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Author Topic: Hey Finsky, I'd Like A Skeptic's Opinion (You Fit The Bill)  (Read 2161 times)
ndvan
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« on: March 02, 2007, 06:20:32 PM »

Here's my question for Finsky or anybody else. 

I'm just starting out.  This is my plan: I'm getting small cell bees (already regressed) and I'm going to use small cell foundation.  I also am planning on monitoring mite levels on a regular basis.  If I determine that I've got a mite problem, such as a high mite drop or sudden increase, I'll go to plan B and treat for mites.

As far as cost goes, I think I paid about $5 more for foundation, and about $20 more each for 2 small cell nucs.  However, I have been told by many that the source for the bees is a good source, so I can live with that too. 

Aside from that, is the any real downside to using the small cell?  What is it? I'm not trying to be argumentative.  I'm seriously asking to see if there's something I've not considered. 

Thanks,

ndvan
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2007, 07:47:32 PM »

>I'm just starting out.  This is my plan: I'm getting small cell bees (already regressed) and I'm going to use small cell foundation.

I think that's a great idea.  Finsky will not.

> I also am planning on monitoring mite levels on a regular basis. 

I think that's also a great idea.  Finsky will not.  He thinks you just treat every fall and never monitor, but then he's not trying NOT treating.

>If I determine that I've got a mite problem, such as a high mite drop or sudden increase, I'll go to plan B and treat for mites.

And plan B is what?

>As far as cost goes, I think I paid about $5 more for foundation, and about $20 more each for 2 small cell nucs.  However, I have been told by many that the source for the bees is a good source, so I can live with that too.

Sounds like a plan to me.

>Aside from that, is the any real downside to using the small cell? 

Since small cell is the size the bees would have built anyway, I sure don't see it.
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ndvan
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2007, 11:40:40 PM »

I don't see a downside either, but I really want to know if anybody's identified one.  I'm really not trying to start a small cell debate.  I'm just trying see if there is any real reason not to do it.  In other words, is there any potential downside?  At this point, its what I'm doing anyway (Its time to install foundation, after all).  But if there is a potential downside, maybe Ill keep my eyes open for something I might otherwise overlook, particularly given my knowledge level.

As far as plan B, I really do not know what I would do.  However, I do think that if I see that I have a mite problem, it is my responsibility to do something about it.  I would probably initially try powdered sugar (the thorough way, frame by frame).  I will only have two hives, and that's if all goes well, so a labor intensive method is no problem.  If that did not work, however, I'd probably go with something thymol based.  I really don't want to o the checkmite/apistan route, and I also don't see how that will ever really be necessary, so I doubt that will happen.  I'd really rather not go with an illegal treatment, even if it ought to be legal. 

Just my thoughts.

In case anybody cares, here's my initial reasoning for starting with small cell:

1.  Maybe it really does not work.  It could be that people who are trying natural cell/small cell are really just witnessing a natural process of an immunity build-up/adaptation.  That could involve both changes in the bees (adaptation of better resistance) and in the mites (adaptation to be easier on the host).  Could be other factors I can't even begin to imagine.  Could be that correlation between use of small cell and better bee survival does not equal causation. 

2.  Even if number 1 is true, getting small cell bees to start does not hurt (as far as I can tell, which is why I did this post).  Also, even if small cell users are just witnessing some sort of natural selection process, seems that I want to get my bees from somebody who does not use chemicals.  That would be a source for bees that is most likely to have let nature take its course.  (By the way, I'm getting the bees from Don K. in GA).  It would be similar to getting feral bees, but without the risk of getting AHBs. 

3.  Even if all the small cell adherents are just plain wrong and delusional, I still don't see any harm in giving it a go, so long as I get small bees and don't have to fool with regression. 

Again, I'm not trying to start WWIII on this, but what am I missing?
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Finsky
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2007, 05:39:45 AM »


Again, I'm not trying to start WWIII on this, but what am I missing?

Mite tolerant bees.  Nothing else. - If you find, send some to me .
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ndvan
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2007, 10:13:10 PM »

From your response, I gather that you really can't see an objective downside either.  Is that correct?
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Finsky
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2007, 01:18:28 AM »

Hey hey!

With your experience it is impossible to do what you have planned.
You have best professionals and biggest resources  in USA and it is better first contact to them and revile out what they have achieved.
As a layer I think that you will never succeed in that job. But please, when you meet professionals, don't demand good answers to irrelevant questions. That is not way how objective research goes.  Biological issues are not right and wrong answers.

I am too old to make biological research any more. Next week I am 60 age. I started at age of 15. Mostly  beekeeping is really boring to me. Nothing new any more. And when I have money I use them to play with stocks. 50% annual profit is better than beekeeping  grin . I Keep some hives and use your brains in stocks.  If you get 25% profit, your capital will be doulble in 3 years. That is better than calculate mites.





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ndvan
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2007, 07:46:54 AM »

First, I agree with you that actual controlled trials are the best way to figure out these questions.  I also think that you take that concept to an extreme that would inhibit innovation.  In any practical field, whether its agriculture, engineering or medicine, there are many techniques that are used that have not been tested. 

Also, the simple fact is that there is not enough money to fund all the studies that could be done.  Even if one study has been done on an issue, that does not necessarily answer a question in a conclusive way.  This is particularly true in beekeeping, where there are so many important variables that cannot be addressed and/or elimiated from a study (genetics and geography for starters).  Also, I mentioned on another post that I am a lawyer.  From my work, I can assure you that there is a lot of junk science in this world, and that researchers are affected by who is paying for the research.  If research is funded by a chemical company, it could be totally valid.  However, it might be slanted, and you would never know who paid for the research. 

I'm not planning on breeding bees at all.  I don't have the knowledge, hives or desire to do that.  The only bees I want to bread is if drones from my hive get lucky . I am getting bees from a breeder who has about 500 hives and who's been doing this for 30 some odd years.  That's why he gets my hard-earned money for two nucs.   

Also, IF there is some natural selection proecess going on, I am not sure that people are needed to do it.  As I indicated, I think that its just as likely that natural selection would make the mites less virulent as it is that the bees would become more resistant.  I sure don't think that beekeepers are actively participating in a mite breeding operation.  It would just happen.  What I think is possible is simply that bees that deal with mites best will live and mites that don't outright kill hives will live, they will both reproduce and ultimately there will be a better balance in the parasite-host relationship.  Given the high mite mortality that initially was present, I think that the process is really inevitable. 

I also don't plan on making a living on this.  I don't expect to make any money at all.  This is strictly a hobby.  Honey plays no part in my retirement planning.  That being said, I like honey, and I ultimately want to hand a jar of honey to the people who said "You're doing what!?" when I told them I'm getting bees.  All things being equal, I want to make more honey, not less.

However, I think you may have responded to this post in another post that relates to treating for mites with vineger.  What you said there was:

"Maybe M. Bush's system works in mite question but in honey production level it seems to be invalid. He says that he has very small winter clusters. It means that bees have destroyed the worker cells which have varroa inside. So colony is too small in spring to make pollination duty or get good honey yield. Like it has been researched, if varroa contamination goes over certain limit, hives will not go on economical level. It is same with swarming or chalk brood. If you loose 20% of you workers, you cannot run you beekeeping business any more."

That is actually something I never thought of -- that bees that keep the mites at bay, by their behavior, could reduce the amount of honey produced.  That's the sort of idea I was fishing for when I made this post.

So, here's my questions to Finsky and anybody else:

1.  As I understand it, there's been very little research done on small cell's effectiveness against mites in the first place.  Do you know of any study that has studied the honey production of small cell bees? 

2.  If I had small cell bees and treated for mites so they did not have cells to destroy, would that eliminate this problem?

3.  For people who use small cell bees, is it true that small cell bees have smaller winter clusters (or is that really more dependent on bee race).  In other words, Mr. Bush, if you have small winter clusters, is that on the hives that are from feral stock that would do the same thing on large cell comb?  Would small cell Italian bees have smaller winter clusters than regular cell Italian bees?

4.  Is there a correlation between winter cluster size and honey production, or can bees that use small clusters ramp up brood production and catch up?  It would seem that this may depend on when the honey flow begins.

5.  Generally speaking, what has happened to honey yields when you go to small cell? 

Thanks.

P.S. For Finsky:  What I like to do with ducks is teach them to be gumbo.
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2007, 08:04:06 AM »

  I also think that you take that concept to an extreme that would inhibit innovation. 

I have have met tens first year beekeepers that they are ready to make mere innovations and even miracles,  even if they have not yet hives. "When you know little, you know all". On another hand, beekepers are so stubborn people that you cannot change turn they head even you try. Only life will teach.

Most beekepers start when they are on the mature side of life. To make innovations at age of 50 or 60 is quite rare. Dont worry about innovations. All beekeepers have them more than they can execute. Look the middle age of beekeepers in your association.


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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2007, 10:58:22 AM »

>He says that he has very small winter clusters.

This is simply a factor of race.  Russian, Carniolans, Buckfasts, and most of the darker bees have smaller clusters, including the feral survivors I'm finding.  Italians have large winter clusters.  What that means is the Italians eat a lot more honey over the winter and rear brood whether they need it or not.  The others are more frugal and cautious.  The frugal breeds are probably not a good choice for early pollenation as they don't take off until later in the spring.  However they still peak at the flow and have used less honey in the process and make just as much honey on the flow.  Look up information on Buckfasts, and NWC for more on those traits.

This trait is unrelated to cell size.

>1.  As I understand it, there's been very little research done on small cell's effectiveness against mites in the first place.  Do you know of any study that has studied the honey production of small cell bees?

The retired bee inspector here referred to a recent one, but I have not been able to track it down.  The results were that smaller bees were more productive.  The assumption was that it was because they are more aerodynamic.

>2.  If I had small cell bees and treated for mites so they did not have cells to destroy, would that eliminate this problem?

It isn't related to cell size.  If you want large winter clusters, raise Italians on any size cell you wish.

>3.  For people who use small cell bees, is it true that small cell bees have smaller winter clusters (or is that really more dependent on bee race).

It is ENTIRELY dependent on race.

>  In other words, Mr. Bush, if you have small winter clusters, is that on the hives that are from feral stock that would do the same thing on large cell comb?

Yes.

> Would small cell Italian bees have smaller winter clusters than regular cell Italian bees?

Yes.

But you are still assuming a smaller winter cluster is a bad thing.  It is not, unless you need a strong hive in February to send to the almonds.

>4.  Is there a correlation between winter cluster size and honey production

Yes.  You'll get more honey from a frugal hive because they will use a lot less over winter and they will make just as much on the flow.

> or can bees that use small clusters ramp up brood production and catch up?

They can and do.  Do some research on NWC and Carniolans for more information.

> It would seem that this may depend on when the honey flow begins.

Exactly.

>5.  Generally speaking, what has happened to honey yields when you go to small cell? 

They go up.
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Michael Bush
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Finsky
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2007, 11:17:36 AM »


>5.  Generally speaking, what has happened to honey yields when you go to small cell? 

They go up.


And where are those comparisons?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2007, 01:42:58 PM »

>And where are those comparisons?

I will talk to the retired bee inspector who brought the study up to me.  He is not small cell but noticed a study. I don't know of one, only my observations.  One thing for sure, healthy bees gather more honey than sick ones and live ones gather MUCH more honey than dead ones.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2007, 01:44:19 PM »

>live ones gather MUCH more honey than dead ones.

And, no, I don't have a study to prove that either.  But it is based on my observation. Wink

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Michael Bush
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Finsky
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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2007, 02:08:40 PM »

>And where are those comparisons?

 I don't know of one, only my observations.  One thing for sure, healthy bees gather more honey than sick ones

I underline thing thing. What ever disease hive has, it looses it's energy: chalkbrood, nosema, fouldbrood. Allways bees raise their larvae, if part of them die, with samll losses hive will not get surplus honey.

My opinion and experience is that big yields depend on pastures. When I have had hives on pastures. it is same to me what it their colour or race, they will catch the yield if it is there.  But if hive is partly sick, it will not get surplus. 
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ndvan
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2007, 06:09:50 PM »

Hey Mr. Bush,

Where is the research you mention on carniolian bees.  When I was trying to decide what bees to buy, I did some web research, and it generally explained that carnis have a smaller winter cluster, but that was just general statements.  Do you have a source for anything more substantial.  (Don't mean to be lazy, but I did not find it when I previously looked.)

Thanks,

ndvan
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2007, 10:05:47 PM »

>Where is the research you mention on carniolian bees.

http://www174.pair.com/birdland/Breeding/NWC.html
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2007, 11:53:57 AM »

NDVAN- many of your questions are, interestingly enough, have been the subject matter of many articles this month in both ABJ & BC magazines. Articles dealing w/ host/parasite relationship, breeding and one specifically maesuring and weighing small cell bees vs. larger celled bees. This study was done in Ireland and begged for more testing to be done on small cell issues. Additionally, there has been a series of articles by Randy Oliver in one of these mags the past three months about fighting varroa w/ IPM, breeding  etc. All of these articles cite numerous sources. Dann Purvis jokingly says in a letter to the editor that he's breeeding super mites to sell to beekeepers everywhere to advance the parsite/host relationship. I too am contemplating small cell b/c there appears to be no "down-side." Do I think it will prevent mites? Probably not. But will it reduce the mite load- i think yes. I use a screen botton board, drone traps, and slatted racks already. The small cell will be an aditional layer of mite reduction. By fall, I hope tp procure survivor queens for requeening(probably Purvis) and hope that I can eliminate or reduce chemical use. I will use it if necessary as I dont want to stick my head in the sand.
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ndvan
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2007, 08:54:15 PM »

Magazine subscriptions! I just spent my last dollar on small cell foundation.

ndvan
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