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Author Topic: Varroa in the subtropics  (Read 10099 times)

Offline max2

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Varroa in the subtropics
« on: August 29, 2023, 08:00:08 am »
Varroa is not here yet...very likely a matter of time.

The pest is spreading. Almonds are about to finish flowering and thousands of hives will be moved.
Yes, they should not be moved into Qld but beekeepers being beekeepers I would not be surprised if hives....and varroa will be ending up in our area.

The problems are manifold: we have no brood break here. We take honey off most of the year. Indeed the coastal area has mangrove and Teatree flows in winter.

What to do? How to deal with varroa in our type of environment?

Don't suggest a forced brood break, loking up  the queen...my mate has 600 hives, another mate has 2500 hives.

There has to be a relatively simple solutions which, I guess, has not been found yet.

Very interested to hear solutions.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2023, 08:04:43 am »
The latest varroa map..

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14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Online BeeMaster2

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2023, 08:32:46 am »
Max,
Michael Bush has been keeping bees for a very long time. When varroa hit, like everyone else he started treating with all of the poison and chemicals. He then decided to let the bees figure it out.  He has not been treating his bees for, I think, over ten years now. He has done a few things to help the bees out.
He shaved his brood frames down by an eighth of an inch and puts 11 frames in a 10 foot and box. This allows each bee in the brood area to do the work of two bees. The other thing he does is use fountain less frames to allow the bees to make smaller bees to allow them to hatch out a day or two earlier. This reduces the number of mites that can mature to adulthood. Mite originally developed on apis Cerana drone brood only. Apis Cerana is a smaller bee that hatches sooner than our bees. Loosing a few drone brood is not a problem. The foundation in our hives was designed to make larger bees, to bee able to carry more nectar. Larger bees take more time to develop.
Maybe Michael will provided more information.
I think when Varroa hit Italy, may have been another country, they decided to not treat their bees. The first couple of years they lost a large percentage of their hives. Then the bees changed and survived with the mites.
Jim Altmiller
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2023, 08:46:51 am »
A crash course in Varroa Destructor education published by: "TheHoneyPump"... Reposted by Robo

https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=54623.msg497375#msg497375
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2023, 12:24:56 pm »
>Michael Bush has been keeping bees for a very long time. When varroa hit, like everyone else he started treating with all of the poison and chemicals. He then decided to let the bees figure it out.  He has not been treating his bees for, I think, over ten years now.

You gave a good synopsis, except it's been more than twenty years.

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Offline cao

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2023, 09:48:58 am »
He has not been treating his bees for, I think, over ten years now.

You gave a good synopsis, except it's been more than twenty years.

I thought jim was a little off on the time.  I have been keeping bees 10 years treatment free.


Offline NigelP

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2023, 04:05:04 am »
Treatment free is on eoption, many lost 80% of their hives whislt establishing those that will survive.

Vaporizing oxalic acid is one possible solution. Look up sublimox and similar powered oxalic acid vaporisers. Can be used even with hioney supers on. Oxalic acid is a natural component of honey. Takes around 30seconds per hive.

Offline max2

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2023, 05:21:01 am »
Thanks Nigel;
"not with honey supers on"
we have honey supers on all year here.

" 3 times in 15 days"

I wonder just once a year?

" need a generator"

!!Not a big issue.

" Very toxic - need to wear PPE and no skin exposed"

!!Not what we are used to - it can get warm and humid here.

here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfVRYMpYnHI&t=4s

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2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline NigelP

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2023, 02:44:51 pm »
No-one said living with varroa was problem free.......and no-one wants the extra hassle....but it's really trivial and IMHO neccessary to treat.
There are gas powered oxalic acid vapour systems that do not require a generator, and yes a particle mask is advised as OA vapour is not pleasant.  If you wear a bee suit and use gloves adding a mask is trivial. Try the Oz armour ventilated suits if heat is an issue. I use them all the time often beekeeping in them and speedos only.
As your bees have yet to see varroa chances are they will be quite susceptible to it.  I wouldn't recommend treatment free. I see the treatment free bees many UK beekeepers keep and to be honest they would be better off in a nuc as they are really struggling to survive.  Can't speak for other countries with different climates but in UK it's not good for the bees welfare, might be different in your climate, might be worse.

An easier alternative is take off you supers for 6 weeks and add apivar strips (or equivalent) to the hives....then remove and carry on. Many many different ways to deal with varroa.
It used to be whinging poms but now I'm not so sure  :smile: :smile:

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2023, 04:04:30 pm »
"NigelP"
"There are gas powered oxalic acid vapour systems that do not require a generator, and yes a particle mask is
advised as OA vapour is not pleasant."



I use a 400 watt power inverter hooked to a 12 volt battery to run mine when no electrical outlet is available ,, No problems....


"Many many different ways to deal with varroa."


Yes there are several methods available in dealing with varroa...
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline max2

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2023, 10:07:02 pm »

While making splits and lifting off 1/2 supers, again full of honey, and struggling with the weight, it crossed my mind how I would ever be able to lift  full depth , 10 frame supers with honey to check on Varroa?
I have been writing to a long list of people I had hoped could give some advice regarding dealing with Varroa in or subtropical environment. Nil response so far from Government sources but  i got a quick response from the manufacturers of APIGUARD.
It appears that their product ( I hope i got this right) can be used with honet supers on and with brood - the conditions we have to deal with here.
I gather that a pallet load of the product will soon arrive in Australia.
The limitation is the temperature as we could only use the product as long as the days are under 30C.

One issue which seems to be missed is that if we would take honey supers off very few of us would have a cool room to store them.
Wax moths love used foundations!
A product available in the US ( a BT product, I believe) is not yet registered in Australia.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2023, 11:56:08 am »
Max there are some topics here at Beemaster covering hive lifts that will be a great asset to Beekeepers of all ages in assistance in lifting those heavy supers. I will try and find something, and get back here with it.

Phillip
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2023, 11:59:45 am »
Max there are some topics here at Beemaster covering hive lifts that will be a great asset to Beekeepers of all ages in assistance in lifting those heavy supers. I will try and find something, and get back here with it.

Phillip

Try this Max
https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=53409.msg481678#msg481678
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline max2

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2023, 12:01:10 am »
This was on the ABC today on varroa:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2023-11-09/deadly-parasite-varroa-mite-behind-predicted-feral-bee-die-off/102905408

I have written to one of the researchers.

I have not come across much relevant information in regards to beekeeping with Varroa in my situation:
- no broodbreak
- honey pretty well all year
- at an age which limits lifting

I agree that most of the feral hives will be gone. I assume beekeepers with one or two hives will be former beekeepers too. Think FLOW hives.

Most honey producing beekeepers seem to be in the cold parts of the world and get their honey from crops like canola.
Large beekeepers in warmer climates seem to focus on pollination.
There is a reason why the USA is importing more honey than you produce.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2023, 12:29:46 am »
U.S. Honey Industry Report - 2021
Bee Culture
https://www.beeculture.com ? u-s-honey-industry-rep...
May 2, 2022 ? U.S. beekeepers with more than five colonies in 2020 produced, according to USDA, 147.6 million pounds of honey.

We do import honey, as we have a population of 331.9 in million in (2021) "and counting". Compared to your 25.69 million in population in (2021) while you produce 55 to 66 million pounds of honey annually. (Wikipedia)

Keep that good Australian honey coming!!

Phillip
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2023, 10:56:00 am »
I had plenty of feral bees around here until one year they changed pesticides for the aphids and sprayed the soybeans while they were blooming.  I'm pretty sure every bee in the county died.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2023, 10:59:03 am »
Dr. Seeley's work in the Arnot forest in New York also showed that wild honey bees were able to survive and manage varroa on their own.  His book The Lives of Bees has lots of information on this.   
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2023, 12:47:07 pm »
I had plenty of feral bees around here until one year they changed pesticides for the aphids and sprayed the soybeans while they were blooming.  I'm pretty sure every bee in the county died.
Dr. Seeley's work in the Arnot forest in New York also showed that wild honey bees were able to survive and manage varroa on their own.  His book The Lives of Bees has lots of information on this.   

@Michael Bush
Not good about the pesticides. A shame and pity. What solution can be had that will be in the best interest of  both bees as well as the farmers involved?

@The15thMember
Just curious, do SHB persist in the Arnot Forest in New York?   
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline max2

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Re: Varroa in the subtropics
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2023, 07:51:13 pm »
This is an interesting study from Cuba.
file:///C:/Users/max/Downloads/cuban_bees_selection_varroa_resistance(2).pdf
I doubt very much that Australia will take this path - high risk.
There was a better article ( and more up to date) in one of the bee mags but I did not have the time to search for it.