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Author Topic: Bee diseases caused by modern beekeeping methods?  (Read 5848 times)
Scadsobees
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« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2008, 01:34:30 PM »

Quote
Quote:  All mine in Langstroth hives did survive.  Looking at tree hives I'd say that the Lang hive is much more natural than a top bar hive.

Now your just being silly.

The survival comment was meant to be flip. 

However, I'll stick to the shape of the hive.  I've never heard of a horizontal feral hive in a tree, which is the most natural bee habitat in the northern part of the hemisphere.  Granted further south there are more exposed hives on cliffs and such, but the tree is still the most natural around here since exposed hives don't survive the cold. Vertically oriented. Is that silly?  tongue

Quote
Quote:  I'd say a bigger problem than movable frames is the reusability of comb.  That would cause the more widespread advent of AFB.

I'm glad to see that you got something out my post.
From what I understand from a TBH (I don't have one but have thought about it and read about them) is that the brood nest is on one side and honey on the other.  So honey comb is crushed, but not necessarily the brood comb, which could be used indefinately. (So we are back at the movable frame issue, not the shape)

Most of the problems in the hive aren't from the actual shape of the hive. Possibly from practices that the shape allows (movable frames), but then those practices should be addressed first (replacing old comb).

My thought is that the advent of modern methods has definately caused problems, but the gains that we've gotten from them are far greater.   This applies to everything from the iron plow to pesticides to the tractor.

It is great to experiment and to try stuff out based on ideas...but to call the Langstroth hive a "travesty"?  That is like calling subsistence farming peasants of the dark ages "genious farmers" (no pesticides, no tractors, no oil used, natural fertilizers, organic veggies, dead at 32years old, sounds like an environmentalist wacko's dream!!! grin).

Rick (just a little of my opinion  rolleyes)
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Rick
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« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2008, 03:49:28 PM »

So if the ability to move the comb and equipment around is a potential way to spread AFB, then how could you do things differently, with the modern equipment, to minimize and/or eliminate the potential for cross-contamination?

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wtiger
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« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2008, 04:44:08 PM »

Rotate old frames out of the hive every few years and harvest the wax and scorch/lye bath/or destroy the frames.  Scorch the inside of old hive bodies before moving them between yards.  There's a guy in the beekeepers association that was experiencing significant losses for several years.  He decided it was his old comb poisoning his bees and got rid of all of it and has been rotating comb not leaving any of it in hives more than 3 years.  He went from 40-60% losses to 10-15% losses from the year he got rid of the old combs and started rotating them out to this day.  He also rarely if ever has to treat his hives since doing this.  Sure you could say it's anecdotal evidence as he had no instrumentation measuring comb disease/insecticide concentrations, but I won't argue with the results.
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Daddys Girl
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« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2008, 05:26:39 PM »

Rotate old frames out of the hive every few years and harvest the wax and scorch/lye bath/or destroy the frames.  Scorch the inside of old hive bodies before moving them between yards.  There's a guy in the beekeepers association that was experiencing significant losses for several years.  He decided it was his old comb poisoning his bees and got rid of all of it and has been rotating comb not leaving any of it in hives more than 3 years.  He went from 40-60% losses to 10-15% losses from the year he got rid of the old combs and started rotating them out to this day.  He also rarely if ever has to treat his hives since doing this.  Sure you could say it's anecdotal evidence as he had no instrumentation measuring comb disease/insecticide concentrations, but I won't argue with the results.

So there's a fair argument here in the fact that our re-use of equipment for what are essentially reasonable economic reasons sets up a situation that is less hygenic for bee health.  This might also suggest that feral bees living in a hollow tree experience the same problems and die off accordingly.  (Anyone have data/experience?)

So if I'm using Pierco frames, what would be the procedure?

Further, what things other than AFB would become problems with old comb, assuming for purposes of argument that wax moths are not an issue?  Pesticides?  Fungus?  What else?
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Doc
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« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2008, 09:46:37 PM »

Doc,

Buckbee drew the line at what he calls the travesty of a hive - the Langstroth, which consists of movable frames and foundation.
Nobody is disputing movable frames, not even Buckbee.

Have you ever seen a Ware hive or a top bar hive?
I believe they have been discussed on this forum.
They both use top bars, not frames, and they do not use foundation, but use starter strips or beads of wax as a starter.
Top bars are movable, but they are not moved around within the hive or to/from another hive.
They are moved for inspection, but are put back in the same order.

Ahh! Okay. I am new to the forum and haven't read all the current topics, much less old posts. Actually, yes, I have seen hives like that. And bee-gums that used top-bars. In Thailand I met a guy who kept Apis cerana, and used those. He was selling beautiful round-edged honey-filled combs, still on the bars, letting buyers pick the comb they wanted like it at a fruit-stand.

Actually, I have done it in my own (perfectly standard ten-frame Langstroth) hives in order to produce comb-honey. Just as you say, by drawing a bead of wax along the center of the top bar of a standard frame and putting it in without bothering to assemble the rest of the frame. Or by viciously breaking the foundation out of an old frame and putting it in empty, actually. I use those plastic frames with the moulded-in plastic foundation for extraction and get jewel-pretty chunks of comb-honey from foundationless frames or top bars, cutting them to fit whatever clear plastic boxes I can get cheaply and setting them on cake-racks to let the honey from the edges drain off before packaging. This looks better and is cheaper and easier to do than using 'Hogg Half-frame' or those rounds that you can get for producing comb honey -- those things are pricy and bees seldom fill them all up properly for a perfect display. Plus my bees love to stick propolis all over the edges of them, and scraping it off is more work than cutting comb.

Interesting, about moving the frames about. I usually don't. I never really thought about why, I guess intuition said it would disorient and annoy the bees. Often they do not build on the outside frames and I will swap them into the two middle spaces, but I've never rearranged the whole thing in one go.

I also, from time to time, scrape old wax off from places where the cells are empty in the brood-chamber, or completely off an extracted frame. I've never scorched, lyed or disinfected, but I've also never had more than three or four hives at a time. I've been keeping bees for maybe fifteen years (if I try to avoid counting the gaps when I didn't have bees), but I am lazy about it and keep it simple -- I let them have as many drones as they care to make, I seldom try to prevent swarms and instead just let the supersedure take place and hope (usually fruitlessly) to catch the swarm. I tried, one year, to destroy drone-cells and unwanted queen-cells, but it seemed to make the bees unhappy and reduce production. I seldom open the hives at all, really, instead pressing my ear to the outside and tapping. If they sound happy to me, I leave them alone. If they sound angry (or object to my presence beside the hive) I look to see what's wrong. I feed them in the spring to build them up before the honey-flow. I have never had disease. I've had varolla mites, lost hives during hard winters, and had the county kill them by spraying for rag-weed, but that's it. I consider my lack of disease to be part good luck and part because I live in a remoteish area.

Daddys Girl -- I have observed two feral colonies. One was mostly exposed, on a peice of overhang on a rock face. It lived about two years from the time I noticed it when it was already as big a wax construction as it was when it died. It was probably a winter kill, though the site is so sheltered that the beautiful curving combs are still there, many years later. The other was inside a family crypt in a cemetary and also lived about two years, but I suspect the groundskeeper killed it. He would not allow me to take it away because he justifiably felt that would be disturbing a body. He was agreeable about leaving it alone (its entrance was a gap between the stone walls and the roof, sending the bee-traffic up well above people's heads so nobody noticed it) but he may have had to poison it for the next funeral. I never asked. It may have succumbed on its own, what with the airless and probably damp conditions.
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taipantoo
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« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2008, 11:27:30 AM »

The survival comment was the part that was silly.
I got it.

Brood comb gets back filled with honey all the time.
This is a dynamic environment not a static one.
We are not back to the indefinite use of comb or the immovability issues.
Brood comb drifts back & forth within the TBH just like a laying queen will move down in a Langstroth.

Quote:  Most of the problems in the hive aren't from the actual shape of the hive. Possibly from practices that the shape allows (movable frames), but then those practices should be addressed first (replacing old comb).

Then can we take the step forward and address these issues instead of arguing about the approach to getting there?

Quote:  It is great to experiment and to try stuff out based on ideas...but to call the Langstroth hive a "travesty"?  That is like calling subsistence farming peasants of the dark ages "genious farmers" (no pesticides, no tractors, no oil used, natural fertilizers, organic veggies, dead at 32years old, sounds like an environmentalist wacko's dream!!! grin).

I will address the latter part of this quote first.  I'm not trying to be picky.  I'd just like to help you understand where I'm coming from.
I do not use pesticides.
I do not own a tractor.
I do have power equipment and I try to use it wisely.
I have a compost pile and I use it.
I love organic veggies, but hate the fact that the FDA has bastardized the term "ORGANIC" into meaninglessness.
"Dead at 32 years old" is probably a figure averaged with a high infant mortality rate.  Many people lived to a ripe old age in the past and maintained a healthier life style right up 'til the end.
I am not an environmental "wacko" and yes, I do see your smilie.  I take great pride in the stewardship of my environment as I do in the stewardship of my bees.  This pendulum has swung so far in both directions that it is very difficult to see common ground in the middle.

The "Travesty" quote is not my quote.  I only repeated it to try and clear up a misconception.  Personally, I don't have a problem with the Langstroth Hive.  I have a problem with how it seems to have locked most people into a single mind set.  That is where, in my humble opinion, the travesty lies.
When I took my beekeeping classes, other than the mention of a skep, no other type of hive was discussed.
No other type of medium, other than a movable frame with foundation for holding comb was discussed.
Moving frames from hive to hive, yard to yard, or just saved in the freezer for future use was literally pushed on us as well as pesticides as a remedy for the problems that we might encounter.

Let me give you a parallel example, unrelated to beekeeping, of being locked into a single mind set.
When a commercial farmer buys his seed corn the instructions say to plant your corn six inches apart in rows three feet apart.
Those instructions are so that (s)he can drive his/her tractor in the fields.
When the back yard gardener goes to the store to buy a packet of corn seed the instructions say to plant your corn six inches apart in rows three feet apart.
Now corn needs to be six inches apart in the rows so as not to compete for space to grow a proper root system.
The rows only need to be six inches apart also.
The only restriction is the bed cannot be any wider than your ability to maintain your corn from the edges of your planting bed.
I choose four feet because that is comfortable for me to work with and at one ear per stock is a potential 81 ears of corn for every four square feet of garden space.

To sum up my point, the instructions on the packet of seeds is a "travesty" - not the fact that the seeds come in packets.

I've spent way too much time on this thread.
If any more posting by me on this subject is going to be done, it will have to take place in a new thread.
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steveouk
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« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2008, 11:16:23 PM »

ok here is my two pennies worth. Although i have not been a bee keeper for very long i have worked in other forms of agriculture. I agree with Michael Bush the problem with bees is not housing but breeding and the use of chemicals in the treating of diseases.

since Victorian times we have been obsessed with creating super animals and pure breeds. The modern day bee is no different to a pedigree dog or a prize cow or pig. The orientation or the hive that houses the bee has nothing to do with why bee's are dying out or having problems. However i think it very interesting that there appears to be a direct correlation between the size of cell's in foundation and the diseases that have come about because off it. I also think it interesting that after 30 years of being band in the USA DDT is still showing up in hives across the USA. I also find it worrying that we have an industry that self regulates and tests its own products that can have a potential devastating effect on the natural world.

I also agree a lanstroth hive is more like a a natural hive in that bee's build upwards in the wild. Bee's also produce Natural or small cell size comb. The Kenyan top bar hive encourages the bees to build small cell comb ! But the Kenyan top bar did not come about because of years and years of experimentation. it came about because resources are sparse in that part of the world. Wood and foundation cost money.

I studied microbiology as a minor at college. Since the dawn of time there has always been a pathogen that feeds on a host. The difference between now and 100 years ago is we didn't have pesticides , herbicides,  or antibiotics.

We have actually created super bugs by natural selection. This would not necessarily have been a problem for bees if it was not for the fact we have also been messing with there genetics to produce bigger bees to carry more pollen and honey or more colorful bees. On top of it all we have also then tried to poison our bee's with pesticides and herbicides weakening any immune system they might have had left. Population growth is also a problem 100 years ago most land was agricultural.  Near to wear i live used to be acres and acres of cotton fields. Now they are shopping malls. Large Car belch fumes into the atmosphere. In the UK the only real natural habitat is now in designated areas ( National Parks) and Railway Lines.

The first thing that has got to stop happening is the use of pesticides but this has also got to coordinated with the desire to return bees back to the same size as there feral counter part. People really need to get off some of there soap boxes and start looking at what bees do in the wild rather than manipulating both chemically and genetically.

We need to go back to basics. This has nothing to do with "my hive is bigger and better than your hive" but more common sense and looking at the natural world as a whole.

Ill keep my langstroth hives than you very much but ill also keep my small cell and starter strips , its working for me !




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