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Author Topic: Do cutouts/exterior hives have fewer pests?  (Read 825 times)
Squirrelhenge
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« on: August 27, 2012, 12:35:44 AM »

Greetings!

I've been preparing for my first hives by reading the forum and watching YouTube videos, and as I was looking over information on the small hive beetle and mites a question occurred to me: Do hives that are cut out of structures or those taken down from trees ever have pests like mites or SHB? I can't imagine they'd be immune (otherwise we'd all be keeping bees in the walls of our houses or the trees in our yard), but I can't recall JP or Mr. Bee Dude or the Lazy Beekeeper finding these pests during one of their retrievals. Or, at least, the don't mention it.

So, I'm wondering if those hives are less likely to have such pests, and if that's any indication of better genetics/hygiene than box-kept bees. I appreciate the benefit of y'all's experience!
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Eric Francis
North Little Rock, Ark.

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ShaneJ
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 03:21:20 AM »

I have only done 2 cut outs myself but both were heavily infested with SHB. But the SHB hadn't done any damage in either as both hives were very strong which is key.

With the hives that we keep I believe us as the bee keepers are probably responsible for a lot hive losses. Each time we enter the hive we create work for the bees ie they have to seal everything up again, we probably release shb that have been 'trapped', we add foundation which I understand stresses the bees, we extract honey and return stickies. All of these things don't generally happen in a wild colony so you would think they have a better chance at fighting the pests.
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Shane
David McLeod
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 07:34:23 AM »

All bees have SHB in my area. I find the nasty bastards in swarms and in every cutout I do. The main difference I do see is that swarms and intact ferals do not have the numbers, much much lower in tyhe ferals, of SHB I find in my own hives. I do not attribute that to genetics of the ferals though other than how it pertains to the overall strength/health of the colony. The ferals are found as a single "isolated" colony my hives are all in a row and range from strong and established to recent cutout and weak. My yard is a natural beetle magnet.
What I attribute the lower numbers to is simple math. Fewer colonies, strong established colony and fewer beetles. These same ferals with low beetle numbers will get their full compliment of SHB once hived in my yard.
As for varroa, no idea as I choose not to treat and since I don't I dont actively check. I will say that since all of my bees came out of someone's wall and as a rule these bees seem to do just fine on their own I assume varroa isn't a problem and if it is I don't want weak bees.
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JP
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 09:31:55 AM »

I rarely run across heavy mite loads on feral colonies, SHBs on the other hand are ever present. As David mentioned they are in just about every colony I run across and yes, they even fly with swarms.

SHBs are really bad this year in certain areas. In the areas I typically remove hives from I'm seeing an increase but still nothing compared to areas that have them really bad. I removed a colony a few weeks ago in Tylertown, Ms. The SHBs were so bad I had to treat the colony as a swarm. I was honestly afraid to use any of their comb sections as hundreds and hundreds of beetles were present.

I'm sure Hardwood will chime in soon on how bad the SHBs are in his area.


...JP
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Squirrelhenge
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2012, 10:36:26 AM »

Thanks, all!
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Eric Francis
North Little Rock, Ark.

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hardwood
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2012, 10:45:55 AM »

I find the same thing as others have said...lots of beetles but not too bad on the mites. A stressed colony can quickly become overwhelmed by beetles. That's why we don't transfer any comb other than worker brood and feed if needed.

Check out the last few combs around the 9:30 mark:

Betty's bees_0001.wmv
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Squirrelhenge
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012, 11:07:21 AM »

Whoo, yeah, there's the answer to my question! Thanks, Hardwood.
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Eric Francis
North Little Rock, Ark.

"If I'm a geek AND a beekeeper, does that make me a beegeeker?"
Wolfer
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2012, 06:48:06 PM »

Hardwood
Just watched your video on Betty's bees.      Excellent!
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