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Discussion Starter #1
So, got me a problem. I know what to do with it, and how to fix it. But, I wanted to pass on some first hand information that has shown itself along the way. Some of you will agree, some will not.

First off, I have 9 yards, brought two yards home for the winter...now 7 yards...temp (still have the bees sort of separate, so i know which yard those two came from

yards 1-7 continous monitor and treatment of bees. Been my bees for several years now. I like MA2, used Fumigilan, and did not treat for afb in the fall
Yards 8, 9, fall of 2008---NO TREATMENTS, SURVIVED ON THE FEED THEY COLLECTED (not my choice, did not own them then). Out of 120, 40 lived to the spring. I purchased spring of 2009

Spring 2010

In yards 1-7 average death loss 10 - 12%
In yards 8-9, average death loss 75%
yard 7 is in with yard 9, average losses, 25%, however the yard saw a bear attack just before wrap up in the fall and it was cold...bees exposed overnight

yards 1-5 varroa % is 1-2% and the hives are ready to split now!
yard 6 varroa is 4%...over threshold, not really gone through yet, so bee # just a guess. However they are very active
yard 7 not tested
yard 9 18% and bees are weak, tired, and not ready to split. Survival is questionable. Good chance viruses are slightly high and causing stress
Yard 8 had the 80% loss, two remaining hives weaker and varroa at 16%

So the point of this post, is to show that at the 1.5 year mark from not treating in the fall of '08, these so called "survivor stock", crash in emminent. Chances these hives will survive the winter of 2010/11 is not great indeed.
In the summer of '09, even with spring and fall treatments to clean up the hives, the bee production was down, the honey production 25-30% less than the other yards that are on a strict livestock health program.
And now, at this time, even with some kind of mite treatment, and with requeening, the outlook is not great.
These hives from yards 8 and 9, have proven, from a commercial stand point, not hobbiest, in my view, for my farm, costly. The cost in requeening, treatments, loss of honey production for two years, loss of bee production for two years, loss of splits for two years, the 75% average losses for this spring alone, not including the losses for 2009 has shortend the bottom line. More likely into the red. These two yards cost more to keep than the revenue they brought in.

So, now i am off to MA2 the yards, and if they survive the treatment, requeen with young queens, so they "might" build for the winter. What a waste of good bees!

Oh yes, just so there is no misunderstanding from anyone, these queens that are in the hives are Olivarez and Strachen (sp), as well as some Manitoban. All three use a mixture of buckfast, MH and VSH (Manitoba unsure on the VSH) genetics.
These queens are, as well, queens from 2008.
 

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Thanks for the post HS, good info. Hope you can salvage some of them before winter.
 

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It sounds to me the key would be to start with better stock, i.e. purchase bees from breeders who don't treat for varroa.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh yes, just so there is no misunderstanding from anyone, these queens that are in the hives are Olivarez and Strachen (sp), as well as some Manitoban. All three use a mixture of buckfast, MH and VSH (Manitoba unsure on the VSH) genetics.
These queens are, as well, queens from 2008.
It sounds to me the key would be to start with better stock, i.e. purchase bees from breeders who don't treat for varroa.
Just proves a point...how much you know!
 

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you are saying that those bees you bought are raised by apiaries that don't treat for mites?

but that they have collapsed due to mites?

You need a new source of bees.
 

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Just a few questions and points.

I may be confused over what you wrote, I don't think so, so please let me know.

How do you know it was the varroa? I mean, there are thousands of things that can effect a colony and the bees. Not to mention the compoundeding these thousands of possibilities in combination with each other.

You also say you ?recently? (2 years) purchaced the colonies. How do you know something in their history is not causing their problems? I guess that is less likely but still.

How do you know that if these same bees were treated that they would be doing any better?

When I see any kind of report I always wonder why they come to their conclusions. If I take group A and leave them alone (I can't believe I am writing this) and group B and treat. Group A dies and group B lives. But how do I know groub B would no have lived without treatment and group A would have died with treatment. They are individual groups. What effected A to the point of death may not have taken place to B (or if it did may not have effected them as badly).

I know if you do thousands of hives people think the results are better evidence, but not really. It just becomes a more random result. Possibly why so many studies for ..such and such.. to day is overturned next week, and again a month later.

Just a couple of cents.

Mike
 

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This isn't in any way an attack and I thank you for sharing the numbers from a commercial standpoint but I think you may have the terms hygenic and survivor confused.
I've bought quite a few hygenic queens from Oliverez and while some have really held their own they were never advertised to me as treatment free.
I'm just thinking that if we are going to conclude that treatment free bees will not survive then we need to buy real treatment free bees and try it, not hygenics.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just a few questions and points.

I may be confused over what you wrote, I don't think so, so please let me know.

How do you know it was the varroa? I mean, there are thousands of things that can effect a colony and the bees. Not to mention the compoundeding these thousands of possibilities in combination with each other.

You also say you ?recently? (2 years) purchaced the colonies. How do you know something in their history is not causing their problems? I guess that is less likely but still.

How do you know that if these same bees were treated that they would be doing any better?

When I see any kind of report I always wonder why they come to their conclusions. If I take group A and leave them alone (I can't believe I am writing this) and group B and treat. Group A dies and group B lives. But how do I know groub B would no have lived without treatment and group A would have died with treatment. They are individual groups. What effected A to the point of death may not have taken place to B (or if it did may not have effected them as badly).

I know if you do thousands of hives people think the results are better evidence, but not really. It just becomes a more random result. Possibly why so many studies for ..such and such.. to day is overturned next week, and again a month later.

Just a couple of cents.

Mike

How do i know it was mites? Because i monitor these bees. I also know the bees i bought because they were my neighbors and i know his history. I also know that for the most part we treat the exact same way. This neighbor and my husband and i have been best friends for over a decade.
The only difference between his bees and our bees is the no treating in the fall of 2008.
I also know it was mites because the University is doing a study on bees in our province on the virus loads, and i am participating in that on going study.
Yes the bees we bought might have had virus problems, but that was due to the mite over loads

Now as it stand, since the inspector inspected each yard separately, the hives bought are way higher in the mite load, and show signs of sickness associated with mites

Hope that clears it up
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This isn't in any way an attack and I thank you for sharing the numbers from a commercial standpoint but I think you may have the terms hygenic and survivor confused.
I've bought quite a few hygenic queens from Oliverez and while some have really held their own they were never advertised to me as treatment free.
I'm just thinking that if we are going to conclude that treatment free bees will not survive then we need to buy real treatment free bees and try it, not hygenics.
Okay so the fact that the bought bees went from 120 or so colonies to 40 colonies...those 40 are not survivor stock?
Then the 40 went from 40 to 15 does not make them survivor stock?

Just a thought
 

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Sure, it is survivor stock.

But if you bought from B Weaver, for example, and they have not been treating for many, many years, then maybe you are getting the 200th generation of survivor stock!

Big difference!
 

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I have to say when I got into this I was not educated in honey bees at all, on all of you speak about. I figured bees they are natures bounty. They survive on there own buy naturally fighting any thing that may come there way. Now I have been on these sites for countless hours reading while attempting to know more to find I am very worried. Talk of genetics and all the problems this poor insects go through to survive. I do feel it is my responceability, knowing the very little i know to help in any way possible, but never thought it would be so involved. My first year I lost both hives one swarmed got weak and did not survive the winter other just died out during the winter. I guess a warmer climate with no wintering over would bring better results. Seems like this hobby can be a very expensive one. I only hope I get calls for swarms and bee removal so i get the free bees to off set expense.
 

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....
Hope that clears it up
Well I think you may have missed the point I was trying to make.
The bees are individual, one hive will do well where another may fail.
Also just because "mite load" is "high" on these colonies doesn't mean they died because of that. Maybe there was something else that went un-noticed that weakened to the point where their mites did finish them off. But that is not death by mites, it is death by multiple causes.

Just because a study says they will die because of mite or whatever doesn't mean it is so. Like I said - if you have group A and group B. Group A's treatment may have nothing to do with why it survived, just as the lack of treatment may not be the cause of group B's deaths.

Afterall there are people running many hives who survive without treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Mike J, i got your point, but you missed mine.

Yes some other things might have killed the hives. However, there are clinical signs to point in the direction of mites.
Even if something like a virus got the bees, guess what vectored in the viruses...the mites.

I know it was not nosema
I know it was not AFB, or EFB or Chalk brood or the such
I know it was not starvation since there was honey in the hives, and on all frames
I know it was not the winter or the spring because of the cluster size and we had an amazing winter and spring.
I know it was not lack of protein since I feed them pollen patties in the spring and in the fall.
I also know how my bees did where the mite levels were much lower.

That leaves mites, since the mite loads were high. Cluster size on the bees that was left was small, meaning they did not have the strength to go through the winter. The end results I saw point to the mites doing damage to the brood during the months of August and September, since those were my wintering bees.

Mike, did you know that at 4% mites will damage the brood? Damaged brood will not live to their full life span.
Mike, did you know that the % of mites will double in 3-4 weeks? So if the mite levels were at 4% in August, by September they would be at 8%.

Mike, you might not like the answer. You might wonder how I can diagnose the problem. All I can say is, since I have been raising livestock for 15 years, I have learned how to judge the illness, learned the clinical signs of certain illnesses. I have worked along side our vet to learn as much as I can about our livestock health. I have learned a lot about virus thresholds, and that when they get breeched outbreaks occur. I have learned how nutrition plays an intrical part in the health of livestock.
I also get the bees tested regularly at the bee lab. They are tested for Varroa levels, nosema levels, AFB, and Trachea mites. As well, I monitor the mites regularly both drop and wash method. And I watch for visual signs of nosema.
Finally, our bees are in a study on viruses in Manitoba put on by and studied by the University of Manitoba. The study is to see what the quanitive levels are in the bees and how they are reacting to it. The guys and gals studying the viruses have been studying them for several years

And if someone thinks it might be pesticides....I KNOW for a fact that is not the case.

I know what is going on in my hives. They make me money. I have to know or I will lose big time.
Herd and apiary health management are a passion of mine
 

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Yes, I understand your points.

I think basing everything on studies will be very misleading, and will result in many mis-diagnosed deaths. I was simply trying to point this out along with the point that since it is impossible for you to know what really is going on within the hive (I do not mean the overall synopsis) so to say "this" killed them is just perceived and it may or may not be true.

Mike
 

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Then Mike J what do you propose killed my bees?
:) I can guess if you would like? Mites? Mites in combination with another problem? Mites in combination with weakening effects of poisons? Stresses in combination with other problems? It might be easier to write all the possibilities into a program and let it vcombine and mix for me.

Another point might be that as many people know when we are used to taking drugs or such to stay off sicknesses or such that if we do not continue then it hits extremely hard. So is that a possibility? I wouldn't doubt it. Bees or any animal that is consitantly given a drug becomes weakened in that respect and if it is stopped will very likely have a very bad case.

We know (or at least it is admitted) that drugs have the effect of causing an overall weakening of the systems. Doctors will treat a patient with steroids to combat swelling knowing that steroids retard healing. If they choose wrong the the patient suffers and the doctors eventually try something else.

If I get down to the very root of it, I would say it is sin in the world. Sin is what brought about death, but I guess you are meaning a more direct effect?

What happened to the 25% that died because they were treated? I think that would bother me a lot since money went out to treat them and they died. Meaning the money was wasted and will now have to be carried by the surviving colonies. And why did 25% of those untreated survive is 1.5 years untreated kills? Possibly they simply were able to make it coming out of the drugs? Only One knows.

By the way - I am sorry to hear of the loses and I hope the survivors will do better.

Mike
 
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