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Discussion Starter #1
Catchy title huh? I hope this is in the right area of the forums. Sorry mods if it's not. Anyway...I was curious about the ankle biter bees. Do they overwinter like Italian's or more frugal like Carniolan's? I don't know much about them, but my goal in the long term is to be treatment free. I was curious about what would be the best bee breed for that? Last year I had Italian's and I treated for mites about 2 months after I got them. In the fall I was late on the treatment and by that time it was to late to save them. To much going on and it got ahead of me. So I am looking for a possible treatment free or maybe one that could be more forgiving in treatments? I have been looking into maybe the ankle biter's or possibly the beeweaver bee from BeeWeaver? Or maybe something I haven't heard of yet? Anyone know of a bee that is total chaos on varroa? This is the year of revenge since they took my bees last year!
 

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Ah and there's the rub I need a bee that will remove the infested brood and bite the legs off pick them off each other's back only swarm when I want more hives over winter with little stores build up for the honey flow don't sting me. Have fun chasing the dream.
 

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There isn't a silver bullet that works everywhere, for everybody and for every purpose. Get the best local queen(s) you can and enjoy the journey. I would read about IPM (there is a recent thread in TF forum). Dont forget that any expensive queen you purchase would swarm, or die or get superceded. I would also read / watch Michael Palmer (and others) on Sustainable Apiary methods.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Maybe this should have been in treatment free. I am not looking for a "perfect" bee the "silver bullet" I don't care about getting stung. What I am wanting is a bee that is hard on varroa. Maybe a breed or type that wouldn't die off if I am a month late on treatment? I do understand that the queen I buy would swarm and leave later on but her genes would be in other bees in my area maybe cause of the drones?
 

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be careful what you believe on the purdue ankle biters. I know for a fact that they use a picture of a hive beetle being chewed, from a pic years before the picture taker even had ankle biters.
 

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They look pretty aggressive towards them?
Yes they do. But would be good if there were some research done on their abilities or if there were some testimonies of beekeepers having success with them TF?

I rememeber back in 1990´s there were a lot of discussion among beebreeders about looking into debris of hive bottoms to select hives biting mites. Nothing has come out of that line of research in Europe as far as I know.
For instance Alois Wallner in Austria. http://griffes.tripod.com/VRbook.html http://www.voralpenhonig.at/default_en.htm Last time I have heard news from him was that he is happy with his results: his bees need only two treatments per year. Not bad result in the conditions of Central Europe.

Then there in another example. http://beesource.com/point-of-view/erik-osterlund/bees-biting-mites/ A Finnish beekeeper made a video of his magic bees biting mites. Nothing has come out of that either. He is using OAD nowadays.


The ability to bite mites could be one part of the solution, but alone it is not enough to be TF.
 

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You have to select for the trait and while doing it don't lose other good traits some of which we don't know about. Let's see at least half the drones she mates with need vsh another half should be mite biters and half have to be Hygenic and more than half should be good foragers. Maybe try a little management of your bees. Buy the best queens you can find raise a few of your own queens. And most of all enjoy the time you spend with the bees. The funny thing is if you take care of a horse like some people take care of bees you'll be taken into court and given a hefty fine.
 

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Ankle biters will not do any better in an yard filled with hives that have mites. I have ankle biters and they are in a yard far removed from other hives. There are other feral bees around but I did the best to keep them separate and I still monitor them to see what is going on. I will treat with OA if I have to but 1 year later they are still OK mites IMO have a 2 year window the hive will succumb by the second winter. If you put a hive of ankle biters in with hives that are mite bombs don't kid yourself they will get over run .
 

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Purdue is doing a ton of research on the bees they have. 125 colonies. They have not treated for mites in 7 or 8 years. They have losses. The bees make a good honey crop and generally shut down at our dearth.
IMO
Many of the folks coming to get these stocks are phonies and I wouldn't believe much they say. I can tell you that these same bees do great with minimal mite treatments and are successful at getting in to 7 frame contracts in almonds.
 

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I only had one miter-biter (might be a different strain than Perdue's) and she was a gift from a beekeeper, so I don't know her parentage, but it was the only hive I lost over the winter, and it was due to mites. All of my other queens (mostly local but one from Sam Comfort's apiary) all got a summer brood break and monthly powdered sugar dustings. My miter-biter was the "test case". And even though it was only 1 hive, I'm not planning to repeat the test with a larger group of hives. The ankle biter queens are an important tool in the chemical free beekeeping tool box, but I'm not sure there is a silver bullet that cures all varroa evils. I do plan to order a Beeweaver queen just to add to my local genetics. I raise topbar hive nucs for backyard beekeepers that want to try out beekeeping, and the local queens do a fairly good job if the beekeeper keeps up with the monthly sugar shakes. Those that do not, usually come back to say their bees died mysteriously over the winter. Now that I've experienced the dwindling worker bee numbers due to varroa, I'm pretty sure what their problem is.
 

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I got 13 of these queens last spring. All but 1 is alive and brooding for the upcoming season.
All made a honey crop last year. Mites on the bottom board show physical damage. They brood
up early compared to my other bees. I overwintered them all in 2 medium hive bodies with a mouse guard
and a homasote inner cover.
They are good bees.
 

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I posted a correction of the quantity of queens in the above post. The 25 queens I originally mentioned were
Pol-line queens. All but 1 Pol-line queens made the winter as well. Both of these were/are subjected to my normal management
methods.
Both are good bees.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I was watching youtube and found this honey bee to bee extremely resistant to the Asian Hornet. It would "ball" it and the cook it. They were smart enough to set a trap for it so the Asian hornet couldn't alert the hive to fresh meat. This is the Japanese honey bee. I did some research and from wikipedia it says "A.c. japonica is very resistant to the mite Varroa jacobsoni, which is commonly found among A. cerana." Why are they not being imported? I know they state that it is slow to produce honey and you may get "less" honey but it's a good trade off IMO. They also fly in colder temps than the European honey bees which in some places "Montana....Alaska" wouldn't be a bad thing. Why can't I find a provider for this honey bee in USA????
 

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They're not native and who knows what other diseases they may bring in, that is why we don't import them and they cannot hybridize with our bees anyway from what I've read.
 

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As a general principle, importing biological material is a bad idea.

Remember, many of beekeeping's problems originate from ignoring this principle and repeatedly shooting ourselves in the foot.
 

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Anybody got anything new here ? I have only have experiences with 2 queens 2018 and 2020 . I find them very " Russiany" . Very small bees that shut down at the least indication of a dearth and still need treated. The NWC pure stock and the NWC X's with Italian's do much better at my place .

regards
Brad
 

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I buy VSH queens as a way to support the efforts. VSH is not a cure at this point but it could very well be in the not too distant future, I'll pitch in a few bucks toward that cause happily. I generally favor Italian Queens up north here and there are plenty of options for VSH Italians. I still do vigorous varroa control measures (OAV) and hope the VSH queens pick up the slack during no-treatment times.
 

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As a general principle, importing biological material is a bad idea.

Remember, many of beekeeping's problems originate from ignoring this principle and repeatedly shooting ourselves in the foot.
You do know the European Honeybee is imported genetic material, right?
 
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