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Who on biobees is treatment-free?
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AnthonyD
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Joined: 14 Aug 2011
Posts: 707
Location: County Kerry Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che Guebuddha wrote:

Maybe my bees (rather Drones) will have more Varroa but they will also have better gene pool with each passing year (those colonies which survive that is).


But that is just pure speculation. And wishful thinking besides. After all its hard to have better genetics with no bees.
Its speculation because we really don't know how bees might adapt to varroa. Its all hypothetically this and hypothetically that.
As one forum member told me recently it may be the mite itself that is the key, it may be the mites genetics. The mite may have to learn to balance its own numbers so as not to kill its host.

Theres no reason why you're bees will automatically get a better gene pool with each passing year.

Only someone with no experience of Queen rearing and what actually happens when Queens mate could say this. This is why you must get actual hands on experience first.


Che Guebuddha wrote:

I must state that Im not chasing a silver bullet!!! Instead I desire to find all the missing puzzles which are leading to thriving bee population!!!


Which you can't do solely by trawling the internet for answers and constantly talking to people about it.

You can't do it without patient observation and years of practical experience so you can actually understand the information you are receiving.

Also there may be no 'missing puzzles' at all. It may well be a silver bullet. We just don't know.

I am however encouraged by samphorgatherer's experience. Perhaps you should PM him for more info.
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madasafish
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All this talk of improving genetics is fine IF - and only if :

You control the queens
you control the drones which mate with the queens.

The queen bit is easy.

The drone bit? Unless you are the only beekeeper within a 5km radius (or more?) or practise drone flooding --- your queen may mate with any drone.

It's not for nothing people use isolation apiaries on islands to breed the characteristics they want.
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Gareth
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Joined: 29 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

madasafish wrote:
All this talk of improving genetics is fine IF - and only if :

You control the queens
you control the drones which mate with the queens.

The queen bit is easy.

The drone bit? Unless you are the only beekeeper within a 5km radius (or more?) or practise drone flooding --- your queen may mate with any drone.

It's not for nothing people use isolation apiaries on islands to breed the characteristics they want.


A recent survey by the Coop and BIBBA found pockets of bees all over the UK that had Apis mellifera mellifera characteristics; even in areas that are swamped by non-AMM bees. If the simple geographical isolation model of mating were true, one would expect the AMM genes in such areas to have been swamped long ago by the genes of imported bees. But this seems not to be the case. I understand that even population geneticists are sometimes forced to question the requirements of strict geographical isolation when to comes to breeding new traits. Behaviour, ie active selection of mates by the animals themselves, may well play a bigger role than has heretofore been acknowledged.
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catchercradle
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As one forum member told me recently it may be the mite itself that is the key, it may be the mites genetics. The mite may have to learn to balance its own numbers so as not to kill its host.


That unfortunately for my ego as a bee keeper makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider that because the mite gets several chances to mutate for each chance a colony of bees gets, it is likely to adapt faster than the bees can.
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Gareth
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

catchercradle wrote:

the mite gets several chances to mutate for each chance a colony of bees gets, it is likely to adapt faster than the bees can.


Most of the time mites mate with their brothers, so are highly inbred. In fact they are viewed as pseudo-clones with little or no genetic variability.

Nevertheless, mites adapt to miticides, becoming resistant, so something is clearly going on.
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AnthonyD
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which of course leads right back to Che's concern, that treating has a detrimental effect on the possible development of a balanced relationship between mite and bee.

Hence why I think, practically speaking, we must wait for feral colonies to show this balance before jumping the gun.

Going treatment free with our own bees will more than likely mean losing all of them and not give us the result we want. The odds are heavily stacked against us.

The only sensible solution is to wait for the ferals to do it. edit to add: If they ever do it /can do it.
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I repeat myself: Try the Soft Bond Test.

Treat only if necessary. It is a win if 30-50 % of all colonies do not need treatment per year.
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madasafish
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AnthonyD wrote:


The only sensible solution is to wait for the ferals to do it. edit to add: If they ever do it /can do it.


I have never seen a feral colony within a 3 mile radius - in 30 years.

Does not mean there are none but...
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catchercradle
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I have never seen a feral colony within a 3 mile radius - in 30 years.


Two years I took one out from between a window and a partition wall. There are three within two miles of me.One has been there two years, presumably in the house owners attic as a swarm from the hive in his garden. Another has been there for three years and I am fairly certain through regular observation that it has not died out and been repopulated by a swarm. The third I am told has been there 11 years but as I only learned of it last year can not say how many times it has been replenished. I know of others in Cambridge but have not seen them.

What this says about the differences between our locations I am not sure except that Cambridge has a large number of people keeping bees so any good homes for feral colonies are likely to be found by found by swarms.
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Gareth
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To add to the discussion about feral bees, in my previous house (we moved this winter) I had two feral colonies within 200 metres of the house. Moreover I collected several swarms last year from feral colonies living in roofs within a few miles of that place - you could see the bees coming and going from the roof as I collected the swarms from the gardens.

I have only moved 5 miles as the bee flies and expect a similar number of ferals where I am now - we have plenty of buildings with gappy roofs (natural stone slates) and old chimney stacks. Our immediate neighbour had a feral colony in her chimney stack just a few years back.

So whether you have ferals around may depend on where you live (I am in rural central southern England). Also, how much time do we spend actually looking for holes high up on walls, under roof edges etc? That is where the feral entrances are in buildings. In addition, if you have a lot of mature trees locally, as I do, many of them will have suitable hollows - again possibly high up in the tree. So there could be quite a population of ferals without anyone even noticing. I'm not saying there are ferals everywhere, but these points can easily be overlooked when the blanket statement is made that there are no feral bees any more.

And Bernhard makes a good point with the idea of soft Bond or something similar. It does not have to be all or nothing.
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AnthonyD
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Location: County Kerry Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

madasafish wrote:


I have never seen a feral colony within a 3 mile radius - in 30 years.

Does not mean there are none but...


Same here, at least in about 10 years.

I've had this discussion on the forum before and I've reached the conclusion that the UK due to its high numbers of beekeepers probably appeared not to have lost its wild population of bees due to swarming from beekeepers.

The thing is, in Ireland, the number of managed colonies was never really high anyway, so when varroa came it was abundantly clear that the ferals did disappear. The only places I know of feral colonies now is where there are large numbers of beeekeepers, or a big commerical beekeeper.

And I suppose the distinction should be made between 'feral' and 'wild' as feral generally refers to animals which have escaped captivity or 'gone wild'. Although honeybees can't really be domesticated in the first place.
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Adam Rose
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gareth wrote:
To add to the discussion about feral bees


Feral or wild bees near me : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8KyhaJvM6M

And my mother in law has a colony in her roof.
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Gareth
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam Rose wrote:

And my mother in law has a colony in her roof.


Cue joke about a mother in law with bees in her bonnet..... Wink
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madasafish
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mother in law has bees on the daisies she is pushing up....
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newwoman
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Joined: 19 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dusko said
Quote:
Same for those who drop neuro poison Front Line on her dogs to repel Ticks yet no one wants to put it on their own skin

The trouble with this statement in the UK is that nearly all vets prescribe a regime of this stuff and know of no alternative other than higher and higher and more frequent usage of the stuff
It takes a lot of internet trawling and money and time to find a usable safe alternative for cats so perhaps it is the same for bees too
The powers that be -Defra, longtime National beekeepers, the BBKA, etc know of no easy alternative to the miticides used and the alternative-dead colonies- is too terrible to think about for most beginner beekeepers that they go with the flow and do as they are instructed by those more knowledgeable than themselves
Pat
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Che Guebuddha
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pat,

I worked in a Pet Shop for a few years and have heard and tested many alternatives. I even used Front Line a few times when i was ignorant enough to do such stupidity.

What I now do is by far the best alternative; Grooming the dog, cat daily and removing the Ticks manualy. I make sure to check my dog as soon as we are back from a walk. Not many ticks find their way into his skin some do. Grooming also means social bonding with your animal, very important!

Ticks became problem in the last 10 years here, not before that. We have disturbed the natural balance of the Soil Food Web hence pests.

Maybe we should manually remove Varroa from our bees. Grooming session kind of Wink social bonding Laughing

Quote:
most beginner beekeepers that they go with the flow and do as they are instructed by those more knowledgeable


"Those more knowledgeable" is a highly questionable title Wink Yes, most people go with the flow of the world, it is highly difficult to swim upstream ... but I know of one dude which did it some ... 2500 years ago Wink

Kind regards Che
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newwoman
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

che-as I said a usable alternative to frontline -I have seven cats , three of whom dislike intensely being fussed/groomed/stroked in any shape of form and so another alternative to Frontline had to be found -this took time, energy and money
This is what I was trying to point out-finding an alternative to miticides takes time, energy and resources which for new beekeepers especially, may not be a possibility
Pat
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Che Guebuddha
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pat I bought homeless cats (2 of them) and they hate grooming BUT my wife found out that they are totally calm when asleep Smile this is the time we cut their claws and check for mites. There is also the time when they jump into my lap, which makes it easy for me to inspect their body with fingers. Long nails are helpful here when pulling a Ticks our of cat's fur Smile

I understand Pat what you mean Smile but I was never flowing with the flow and always rebeled against the conservative. I wish to see more people willing to try to swim upstream.

Our culture is brainwashed into following a system organised by someone in a suit and tie we never even saw. And we live in hope this person will fix our problem. That person enslaved us with money by giving it to us, so we think we are independent and free yet this is far from freedom.

The freedom is sticking a seed with your own fingers into a Healthy Soil and watch the plant grow and harvest it when its ripe Smile that is freedom, hidden in Self-Reliance Smile and preservation of the Soil Food Web.

Of course balance between Organisation and Self-reliance is needed. Yin-Yang! Have too much of any and the unbalance is created.

Today we have ONLY Organization! Organised by the kowledgeable ones Wink
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Gareth
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

newwoman wrote:

The powers that be -Defra, longtime National beekeepers, the BBKA, etc know of no easy alternative to the miticides used and the alternative-dead colonies- is too terrible to think about for most beginner beekeepers that they go with the flow and do as they are instructed by those more knowledgeable than themselves
Pat


I know some non-treatment beekeepers who say that treatment free is, in fact, easy: start with a swarm, they will say, and all will be well -no lost colonies. I know other non-treatment beekeepers who insist that, even if you start with a swarm, you will lose hives but accept that this is part of 'natural'. Creatures die, they do not live forever and we should not strive to keep them alive against all odds (despite what the purveyors of potions tell us). However, if you only have a couple of colonies the idea of losing them can be tough, more so if you have paid a lot of money for them rather than having obtained swarms for little or nothing. So for them the debate can shift to what to treat with, how and when.

I gave a talk about natural methods of varroa control to a local BKA and included 'minimal' treatment based on varroa drop counts, with treatment only when absolutely needed. The response from one knowledgeable and well meaning beekeeper was 'I have a busy life. I need something I can just do when it is convenient, I don't have time for counting mites.' She was looking for the silver bullet. I tried to point out that there isn't one. That having bees means entering a relationship with another creature that takes time and commitment. Not sure I succeeded.

Quote:
Quote:
Same for those who drop neuro poison Front Line on her dogs to repel Ticks yet no one wants to put it on their own skin

The trouble with this statement in the UK is that nearly all vets prescribe a regime of this stuff and know of no alternative other than higher and higher and more frequent usage of the stuff
It takes a lot of internet trawling and money and time to find a usable safe alternative for cats


The treatment of dogs (not cats) was discussed on the forum, here. Don't do this for cats, I understand it is not safe.
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newwoman
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for that Gareth but as you say I understand that tea tree is not good for cats
Pat
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Grzegorz.Przezdziecki
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Che,

I'm planing too not the treatment my bees.
I ordered two nuck for my TBH. Orginal Central European Bees "Kampinoska" line it is common name Black Bees
From this institute http://www.shiuz.pl/beequeens,84,l2.html


They should be more resistant.

Best Regards
GP
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Che Guebuddha
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grzegorz keep us updated on your treatment free progress. Good man for trying it. I too would love to keep the dark bee (Nordic Bee) but south of sweden and Denmark is overrun with Buckfast. The dark bees is much better adapted to this cold climate.
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AnthonyD
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grzegorz.Przezdziecki wrote:

They should be more resistant.


Why?
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Grzegorz.Przezdziecki
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AnthonyD wrote:
Grzegorz.Przezdziecki wrote:

They should be more resistant.


Why?


Because this is the natural environment for the bees. They are accustomed to live in it, in contrast to the example of italian bees or other "imported"

In the sam way, why polar bear more resistant living in north than for example grizzly.

I think better health >> better varroa resistant.

Best Regards
GP
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AnthonyD
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grzegorz.Przezdziecki wrote:

Because this is the natural environment for the bees.


If this was the case then any locally adapted bees would be more resistant to varroa.

They are not.
It isn't even a matter of resistance, as if varroa was a bacterial or fungal agent, its not, its a mite.

Our locally adapted dark honeybee (we call them galtee) is no more immune to the effects of varroa than any other strain.

Grzegorz.Przezdziecki wrote:

They are accustomed to live in it, in contrast to the example of italian bees or other "imported"


There is no contrast, both strains die from varroa. Where is the contrast?

Grzegorz.Przezdziecki wrote:

In the sam way, why polar bear more resistant living in north than for example grizzly.


Its not the same way at all, a polar bear is more suited to surviving cold temperatures than its cousins. We are not talking about the honeybee's tolerance of temperatures or other environmental factors, we are speaking of its relationship to a parasitic mite.

Grzegorz.Przezdziecki wrote:

I think better health >> better varroa resistant.


But why? There is no logical connection at all. As was said above, we don't even know if its a matter of genetics or not, or if its a matter of the genetics of the honeybee over the genetics of the mite, or vice versa or if its both. We simply don't know.

Locally adapted honeybees probably have the best chance as they will actually survive longer to do the actual adaption process, but they won't automatically be more resistant.

The nucs you are buying are not 'varroa-resistant bees' (as such a strain may not even exist) but are simply honeybees of a particular variety.
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Grzegorz.Przezdziecki
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AnthonyD wrote:


The nucs you are buying are not 'varroa-resistant bees' (as such a strain may not even exist) but are simply honeybees of a particular variety.



I know they are not 'varroa-resistant bees' but I know where is about 8 degrees they are flying and bring pollen a for example Buckfast are sitting in hive and eating honey, pollen and lose time.

That is difference between them. More food more health and more chance to survive wihtout help.

That is my point of view.

Best Regards.
GP
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andy pearce
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anthony, you also forget that Black Bees stop producing brood in the winter and therefore there is an interruption in the varroa breeding cycle as well... so the only varroa should be on the bees. This may be highly significant in the future bee/varroa balance.

Oscar Perone always cites the importance of colony health to combat disease and parasites but has other strategies to help this along such as designing his hives to achieve a higher temperature in the brood nest and using regressed bees (either as caught ferals or allowing them to regress naturally on own comb over time). An additional tool in the box may come from the small cell bee keepers, Stephan from the Canaries (also keeping AMM) Luzby, Bush etc, claiming hygenic behaviour starts at cell size 4.9mmm and below. So it would seem to be a good idea to use bees fit for your climatic area who respond to the seasons (unlike A m ligustica in the UK who may actually be partly responsible for feral die outs by not being fit for long term survival but spreading their genes about to the local stock) as they have an advantage over bees from other climatic zones.... that may not be enough in itself but it is certainly, in my opinion a step in the right direction.

Who knows whether any of these strategies will work unless they are tried. What I see from this thread is people considering their options, trying this and that, looking at what other bee keepers are up to and trying to work out positive solutions to fit their circumstances. It is an intelligent, problem solving response to consider these things and have a go. That is what this forum is all about, Natural Beekeeping (however you want to define it and I am not going down that road) which is inevitably going to stimulate innovative behaviour and thinking.

The fact is varroa does kill of Western Honey bee colonies, but there is enough empirical evidence out there to suggest that this in not always the case. I repeat my view that getting bees that are native to your area is the best way to proceed, as the very first thing to do, whatever else you may try.

It may well be that part of the problem in the USA is the availability of lots of different strains of bee being taken to places they struggle to survive in (in addition to pesticides and the rest). I see people always talking about keeping locally adapted bees, trying to get a swarm or the local ferals as these bees over time will express the genes they need to survive on a continent they are not native to, and given time will evolve into naturalised strains.

Grzegorz, I think getting native bees is great.

A
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

andy pearce wrote:
...that Black Bees stop producing brood in the winter and therefore there is an interruption in the varroa breeding cycle as well...


Dark bees also stop laying eggs in bad weather during the saeson.

But...I don't think of this being an advantage! The opposite.

Varroa accelerates reproducing when the bees shrink the broodnest!

Usually there are 50 % of the mites phoretic, meaning they ride adult bees outside the cells, and 50 % are in the cells. As soon as the broodnest shrinks, more than 70 % of the mites can be found in brood cells. They simply sense that there will be a time with little brood available and thus run for the remaining brood. They strongly invade the brood, damaging it.

This is why swarming does not reduce mite population and thus damage to the brood. But increases population and damage.

Same with brood reduction in bad weather and winter.

So actually dark bees do have a disadvantage here.

Also it has been found in several studies, that a foreign bee colony adapts pretty quick to local conditions. As far as I remember right, within a season or two. So at least after two years any bee strain fully adapts to local conditions showing the same behaviour pattern.

The above facts don't change my support concerning dark bees, but one shouldn't create false hopes here.

Bernhard
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Che Guebuddha
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regressed bees (small size cell) on 4.9mm foundation or natural comb;

Pre and Post Cupping Times and Varroa by Michael Bush


Quote:
Pre and Post Capping Times and Varroa

8 hours shorter capping time halves the number of Varroa infesting a brood cell.
8 hours shorter post capping time halves the number of offspring of a Varroa in the brood cell.

_________________________________________


Accepted days for capping and Post Capping.(based on observing bees on 5.4 mm comb)
Capped 9 days after egg layed
Emerges 21 days after egg layed

_________________________________________


Huber's Observations on Capping and Emergence on Natural Comb.

Keep in mind that on the 1st day no time has elapsed and on the 20th 19 days have elapsed. If you have doubts about this add up the elapsed time he refers to. It adds up to 18 ½ days.

"The worm of workers passes three days in the egg, five in the vermicular state, and then the bees close up its cell with a wax covering. The worm now begins spinning its cocoon, in which operation thirty-six hours are consumed. In three days, it changes to a nymph, and passes six days in this form. It is only on the twentieth day of its existence, counting from the moment the egg is laid, that it attains the fly state."

François Huber 4 September 1791.

_________________________________________


My Observations on Capping and Emergence on 4.95mm Comb.

I've observed on commercial Carniolan bees and commercial Italian bees a 24 hour shorter pre capping and 24 hour shorter post capping time on 4.95 mm cells in an observation hive.

My observations on 4.95 mm cell size
Capped 8 days after layed
Emerged 19 days after layed

_________________________________________


Why would I want natural sized cells?

Less Varroa Because:

Capping times shorter by 24 hours
Resulting in less Varroa in the cell when it's capped
Postcapping times shorter by 24 hours
Resulting in less varroa reaching maturity and mating by emergence
More chewing out of Varroa

_________________________________________


How to get natural sized cells

Top Bar Hives...


It seems small natural cell size bees have better chance to lower the Varroa numbers.

From beesource;
Quote:
A female Varroa lives during summer between 2 and 3 month and during winter ease 6 to 8 month on bees.


Varroa can be further lessened if bees are not managed for honey production and swarm prevention. Bees backfill the brood nest during the nectar flow with honey so Queen has no space to lay eggs. This breaks the brood cycle!

I have a feeling that human greed is the major culprit in the life of bees. Sort out this ignorant greed and the issue might disapear (meditation comes to mind).

Initial Varroa loss is expected because bees never experienced it before in newly Varroa invaded areas. Many bees die. Those which live develope resistant genes. Feral bees in some parts of the world exhibit resistance. This might be the combination of small natural cell (pre/post cupping time) and adapted genes.
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zaunreiter
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Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che, read my posting above. Brood reduction is not (!) an advantage.

Concerning small cells, try it yourself and keep us updated.

If you think greed is a problem, I disagree. I tried hard with no intervention for 8 years. Try yourself and see yourself, that greed has nothing to do with the bees' problems.

What's wrong with bee left untouched that can't store sufficient honey for wintering? That collapse all the time?

It is not just varroa that is the problem. So any varroa treatments, including small cells, won't help.

From what I experienced it is a problem not of the bees, but of life and nature. So the bees indicate a higher level problem.
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