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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
EVALUATION OF SMALL-CELL COMBS FOR CONTROL OF VARROA MITES IN NEW YORK HONEY BEES
PROJECT DIRECTOR: SEELEY, T. D

IMPACT: 2008-10-01 TO 2009-09-30 The work supported by the grant has now shown conclusively that providing honey bee colonies with frames of small-cell (4.9 mm) combs does not depress the reproduction of Varroa mites relative to giving colonies frames of standard-cell (5.4 mm) combs. These results match those of parallel investigations on this topic that were conducted independently in Georgia and Florida.

It seems clear, therefore, that despite much interest by and discussion among beekeepers in using small-cell combs to control the mites without chemical, this approach is ineffective.

http://www.reeis.usda.gov/web/crisprojectpages/211868.html
 

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"It seems clear, therefore, that despite much interest by and discussion among beekeepers in using small-cell combs to control the mites without chemical, this approach is ineffective."

And all those beekeepers using small cell without chemicals are doing this, :popcorn:
 

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> And all those beekeepers using small cell without chemicals are doing this

So are many others without using small cells.

What this study and others do not appear to examine, if I read it correctly, is what hppens when the same bees are kept on small cells for a period of time longer than a year.
 

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perhaps ineffective for those involved in that study, but I certainly would not discount the first hand experiences of many of those reporting success in their efforts on forums such as this either.

I am curious as to why some people seem to be so threatened by alternative and 'naturalist' methods in the first place.

Big Bear
 

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Well, there are many "armchair" beeks out there who think that reading studies and scientific journals somehow prove something. Many of the so-called scientists that publish findings such as this are funded or paid off. Just who would benefit by the results of this study? Publish or perish as they say -- never mind what the facts are.
 

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Three things - holes - jump out upon reading the findings of this study. 1. The large cell and small cell colonies were placed in the same apiary, thus not accounting for drift between the colonies. 2. Survival of the colonies was not addressed, only mite counts. 3. The study will not be complete until 9/2010, so these are preliminary findings.

I have small cell bees - Italians and ferals - that are treatment free and always have been, and I don't have mite problems. Thats all that really matters! But then, I'm not in the academic or chemical biz, just honey.

David Benton
Tucson Honey Co.
 

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Only one thing is clear... there will never be a consensus amongst beekeepers, on pretty much anything.

If you ask three beekeepers why the sky is blue, one will tell you it's because of the wavelengths of light and chemical makeup of the atmosphere, another will tell you that it's because God likes the color blue, and the third will tell you that the sky isn't blue. :lpf:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, there are many "armchair" beeks out there who think that reading studies and scientific journals somehow prove something.
Sure, and there are probably just as many who think that never reading a word proves something as well. Though what that would prove, I have no idea.

Many of the so-called scientists that publish findings such as this are funded or paid off.
Are you suggesting that Tom Seeley is a so-called scientist? Do you even know who he is?

Just who would benefit by the results of this study? Publish or perish as they say -- never mind what the facts are.
As a matter of fact, I will tell you who would benefit. Beekeepers all over the world would benefit, if it were shown that using small cell foundation would allow them to eliminate chemical treatments. But beyond that, Tom would benefit. I know Tom and he dislikes medicating his bees as much or more than anyone.

So I am telling you: he took on this project for at least two reasons. One, to find out (the goal of any real scientist). Two, to find a method that would enable him to get away from using chems. Now neither he nor I is saying that what you or anyone else is doing doesn't work. What he is saying is that under close observation, simply using small cell foundation in NY State will not control mites.

Maybe that isn't what you wanted to hear. I feel quite certain that Tom went into this with an open mind. Most of the comments I have heard here have not been open minded by any stretch of the imagination. Whatever doesn't fit with your pre-sets you reject. That's called bias. Scientists rigorously avoid bias. Some folks seem to thrive on it.
 

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Wow! I was just starting to really enjoy that fact that for almost a decade I haven't had to worry about Varroa at all... I guess I need to go back to large cell foundation and Varroa treaments and Varroa counts and losing all my hives every two years to Varroa... I'm sure glad someone enlightened me... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow! I was just starting to really enjoy that fact that for almost a decade I haven't had to worry about Varroa at all...
The question is not about whether Michael Bush worries about varroa or not. The question is about whether simply switching to small cells will reduce varroa infestation in colonies. This one question has been asked, and answered by several research projects carried out independently. Simply switching to small cells does not appear to reduce varroa mite loads in these studies. As to whether the studies should be carried out for more than a year, if the varroa load builds up normally in these colonies, the colonies would be dead. In our area at least, if you don't treat, most hives crash in fall, or fail to overwinter.

As an example, I personally know two beekeepers who keep around 100 hives in the same general area. One quit treating his hives for varroa, and the other used formic acid in August. Their losses were just about the opposite. The one who treated had 20% winter loss, which by the way he was very pleased with. The other had about 20% survival. By the way, the first one told me he used to be very disappointed by a 10% loss. Now, a 20% loss is a cause to celebrate. Do you suppose simply switching to small cells would cure their problems? Remember, this is the one thing that is being tested in these studies.
 

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It seems many people have a great deal of their ego, credibility and reputation tied up with the small cell concept and that questioning their beliefs is to them more about their own integrity than it is about bees or varroa. This makes the detached discussion necessary for science very difficult.

It would seem that if small cell has a clear effect, that it should be easy to demonstrate. However it seems that none of the advocates have scientific credentials and that many apparently do not consider the scientific method to be the appropriate means of resolving issues of this sort.

Several respected scientific researchers have tried picking up this hot potato and their efforts and the disrespect accorded to them goes to show why few are interested in pressing further.

When Jennifer Berry initiated her work, she surprised a few people by indicating that her early observations seemed to indicate that there might be an effect. She disappointed another group of people later by concluding that she was unable to demonstrate it.

Now Tom Seeley has given it a shot, and his test has apparently observed and eliminated another potential demonstration of a potential aspect of the reported phenomenon. There still remain other ways to try to demonstrate it which meet the requirements of scientific observation.

The biggest problem with the small cell theory is that it is multi-step and requires observation over a period of time during which losses and manipulations occur. Controls are not possible.

Science is best at examining one aspect at a time -- dissecting problems and maintaining controls for comparison, thus the attempts examine each aspect separately.

Since the claim is made that the whole procedure is necessary to obtain the result, the project becomes very murky, since at some point in a protracted study, the controls can no longer track the test bees.

Each study is an attempt to try to identify an effect associated with some controllable aspect of small cell.

It will take a series of such observations to zero in on the effect, if it exists and if it can be isolated.

The question remains, though: If dissecting kills the effect, how can we observe it scientifically?
 

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as mr allen dick just stated Peter, there are folks who seem compelled to argue and counter methods because somehow it personally offends them and they must convert the world to their way of thinking.

There have been enough people who have posted in this forum alone that small cell has been helpful to reducing varroa in their own bee yards.

it really doesn't matter what you or any other 'scientist' or beek for that matter thinks or publishes beyond that.

they have proof of their methods right in front of them and don't need what some guy thousands of miles away has observed to tell them otherwise.

so I would say that you come across as one of those people due to you almost vehement posts railing against methods you don't have to use and no one is forcing you to use, yet you seem compelled to try to change others ideas about them.

ultimately, I don't really care what you post anymore, I usually ignore it anyway.

My curiosity is only in why people like yourself seem to think you need to change other peoples minds when they are capable of thinking for themselves ( thank you Micheal and StevenG and the many others in this forum for demonstrating that particular fact very well).

Big Bear
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My curiosity is only in why people like yourself seem to think you need to change other peoples minds when they are capable of thinking for themselves
This is a perfectly legitimate question. Why do I even post here? It isn't to make money and it isn't to make friends, although I have made one or two.

I am one hundred per cent in favor of people thinking for themselves. But people do not nor can not think by themselves. As my friend Allen Dick is fond of saying, if everybody is agreeing then no one is thinking.

Actual thinking is a group process. There are no individual thoughts, thinking is mostly processing the thoughts of others, and occasionally having an original idea.
 

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The problem is that you put a bunch of women and men in the same place and ask them the same question and then you get a bunch of different answers, throw in some science and watch it go. There are Many people on here who have tried small cell and seen great results. There are people who have tried it and lost colonies because they wouldn't take to it. The problem is not with the theory, its with the people. I swear i get aggrevated on here not because people are expressing their opinions, because we all have them, but more to the fact that people cannot except any reality other than their own.
I was asked recently when i stated i had seen my first mites if I was going to treat, to which I said no, not even a sugar shake. Know what their reply was....well, get ready to lose everything...I mean really, are you(nooone being pointed out here) that big of an idiot to think that I dont worry about them?

Science for al intents and purposes, has many flaws. We were all told that the HB was not native to the US....well guess what, those people were wrong. Some even said that Varroa wouldn't be able to handle them Chems, and guess what they did.......

The point being is that a lot of you have experience well beyond my years, but you know what, my bees don't read the books that you have written, read and helped co-write and suggest to others. They don't stop working, they handle shb without me being invoolved and if they cannot handle the Varroa, then they aren't going to make it as they will not get my help.

People need to get over themselves and their "years" of knowledge, degrees, schooling, prac application and learn to freakin listen already. It's not about how smart you are. Pass on the knowledge without knowing it all. I know i could use all i can get...but when you are a know it all, your done in my book. I pose questions all the time that i cannot get defenative answers on.....its called the WORLD already......
 

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Remember, this is the one thing that is being tested in these studies.
The problem is that there are many variables. Studies such as this are useless in the face of so many influencing factors. And as far as bias, Loringborst, everybody on this forum knows where you stand as far as pesticides are concerned.
 

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> There are no individual thoughts, thinking is mostly processing the thoughts of others, and occasionally having an original idea.

And I suspect that those original ideas are -- often as not -- generated by misunderstanding the ideas of others!

In other words, we're talking mutation. It seems some people mutate ideas more than others.
 

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I had andther thought real quick. I had a box design in mind that i wanted to try based on Langs design with some of mine thrown in.....95% people here on BS gave me reasons it wouldn't work......what does that say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It seems some people mutate ideas more than others.
Sort of like the game of telephone? Where somebody whispers something and it goes around the table a couple of times, and comes out completely different. Usually nothing like the original idea.

Or is it more like photocopying photocopies? You do that enough times, and all you end up with is a fuzzy illustration of what appears to be cat litter.
 
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