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My question : is it possible to live in a secluded enough area and not have to deal with mites? If so how far away would one need to be?Can bee's get mites from other bee's while foraging? I have looked some on the internet and not found the answers.Not that I'm very good at that. Sorry if this has been covered.
 

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Absolutely. We're mite free so far. Of course, the hives are brand new and in the garage waiting for our first nucs. I've been assured that the nucs will come complete with mites.

We're isolated enough that we see only 1-2 honeybees a year, despite having a plethora of native bees, so we'll see how it goes. Hopefully we'll only have to deal with the original load. In principle, bees will go out 3 miles or even more, so to not meet other bees it would seem 6 miles in every direction would be needed. I'd bet terrain is a factor ... they probably would rather not cross mountains.

Drones are supposed to be the worst varroa carriers ... I don't know their range but they're sex-crazed loonies and can probably cover amazing distances if they get a wiff of the right pheromone. Its not like they need to come home after doing their one job. While waiting, they congregate with other drones and swap mites.

Australia seems to be sufficiently isolated. So far.
 

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My question : is it possible to live in a secluded enough area and not have to deal with mites?
In North America? Realistically....No. Theoretically, if you could buy bees that were varroa free and could keep them on an island that has no bees and is miles from shore....maybe.
 

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One common method that bees pick up 'new' mites is when they are robbing. Sooner or later, a colony of bees, feral or managed, within range of your bees will begin to fail. When that happens, every bee in the neighborhood will know and come for their free honey. And along with free honey comes free varroa.
 

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>My question : is it possible to live in a secluded enough area and not have to deal with mites?

If you live on one of the few islands on the planet that have not been infested, maybe. In North America? No. South America? Europe? Africa? India? Any of the continents? No. You will have Varroa.
 

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I saw on Youtube of a beekeeper in Alaska who is mite free. He is secluded, has mountains surrounding him, and he lives in the valley. The mountain range keeps his bees within his ecosystem. His honey is very clear, and sells for I think $12.00/lb.
 

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Australia?

Or maybe, isolated in Alaska, he picked the mites off one by one, in an exercise in patience not seen in human history?

$12 a pound may be quite fair if he has to fly the honey out on a ski-plane.

Sounds like a perfect life to me, at least it would be if he had broadband.
 

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One common method that bees pick up 'new' mites is when they are robbing. Sooner or later, a colony of bees, feral or managed, within range of your bees will begin to fail. When that happens, every bee in the neighborhood will know and come for their free honey. And along with free honey comes free varroa.
It seems like this might be a good reason to use a robber screen at all times. I understand that all hives apparently have at least some degree of robbing; it is only the week ones that let it get out of hand. Perhaps the mites a robber brings are a bigger problem than the honey they take out.

I have read a number of comments throughout the internet by people who said that their hives with robber screens tended to be stronger than those without. Perhaps there are all kinds of reasons for this that are not obvious, such as reduced mite infestations.
 

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It seems like this might be a good reason to use a robber screen at all times.
That would address half of the equation, I suppose.....keeping out attempted robbers at your hives. The other half, your bees on robbing expeditions to feral and others' managed hives will still bring mites home. And robbing is only one of a number of ways that mites get transferred.
I think the only practical way someone can keep varroa free bees in North America is to move to a remote spot in Alaska (there may be some similar places in Canada) and bring in Australian bees. And even at that....it wouldn't be a sure thing.
 
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