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Discussion Starter #1
https://projects.sare.org/project-reports/fne16-840/

I realy don't like the wording in this study... having a treatment being tested labeled TF is a bit off..
in this study "C" is classic TF, let the bees sort it out , "TF" and "TFQ" are artificial brood breaks and chemical free mangment

2016 Survival – Colony survival in the first year of the trial:

Control (C) Group: Of the 15 colonies initially established May 2016, 14 colonies (93.3%) were alive and healthy heading into the winter of 2016-2017, 5 colonies were alive in April of 2017 (33.3%).

Mite Away Quick Strip (QS) group: Of the 15 colonies initially established in May 2016, 13 colonies (86.6%) were alive and healthy heading into the winter of 2016-2017, 10 colonies were alive in April 2017 (66.6%).

Treatment-Free (TF) group: Of the 15 colonies initially established in May 2016, 5 colonies died out within the first 2 months of the trial (4 went queenless when they failed to successfully raise a new queen following nuc making, and 1 colony went queenless after suffering a severe case of chaulk brood). A total of 9 colonies (60%) were alive and healthy heading into the winter of 2016-2017, 8 Colonies were alive in April 2017 (53.33).

Treatment-Free with Queen (TFQ) group: Of the 15 colonies initially established in May 2016, 15 colonies (100%) were alive and healthy heading into the winter of 2016-2017, 7 were alive in April 2017(46.66%), and 6 were alive in September 2017 (40%).
2017 Survival – Colony survival approximately half-way through the trial (18 months) is as follows:

Control (C) Group: Of the 5 colonies that were alive in April of 2017 (33.3%), 5 were alive heading into the winter of 2017 (33.3%) and none survived until April 2018.

Mite Away Quick Strip (QS) group: Of the 10 colonies (66.6%) were alive in April 2017, 7 were alive heading into the winter of 2017 (46.6%) and all 7 were alive in April 2018.

Treatment-Free (TF) group: Of the 8 Colonies were alive in April 2017 (53.33), all 8 were alive heading into the winter in September 2017 (53.33) and all 8 were alive in April 2018.

Treatment-Free with Queen (TFQ) group: Of the 7 were alive in April 2017 (46.66%), 6 were alive heading into the winter of 2017 (40%) and 4 survived and were alive in April 2018.
2018 Survival – Colony survival approximately half-way through the trial (18 months) is as follows:

Control (C) Group: Of the 15 colonies initially established May 2016, 14 colonies (93.3%) were alive and healthy heading into the winter of 2016-2017, 5 colonies were alive in April of 2017 (33.3%), 5 were alive in September 2017 (33.3%), all 5 died over the winter of 2017-2018 and none survived into the spring of 2018. (0.0%)

Mite Away Quick Strip (QS) group: Of the 15 colonies initially established in May 2016, 13 colonies (86.6%) were alive and healthy heading into the winter of 2016-2017, 10 colonies (66.6%) were alive in April 2017, 7 were alive in September 2017 (46.6%), all 7 survived the winter and were alive in April 2018, and 6 survived the summer and were headed into winter in November 2018. (40.0%)

Treatment-Free (TF) group: Of the 15 colonies initially established in May 2016, 9 colonies (60%) were alive and healthy heading into the winter of 2016-2017, 8 Colonies were alive in April 2017 (53.33), 8 were alive heading into winter in September 2017 (53.33), all 8 survived the winter and 7 survived the summer and were headed into winter in November 2018. (46.6%)

Treatment-Free with Queen (TFQ) group: Of the 15 colonies initially established in May 2016, 15 colonies (100%) were alive and healthy heading into the winter of 2016-2017, 7 were alive in April 2017(46.66%), 6 were alive in September 2017 (40%), 4 colonies were alive in April 2018 (26.67%) and all 4 were heading into the winter in November 2018. (26.67%)
2019 Colony Survival

Control (C) Group: Of the 15 colonies initially established May 2016, none survived into the spring of 2019 . (0.0%)

Mite Away Quick Strip (QS) group: Of the 15 colonies initially established in May 2016, 1 colony was alive in the spring of 2019 (6.6%).

Treatment-Free (TF) group: Of the 15 colonies initially established in May 2016, 7 were headed into winter in November 2018 and 1 colony was alive in the spring of 2019 (6.6%).

Treatment-Free with Queen (TFQ) group: Of the 15 colonies initially established in May 2016, 2 survived the winter and were alive in the spring of 2019 (13.3%).
Well nothing realy new here, matches typical hobbyist losses (BIP) but it shines the spot light on some things
Take bees, put in box and don't do any managements to them and there dead!
Work your bees and you can get survival results similar to a single MAQS treatment.
A single MAQS treatment in Sept would seem inadequate, too "many dead man walking" hives.


The unexplained dramatic increase in varroa populations throughout all hives in year three of this study suggests the need for more study into environmental, climate, and other factors that naturally effect varroa populations in honey bee colonies.
More and more we are seeing where and how you manage bees having a huge impact, Webester and Comfort both put management and environment as more important then genetics at their Apimondia 2019 talks.

For about six years prior to the start of this study I managed 40-60 colonies using only management techniques to control mites and consistently experienced and average winter losses of less than 20 percent. Once I added the 60 colonies of the study to my work load, my winter losses jumped to between 38 and 51 percent in all three years.
I don't know witch way to jump on this.... Does it highlight the importance of management, or is it just TF crumpling under scientific scrutiny..
I have the same question about the COMB study were they took 96 sister queens from "7 year survivor stock" and only had a 36% survival rate in the 1st winter, very close to this study's 33% rate. https://lopezuribelab.com/comb/
 

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While all beekeepers keeping bees in northern climates could benefit from knowing that mite populations are naturally low at the end of winter and that treating for mites in spring is probably a waste of time and resources.
I am not a northern beekeeper, but if I were, that would be a very significant conclusion for me.
 

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Well, I initially found this nit to pick. The nucs were made up in May, 2016. The initial mite count was performed in June, 2016. Results:

Control: 6.7% mite infestation

MAQS: 2.8% mite infestation

Treatment Free: 1.6% mite infestation

Treatment Free (Q): 1.2% mite infestation



While I am certain it was through no fault of the researchers (they evenly distributed the nucs and reported what they found), I don't see how this study is not significantly compromised due to the fact that you started some groups with 3 to 4 times the mite load of other groups.

The control group was dead before they even started the study at 6.7% infestation, and the MAQS group was at or over recommended treatment thresholds.

Seems that the TF and TFQ nucs were significantly advantaged by starting with relatively low mite levels as compared to the other nucs.

Had alcohol washes been performed at formation of the nucs in May, the study could have been leveled among all groups.

I also question why some deaths of the TF group nucs were "explained away," yet no cause of deaths or necropsies were shown on any other hive deaths. Are we to assume that all hives died of PMS unless otherwise specified? To their credit, the researchers did not allow that the affect their final numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am not a northern beekeeper, but if I were, that would be a very significant conclusion for me.
I would take that with a grain of salt, rock salt at that...One reason to look at the data as the author may have an ax to grind despite the losses 3 years running he says
I will continue to promote the use of beekeeper hive management to control mites as long as the total number of colonies in the beekeeper’s apiaries in less than 50-60.
any way
May 2017 Mite Counts

Control (C) Group: Initial mite levels May ranged from a low of 2 mites per 300 bees to a high of 9 mites per 300 bees. The average number of mites per 300 bees was 4.6 for C group.

Mite Away Quick Strip (QS) Group: Initial mite levels in May 2017 ranged from a low of 3 mites per 300 bees to a high of 9 mites per 300 bees. The average number of mite per 300 bees was 5.0 for QS group.

Treatment-Free (TF) Group: Initial mite levels in May 2017 ranged from a low of 0 mites per 300 bees to a high of 13 mites per 300 bees. The average number of mite per 300 bees was 3.89 for TF group.
May 2018 Mite Counts

Control (C) Group: Colonies did not survive to the spring of 2018.

Mite Away Quick Strip (QS) Group: Initial mite levels in May 2018 ranged from a low of 0 mites per 300 bees to a high of 7 mites per 300 bees. The average number of mite per 300 bees was 2.857 for QS group.

Treatment-Free (TF) Group: Initial mite levels in May 2018 ranged from a low of 1 mite per 300 bees to a high of 7 mites per 300 bees. The average number of mite per 300 bees was 3.625 for TF group.
I feel a 3-5 per 300 is high for spring and a pre super treatment would have led to beter surival..
Group QS: Mite levels in September 2018 (Prior to treatment) ranged from a low of 11 mites per 300 bees to a high of 160 mites per 300 bees. The average number of mites per 300 bees was 84.333 for QS group prior to treatment.

I don't know how you can look at the numbers and say you don't need a spring treatment.

While I am certain it was through no fault of the researchers
I would say it is, all of the controls were placed in one location by them selfs, allowing them to drift/bomb each other
 

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I like and respect Ross Conrad and I do not mean to discredit him in any way, but Ross has a known bias in the TF world. I believe his data and his numbers. I do not believe he intentionally put his finger on a scale. But, in my opinion, some of the write up and conclusions reflect that bias.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You said it perfectly!
 

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I guess that's why in Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Ontario they all treat in March.
North Eastern area here and chasing mites in august is no way to go.
less treating by starting early means less acid or synthetics needed, less virus, more healthy bees, etc.
 

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Prior to Varroa, tracheal, and SHB the USDA was reporting wild swarms to perish at a 60-75% rate in the first year. I think it should be of no surprise that with the pests and new viruses that we now deal with that bees will die at high rates every year without a beekeepers care.
 

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Prior to Varroa, tracheal, and SHB the USDA was reporting wild swarms to perish at a 60-75% rate in the first year. I think it should be of no surprise that with the pests and new viruses that we now deal with that bees will die at high rates every year without a beekeepers care.
The question posed at a conference session two years ago. If we have a healthy, stable feral bee population living in a forest, how many colonies are dieing each year. Lots of mumbling in the audience of 'none'. Presenter proceeded to explain. A healthy colony will produce a swarm, and an afterswarm each season. A stable population means the number of colonies is not growing. The only way to meet this criteria, 2/3 of colonies die off thru each year.

The presenter for that session was Randy Oliver.

We want a surplus from our bees, so we work to keep them all alive. If we were only interested in having bees year over year I wouldn't put in the efforts to keep them alive, just spend each summer getting two or more splits off of each colony then leave them to fend for selves. There will be enough survivors to repeat the process year over year, but, we wont have much / any honey for sale.
 

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In the 1960s, before varroa, shb and such, Tom Seeley followed a number of feral swarms in the Arnot Forest. He found that by the following spring less than 25% survived.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
arguably wild bees aren't dying at a greater rate (seeley 2017)
A stable wild population means birth and death rates are the same...
as grozze notes, if a hive throws 2 swarms you now have 3 colonies. For the population stay stable 2 of them need to die. Such is the life of bees.
 
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