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adding stratiolaelaps to a new deep floor

 
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nannybee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 21 Jun 2012
Posts: 127
Location: Deeping St. James Lincolnshire UK

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:01 am    Post subject: adding stratiolaelaps to a new deep floor Reply with quote

I'm planning to set up a new tbh with a deep floor for next season (filled with shavings and homemade compost mixed with dry leaves, I thought) I see that Beevet sells stratiolaelaps scimitus. Would it be good to add a colony of these to the deep floor from the start or can I rely on the beasties arriving naturally in time to control varroa this year?
I have a colony at each end of a tbh at present and it is one of these I plan to move in; over last year my mite drop count was very low (only 24 over the whole season from both colonies) so unless things have worsened over winter I hope they will start with a low burden.
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Swing Swang
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Joined: 25 Oct 2009
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Location: UK, Hampshire

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first impression is that as S Scimitus is a soil living organism its natural inclination will be to go down rather than go up, so the best that you can hope for is that the bug will stay in the deep floor and deal with mites that drop onto the floor rather than going up into the hive to search for food - they may even want to escape the hive and literally 'go to ground'. If I was experimenting with S Scimitus then I would be inclined to introduce them from the top of the hive.

There are lots of variables that may make well make this supposition incorrect - for example could the bees go into the litter for a de-varroa-ing 'bath', or even relocate S Scimitus in the manner of ants and aphids.

This is only something that I've just become aware of, and a very quick internet search does give varying results - everything from wonder preditor to no benefit at all.

I would very much like to see a systematic, well referenced, review paper on this organism so that we can all make informed choices, and/or conduct our own well-thought out research.
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
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Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:05 pm    Post subject: Stratiolelaps scimitus Reply with quote

I bought some mites and added them to a couple of hives, but my main strategy will be to make a wood chip heap, which will be left for several weeks to several months to accumulate beasties of several kinds before being used in hive floors.
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lotsobees
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Joined: 25 Feb 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Cleveland OH, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@biobee, are you doing any follow-up testing/mite-counts on those hives?
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WileyHunter
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Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 125
Location: Batesville, IN USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Biobee - would there be any additional advantage to also applying your idea to the top of the hive? Maybe putting a screened tray on top of the bars, and then filling this tray with a few inches of the "aged" chips. Then a solid roof structure on top of this of course.
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
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Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WileyHunter wrote:
Biobee - would there be any additional advantage to also applying your idea to the top of the hive? Maybe putting a screened tray on top of the bars, and then filling this tray with a few inches of the "aged" chips. Then a solid roof structure on top of this of course.


Entirely possible - in fact, it did occur to me that this could be done using my 'barn roof' style top bars, by having a tray - or maybe more than one - atop the truncated pyramid so formed. Trouble is, you would have to remove them for inspections, which could be messy... unless, perhaps - as you say - they had mesh floors, such that mites could pass through.

Worth an experiment, I think!
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WileyHunter
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Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 125
Location: Batesville, IN USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, just thought of a continuation to the questioning...

Is there a particular type go wood shavings that is best? Or any to steer clear of? I was picking up chick food today and saw the bags of litter, and I know there are some woods they say not to use with chicks due to respiratory issues that they can create. Don't want to create a problem while trying to make a healthy hive...
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
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Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, I don't know. I would avoid real cedar, due to its well-known insect repellent properties (Western Red Cedar is actually a Cypress); Yew, because it is toxic to humans; but otherwise, I would go with whatever is locally obtainable and untreated. If you see trees being trimmed or felled, it is an opportunity to fill a bag.

In any case, I would stack it somewhere to 'condition' for a while, given that bees don't seem to like the smell of freshly cut timber.
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nannybee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 21 Jun 2012
Posts: 127
Location: Deeping St. James Lincolnshire UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:02 pm    Post subject: wood shavings Reply with quote

For our chickens I use the sort of wood shavings that is sold for horse or other animal bedding; you can get it from any farm shop in big bales very cheaply. It's dust extracted and clean and, judging by the smell, it's pinewood. I've mixed some with some nicely friable home-made compost and some leaf litter and filled my new deep floor tbh ready for a colony to be moved into when conditions seem right. It's been maturing in the hive for two or three weeks so far. Still tempted to get some beasties from Beevet to start it all off; it'll depend on the cost, I guess!
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have just spoken with the Bee Vet people and they say that they "have agreed with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate that they will NOT supply Stratiolelaps mites to beekeepers until the results of research are in, that can substantiate the claim that they are effective against Varroa."

The earliest research is not due in until October.

One could speculate as to whether they have been 'got at' by certain vested interests, of course...

There is a business opportunity here for someone who can figure out how to breed them in quantity. I tried to keep some over winter in a container in what seemed like the right sort of conditions, but a quick check found only one S.s. a solitary wood louse and a few tiny, white, worm-like critters...


Last edited by biobee on Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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nannybee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 21 Jun 2012
Posts: 127
Location: Deeping St. James Lincolnshire UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How can a naturally occurring mite be a veterinary medicine for heaven's sake? What about all those biocontrol beasties the garden people supply for fruit and veg? We'll just have to hope it moves in by itself then! Anyone know what lures it best?
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had the impression that they had been asked to stop selling them until there was 'evidence to substantiate their claims'. I pointed out that they didn't need to make any claims, but the reply was that they had agreed not to sell them in any case.

Google will reveal a number of sites describing their life cycle, if you fancy having a go at breeding them...
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WileyHunter
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Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 125
Location: Batesville, IN USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would they sell to non-beeks? If so, just place an order and if asked tell them you're putting them into your greenhouse...
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They have taken them off their web site. They still offer Apistan and Amitraz, however...

There are a number of suppliers in the USA, but not as competitively priced as this one was.
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WileyHunter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 125
Location: Batesville, IN USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I had found one earlier today, but they only ship here in the US. Wasn't sure if that was their choice, if it's a logistics issue that they wouldn't survive the trip overseas (or too costly to make a quick trip that they could survive) or if there are regulations prohibiting the shipment. It was like $20 for a half liter bottle, wasn't sure how that compares.
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
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Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I bought mine, they were in sachets with vermiculite, which worked out at around $2 apiece.
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nannybee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 21 Jun 2012
Posts: 127
Location: Deeping St. James Lincolnshire UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Australia and the US seem able to buy them with no problem; one of the reasons for buying them is to control mites on pet tarantulas!
Incidentally, with reference to putting them above the top bars - I found two suggestions. One is to hang a package between the bars for the bees to chew through and release the mites, the other is not to worry because;
'there have been reports of them climbing into foliage at night to feed on mealybugs and other organisms, at the base of plants or low down in crowns or lower leaves'
so I guess they can find their own way up...
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imkeer
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 203
Location: Belgium, Antwerpen, Schilde

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
they "have agreed with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate that they will NOT supply Stratiolelaps mites to beekeepers until the results of research are in, that can substantiate the claim that they are effective against Varroa."
The earliest research is not due in until October.

This smells a bit weird, doesn't it? Even Syngenta has them!
http://www.syngenta.com/global/Bioline/en/products/allproducts/Pages/Hypoline-m.aspx
I wouln't give any money to SINgenta, but the Dutch company Koppert Biological Systems B.V. sells them also and they have a UK subsidiary:
http://www.koppert.com/company/subsidiaries/united-kingdom/
Twisted Evil
luc (BE)
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nannybee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 21 Jun 2012
Posts: 127
Location: Deeping St. James Lincolnshire UK

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have been into Koppert's website. They do indeed sell stratiolaelaps scimitus for use against horticultural pests. Their dealerships are all over England - Cambs, Leicester, Notts, Yorkshire and even Jersey. I've e-mailed for information just out of interest as they make no mention of varroa.
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imkeer
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 203
Location: Belgium, Antwerpen, Schilde

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Belgium we say: "Geen slapende honden wakker maken."
(Don't wake up sleeping dogs...)
Koppert will be able to sell Stratiolaelaps scimitus to anyone if you buy it for "horticultural reasons".
I don't think these mini-mites are programmed to attack trips only, the company doesn't need to advertise them for varroa.
I don't advertise them also, it's still experimental.
Maar je moet het niet aan de grote klok hangen...
(You don't have to hang it on the big church bell...)

just me
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msscha
Guard Bee


Joined: 29 Dec 2013
Posts: 59
Location: Newberry, FL, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know if you've all seen this essay -- a blog post published last December on Honey Bee Suite --http://www.honeybeesuite.com/stratiolaelaps-scimitus-for-varroa-control/. (The writer might very well be on this forum!) She is not confident the idea will work...
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WileyHunter
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Joined: 13 Jan 2014
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Location: Batesville, IN USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem that I see with her hypothesis is shortsightedness... For one, she is making a single application of the Stratiolaelaps and expecting huge results.

The way I think her 'study' should be done, is:
- make the application on top of the hive
- break the breeding cycle, to which she even mentions being a strong downfall of this approach to controlling varroa
- employ a deep bed as is being discussed on this board, which would be an inviting environment for the Strat's to hang out in

If she were to do all of this AND still only see a 'one time effectiveness' then her published findings would have merit. But from what I saw in her publishing, she is basing her conclusion that "it won't work" based on two days of reading.
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J Smith
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Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

msscha wrote:
http://www.honeybeesuite.com/stratiolaelaps-scimitus-for-varroa-control/.


Agreed, kind of denying the cure without applying the prescription.

I think that blog entry refers to a more commercial hive application and apart from the "vermiculite medium containing the mites is usually sprinkled on a sheet of paper on the top bars." there is no mention of the "eco floor" method that has been discussed often here.
Give these guys a place to call "home" within the hive and they have no reason just to do the "travel through" whilst snacking on "burgers", then leave to find wherever home might be, but they will stay to not only enjoy steak dinners when ever they encounter them, but bring future generations to the dinner party.

Any natural, non-chemical prevention/control has to be better than the twice yearly chemical strip treatment we must perform here (NZ) as part of the hive registration enforced Varroa control steps required by law.
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Swing Swang
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Joined: 25 Oct 2009
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Location: UK, Hampshire

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

J Smith wrote:

Any natural, non-chemical prevention/control has to be better than the twice yearly chemical strip treatment we must perform here (NZ) as part of the hive registration enforced Varroa control steps required by law.


It might be or it might not be...
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
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Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

J Smith wrote:


I think that blog entry refers to a more commercial hive application and apart from the "vermiculite medium containing the mites is usually sprinkled on a sheet of paper on the top bars." there is no mention of the "eco floor" method that has been discussed often here.


That's because we are ahead of most beekeepers!

When I introduced the idea of the eco-floor, I had never seen anything like it mentioned anywhere. As with most things we here take for granted, we have to give the rest of the beekeeping world a few years to catch up... Wink
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HowieNZ
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Joined: 18 May 2014
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Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, has any further testing/research been done?
thanks HowieNZ
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Che Guebuddha
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Joined: 31 Jan 2012
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Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In this video made in UK you will see on 3:50 of the video tiny whitish mites walking on comb which resemble Stratiolaelaps mites. The authors have not mentioned them since they were not paying attention to them. We all know that no body is treating these feral hives against Varroa and for that reason these mites could establish them selves. On top of that there is always debris on the bottom of a hollow where these mites can live.
http://cheguebeeapiary.blogspot.dk/2014/09/feral-bees-in-hollow-tree-with-lots-of.html
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imkeer
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Joined: 03 Oct 2011
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Location: Belgium, Antwerpen, Schilde

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the beesource forum (sorry Phil Smile) you can follow the conversation, and recently some preliminary results have been posted...
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?278433-Stratiolaelaps-A-bug-to-Fight-Varroa&p=1069693#post1069693

Luc P. (BE)
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garbeam
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Joined: 14 Jun 2016
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Location: Germany, Landshut

PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WileyHunter wrote:
Biobee - would there be any additional advantage to also applying your idea to the top of the hive? Maybe putting a screened tray on top of the bars, and then filling this tray with a few inches of the "aged" chips. Then a solid roof structure on top of this of course.


I'm not quite so sure. Typically the debris in tree holes is at the bottom and not above the hole.

What is a more interesting question to me is, in which stage tree holes are actually used by honey bees. In my observation this is only the case when a tree is still alive. Hence the hole "climate" or environment is very different to tree holes in dead trees.

When considering the eco floor "filling" such matters should also be taken into account.

Also I have some doubts about putting wood chips on a heap and letting them weather for a couple of months. In my opinion this is not quite what happens in a tree hole, as normally the debris of a tree hole is not exposed to such amounts of excess water.

I guess the best eco floor filling is actually debris from a real tree hole.
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