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Author Topic: Varroa levels in tolerant colonies  (Read 6462 times)
Poppi
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2012, 04:10:31 PM »

Randy Oliver's site is very informative...  I have read most of his more recent studies.  There is a lot to learn and the more I see and hear...  well, it's...  I'll take what I like and try it...  if it works for me, I'll use it...  if not, I'll leave it alone...    It seems to me there is a small portion of beekeeping that is constant...   all the rest is subjective...   but it pays to listen to those with time and experience under their belt...   I'm certainly not about "re-inventing" the wheel, however, this ride sure does have a lot of different wheels you can try...   I will say, this is one of the most challenging hobbies I have jumped into...  and I have skydiving to cave diving under my belt...   I do love a challenge!  Smiley

John
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caticind
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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2012, 04:54:48 PM »

If you did take mite counts every couple weeks on hives, you probably would find a couple things....

1)Hives within the same yard will have drastic different counts.

2) You probably will have hives exhibit two type counts throughout the year.

    a) Hive counts such as 1-5-3-8-4-6-7-5

    b)Hive counts such as 2-7-4-9-15-31-28-42

Bjorn, if you're still reading I wanted to come back to this.  What would you do if you saw a count pattern that looked more like this?

2-8-5-3-0-42-50

Last year, no issues, small increase in drop in Sept to a max of 12/day, then declining back to spring norms.  No increasing trend during this year, bees by all appearances managing the mites, then BOOM.

Before the dearth this year, no abnormal DWV.  I would see maybe 2 infected bees on inspection.  I inspected much less frequently during the dearth this year because there was a LOT of robbing in the area, but did check the natural drop that yielded 0 mites in 72 hours.  These bees sharply curtailed brooding during the dearth (a trait I'd love to breed for) so I figured a larger proportion of phoretic mites couldn't find a fresh host and the population had dropped off.  Looked good for counts to be below 5 going into winter.  The next inspection after the dearth revealed over a dozen DWV bees recently hatched, and the next mite drop was over 40.

I won't say I did drops every two weeks, of course, but this hive doesn't match either pattern you're describing.

What would you think had happened if you saw this pattern?
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
specialkayme
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« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2012, 08:37:31 PM »

What reference book?

The two or three "intro" books I got ...

Yeah . . . what books?
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specialkayme
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« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2012, 08:42:44 PM »

When I look in the hive, they seem OK...  but the mite count tells a different story. 

I think there might be part of the problem. As MB alluded to earlier, and Kirk Webster explains, mite counts don't necessarily tell you the mite load inside the hive. They tell you the mite loads that are dropping OUT of the hive. That could be for a number of reasons. Other hives could be massively infected, and the mites are migrating toward other hives. It could mean your bees are very hygienic and are grooming off a larger % of bees. It could, at the same time, mean you have very high mite loads. But a low mite count might mean that the majority of the mites are either INSIDE the hive, or are otherwise avoiding your board.

Just food for thought.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2012, 08:50:40 PM »

Do you mind elaborating on creating "drone factories"?  

Sure. If you want to ensure that you know who the "father" is, you have three options in beekeeping.

1. Artificial Insemination - expensive, time consuming, and really not feasible unless you need a pure breeder. Also doesn't promote much genetic diversity.

2. Isolated mating yards - this is often done by using islands or remote areas that don't have natural or other hives. You bring in your virgins that need to be mated, and you bring in your drones. Since there arn't any other drones to mate with, you know where they come from. This can be very expensive as well, since buying your own island isn't cheap. And since a virgin can fly over two miles away, and a drone can fly over two miles away, you need a place that is at least four miles away from any other hive IN ANY DIRECTION. Difficult to find now a days.

3. Drone factories - now you've come to the conclusion that you arn't made of money, and there will be other drones in the area. It happens. But with every other hive in the area, drones arn't a desired thing. Most other beekeepers will remove drone comb if they have it, or simply keep worker foundation in the hive. So, you increase the amount of drone cells available in a hive using a drone pierico frame. Usually two frames per hive is sufficient, considering they will have natural drone cells in other locations. You are essentially flooding the marketplace with your product, in this case the drones. If a virgin mates with 20 different drones, you can't ensure that all 20 come from your hives, but if you are pumping the area with drones, and you figure 75% of the drones flying in the area are yours, you increase the chances that 75% of the drones your virgin mated with come from your hives.

It really comes down to the math.
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Solomon Parker
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« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2012, 01:03:32 PM »

Does anyone have an idea about if there is a seasonal component to hygienic or grooming behavior?  Certainly it is possible that individual behaviors are magnified or diminished at different times of the year.

I'm not in the habit of testing because I'm a Hard Bond Method person and it doesn't provide me with much usable information.  However, if there were some data, it could possibly contribute usefully to understanding mite population dynamics.
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Solomon Parker
Parker Farms, Fayetteville Arkansas
BjornBee
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« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2012, 02:19:43 PM »

If you did take mite counts every couple weeks on hives, you probably would find a couple things....

1)Hives within the same yard will have drastic different counts.

2) You probably will have hives exhibit two type counts throughout the year.

    a) Hive counts such as 1-5-3-8-4-6-7-5

    b)Hive counts such as 2-7-4-9-15-31-28-42

Bjorn, if you're still reading I wanted to come back to this.  What would you do if you saw a count pattern that looked more like this?

2-8-5-3-0-42-50

Last year, no issues, small increase in drop in Sept to a max of 12/day, then declining back to spring norms.  No increasing trend during this year, bees by all appearances managing the mites, then BOOM.

Before the dearth this year, no abnormal DWV.  I would see maybe 2 infected bees on inspection.  I inspected much less frequently during the dearth this year because there was a LOT of robbing in the area, but did check the natural drop that yielded 0 mites in 72 hours.  These bees sharply curtailed brooding during the dearth (a trait I'd love to breed for) so I figured a larger proportion of phoretic mites couldn't find a fresh host and the population had dropped off.  Looked good for counts to be below 5 going into winter.  The next inspection after the dearth revealed over a dozen DWV bees recently hatched, and the next mite drop was over 40.

I won't say I did drops every two weeks, of course, but this hive doesn't match either pattern you're describing.

What would you think had happened if you saw this pattern?

First, I should make it clear that I am not talking about mite drops as in using a sticky board. As others have pointed out, circumstances such as brood rearing ebb and flows, and other factors, all determine how many mites are falling or groomed off bees.

I would rather have a count based on sugar shake This accounts for most of the mites off a determined amount of bees, regardless of time of the season.

As for your question, that pattern is unique, but many factors could of played into it. Unreliable mite drops, timing of brood cycles, etc.

What was the date of the last two counts in reference to the other count numbers?

Certainly I would possibly take corrective action depending upon your IPM. I would also compare this count to other hives. Is this a single hive experiencing this? I would guess yes, since I don't put much weight behind the whole "leveling out" ideology, except for the slow steady transfer of mites that you will always have, then the dealing with any introduction of mites by the colonies ability to deal with it.

No doubt that the pattern of mite explosion is well documented. It can be somewhat level for three or four months and then between August 15 and October 15, the mites can multiply ten fold. I've seen that a thousand times when inspecting hives of others during this timeframe. That is a problem for the average beekeeper. Most beekeepers are excited going into the season, they inspect and do what they should for a period of time, then get tired of the bees and do far less inspections as the summer progresses. And this is the time when mites will come back and bite you.

I start winter prep after taking the honey off in late June. The fall brood cycle starts in mid August. And so it is very important that by August 15th, all issues are taken care of. requeening bad queens, dealing with mites, combining, etc. So this is the date I aim for to have my hives ready to go into the fall brood period. Because if i don't, mites and other issues will do their damage.

I hope this helps.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2012, 11:19:26 PM »

>Does anyone have an idea about if there is a seasonal component to hygienic or grooming behavior?  Certainly it is possible that individual behaviors are magnified or diminished at different times of the year.

Many things in a hive are ignored until the general population gets organized and motivated to fight it.  This includes things like robbing and hygienic behavior.  I would expect grooming and chewing out mites to be similar.   Perhaps not so much the time of year as the level reaching a point where they react to the problem.
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Michael Bush
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Mattanock Man
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« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2012, 11:48:18 PM »

Hello to all, just registered, not new to beekeeping, but new to the forum, am a naturalist beekeeper, organic if you will, thought I would just check in and see what is happening.
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Mattanock Man
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