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Varroa mesh wire gauge relevance

 
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wuertele
House Bee


Joined: 29 Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Location: Menlo Park, CA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:02 am    Post subject: Varroa mesh wire gauge relevance Reply with quote

The goal of mesh floors is to pass Varroa but not bees. Therefore we need a hole size bigger than a mite and smaller than a bee.

For the sake of argument, let's hypothesize that a 3mm x 3mm square opening is the biggest opening we can tolerate. What then would be the optimum wire gauge?

My local supplier of hardware cloth lists the following combinations, all with 3mm x 3mm square openings:

34 gauge (.0063" dia) => 8 mesh (eight openings per linear inch)
27 gauge (.0142" dia) => 7.5 mesh
22 gauge (.0253" dia) => 7 mesh
19 gauge (.0359" dia) => 6.5 mesh
17 gauge (.0453" dia) => 6 mesh
...
7 gauge (.1443" dia) => 3.75 mesh

Under my mesh floor, I will have a closed wooden space with removable panel, so I do not need the mesh to be strong enough to keep out large pests.

Does the diameter of the wire affect the ability of bees to walk on it, the ability of mites to catch themselves on it, or the propensity of bees to propolize it?

Seems to me that hole size being equal, a skinnier wire would be harder for mites to catch, and more difficult for bees to propolize. But it seems that it might be harder for the bees to walk on.

I'm I overthinking this? The answer is yes. But this is my hobby, and obsessing over details is how I enjoy my hobby!
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Gareth
Wise Bee


Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 3060
Location: UK, England, Cotswolds

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:20 am    Post subject: Re: Varroa mesh wire gauge relevance Reply with quote

wuertele wrote:

I'm I overthinking this? The answer is yes. But this is my hobby, and obsessing over details is how I enjoy my hobby!


Welcome.

If you like thinking things through, there is a simple thought experiment that one can try. Imagine a varroa 'slipping' off a bee. The bee is in a seam of bees between the combs. For all but the lowermost bees, the thing that the varroa lands on will be another bee. Which suggests that the only varroa that get to the mesh are those that 'slip' off bees right at the bottom of the brood nest.

I say 'slip' in quotes because varroa do not accidentally loose their grip. They are remarkably difficult to dislodge. If you look at the varroa on the floor with a high power lens or a microscope, they are frequently damaged. I suspect even the ones that look OK are not viable.

I gave up all mesh in my hives when I went treatment-free.
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1123
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Varroa mesh wire gauge relevance Reply with quote

Gareth wrote:

I gave up all mesh in my hives when I went treatment-free.

Gareth - is that with a removable inspection tray, open bottom or solid floor?

John
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wuertele
House Bee


Joined: 29 Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Location: Menlo Park, CA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Varroa mesh wire gauge relevance Reply with quote

Gareth wrote:
The bee is in a seam of bees between the combs. For all but the lowermost bees, the thing that the varroa lands on will be another bee. Which suggests that the only varroa that get to the mesh are those that 'slip' off bees right at the bottom of the brood nest.
I have always been surprised that more people don't bring up this point. it makes sense to me. But I want to leave myself the option to treat. I understand that treatment defeats natural selection, but I have already gone a long way down that road just by building a box, and I like the simplicity of the sugar treatment.

I guess that sugared mites probably can't grab hold of wire no matter the size. But does wire size affect bees ability to use it to walk on or whatever they do on the floor?
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biobee
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bees spend very little time on the floor, whatever it is made from. They don't need horizontal surfaces to walk comfortably, as we do.

To understand bees, you must learn to think like a bee.

Smile
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ronald_stuffleb
New Bee


Joined: 13 Feb 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Missoula, Montana (zone 4)

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:38 pm    Post subject: A published paper that may be of some help to you Reply with quote

Google
Experimentation of an Anti-Varroa Screened Bottom Board in the Context of Developing an Integrated Pest Management Strategy for Varroa Infested Honeybees in the Province of Quebec
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Gareth
Wise Bee


Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 3060
Location: UK, England, Cotswolds

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Varroa mesh wire gauge relevance Reply with quote

trekmate wrote:
Gareth wrote:

I gave up all mesh in my hives when I went treatment-free.

Gareth - is that with a removable inspection tray, open bottom or solid floor?

John


Solid floor.
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wuertele
House Bee


Joined: 29 Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Location: Menlo Park, CA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:51 pm    Post subject: Re: A published paper that may be of some help to you Reply with quote

ronald_stuffleb wrote:
Google Experimentation of an Anti-Varroa Screened Bottom Board in the Context of Developing an Integrated Pest Management Strategy for Varroa Infested Honeybees in the Province of Quebec

Just did this, and read the paper that was the first link. They did not vary wire diameter, so I don't believe the paper addresses the question in my original post. There seems to have a typo in the paper, it says
Chapleau wrote:
.32 mm (1/8") screen mesh
which probably should read "3.2mm", but in any case this does not specify either the hole size or the wire size.

I also read several of the links that refer to the paper, including the biobees thread. There was no mention of wire diameter anywhere.
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biobee
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:19 am    Post subject: Re: A published paper that may be of some help to you Reply with quote

wuertele wrote:


I also read several of the links that refer to the paper, including the biobees thread. There was no mention of wire diameter anywhere.


That's because what matters is the space between the wires, rather than the wires themselves.
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wuertele
House Bee


Joined: 29 Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Location: Menlo Park, CA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:26 am    Post subject: Re: A published paper that may be of some help to you Reply with quote

biobee wrote:
wuertele wrote:


I also read several of the links that refer to the paper, including the biobees thread. There was no mention of wire diameter anywhere.


That's because what matters is the space between the wires, rather than the wires themselves.


Perhaps. I can certainly imagine scenarios where the gage of wire makes a difference. For example, if the holes were 3mm wide and the wire was 30mm in diameter (i.e. the wire was ten times the diameter of the hole), I would be surprised if the gage of the wire were not significant.

But I have my answer, and it is "nobody knows". Maybe someday I'll be able to do an experiment. Meanwhile I think I'll just go with the thinnest gage I can find.
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