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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been reading everything I can, getting ready for my first hive. I have a nuc on order from a 'mite tolerant' supplier. However, nowhere have I seen a good discussion on what the term really means.

Does it mean that the bees somehow get rid of the mites? Or does it mean that there are still mites, possibly many, but that they do not bother the bees? Or does it mean something else entirely? Is it just marketing? Seems to me an important thing to know when one is surveying for the number of mites in the hive.

I would like to be treatment free from the getgo, but am concerned with the discussion of how difficult it is, particularly for a newbee with no mentor (I have tried, but no success yet).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
DarJones

Great referral, that is just what I was looking for. Wonder why it did not come up on the search?
 

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If they were resistant they would be super bees and mites wouldn't go anywhere near them, tolerant bees have the ability to survive without the need of treatment and no vectors associated with them, tall order for any queen breeder to gain genetic material to clam this
 

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EDIT - Posted before I saw your one Redwood which was a good answer
Not to me. Although the words are often used interchangeably, correct usage would be mite tolerant bees do not eliminate the mites from their hives and may have quite a lot of mites but are able to tolerate them. Resistant in it's true sense would mean they resist the mites and eliminate them from the hive. That's how I would see it in terms of correct use of the English language.

Out in the realities of the field and in beehives there are probably many shades in between.
 

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If the bees are coming from where I'd guess (BeeWeaver?) then they have been treatment free for quite some time and you could expect to do the same. Nonetheless, you should have a monitoring method. There are no guarantees and individual queens / hives differ and change with time.

Tolerant vs resistant? Ehh, I don't know. I had a water resistant watch once, water went near it, water went in it, it was not that "super" and ultimately it was not tolerant of that event. In this instance, tolerant would have been better.
 

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Nobody ever uses the term mite proof, but wouldn't that be the same as mite resistant in its truest sense, or would there be some difference in definition, if of course there was such a thing as mite proof?
 

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If they were resistant they would be super bees and mites wouldn't go anywhere near them, tolerant bees have the ability to survive without the need of treatment and no vectors associated with them, tall order for any queen breeder to gain genetic material to clam this
VSH behavior in bees makes the bees mite resistant: resistance is defined in part as a host that is able to reduce the level of pathogen infestation whereas tolerance is defined as a host that exhibits less damage from the pathogen then the normal population.

Bees with high VSH expression are resistant to mites because they not only exhibit less damage from mite loads, they reduce the level of mite infestations through reproductive inhibition.

Adam Finkelstein
www.vpqueenbees.com
 

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adamf said:
Bees with high VSH expression are resistant to mites....they reduce the level of mite infestations through reproductive inhibition.

In plain English for me Adam, what does that mean?
VSH bees use uncapping and removal behaviors to disrupt mite reproduction. However, the VSH bees also inhibit reproduction. We're not sure what's going on, but one of the best ways to select for high VSH expression is to assay colonies and breed from the ones with the highest non-reproductive mite counts.

Here's a good resource. See Infertility section:
http://www.extension.org/pages/30984/selecting-for-varroa-sensitive-hygiene#.UuuWLdfWQW0


Plain English: select from the colonies that have the most non-reproductive female mites for mite resistance. Non-reproductive mites are usually alone in the cell, without a family.

Adam
www.vpqueenbees.com
 

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Here is a link to a good explanation of hygenic and mite reproduction suppressing bees. Another coping mechanism that can be selected for is allogrooming behavior; really vigorous grooming of each other and chomping or knocking mites off. I noticed it last year and thought it was fighting. Allogrooming is worth doing a search on.

http://www.ars.usda.gov/services/docs.htm?docid=2744&page=16

If these behaviours can be combined in a line of bees it gives them enough of an edge on the mites that it can really cut down on required treatment.

It has been suggested that some of these traits are recessive rather than dominant so it may take some effort to keep the genetics going if you have a lot of lesser resistant bees mixing with yours.
 

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What is the correct term for bees that reduce mites by grooming? I think grooming is to gentle a word. From what I have heard Russian bees remove mites by biting at them. Is this a trait that is prevalent in populations of bees other than russians?
The reason I am asking is that I would like to think in the north in the long, cold, broodless period (AKA winter) this would be of major help. I like to think of the little buggers being chewed on.
 

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I guess as I was thinking about it Crofter was mentioning it. "Allogrooming" - although that still sounds like something you would get in a salon. "We offer Allogrooming. Would you like some product?"
 

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Plain English: select from the colonies that have the most non-reproductive female mites for mite resistance. Non-reproductive mites are usually alone in the cell, without a family.
Duh, well if a female is truly alone in a cell she is not going to have a family. That's what I tell my daughter anyway.:D
 
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