Mite Biting Potential

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Nordak
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Mite Biting Potential

Postby Nordak » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:33 am

I've been curious about the potential for mite biting traits in my bees, so I bought a cheap scope and set up a section of fanfold insulation under one of the SBB I still have to see what I found. I set it up under one of my more populous hives that has been queenless for close to a month by now, so I knew the phoretic population should be high. Here's what I saw out of the 3 mites I found, one of which was crawling around. I set the insert up from 1:00 PM-4:00 PM today

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The white stuff you see circled was coming from the mite's carapace. It appears to have been "bleeding." This mite was still wriggling, but appeared injured.

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An attempt at showing where the white stuff was coming from the carapace.

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This one was much more promising as far as potential signs. This mite is missing appendages.

Not sure what this means quite yet. The photos don't really do what I was seeing justice. I basically held my phone lens up against the lens to take the pictures. From what little I've seen, which isn't much, could be promising.

For anyone interested, I'll keep updating with what I find.

moebees
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby moebees » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:11 am

Very interesting Nordak. Please do keep us updated on your results.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Nordak
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby Nordak » Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:43 am

Will do. Thanks Moe.

A better picture of the mite with missing appendages. I wasn't happy with the quality of the above picture. Definitive mite damage and a clearer picture of what I was seeing.

Image

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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby lharder » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:32 am

Nice work Nordak!

Looks promising.

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Nordak
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby Nordak » Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:10 am

Thanks, Leroy. I need more samples, but yeah, kinda exciting. I'll update with more pics and info as I go.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:41 am

Seems you got the right bees. :D

This behavior is desperately needed to have a resistant hive IMO.
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

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Nordak
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby Nordak » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:02 am

I've had my suspicions this might be a behavior my bees exhibit for a while. They don't do a ton of brood uncapping, some, but not like what I've heard from with alot of VSH colonies. The mite population seems to diminish greatly during our summer dearth. I was wondering what they were doing with the phoretic mites to make that happen. It appears this may be the mechanism by which they accomplish that. More testing is needed, but this trait appears to be present. To what extent, we will see.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:53 am

This trait can be helpful if you sell nucs or queens, with picts like that you might prove this.
Keep records.
:)
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

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Nordak
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby Nordak » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:14 am

So I set out my board from 8 AM-12 PM today. Oddly enough, I got 3 more samples, and yet again, one was crawling and active. Here are pics of the other two.

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This mite was obviously dessicated. It fell from the hive though within the 4 hour time frame and showed major damage. I can't say for certain it was a bee that caused it, but the area damaged coincides very much with what I've seen thus far.

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Here's the other. Limbs appear to have been removed. If you look closely, you can see "pulp" in one of the missing limbs. I would think this mite was probably bitten within the 4 hour time frame.

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Here is a pic of the above mite zoomed further out for reference.

The evidence seems to be pointing at mite biting. Out of 6 total samples thus far, three have shown obvious damage, the fourth I can't definitively say other than the mite appeared to be damaged and dying. The remaining two were the mites found crawling on the board.

Fascinating stuff. I'll continue to monitor and post updates.

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Nordak
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby Nordak » Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:32 am

I'm going to start keeping this as a journal style entry. It's a lot easier for me to document everything here as well as updating the community on where I'm at with this if anyone is still watching. If not, then you'll just have to put up with me. :lol:

6/8/17

Two mites on the board in a 3 hour period. No visible damage on either mite. 0 of 2 damaged. I documented one of the mites so I have a good reference to compare the damaged versus undamaged.
Image

6/9/17

I decided to put cooking oil on the board for the test today to rule out ant damage as a possibility, as it has been brought up as a potential issue when determining damage. I left it out for a 6 hour period. This will be my standard protocol. No ants were present on the board. 1 of 2 mites damaged.

Here is the first mite I inspected. No damage.
Image

Here is the second. My eyes immediately went to what looked like an opening on the body of the mite.
Image

Upon further inspection, the damage became clearer. It appears this mite was bitten, causing a sort of gash.
Image

As it stands now, out of the 10 mites I've counted, 4 have shown visible solid evidence of damage. I am not counting the desiccated mite, as it appeared to me to be a much older sample and couldn't say with as much certainty that the damage was bee related.

So far, albeit a small sample, I'm standing at a 40% percentage of mites bitten. Hopefully that trend continues.

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GregV
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby GregV » Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:15 pm

Thanks, Jeff.
I keep looking at your log, so...

moebees
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby moebees » Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:28 pm

I'm following too. 40% is a pretty good number.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Nordak
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby Nordak » Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:20 am

6/10/17

No mites. Time to move to a different hive perhaps.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:14 am

I love to put up with you, Jeff! :D

Great journaling! Please go on!
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

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Nordak
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby Nordak » Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:33 am

Thanks Sibylle. I appreciate the interest.

I emailed my pictures to the Mountain State Queens association which is a collaborative effort based in WV that focuses on mite biting traits for a second opinion. Jeff Berta, who is a collaborator of their efforts and queen breeder, confirmed that all the sample pictures I sent of mite damage were caused by biting behavior. It was nice to get an expert opinion on the matter.

My next move is to try and sort out a way to test more colonies, as all of them are on solid bottom boards.

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Ferdi
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby Ferdi » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:28 am

Nordak, thanks for sharing these informative pictures with us. I will be following further developments :)

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Nordak
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby Nordak » Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:33 pm

I just wanted to say anyone can do this. I bought a $12 pocket microscope with 60x-120x power off Amazon and use my camera phone to take the pictures by holding the camera lens up to the scope lens. From my experience, it's a trait worth looking for and propagating if possible.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Mite Biting Potential

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:04 pm

Nordak wrote:I just wanted to say anyone can do this. I bought a $12 pocket microscope with 60x-120x power off Amazon and use my camera phone to take the pictures by holding the camera lens up to the scope lens. From my experience, it's a trait worth looking for and propagating if possible.


You are so right. :)
It´s the best defense trait, maybe the only necessary except a good immune system by a good management.
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de


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