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Author Topic: Varroa mites on Field Bees?  (Read 1173 times)
Jessaboo
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« on: January 23, 2009, 06:23:45 PM »

I have a "new" hive (first winter - two ten-frame deeps started in April with a queenless nuc) and over the course of the summer etc. looked for mites during inspection and never saw. I know there must be some as there is the occasional deformed wing bee, although I am hoping the population is fairly low due to a period of brood absence while waiting for a new queen to be "built" and it being winter and all. I did do powdered sugar treatments in the fall.

Today I had flyers in droves because it was so warm and spent some time inspecting the flyers and the dead bees being removed. I saw no mites but it occurs to me I might be looking for something that doesn't really exist - do varroa mites stay on field bees and dead bees or would they make a point to stay INSIDE the hive? I figure since most of the mite's activity is in brood cells, they really may not leave the hive except accidentally?

I am not giving credit to mites for actually knowing when a bee is ready to fly....

- Jess

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annette
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2009, 11:09:02 PM »

Interesting question. Anyone know??
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DaveKow
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 07:22:09 AM »

I don't know if this will answer your question, but Friday I went to put sugar on the top of the frames.  I didn't use any smoke and had bees all over my bee suit and gloves.  While looking to make sure I got all the bees off, I found a mite crawling on my hand. 

Right now, with no brood, I don't think they have a choice but to stay on adult bees.  I, too, looked for mites all summer and thought that I had the only hive in America that didn't have mites.  Until I slid the white board under the hive and discovered how wrong I was.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2009, 05:43:26 PM »

Mites usually hang out in the brood nest or the cluster.  Finding Varroa on bees is tricky at best.  You have to be pretty practiced at it to find them.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2009, 08:02:17 PM »

Of course they are on Field bees. Not many. but they are there.

If you placed a colony with no mites into a yard with a hive with normal mite loads, the mite free hive would have them shortly afterwards. Some may say that it was solely due to the nurse bees being unfamiliar with hive orientation after a cleansing flight, and going into the wrong hive.

But if you take a hive in the same situation above, and actually locate it 50 feet away, so no drift would be an issue, the same would happen.

Mites have been known to transfer between bees on flowers.
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2009, 10:09:56 AM »

personally I always figured if one hive was dieing from mites the another hive robbed it out the just got rides from the robbers to the new hive.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2009, 10:29:16 AM »

personally I always figured if one hive was dieing from mites the another hive robbed it out the just got rides from the robbers to the new hive.

That's one way for sure.
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Cindi
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 09:11:12 PM »

Upon performing a sticky board test one time, I found an alive mite on the board.  I wanted to examine it really closely and so I put it on a white piece of paper and watched it.  I was shocked, beyond shocked at how fast this mite could run, no wonder they can hitch a ride on a bee, they can travel really quickly.  Beautiful day in this great life.  Cindi
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2009, 10:27:13 PM »

My state bee inspector says the number one way varroa travel from hive to hive is on drones. The drones can and do fly around and go into any hive they find when hungry. The hive will accept any drone, feed it, and allow it to go on it's way. Thus carrying mites from one to the other.
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2009, 12:27:26 AM »

I found mites on a dying bee that was on the ground in front of one of my hives. In fact there were 3 mites on one bee. I also had some deformed wing cases.  These are carniolan bees.  Seem to be doing fine now.  Building up, lots of egg, uncapped and capped brood. So, yes it is possible to find mites on bees outside of the hive. 
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