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Author Topic: Something I've been curious about...  (Read 319 times)

Offline spafmagic

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Something I've been curious about...
« on: April 27, 2021, 11:47:05 am »
Varroa mites...
    I have asked in other media where or how bees pick them up in the first place, and I get the answer that drones transmit them from hive to hive.

BUT, let's say... you own the ONLY hive in a 100 square miles and NO other honey bee drones from any other colony can enter your hive, and your hive is 100% varroa free.
NOW... how does a colony get infected with varroa?

Do they hang out on flowers or other types of vegetation that bees may land on?

They had to come from somewhere. Sure, it may be a symbiotic relationship now, but which came first? The chicken? Or the egg? I'm sure, one day in the thousands of years of life on this planet, varroa mites didn't just magically appear in a bee colony from Planet X. lol

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2021, 11:56:41 am »
Is there an area that has mites with only one hive within 100 miles? From what I understand your information is right.  Australia is varroa free. So is the Isle of Man, (at least the last time I read up on it a couple years ago). The Isle of Man is only 90 miles from mainland where there are varroa.
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2021, 11:57:13 am »
Very good question. I've wondered the same.

I don't know the answer - but (despite "science") I'd guess the Varroa were coming around by hitchhiking on another species. Solitary pollinators? Wasps? Birds maybe? Other insects? Butterflies? Moths? ... for sure they aren't walking ...

With that said - some isolated areas dont seem to get the Varroa concentrations - from what I've read.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2021, 12:14:34 pm »
No matter the size of land mass, varroa have to be introduced. Once it is introduced to a land mass, it is bad news for that entire mass as far as the bee and the beekeeper. Varroa thrive. Since varroa feed on the hemolymph of honey bees, It would just about have to be by the honey bee, transfers are made? Otherwise the mites could not survive without a host feed source? I don't know just guessing. lol
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Online The15thMember

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2021, 12:25:24 pm »
They can hang out on flowers and hitch a ride to a new colony like that. 
https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2016/12/devastating-mites-jump-nimbly-flowers-honeybees

But I'm not sure how long a mite could survive on a flower.  I'm guessing that this probably wouldn't happen to an isolated hive, because that mite would have to have jumped off an infected bee to get on the flower.  As others have said, there are hives in isolated areas that are varroa free. 

Why can't a symbiotic relationship always have existed?  Obviously it doesn't/hasn't with Apis mellifera, but it does with varroa's natural host, Apis cerana.     
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Offline spafmagic

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2021, 12:50:24 pm »
...
Why can't a symbiotic relationship always have existed?  Obviously it doesn't/hasn't with Apis mellifera, but it does with varroa's natural host, Apis cerana.     

To the that question... there is always a starting point from which something becomes. I'm sure apis cerana had to first encounter varroa mites, before they brought them home to then on be forever pestered by them.

Offline spafmagic

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2021, 12:54:21 pm »
To the that question... there is always a starting point from which something becomes. I'm sure apis cerana had to first encounter varroa mites, before they brought them home to then on be forever pestered by them.

And to my own statement, that still begs the question... Where did they pick them up from? There has to be a natural environment from which they thrived before they encountered honey bees.

Online The15thMember

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2021, 01:41:46 pm »
To the that question... there is always a starting point from which something becomes. I'm sure apis cerana had to first encounter varroa mites, before they brought them home to then on be forever pestered by them.

And to my own statement, that still begs the question... Where did they pick them up from? There has to be a natural environment from which they thrived before they encountered honey bees.
But why?  Many parasites can't even survive outside the bodies of their hosts, or can only for a very short time.  They would have to be drastically different in physiology and life cycle to survive without a host.  I'm under the impression that parasites and hosts co-evolved or were co-created, depending on your personal beliefs.  Obligate parasites are unable to survive or complete their life cycles without their hosts.  There are facultative parasites, animals that are parasites when advantageous, but can survive or reproduce without a host, cuckoo birds and bees for instance, but some parasites can't exist without a host.   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline spafmagic

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2021, 03:25:28 pm »
Coevolution / co-creation is an interesting hypothesis, one that I believe derives from 1 of 2 instances...

1. EIther the exact answer has not been discovered as of yet
Or
2. The occurrence where "animal meets parasite" for the first time happened sometime before recorded history, or documented biology.

Everything in life has a beginning. The first microbe, the first animal of any kind, the first adaptation or mutation due to climate changes throughout history, the first domesticated animal... everything has a beginning.

Particularly, honey bees... they didn't start off being dependent on us to survive. Hundreds if not thousands of years of humans keeping bees made them that way. Now without our intervention, parasites like the varroa mite will kill our bees. And we can likely trace it back to the first person who brought Asian bees to the United States, and estimate roughly how long it took for a drone from an Asian bee colony to find its way into a European bee colony. Everything has a beginning. There is cause and effect.

Offline LawyerRick

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2021, 05:38:03 pm »
No matter the size of land mass, varroa have to be introduced. Once it is introduced to a land mass, it is bad news for that entire mass as far as the bee and the beekeeper. Varroa thrive. Since varroa feed on the hemolymph of honey bees, It would just about have to be by the honey bee, transfers are made? Otherwise the mites could not survive without a host feed source? I don't know just guessing. lol
  You're incorrrect.  Varroa feed on the fat bodies, not the hemolymph.  Just had to set the record straight.

Online The15thMember

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2021, 06:49:10 pm »
Coevolution / co-creation is an interesting hypothesis, one that I believe derives from 1 of 2 instances...

1. EIther the exact answer has not been discovered as of yet
Or
2. The occurrence where "animal meets parasite" for the first time happened sometime before recorded history, or documented biology.

Everything in life has a beginning. The first microbe, the first animal of any kind, the first adaptation or mutation due to climate changes throughout history, the first domesticated animal... everything has a beginning.
I agree.  It's just kind of a dead end conversation, there is no way to know.

Particularly, honey bees... they didn't start off being dependent on us to survive. Hundreds if not thousands of years of humans keeping bees made them that way. Now without our intervention, parasites like the varroa mite will kill our bees. And we can likely trace it back to the first person who brought Asian bees to the United States, and estimate roughly how long it took for a drone from an Asian bee colony to find its way into a European bee colony. Everything has a beginning. There is cause and effect.
I don't think this is necessarily true.  There are areas where feral bee populations have managed to strike a delicate balance with varroa.  Take Tom Seeley's Arnot Forest bees in New York.  I'm sure there are areas where bees would just all die out, but I also believe there are places where resistant bees would survive.  The same could be true of any parasite/pathogen introduction.     
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Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2021, 05:41:18 pm »
I have an opinion on this, and it is only that - an opinion. This will show a stance that is debatable, perhaps controversial, but is pretty firmly formed from years of experience and searching and researching. I will not be quoting references nor will I bother putting a flame suit on as I may need to see some heat here anyways ... There is 10in of fresh snow on the ground this morning and -10C. Yet another delay in Spring actually starting here.

imho:
Over the past 40 years since entering North America the varroa mite parasite and its vectored diseases have proven to be indiscriminate and absolutely devastating in their destruction of colonies. Other areas all around the world have the same story. To this end, there can be no actual bonafide feral colonies left. None, gone, non-existent. The colonies that are found and said as `feral`, are simply the result of cast swarms from beekeeper kept hives in the area or from a `feral` hive location that came from last years beekeeper swarms. The feral colonies, all of them, are likely dead in 3 seasons or less just like every other unmanaged colony. It is the swarming from beekeepers hives that continue to repopulate those `feral` hives locations every swarm season.
There is nothing symbiotic about the varroa mite and mellifera. The mite kills completely the colony. The only good that comes of it is that the mites die with the hive. In milder climates some mites do escape that fate by drifting or hitching the last ride out on an absconding (mite bomb) of bees from the dead/dying hive and go on to infect other colonies. In cold climates, like where I am, a fall/winter crash means all the mites die with the bees and we can be blessed with a seemingly clean slate.
When a new swarm moves into the dead-out location, the happy feral hive finder thinks that these bees here must be special mite resistant bees. What a wonderful, exceptional, and earthshattering discovery! Nope, it just an illusion possible only because all the mites died with the demise of the previous colony and the repopulating swarm that moved in did not bring many mites with them.
Now, that opinion does not say that there are not bees which seem more tolerant and able to better cope with mites and diseases than others. As beekeepers we see such traits and are doing our best to find them and promote them. Nature and divine always finds a way through turmoil. Just like many of the diseases that we are struggling with have come from apis cerena, including the varroa mite, furs`, and nosema;  it is reasonable to assume that somewhere along the evolutionary tract of western honey bees there may have been a little cerena drone or two that tested their chances with a big mellifera momma in the DCA`s. Such could be a possible source of some of the traits we are seeing from time to time. A chance happening of genetic transference. Just like we know that often that weird mutt of a dog is the best at certain things and out performs its purebred ancestors in its tree; we all have some mutt queens that regularly outperform any lineage we could try to buy from some high chaired bee breeder.  There may be hope for the western honeybee.  Perhaps it is in the next wizbang of a well funded phd in genetic engineering, by mixing specific DNA strands of the cerena to breed-out / breed-in improved mellifera survivability with the mite.
For now what the opinion says is that at this point in time there is no such sustainable symbiotic coexistence. What we see over and over every 2 to 3 years is a cyclic story of brief periods of utopia between horrific massacres - aka a good year followed by huge colony losses. ALL unmanaged colonies are ultimately destroyed indiscriminately by the parasite and its vectored diseases. Some in their 2nd year, the rest in their 3rd. There are no supermite `feral` bees. There are only bees that have swarmed from young colonies and/or managed colonies which have repopulated feral locations.  Take notice I used the term managed, not term treated. There are various ways to manage the mite, treatments are just part of it.

Where did this relationship come from? Evolution selects the fittest and the most adaptable. This mite did not coevolve with the western honeybee. It is a parasite that has switched host, probably multiple times over tens of thousands of years, and it has adapted very well each time. The mite needs to adapt to stop killing its host, and thus itself.  The host needs to adapt to tolerate the parasite without completely collapsing.  Both species have some evolving to do.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2021, 03:49:40 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2021, 06:23:03 pm »
Hey HP - put your Flame Suit on! ... just kidding!  :grin: :cheesy: :cool:

To the point - you bring up valid points regarding "where we are now & how we got here". If I look to the furture, I'm inclined to believe that the European Honey Bee will also evolve over time. And as such, they will develop traits that "deal" with the mites.

One point that seems to me, to be missing today, is that we as a society seem to be doing everything possible to prevent the evolution of Apis Mallifera. The Bee needs to evolve. We need it to evolve. And yet, we prevent it from doing so.

My friend has had bees in his backyard for more than a decade. Usually 4 to 9 hives, plus what he gives away. Swarms come to him every spring. He has never treated his bees. He doesn't "manage" them (for right or wrong). He doesn't even open the hives - except to grab some honey. He has 2 hives that are 5 years old. He looses many hives in the fall/winter. It's survival of the fittest at his house. But more & more, his bee colonies are surviving.

I got my bees from him. I have hives in their 2nd & 3rd year that are thriving - having never been treated.

In full disclosure - I do treat most of my hives. But every year, I select clean looking hives, move them to another location, and do nothing (treatment wise) from then on.

Am I creating "devestating mite bombs"? Yeah ..  probably.

A quick look at the numbers: Last year I lost 30% of the hives at the un-treated yard. And I lost 60% of the treated hives at my home yard. 16 total hives lost between Sept and Feb - small numbers, I know. But my treatment-free bees seem to be doing great. They are my number one honey producers. They are gentle and polite. ...

Will I help the bees find the solution to the mite problem? I dunno. Wish I did know.

But I do know this: I can't sit by, and do nothing. I can't bring myself to pump chemicals into an un-sustainable ecosystem (bees vs mites). I have to try to help them evolve - all I can do is give them the opportunity.

HP ... can I borrow your flame-suit now?  :cool: :cool: :cool:
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 08:19:06 pm by CoolBees »
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2021, 06:44:33 pm »

1.   In our particular area there are "wild" bees if not feral - of course, mellifera.  Yes, brought over on a boat, many moons ago.  But no one is managing these bees in the boondocks.  We happen to live bordered by Gulf of Mexico or Bay, south of thousands of acres of untouched pine flatlands and inland lakes and swamps.

2.  I've had calls for removal/extraction of colonies that have been in place for many years.  Only reason the bees have to go now is that house is being sold...new girlfriend won't put up with the bees...bees finally chewed through the drywall and are coming in the house...huge comb collapsed and honey is leaking from the recessed lighting.... etc.  Comb in these colonies is chewed down to the black middle with newer white wax at the edge of the cells. We scrape out buckets of wax, brood, and honey, and don't see varroa. Just drowned bees and SHB.

3.  Sometimes a "bee tree" can keep a colony for many years.  All the neighbors know it's there,  it casts a swarm every year and  everybody's cool with the Bee Tree. 

4. Oddly, in some areas, there seem to be a wave of mites in May at my friends' hive ~ 10 miles from me.  Mite bomb? Migrant? IDK but they show up, and in time, without treatment, the mites are gone.  IDK why. 

5.  Lots of beeks here don't treat because you lose some when you treat, lose some if you don't treat, so why spend the money.  I don't treat.  I don't lose to varroa as I see it, I lose to feral or domestic robbing or SHB if I don't watch it closely.  And there's evidence - shredded cappings from robbing or SHB squigglers.

6.  Once I saw a mite on a green leafed plant that had no pollen or nectar.  Maybe a fallen hitchhiker.  Of course, I squished it.

7. Rarely, I get an extraction job where the bees have visible mites.  They show up clearly by cutting into the brood. These get soapy water and wet/dry vac, not the Colorado bee vac.

 


Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2021, 08:10:17 pm »
Alan would you mind sharing your treatment strategy used on your treated bees 🐝 please?
My curiosity abounds. And no, you will not need a fire retardant suit for your answer from my part. I am simply interested.  Thanks
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2021, 08:22:06 pm »
No problem Ben

Foundationless 8-frames (not sure if that's a viable treatment - but it can't hurt).

OAV in August thru September. Twice a week. Usually Sunday & Wednesday. For 5 straight weeks.

Nothing else.

I should add, regarding last year's losses - I missed treating in Aug/Sept and hunted Oct thru end of Nov. Started treating in Dec. By then I'd lossed 5 hives. The losses continued into March.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2021, 08:26:45 pm »
Thanks Alan. Sending a PM
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2021, 09:38:18 pm »
What an excellent discussion!

I've spaced my hives 30+ feet apart in the Bostick farm apiary because that is what Gary at The Bee Place recommends WRT mites, saying that they migrate from dying hives to healthy ones.

Plus, I have invested in genetically resistant strains, Gary's "Texan" bees and a hygienic queen from California.

Have a Saskatrazqueen  coming soon.

Dr. Seely wrote that colonies in Upstate New York have survived because of African genes.

It seems to me that nature and nurture must work together.

I have been lax on the nurture/management end but think I'm on the right track with improving the genetics (nature) of my bees.

Time will tell, eh?
41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

43 And he took it, and did eat before them.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2021, 01:06:05 am »
No matter the size of land mass, varroa have to be introduced. Once it is introduced to a land mass, it is bad news for that entire mass as far as the bee and the beekeeper. Varroa thrive. Since varroa feed on the hemolymph of honey bees, It would just about have to be by the honey bee, transfers are made? Otherwise the mites could not survive without a host feed source? I don't know just guessing. lol
  You're incorrrect.  Varroa feed on the fat bodies, not the hemolymph.  Just had to set the record straight.

You are correct. I have studied this time and again and even posted the video here of Dr Samuel Ramsey, more than once, explaining that varroa do not feed on hemolymph. I accidently typed the wrong word. My apologies.

Topic: New Here - New to Beekeeping
Since you are new to beekeeping and not yet informed of mites  and problems associated with them. I will ask Mr HP or Member to display the wonderful talk that HoneyPump did here for Member a couple years ago regarding mites. Outstanding paper. Also there is a video by Dr Samuel Ramsey that discusses mites in particular that you will gain much needed information. I will try and find that for you.


Here you go..





« Last Edit: April 29, 2021, 03:32:27 am by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Something I've been curious about...
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2021, 03:04:57 am »
There are people all over the world even as we speak, striving for that bee that is varroa resistant. In fact there is a world wide group researching, sharing up to the minute updates of progress and information. Richard Noel and many other AI/II breeders and scientist from around the globe are in this network, Seely may also be in that number, sharing said information as well as genetics in this research and development endeavor. I heard this from Richard Noel himself about a year ago. I have not had an update since.

As far as the Africanized bee, or purposely spreading its genetics, in that endeavor, my opinion is no thank you! lol. I for one don't want any part of, or to deal with any mean aggressive strain of bee! From Texas, England, or Kalamazoo!! lol No offence intended. I love gentle, easy to work bees....

The meat and potatoes start at 5:20
There seems to be an upswing here lately in No Treat beekeeping interest. For those of you who are digging into this I have a real treat for you! I am going to make a bold statement; This fellow, in my opinion will soon be one of the worlds leading authorities on treatment free bees, whether he happens to win, lose, or draw on his endeavorious pursuit of the right bee for the job. Richard goes into a project full steam ahead, seeking every answer possible for what ever adventurous beekeeping avenue he may seeking. He is Richard Noel, Brittany France and he is excited! Enjoy!





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« Last Edit: April 29, 2021, 05:15:48 am by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.