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Study: Small Cell does not reduce Varroa mite infestation; it can increase it.

12279 Views 49 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  1102009
University of Georgia article, "Small Cell Foundation And Varroa Mites" found mite infestation of small cell hives at 46.6%, which was much higher than the 5.2mm cell with infestation of 27.7%.

http://caes2.caes.uga.edu/bees/personnel/documents/Berry1109.pdf
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sometimes people get really good at setting up something to make the results you want.
What flaw do you see in the study? The author describes the process in detail. The conclusions are similar to a Florida study that there is no meaningful benefit from small cells for varroa mites.

Quote from the article, "The trouble with experiments is that they have a knack for demolishing good ideas. Aristotle was full of good ideas. In fact, his ideas about the natural world were so reasonable that they held unquestioned authority for over a millenium until the so-called enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries engendered investigative methods that mitigate against bias and presupposition. From this point on, arm-chair science was doomed, and many a brilliant idea has since been ship-wrecked by the unforgiving objectivity of the scientific method."
 

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The most glaring flaw is it was done with 10 nucs. Then they never tell you what kind of bees they use. Sometimes people have a agenda. I have bees on both kinds of foundation and so far I haven't seen a differance they all need to be treated so they can winter.
 

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If you don't like that study how about this one? "Small cell-comb foundation does not impede Varroa mite population growth in honey bee colonies." Apidologie 41 (2010) 40-44., or "Brood-cell size has no influence on the population dynamics of Varroa Destructor Mites in the native western honey bee, Apis mellifera mellifera." Apidologie 41 (2010) 522-530.
 

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If you don't like that study how about this one? "Small cell-comb foundation does not impede Varroa mite population growth in honey bee colonies." Apidologie 41 (2010) 40-44., or "Brood-cell size has no influence on the population dynamics of Varroa Destructor Mites in the native western honey bee, Apis mellifera mellifera." Apidologie 41 (2010) 522-530.
Never said that it does impede mite growth and large cell doesn't ether. I think some have a agenda to keep the money flowing.
 

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The most glaring flaw is it was done with 10 nucs.
the University of Georgia study and its replicates were done with 10f deeps
Ten of the hives each contained 10 frames of drawn small-cell comb, and the other 10 contained drawn conventional-cell comb
They mention a NZ study that was done with nucs

Now don't forget to look beyond the mites..
The small cell colonys had more bees and more brood
 

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The most glaring flaw is it was done with 10 nucs. Then they never tell you what kind of bees they use. Sometimes people have a agenda. I have bees on both kinds of foundation and so far I haven't seen a differance they all need to be treated so they can winter.
I think Dan is good at reading into a study what he wants to read into it. Jennifer says " where
each was used to stock one of 20
single-story deep Langstroth hives. "

So Dan please explain why you are making up facts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Never said that it does impede mite growth and large cell doesn't ether. I think some have a agenda to keep the money flowing.
When I first got into beekeeping, we had a number of speakers present at our local bee club praising the benefits of foundationless to get small cell bees as a remedy for varroa and being treatment free. My issue is the research does not support the small cell / natural cell size theory as a way to reduce varroa mites.
 

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When I first got into beekeeping, we had a number of speakers present at our local bee club praising the benefits of foundationless to get small cell bees as a remedy for varroa and being treatment free. My issue is the research does not support the small cell / natural cell size theory as a way to reduce varroa mites.
Does foundationless get small cell bees, and is small cell (4.9) really natural?
 

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My former mentor, Stephan Braun (www.resistantBees.com) now reduces the cell size of his hives again to under 4.8mm after years of succes with 4.85-4.9mm.( over 15 years )
Why?
Because maybe the mites adapt to smaller cell size?
Some people claim the mite`s time of being phoretic is getting shorter. This, because the mites learned to hide and the bees learned to fight them with biting.

The kind of beekeeping mellifera.eV does is on natural cells for many years. The bees build 4.8-5.1 in broodnest area. The bees should be resistant if cell size alone is the main factor. Nobody tested tf with them so far. They are treated prophylactically. The correlations between all this ( food, swarming, cell size, ......) are never tested scientifically long time if the hives are managed by beekeepers.. Kefuss and Seeley tested with conditions in a natural isolated environment.

The study mentioned above could be out of date already.
There are some practical beekeepers which have success with "natural" cell size, build by the bees. Most of them use other managements additionally. The bees, I claim, will adapt to new situations.
Generations, mite`s or bee`s, change fast. Environments change all the time.

There is no standstill in this. What works today may not work tomorrow. And the other way around.
 

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When I first got into beekeeping, we had a number of speakers present at our local bee club praising the benefits of foundationless to get small cell bees as a remedy for varroa and being treatment free. My issue is the research does not support the small cell / natural cell size theory as a way to reduce varroa mites.
This is a data point in the delusion of human crowds. People *want* magical solutions to vexing problems. If a circus barker tells them their problems are over if they buy a magic elixir of refined snake, they are pre-sold to the con and will line up to purchase the nostrum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is a data point in the delusion of human crowds. People *want* magical solutions to vexing problems. If a circus barker tells them their problems are over if they buy a magic elixir of refined snake, they are pre-sold to the con and will line up to purchase the nostrum.
My point is my local bee club (comprised primarily of backyard beekeepers) only brought in speakers that focused on treatment free, natural cell beekeeping. We did not have speakers that spoke about the other side; that scientific studies did not support the assertions that small cell reduces varroa mites. Small/natural cell beekeeping was good theory, but no actual scientific evidence to support the theory when the scientific method is used to evaluate the theory. My point is that a bee keeping club should bring in speakers with both views, so that members can make an informed decision.

The debate on the small cell/treatment free beekeeping is similar to the debate on vaccinations in humans. For vaccinations, some people believe the vaccines cause autism. The reactions of parents has ranged from no vaccines, to spreading out the vaccines dosages, to following the traditional vaccine suggestions. My point is beekeepers should be given full information to make informed decisions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Does foundationless get small cell bees, and is small cell (4.9) really natural?
If the bees are allowed to build comb on a starter strip (without foundation), over several generations of bees, the cell size will gravitate towards 4.9 mm. Around 100 years ago, beekeepers realized that they could increase the size of the bees by providing foundation with cell size imprinted on it; the bees would copy the cell size. They played with different sizes to increase honey yield. They optimized on the current foundation size. It produces a bee about 10% larger than in nature, with a longer tongue to gather nectar from certain additional flowers that small cell bees cannot.
 
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