Is your expansion successful?

Engaging a mode of expansion is how you keep ahead of mites and breed bees that can handle them. Get in the practice of staying ahead, and avoid the bad habit of always trying to catch up.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Sat Aug 06, 2016 1:59 am

Think I can officially call peak queen as my last batch of queens (10 out of 12) have capped brood.

I went into winter with 26 nucs and 6 bigger hives. When the dust settled in the spring I had 12 new production colonies from the overwintered nucs and the 4 production hives in my back yard.

As of now I have 44 nucs. I am way ahead of the game compared to last year as I was still trying to raise queens till the end of August. I also bought 4 queens last year, but have raised all my own queens this year.

I have also made my 4 hives in my yard 2 queen hives. A strategy to transition those hives from older queens to younger. My last original Saskatraz queen got superceded the other day. I took out the queen cells as I had a nice daughter underneath her. So now I have 3 2 queen hives. I also have a overwintered nuc that went queenless in spring. I gave it a frame of brood and they raised a queen. Now in 5 medium boxes.

So from 16 (17) to 52 queens if my finger and toe counting method works. Now its attrition time till next spring. Hopefully my "improvements" results in better survival. I am ahead of the game from last year in terms of queen return, I was still trying to get nucs queen right at the end of August. I am also going to tweak the winter config as I had weather moisture issues last year with the nucs.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:32 pm

Wow!
Thanks for sharing all this information!

A lot of work, beekeeping seems to be, and me a lazy but interested person with the aim only to enjoy healthy bees ;)
I would rather sit all day and watch the entrance boards!

I believe I will go "two lane".
With my "normal" hives I will do splits from the survivors( like I did already), trying now to imitate swarming as much as possible, or let them swarm, using bait boxes.
The best I will breed some queens from, if possible. Depends on numbers of hives surviving winter.

A lot of small splits I will not be able to do in my area. Season can be long but I want 8 brood combs in summer in my dadant square boxes so they are strong before winter.
In fact, they need to be strong the whole year through because they have to defend their hives against those robbers with mites on them and do VSH!
Honey is not very important to me, I will take only surplus.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:16 pm

I have a bit of an ambitious plan to get bees that survive into the hands of others as well. If I become a local source of bees, and I'm TF, then I can make a good genetic contribution. It would make life easier for me as well to have survivor genetics spread around that my bees can interact with and reduce the import of outside bees and the new disease variants they carry. Just part of my idea that we should be using mostly local stock and reduce bee movement if we want to reduce episodic bee losses. I also want to teach newcomers that if they make increase, they shouldn't have to buy bees anymore. I guess I should have some queens available at some point for people.

I also am not convinced about the stability of my bees in the face of varroa. I feel I need numbers to increase the chances of having something to select from at this point. So my beekeeping has morphed into an ambitious project.

But ideally, if we can get most people to keep bees similar to you, that would be an excellent thing.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Nordak » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:33 pm

Sounds like we are on the same path, Leroy, albeit on a smaller scale for me at the moment. Looking forward to watching your progress.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:34 am

As me yours Nordak.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:07 am

To start an exchange about expansion models I would like to hear your opinion about a project like this.
Bartek, a polish beekeeper and one I call friend takes part.

http://wolnepszczoly.org/about-us/

The expansion models often mean that many small splits are done so losses are compensated and selection processes are enforced.

There is a danger to that. The colonies are very small and often not able to sustain themselves.
If left alone in this state bees try to get strong again and might "forget" about mite defense.

But that´s my speculation.
I would like to know how bees priorities are after splitting and to hear about the correlations between density and defense behavior.

I will start a thread in the other forums, too.
I think it`s one of the most important questions in our tf proceedings.
This because of the managements dependance on the local environmental circumstances.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:10 pm

My sense of it is, not from experience, is that new splits rarely need treating. I'm guessing because of the brood break? But it seems I see the mite outs more with the second year hives. When my methods settle and I am more consistent in my results, I should be able to see a difference over time as I will be slowly transitioning to a more relaxed model of expansion and will be doing 2 types of splits. Also my second year hives have to work pretty hard making comb, supplying brood as it is a young apiary.

But I think your question is a very valid.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:01 pm

Thanks Iharder.
What two kind of splits do you have in mind?

Splitting to hold brood disease and mites at bay and how to do this with success is most important to me.

I realize that in my situation, being surrounded by treated bees, no ferals, it´s maybe the only way to keep tf bees. Bees survival in itself is one of my goals, but I will not be able to give away or sell colonies to be kept tf without a strategy to promote for.

Splitting in half with the queen and capped brood as one part, the queenless with open brood, I practiced for two years now, but it was a struggle to the queenright hives which got all the mite infested brood. Only the high density of bees saved them.

After realizing the two even splits I made because of not finding the queens and having lost patience were in much better conditions afterwards and telling MB about this I want to go for this again.

But what about doing an even smaller split with the queen?
The queenless having a long brood brake and maybe would forage more?
Since queenless hives are more jeopardized by robbing this could be better for them too, having more bees.

People will never go for my tf bees without the hope of a (small) honey harvest.

There are some questions, though.
How small the queen right split? Two or three brood combs? I would like to imitate swarming.
But the left behind colony must have enough bees left for nursing.

And what about building comb? Which split will build the best small cell comb?
I believe it´s the queen right one whose queen needs the place for laying.
But they need resources and bees for that.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Sun Oct 30, 2016 2:22 pm

A very small split with a queen could result in a partial brood break. Never looked at that that way before.

The first type of split I am doing is a typical nuc with 2 frames of brood/bees, a frame of food and a queen cell.

The second type is a vertical split using a snelgrove board. The set up is queen with empty comb in the bottom box (no brood), excluder, 2 empty supers with or without comb, excluder, top box with brood and food. Most of the bees migrate up to look after the brood so after a day, replace the top excluder with a snelgrove board diverting most of the foragers to the top box as the queen cells get made. Then using the entrances, I divert foragers over time back down to the original queen, being careful not to change entrances when the queen flies. They usually make about 6 to 10 nice queen cells that can be used to make smaller nucs. Once the upper queen is laying and can replace the snelgrove board with an excluder creating a 2 queen set up. If the older queen fails, then I can just combine them.

I haven't thought too much on what this may do in regards to brood breaks etc. In a queens second year I want nature to run its course and see if they are able to deal with varroa without artificial brood breaks. I want most of my queens to come from hives that survive 2 winters, eventually 3, and are productive as well. The market for these bees could be those who like to have bees that survive, and don't need to harvest bumper crops every year.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Oct 30, 2016 3:57 pm

lharder wrote:I haven't thought too much on what this may do in regards to brood breaks etc. In a queens second year I want nature to run its course and see if they are able to deal with varroa without artificial brood breaks. I want most of my queens to come from hives that survive 2 winters, eventually 3, and are productive as well. The market for these bees could be those who like to have bees that survive, and don't need to harvest bumper crops every year.


If future finds me with more hives this could be an option to me, too.
Very good idea to test a queen´s hive.

The first thing I will do if I´ve got more than twenty hives is to make a split with a mated queen and keep her at my home where the colony will be not isolated.
This will be an endurance test of the bees to see which people I will be able to give a split. Most of them have beekeeper neighbors, not tf.
If my strategy is a success, tf bees could be promoted and I will join the bee club.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:43 pm

Today found me with my carni bee yard crashing, now two hives left and one elgon ( out of 8)

If you want to know more, read my sticky thread on Beesource tf forum.

The AMM seem to be more resistant. They are all still alive.
I hope the one queen carni, an original "resistant" one, will survive so I will be able to breed from her.
One of the elgons is still alive.
I´m now considering to mate the future queens at my AMM yard. The drones and other conditions could be much better there.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby moebees » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:39 pm

SiWolke said
Today found me with my carni bee yard crashing, now two hives left and one elgon ( out of 8)


Sorry to hear.

The AMM seem to be more resistant. They are all still alive.
I hope the one queen carni, an original "resistant" one, will survive so I will be able to breed from her.
One of the elgons is still alive.
I´m now considering to mate the future queens at my AMM yard. The drones and other conditions could be much better there.


What are the environmental differences between the two yards? Forage supply? Prevalence to agriculture? etc?
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:58 pm

moebees wrote:
What are the environmental differences between the two yards? Forage supply? Prevalence to agriculture? etc?


Only climate. It´s colder 4°C with the carnis. The AMM have a rural vegetation mostly, the carnis have farming land organic kept mostly.
But since the foragers of the carnis are using a big area they could have used a sprayed rape field.

To me it seems the carnis are still bred for honey not for resistance. But let´s wait until spring and I know which ones will survive.
The AMM have much more foreign treated drones around. Maybe diversity is better.
I will think about this more.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby pantruten » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:04 pm

SiWolKe wrote: Maybe diversity is better.
I will think about this more.


Sibylle, have You read Das geheime Leben der Bäume (I think that is the original title of the book) by Peter Wohlleben??
He writes about "primal forest" - I know that is not the perfect analogy, but it makes one think about different processes. Anyway he writes that in the primal forests (in Germany) the diversity was probably lesser than in "economic" forests (no idea how to call that) - but the organisms were better adapted. I think it is similar with genetics of some species as with diversity of different organisms in ecosystem. Diversity is good, but adaptation is more important.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:45 pm

Hey Bartek my friend, I really think we are one of a kind!
Sure I´ve got that book!
Great read!

Following what you and your friends do in Poland I knew about my difficulties for sure.
But relax. I humbly accept the decisions nature will do and will just go on just like you go on.

I believe what you will give me is some kind of courage! Yes, you have always encouraged me. :)
After 2 seasons the colonies are not adapted. This is true. And I´m not adapted to their needs.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby pantruten » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:02 am

thanks Sibylle :)

adaptation is strange proces...
As Peter Wohlleben wrote in his book : trees can change their adaptation processes in many ways after a year or couple of years (they live for centuries, don't they? - and the conditions change) - they can survieve in many ecosystems (of course they are better off in some, and worse in others), but they can adapt, by "using" different genes during different periods.

I believe the same can be with other organisms - including bees. That means that "unadapted" gentics (e.g. hive with the same queen) can "adapt" (only in some manner of course) in time, by different environmental factors (of course many will not adapt and die in the process). there are many ways to express the genes, and there are also epigenetic factors.
My friend says that when he stopped treating, stopped feeding, stopped migrating, reduced manipulations, started to give foundationless frames etc., he noticed that his bees (the same bees - or only next generation bees) act differently. They choose different behaviour, their instincts come back.
I didn't notice that, since the first year (when I treated) I had only 2 nucs, and next years I stopped treating I started expansion model beekeeping, so I have all the nucs - and I'm sure they act differently than normal colonies. So I have no real comparison...

Of course when You manipulate all the time (as for me - I'm manipulating too much, because of expansion model), feed, migrate, choose narrow genetics, don't allow natural selection etc - this adaptation to "independency of humans" will probably never occur.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:32 am

I´m with you in all points, Bartek, I already saw the behaviors changing.

It´s the "resistant" queen now which seem to fail too.
I have yet to see if it´s my kind of beekeeping or if the resistance is an illusion.

If it´s an illusion the advantage is no need to purchase "resistant" stock, just use any bees and hopefully to have any survivors.
Without ferals almost an impossible mission, still I will try.

On the page of your friends I read you started with "resistant" queens though. Did this help?
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby pantruten » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:49 am

SiWolKe wrote:On the page of your friends I read you started with "resistant" queens though. Did this help?


We had some queens from people that breed for "resistance" (mostly hygienic, vsh, grooming).
They still die.
I have some F1 from Erik Osterlund's stock (so not directly from him, but from a person that got his stock) - they show symptoms of sickness, but for now most of them live.
I don't believe in "resistant" as a genetic factor or a "trait". "Health" is more than genetics. Hygienic is good, but it doesn't guarantee surviving.
I believe also that if you have your own stock, breed from survivors without choosing specific traits (minimize manipulations, and allow natural selection) in time Your population would be "like-feral".

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:01 am

I posted just now the same thoughts on Beesource in my sticky thread.
Had some controversy as usual, but I´m stubborn! :lol:
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Michael Bush » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:16 pm

Some comedian, whose name I forget, was talking about his "water resistant" watch. He asked the salesperson what the difference was between water resistant and waterproof. The salesperson said water would ruin the water resistant watch but it would fight it all the way. :)
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Nordak » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:15 pm

Don't sweat it, Sibylle. Stick with your plans, adjust as needed. The more I read, the more I believe that there is a balance needed between bee, mite, environment. Adaptation from all players in the hive and surrounding ecosystem. To state resistance is all that's needed at this point is folly in my opinion. Basically like stating all you need to build a house is a hammer.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Nordak » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:17 pm

Michael Bush wrote:Some comedian, whose name I forget, was talking about his "water resistant" watch. He asked the salesperson what the difference was between water resistant and waterproof. The salesperson said water would ruin the water resistant watch but it would fight it all the way. :)

:lol:

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:00 am

Michael Bush wrote:Some comedian, whose name I forget, was talking about his "water resistant" watch. He asked the salesperson what the difference was between water resistant and waterproof. The salesperson said water would ruin the water resistant watch but it would fight it all the way. :)


I´m this watch if I´m not careful. :roll:

I´ve got some nice pm though after the bashing, and more interest on Viva.
I want to try the "fort knox" initiative Barteks association talks about.
http://wolnepszczoly.org/about-us/
scroll down
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby pantruten » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:14 am

SiWolKe wrote:I want to try the "fort knox" initiative Barteks association talks about.
http://wolnepszczoly.org/about-us/


be careful... there are lot's of problems with that ;) it must be build on trust.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:36 am

pantruten wrote:
be careful... there are lot's of problems with that ;) it must be build on trust.


That´s what the workshops are for. But you never know. Life risks :)
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:25 pm

pantruten wrote:
SiWolKe wrote: Maybe diversity is better.
I will think about this more.


Sibylle, have You read Das geheime Leben der Bäume (I think that is the original title of the book) by Peter Wohlleben??
He writes about "primal forest" - I know that is not the perfect analogy, but it makes one think about different processes. Anyway he writes that in the primal forests (in Germany) the diversity was probably lesser than in "economic" forests (no idea how to call that) - but the organisms were better adapted. I think it is similar with genetics of some species as with diversity of different organisms in ecosystem. Diversity is good, but adaptation is more important.


I did a massive paper during grad school on ectomycorrhizae in forest systems. Bloody interesting. I believe it is here where most of the genetic diversity resides. The number of species and diverse roles is incredible and certainly expands the ecological range a given tree species can inhabit. Not only that you can have successional turnover of EM species at a tree and stand level. So a tree is not just a tree, but a tree with its fungal and bacterial associates. I think we have seen some failures in managed forests here because of some level of destruction of the fungal community.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:09 pm

SiWolKe wrote:Today found me with my carni bee yard crashing, now two hives left and one elgon ( out of 8)

If you want to know more, read my sticky thread on Beesource tf forum.

The AMM seem to be more resistant. They are all still alive.
I hope the one queen carni, an original "resistant" one, will survive so I will be able to breed from her.
One of the elgons is still alive.
I´m now considering to mate the future queens at my AMM yard. The drones and other conditions could be much better there.


Are your bees still flying? I think one of the hurdles to surviving bees is that they get an influx of mites from the dwindling hives. If there are lots of dwindling hives, this may set up a domino effect of hive failure. I haven't implemented it yet, but I want a strategy to identify dwindling hives, and set up robbing screens on them to reduce the influx. Maybe robbing screens should be on all hives during this transition phase between treated and TF bees.

I haven't experienced widespread crashing yet in my yards. But who knows it may be happening under my nose and I'm not aware. We have just come out of a 2 week cold snap of -10 to -20 C. A few bees have come out at this time and died in the snow in front of most hives. Most have a bit of frost built up at the top entrance, so I know there is activity. Temps are now about 0 so the bees should have chance to move a bit and get reorganized.

Perhaps there is a tendency to over think our role in this process of adaptation. I have the feeling that bees are robust and can adapt to some manipulation and even short distance migration. Bees that deal with it well survive. The biggest problem is creating a situation where nature can impose its solutions on a wide enough landscape. The adaptive environment is too dynamic and bees fail. This is why either growing an apiary to a larger size, or creating partnerships with other local keepers is important. Its a bottom up process and numbers matter.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:20 pm

The adaptive environment is too dynamic and bees fail.


They died in the last 3 frosty weeks, could be they drifted before, I found a handful of bees and the dead queens, not many mites.
Looking at my brood combs again I see only one with capped cells left and some VSH seen.

Since I have observed no varroa disease end of september it´s really a mystery to me. Could be CCD.
Or winter came abruptly and they forgot the winter bee brooding.

But I made many mistakes, too. Hope I have some left to do better.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby moebees » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:02 pm

lharder wrote:
Are your bees still flying? I think one of the hurdles to surviving bees is that they get an influx of mites from the dwindling hives. If there are lots of dwindling hives, this may set up a domino effect of hive failure. I haven't implemented it yet, but I want a strategy to identify dwindling hives, and set up robbing screens on them to reduce the influx. Maybe robbing screens should be on all hives during this transition phase between treated and TF bees


I wonder about robbing and transference on flowers? I don't doubt that robbers can pick up mites but is it a major problem? I never see any real data on this. Just allot of talk and excuses from the treatment crowd. It is used constantly by the treatment crowd to verbally bludgeon the tf Beeks as to why their hives are causing all the problems for the treatment people. (I would say there needs to be push back against this because with the fervor the treatment people attack on this I think the next step is to push for legislation to make tf practices illegal.) And when there aren't any tf Beeks around to blame they will say it must be feral hives crashing and causing our problems. They just make it up as they go. The other one that gets talked about is transference on flowers. Someone posted a youtube video recently of a mite crawling onto a bee on a flower. The video is obviously staged and not too surprising. I bet if I put a bee and mite on my kitchen counter top the mite would head straight for the bee and climb on. But it seems like a pretty poor strategy on the mites part to hop off a bee onto a flower and hope that another bee visits the flower before it dies. Especially if the next bee that visits comes from the same hive and the mite could have just hopped off there and avoided the round trip. The video, although garnering attention on Beesource, proves nothing. My point is this. Is it not true that drones don't particularly care what hive they go to? Isn't it true that they spend allot time in multiple hives? I think there is research to back that up. If that is the case wouldn't drones be a logical major means of transference. I know drones are probably not around or flying in Germany this time of year but hives crashing now were not infected recently. To me drones seem the much more likely source of much of the transference.

Sorry if I am getting off topic.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:50 pm

I posted on this on Beesource, moe,...you tell just what I said. Mite placed by the beekeeper. I don´t believe the mites leave the bees and hop around on flowers celebrating their next feast... :lol:

I work part time as a gardener and have never seen any mites on flowers. I saw the bees on the asters but never any mites. I´m watching closely what´s going on in nature, being addicted to natural phenomena.

More and more I see that in germany the beekeepers are desperate...every method of treating is failing. Tf practise is illegal, strictly regarded, but it seems to me things change now. It´s a topic now to develop resistant bees since treatments have to be used throughout the year without break and it´s too much work.

They want to use this strategy: taking out of brood combs and to force a brood brake. It´s not a treatment to them. Better than some chemicals in my opinion. But still a treatment.

The strategy now is: drone culling---(brood brake) and formic acid shock therapy----formic acid suspender for 2 weeks----oxalic acid. The minimum.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Nordak » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:48 pm

Lharder, you should be researching bees. Always impressed with your posts. I have similar thoughts, but not the mind for science regarding the ecology relating to bees.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:33 pm

moebees wrote:
lharder wrote:
Are your bees still flying? I think one of the hurdles to surviving bees is that they get an influx of mites from the dwindling hives. If there are lots of dwindling hives, this may set up a domino effect of hive failure. I haven't implemented it yet, but I want a strategy to identify dwindling hives, and set up robbing screens on them to reduce the influx. Maybe robbing screens should be on all hives during this transition phase between treated and TF bees


I wonder about robbing and transference on flowers? I don't doubt that robbers can pick up mites but is it a major problem? I never see any real data on this. Just allot of talk and excuses from the treatment crowd. It is used constantly by the treatment crowd to verbally bludgeon the tf Beeks as to why their hives are causing all the problems for the treatment people. (I would say there needs to be push back against this because with the fervor the treatment people attack on this I think the next step is to push for legislation to make tf practices illegal.) And when there aren't any tf Beeks around to blame they will say it must be feral hives crashing and causing our problems. They just make it up as they go. The other one that gets talked about is transference on flowers. Someone posted a youtube video recently of a mite crawling onto a bee on a flower. The video is obviously staged and not too surprising. I bet if I put a bee and mite on my kitchen counter top the mite would head straight for the bee and climb on. But it seems like a pretty poor strategy on the mites part to hop off a bee onto a flower and hope that another bee visits the flower before it dies. Especially if the next bee that visits comes from the same hive and the mite could have just hopped off there and avoided the round trip. The video, although garnering attention on Beesource, proves nothing. My point is this. Is it not true that drones don't particularly care what hive they go to? Isn't it true that they spend allot time in multiple hives? I think there is research to back that up. If that is the case wouldn't drones be a logical major means of transference. I know drones are probably not around or flying in Germany this time of year but hives crashing now were not infected recently. To me drones seem the much more likely source of much of the transference.

Sorry if I am getting off topic.


There is often evidence in a spike of mite counts in the fall. Two sources. End of brooding and all the mites are on adult bees, and an influx from robbing. I guess one could set up an experiment where robbing screens/screening in of failing hives is used vs no robbing screens. Mite counts could be compared in conjunction with hive survival. I don't know if that particular experiment has been done. From what I've observed, hive failure can be kind of quick and dramatic, so maybe too easily missed by the keeper.

I wouldn't completely rule out some flower interaction. While robbing may be a more dependable means of dispersal, if one can imagine a mite being in a failing hive, if it can sense it, it may take some unusual desperate means to make a run for it. Low success perhaps and probably not enough to overwhelm a healthy hive but enough to get the genetics of that mite line spread.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:44 pm

I read yesterday that bumblebees have them too and are a source of contamination on flowers.
But I really don´t know if it´s true.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:45 pm

As far as the mite bomb idea goes, the facts are solidly against treating beekeepers. In terms of disease risk, conventional practices involving movement of large numbers of bees all over the place is easily the biggest problem. Its how we got varroa in the first place. That and those intense large scale overwintering yards without forage and intense competition between hives. Lots of stress, lots of robbing, lots of disease buildup.

I've argued this over and over, and my sense is that this point is being won. How can you argue against it?

I'm willing to concede that there may be some small scale effect of collapsing hives, probably mostly within the apiary itself. But perhaps to nearby apiaries as well. So I wouldn't ignore it. But its nothing to the damage moving bees around, and keeping them in bee feedlots has done.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:58 pm

>I read yesterday that bumblebees have them too and are a source of contamination on flowers.
But I really don´t know if it´s true.

Varroa have been spotted on adult bumble bees, but they cannot reproduce on bumble bees. They are an obligate parasite of honey bees.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:15 pm

It could be a way for viral transfer to bumblebees and other solitary groups.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:20 pm

A small update.

Its been much colder than normal this winter. Temps have been as low as -24 C at my home yard at night and the landowner of one of my bee yards reported a night of -26 C. Since I have upper entrances on the hives, I've noticed frost build up when it gets this cold. So I took the opportunity to do a brief survey of my sites.

At home 2/4 big hives and 9/11 nucs are still showing signs of life. At my Heffley Creek site 14/16 big hives had frost. Some had so much frost build up that I had to clear the entrances of frost. My nuc site, the results weren't so clear. Its sunnier, more open, more wind, some inner covers not fitting as tightly. I also saw evidence of dysentery on 2 hives. I suspect a great proportion have died here but its just a hunch. Some had little frost beards, but not all. I will have to wait for a warm day to pop some inner covers.

So I have one queen surviving her 3rd winter so far, and about 8 2 winter queens. The rest are 1 year splits/nucs and about 3 2nd year hives that have new supercedure queens.

So I am pleased with the Heffley site and my home site, and a bit concerned about the nuc yard.

But I am concerned about food as they will be crunching through their stores at these temperatures. Will be doing some prep for possible February emergency feeding.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby moebees » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:08 pm

Thanks for the report. :)
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:41 pm

So I popped a few lids in my back yard yesterday. 8 of 11 nucs are still kicking, but the cold weather has beaten them down. Not so many bees, but I wasn't able to dig down so they may be deeper in the 3 box stack. One had a very nice cluster in the top box. So not so good overall with a bit of delusional wiggle room for hope.

Of my 4 hives in larger boxes, 2 had died. Both didn't have many bees in them, probably a mite/virus collapse. These were queens going into their first winter. The other 2 had nice clusters in the top box with lots of food. One is doing nicely in its 3rd year.

All hives had no moisture on the sides and inner cover. So at least that is ok.

I'm going to go out today and check my big hive site and bring some food with me. Last I checked, 14 of 16 had evidence of life so I want to check moisture and food reserves and see where the clusters are. If time allows will check my nuc site as well.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Nordak » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:17 am

Thanks for the update. What's your goal in terms of increase for 2017?


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