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Author Topic: SHB in Wisconsin  (Read 821 times)
bee-nuts
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« on: July 23, 2009, 03:26:45 AM »

I was unaware that SHB was in Wisconsin.  I heard they can not survive the winters here.  I am in Chippewa County, Wisconsin.  I heard they are in this area from beekeepers that come up from the south.  Im thinking that it should not be a problem for me unless I am located right next to a migrating beekeeper (which one yard is, about a mile from a semi load of bees that go to Flordia).  If for some reason I was to find them, as long as they do not winter in a hive they would be gone the following year correct?  Im just curious and wondering if I need to worry much about them?  Have any of you beeks in my area found any?

Also, could any of you give me advise on what treatments to do if any this fall on my hives.  Varroa and Nosema are what most treat for is this correct?  I have read about going treatment free but is this really a good idea, especially with nosema.  Can any hive survive nosema without antibiotics.  If I have a low mite count is it better to leave the bees alone and monitor the levels again in spring as to not over treat and develop resistant mites?  Yes I know I can search the net and find answers but im looking for your opinions.  I read a post the other day and someone said this is there beekeepers association.  Well, I guess it is mine too now because I never have time to go to my local area meetings. 

Thank You for any info and advise.

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Thomas Jefferson
luvin honey
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2009, 10:31:27 AM »

Well, since you actually asked for opinions Cheesy

I'm going with topbars to hopefully avoid treatments. The bees build the wax they can handle, and this is supposed to lessen issues with pests that get into the wax when a lot of it is left unattended.

Regarding mites, I'm hoping my bees regress in size while building their own comb. I forget for the moment how, but that is supposed to mess up the mite cycle. Also, on foundationless, the bees tend to build more drone comb, which is where the mites tend to lay. It's a good place for me to scrape and look for the mites and a place for the bees to clean out infestations (not a single mite so far that I have seen).

I'm also avoiding any "chemical" treatments. I'm hoping that with a lot of diverse habitat, natural comb and a lot of wild, untreated plants to forage on, my bees will be strong enough to resist disease. I know this is very "pie in the sky," but for now they are thriving. If they develop diseases, then I will have to figure out what to do. My life experience has shown me that preventive treatment for diseases that have not even shown up yet leads to its own set of problems...

As for small hive beetles, I had read somewhere that they are in WI but not as big an issue since winter tends to knock them back a bit. Again, in topbar hives the bees only build what they need, so it leaves fewer places for the beetles to hide.

Actually, these methods could just as easily be applied to a Langstroth hive--just going foundationless. I guess I will need a couple years to let you know how they've worked for me, but they seem to have worked quite well for Michael Bush in Nebraska and I'm thinking his climate is not dramatically different from ours...

Good luck!
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
bee-nuts
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2009, 03:54:30 PM »

Hey luvin honey,

Good to hear your bees are doing well.  I would like to go without treating as well and that was my original mindset to begin with.  That said, I am not willing to risk everything I got on a prayer.  Me and a budy had a couple hives and both had bees shivering in front of hives and never made winter.  Im sure now looking back it was nosema.  My budy got two more last year and one made winter.  It is a thriving hive this year.  No treatments were givin to any of these and they had plenty of stores going into winter.  I would like to try treatment free but not untill I have ample bees in all three of my yards.  At that point I will consider going treatment free in one yard to build up resistent stock.  I thought about top bar hives and others but have decided against it because Im actually pondering going for the gold and atempting to make aliving from the bees.  This is my "pie in the sky" aproach.  If things turn out I figure I can have enough hives 3 or 4 years.  If I am going to achive this I can not risk 50 or 80% loses. 

The regressed bee you mentioned is not imune to mites, only slowes the growth of the population of the mites due to slightly shorter time befor cell is caped giving the mite less time to reproduce.  There are definatly bees that can suvive the mite by chewing on them and killing them, removing infested larva and other traits.  If you have russians you are a step ahead in the game.

If your bees get the new nosema, there goners without antibiotics.  In my case i dont want to over treat.  I saw abeekeeper who left mite strips in all summer and boldly said "I just leave em in all summer".  People like this we all can thank for resitant mites.  If I only treat when needed I hope to help mt bees untill I can afford to take the losses in one yard and breed survivor stock. 

The people I got my bees from take good care of there bees, have had no CCD, have had nosema, mites and you name it.  They still only suffer 10 to 20 % loses.  I will follow what they do and hope to have the same.  unlike them however, I can pay more atention to each hive and determine if they have high mite loads and what not.  If they have a very low mite load, I dont want to treat.  I want to be able to nock the mites dead with the treatments when needed.  This is where im looking for opinions ans others results.  when thry say when.

Hope all goes well for you.  Since you are so close If you would like you can visit me and my bees some time.  I have gear for two and only would ask that you wear mine as to not spread any disease.  Weekends or between noon and 3pm are when im available.  If you would like to check out my spread and nectar souces your welcome too.  Let me know, you can learn from some of my mistakes,  I have made a few.
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The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory

Thomas Jefferson
luvin honey
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2009, 06:07:20 PM »

Hi bee-nuts--Thanks for the response! In my garden, it's one thing to let the summer squash die to bugs when there's still about 50 other foods to eat. Now, if my bees develop disease..... Like I said, I hope not to treat, but that's easy to say for now. Harder to know what to do if an entire colony is at risk.

I, too, would like to eventually have very tough, resistant bees. I will have to see how my Italians overwinter. I would like to learn how to catch swarms. I have heard of a really old hive of wild bees in a bluff near me. Might be a place to get some great genetics!

Sounds like you have a great plan in place! Sounds like what some folks refer to as integrated pest management--dealing with things as you see them and not just sticking things in and leaving them (like mite strips).

It would be really great to see some more beeyards. I have only been up close to one other hive and could really benefit from some serious hands-on or eyes-on experience! What are a couple larger towns near you?

luvin honey
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
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