to die-off in mid spring. So.....last spring, I managed to get some more Carniolans. It is kinda “deja vieux” all over again. They thrived last summer, produced well, and survived the long hard winter. Now,if they’ll just survive the spring .....I’ll be in “unchartered waters”! :) Wish me Luck! :waiting: memtb
did the bees run out of store --that's when they starve is in the spring when they start flying and no nectar to be had
 

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I really hope that I’ve not just jinxed myself! :shhhh:
No you haven't jinxed yourself at all, the opposite in fact. It's been a good day for you.

Because you have now discovered why your bees die every year, (your neglect), and what you can do about it.

Only cloud i see on the horizon, you give off a vibe that you are doubtful of the advise given, and will continue on the same dead end path.
 

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Just so you know, "I certainly researching methods to help maintain my bees." , there has been some significant research in developing "natural", resistant honey bees colonies. If you start with a 100 colonies you just might end up with three Varroa mite - honey bee coloneis able to co-existing. They can multiply from this point but the genetics, drone genetics, may be a problem. They should be spaced out about 1/2 mile apart and hopefully have a good foraging environment. One large experiment in Europe, using an island, did result in untreated feral hives. Unfortunately they are very difficult to work and poor honey producers. It is nice that you have miles between you and a neighbor with bees but it takes more than that to create a sustainable apiary and healthy honey bee environment. Hopefully, in time, the honey bees will be able resist Varroa but in time other issues will arise and more evolution will be requried. They can do it on their own as they have for 30 million years. Good Luck and have fun learning from the bees.
 

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They can do it on their own as they have for 30 million years.
The outcome of the Evolutionary process can work either way: survival OR elimination - both for the honey bee AND for the Varroa mite. And it's always possible that it will be the mite who'll survive (at least in the short-term) at the expense of the honey bee, if Nature is "left to take it's course".

Apis Mellifera Mellifera didn't fair too well over here in the 1920's when no therapeutic steps were taken to combat the Isle of Wight Disease ...
LJ
 

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If you start with a 100 colonies you just might end up with three Varroa mite - honey bee coloneis able to co-existing.
This is unlikely to be the case for him, because he buys package bees.

However the thrust of what you are saying is good, that he could look into resistant bees, if such things truly exist.

He really has 2 options. Get resistant bees, or, get package bees and take care of the mites for them.

At this time he is taking the third option, getting package bees and watching while they die of mites. Either of the first 2 options are preferable.

However if he goes for the resistant bees option he must consider what the other bees are around him. Because one way or another, his own bees will end up the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Attempting to go “au naturel”. But, haven’t observed a high mite count. memtb

If you will notice my second comment, I believe that some of you may have jumped to conclusions. While it certainly is possible that one or two of my failures could contributed to mites....I firmly “do not” believe this was case with all of the previous failures. I know that one was from my neglect, by misjudging their feeding needs in early spring.....thinking they had adequate supplies. Again, though I will attempt to be more cognizant of their needs and respond accordingly! I believe that high moisture in the hive was the cause of one of the kills. As soon as temperatures improve, I’ll start feeding and also perform repeated mite counts.....and likely perform a treatment! memtb
 

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thanks for sharing your story memtb.

here's hoping you have some live bees to work with once things thaw out up there.

sounds like you are on the right track.
 

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If you will notice my second comment, I believe that some of you may have jumped to conclusions. While it certainly is possible that one or two of my failures could contributed to mites....I firmly “do not” believe this was case with all of the previous failures.
Lots of people firmly don't believe it. They are the ones who buy new package bees every year.

In fact there are a lot of Beesource members who firmly did not believe it, till one day, after many years of failure in some cases, they decided to take mites seriously and now they are successful beekeepers.

It is entirely possible that your bees die every year from something else. However mites are the biggest killers directly or indirectly of honeybees, and the pattern you describe fits death by mites exactly.

Why do you not believe? Didn't see any?

The conclusions that have been jumped to are based on years of experience and thousands of observations.

End of day though advise has been offered, but over to you to run your bees in whatever way you think is the best.

A little while back I got a phone call from a guy a few miles away from me with 3 hives that kept dying and being re stocked with new bees for several years. He asked me to take a look. He assured me his problems were not mite related but when i opened the hives there were signs of PMS and serious mite infestation. I pointed it all out to him, but he had a serious ideological problem with treatment and was not open to it.

But one of the hives was extremely bad and in fact near death. He was reluctant to allow treatment but even he could see that this particular hive was not going to survive long, so I was able to convince him to allow this one to be experimented on. So I put in 2 strips of bayvarol. The recent phone call was to thank me, and tell me the 2 bigger hives had faded and died, but the treated one had recovered and was now building so well he believed he could split it to make up the other dead ones. He also asked where he could buy some more treatment. First time he had got a hive through winter and was one happy beekeeper.

This story is not a one off, i get this kind of thing all the time.
 

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I see what you mean about idiots and yes we know who they are.
 

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This scenario reminds me of an acquaintance whose friend had his bees die; He was a new beekeeper. I offered to take a look. Now mind you we have black bears here, so this guy built a “bear stand” for his hives, with a roof over it, a bear “bar” all around it (2x4’s) for protection, situated on a slight hill. He takes me to the hives, and there is no way to access them! I mean the height of this, I was looking in the entrance standing there. He had no tools to remove this stuff but a screw driver. My husband has tools in his truck. Now, to the examine the hives, everything was nailed together! Even entrance reducer! Two deeps each. AND no hive tool! No smoker! Nothing! A stupid screw driver. Ugh. He never looked at his hives,ever. Two deeps each, and was thrilled he had some honey from one. That was his goal, the honey, not the animals. He was so darn arrogant. I had no problem conveying to him “ stupid is as stupid does” . Ugh. I have no patience with this type of selfish arrogant ignorance. It’s all about them.
 
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