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Author Topic: Where does the whole Mite deal Start??  (Read 1823 times)
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Ken
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« on: February 11, 2008, 06:26:32 PM »

Where do varroa mites come from anyhow.I know they are spread hive to hive,but hypothetically,if most of the ferals were gone(So some say) and you started with a clean package(if that is possible). and all new equipment,where out in nature does a bee pick up this hitchhiker. It must also thrive somewhere besides the honey bee colonies.There must be a prolific population of these out there somewhere. is it necessary for bees to go into an infecterd hive or have bees from a mite ridden colony visit your hive?Or do these creatures lurk in the fauna somewhere waiting for a host?
  I know this sounds like a chicken or egg first thing but I am curious!
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2008, 08:47:33 PM »

I think the drones bring it in. They visit hives freely. But if there is no other bees around for many many miles, then yes, where do they come from. I have no other bees around, maybe ferals. And I have not seen any mites.

I was also wondering about wax moths. Surely they live on something other than bees by products.
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2008, 01:59:42 AM »

I have pondered this thought myself.

Uncontrollable conditions:
1. I think we under estimate the power of migratory beekeeping and how much it spreads disease and genetics.  Who knows who's bees are in the orchard or the back field down the street.
2. While we might like to think we have a handle on all the local populations, there are always new beekeepers trying out beekeeping for the first year that can have an infectious package.

It doesn't take but a few mites to infect an entire colony (or a few spores for disease).

I understand that most any other species of bee/wasp that would serve as host dies over the fall/winter.
That would certainly kill the mite. So that leaves me to think that honeybees are about the only over wintering host. That's not to say that the mites don't jump to a new species in the spring as they emerge.

I suppose this brings about the idea of why New Zealand was killing their bee stocks annually and restocking the next season - breaks the brood cycles and kills the mites in exchange.
They even poisoned the feral stocks to assure a total kill.

Just food for thought....

-Jeff
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2008, 08:39:43 AM »

Where do varroa mites come from anyhow.I know they are spread hive to hive,but hypothetically,if most of the ferals were gone(So some say) and you started with a clean package(if that is possible). and all new equipment,where out in nature does a bee pick up this hitchhiker.
Drones which can fly from hive to hive.
Quote
It must also thrive somewhere besides the honey bee colonies.There must be a prolific population of these out there somewhere. is it necessary for bees to go into an infecterd hive or have bees from a mite ridden colony visit your hive?Or do these creatures lurk in the fauna somewhere waiting for a host?
  I know this sounds like a chicken or egg first thing but I am curious!
The situation is one of optimal enviroment. Usually in even a feral hive you may have a few mites. But not an overwhelming number. Now a hive is good food source for mites. But mites tend to prefer drone cells to worker cells. And workers try to keep the hive relatively clean.

Now with mites the hive is a free buffet and a great place to have baby mites. However they are kept under control by the healthy hive which limits them spreading to much.

When a hive isn't healthy the mites can gain a foothold that will lead to the eventual destruction of the hive.

Now for a little history on the Varroa mite. The V mite seems to have existed in one form or  another with bees for thousands of years. Since the mites are parasitic they need a host. And bees make the host for the Varroa.

Different species of bees seem to attract different species of mites.

I am not sure if the Varroa mites affect other species other than bees. I have heard Bumblebees have issues with Varroa but I haven't seen any documentation on it. And I really haven't looked for any.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2008, 03:53:50 PM »

Once they came to north america I feel they quickly travelled across the entire country. Now we all have them. Not all feral hives died, just most. ( I wont say 90% so Understudy wont have a headache!). Parasites are very adaptable species and I feel all EHB have mites now. I dont believe packages are totally devoid of mites or other diseases. Commercial beeks sure do travel. I buy bees from a NJ beek who has hives in Florida, california and NJ right this minute. By June, all of these hives will be in NJ. Some will even go to Maine for blueberries by august and back to Nj for wintering until january and florida.. I have found all types of critters in his hives. Not from NJ. Lizards, spiders, bull ants, a scorpions etc.  Nature has a way of surviving. Especially parasites and insects. Keep strong healthy unstressed hives and mites wont be as much a problem. They exist to keep us honest as beekeepers Wink
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2008, 10:58:06 PM »

I think drone drifting, worker drifting, and robbing are the major vectors.

This last year I discovered a beeyard only 1/2 mile from my house.  Never would have known about it but I tried beelining some foreigners from a bucket where I did some open feeding this past fall.  I've lived within 1/2 mile of this beeyard for nearly my entire life, it neighbors my families property, and I never knew it was there.  Could be a source of disease pressure for me, I don't know.

Ever see a honeybee gathering pollen?  Sometimes they get to flopping around and rubbing it on themselves so much that I'll bet they could dislodge a mite.  That mite could wait on the flower for another forager to land and hitch a ride to the second foragers home.  I'm just thinking aloud here, I wonder how long a mite could survive waiting for a bee to come along?
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2008, 11:44:04 PM »

I heard that ticks can wait 18 years for a meal to come along
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2008, 11:55:39 PM »

18 years? shocked shocked shocked
   Dang.

Kind of unrelated, I know:
     I used to be a farmer, primarily orchard crops, but I kept a large garden too.  There was a beetle that looked EXACTLY like SHB that would get into bad cantaloupes.  Where they really SHB that thought they found HONEYdew?  Unfortunately, I'm not 100% positive they were they same beetle, it's been a few years and I just don't remember everything.
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