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Author Topic: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa  (Read 745 times)

Offline bwallace23350

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How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« on: April 16, 2018, 04:49:32 pm »
One year, two years, or even three years?

Offline kathyp

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2018, 05:17:59 pm »
That's probably an impossible question to answer.  It depends on the bees, your area, other beekeepers in your area....
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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2018, 07:41:00 pm »
Like Kathy said, too many other variables.  I started with 3 hives 6 years ago.  Lost one the first winter.  The other two has grown in to 30.  I lost the second one last fall when I failed to realize that when they swarmed the new queen never made it back and they dwindled to nothing.  The third one is still going strong.  I also have another four or five that were splits from my second year that still have bees in them.  I think it depends more on the management of the hive then treatment.

Offline gww

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2018, 08:06:57 pm »
I have one hive that has two winters under its belt and is going into its third spring.  I do not know if it has the same queen or did a supercedure but do know it is the only hive I have that did not swarm and I did not split.  I may lose my track record this year cause I will probly split it.  So two years and alive right now.  My other two hives turned into seven hives.  I have eight but started the winter with nine but one should have been combined in fall cause it was so very small.  I decided to see what would happen and the hive died end of winter.  It did not build up all last year due to robbing pressure and bee keeper mistakes and was about half of a 5 frame nuc going into winter.  It was in a warre and so was not worth messing with and who knows, it almost made it.  So far it is the only hive I have had die.
Cheers.
gww
 

Offline AR Beekeeper

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2018, 08:15:24 pm »
Here in my part of north Arkansas a colony will usually last 2.5 to 3 years, if it is started with a very low mite load and has good VSH or Russian genetics. It must be split or cast a swarm each year or it will crash early.  Watching the brood pattern and the appearance of the adult bees will alert the beekeeper that the colony is in trouble.

Offline Acebird

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2018, 09:12:53 pm »
Well over a million years.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2018, 02:49:33 pm »
>One year, two years, or even three years?

Some of mine have not been treated since 2001.  None of mine have been treated since 2003.
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Offline little john

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2018, 02:59:55 pm »
That's probably an impossible question to answer.  It depends on the bees, your area, other beekeepers in your area....

... and what you consider constitutes 'treatment'.
LJ
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2018, 03:36:44 pm »
Well over a million years.

Ahh haa haa haa ,  I busted out laughing when I read that!!!!  Good laugh for the day!!

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2018, 08:57:55 pm »
Well over a million years.

Ahh haa haa haa ,  I busted out laughing when I read that!!!!  Good laugh for the day!!
Actually it is over 100 million years for the honey bee.
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Offline Van, Arkansas, USA

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2018, 09:59:21 pm »
Jim{Actually it is over 100 million years for the honey bee.}. Yes, Mr. Jim so say the paleontologist.

I got to wonder what some of those fello scientists were smoking.  I have faith in carbon dating, BONAFIDE accuracy to 50,000 years.

Now uranium with its supposedly 4.7 billion year half life is NUTS.  There is no bonafied science to prove this.  Uranium is all speculation calculated by graphing and mathematical models.  I want the proof, there is proof with carbon dating and it?s accuracy.

Beyond 50,000 years, archeologists look to rock patterns with assumed dates as a reference to grant a given PERIOD of time.  Also YOUNG RADIOISOTOPES, from atomic blast on Earth contaminate therefore cause error in dating very old samples.

Here is how dating very old stuff:  {Let us assume this gray Rock matter at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is one million years old, then when we find a bone in similar gray matter in Africa so we say the bone is one million years old.}. There is a lot of assumptions with this type of dating and I don?t like assumptions, I like proof.

So when reading and a given object is stated to be one million years old or 2 billion years old, take it with a grain of salt.  If said object is 50,000 years or less, I believe, but Millions and Bullions of years adds up to a lot of assumptions when you dig for the actual dating facts which are based on reference which is based IN reference to an undoubtedly but questionable Old starting reference.

We can agree bees have been on this planet a long time.
Blessings




Offline gww

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2018, 11:15:02 pm »
Van
I found your last post interesting.
Cheers
gww

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2018, 12:25:45 am »
Van,
Thanks for the info. Makes you wonder.
Jim
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Offline Acebird

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2018, 10:07:14 am »
We can agree bees have been on this planet a long time.

And we should agree that they will live as long as we do if not longer.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2018, 07:26:30 pm »
Jim{Actually it is over 100 million years for the honey bee.}. Yes, Mr. Jim so say the paleontologist.

I got to wonder what some of those fello scientists were smoking.  I have faith in carbon dating, BONAFIDE accuracy to 50,000 years.

Now uranium with its supposedly 4.7 billion year half life is NUTS.  There is no bonafied science to prove this.  Uranium is all speculation calculated by graphing and mathematical models.  I want the proof, there is proof with carbon dating and it?s accuracy.

Beyond 50,000 years, archeologists look to rock patterns with assumed dates as a reference to grant a given PERIOD of time.  Also YOUNG RADIOISOTOPES, from atomic blast on Earth contaminate therefore cause error in dating very old samples.

Here is how dating very old stuff:  {Let us assume this gray Rock matter at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is one million years old, then when we find a bone in similar gray matter in Africa so we say the bone is one million years old.}. There is a lot of assumptions with this type of dating and I don?t like assumptions, I like proof.

So when reading and a given object is stated to be one million years old or 2 billion years old, take it with a grain of salt.  If said object is 50,000 years or less, I believe, but Millions and Bullions of years adds up to a lot of assumptions when you dig for the actual dating facts which are based on reference which is based IN reference to an undoubtedly but questionable Old starting reference.

We can agree bees have been on this planet a long time.
Blessings

Yes, someone speaking my language!  Index fossil dating and non-carbon radiometric dating are the most universally accepted circular reasoning fallacies in the history of science!       
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2018, 07:28:52 pm »
Jim{Actually it is over 100 million years for the honey bee.}. Yes, Mr. Jim so say the paleontologist.

I got to wonder what some of those fello scientists were smoking.  I have faith in carbon dating, BONAFIDE accuracy to 50,000 years.

Now uranium with its supposedly 4.7 billion year half life is NUTS.  There is no bonafied science to prove this.  Uranium is all speculation calculated by graphing and mathematical models.  I want the proof, there is proof with carbon dating and it?s accuracy.

Beyond 50,000 years, archeologists look to rock patterns with assumed dates as a reference to grant a given PERIOD of time.  Also YOUNG RADIOISOTOPES, from atomic blast on Earth contaminate therefore cause error in dating very old samples.

Here is how dating very old stuff:  {Let us assume this gray Rock matter at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is one million years old, then when we find a bone in similar gray matter in Africa so we say the bone is one million years old.}. There is a lot of assumptions with this type of dating and I don?t like assumptions, I like proof.

So when reading and a given object is stated to be one million years old or 2 billion years old, take it with a grain of salt.  If said object is 50,000 years or less, I believe, but Millions and Bullions of years adds up to a lot of assumptions when you dig for the actual dating facts which are based on reference which is based IN reference to an undoubtedly but questionable Old starting reference.

We can agree bees have been on this planet a long time.
Blessings

Yes, someone speaking my language!  Index fossil dating and non-carbon radiometric dating are the most universally accepted circular reasoning fallacies in the history of science!     
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 beepro

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2018, 02:41:21 am »
This is my 6 season into beekeeping.  On my 3rd season I had to combine 2 hives into 1 in the early Spring when the mites were
crashing the hives.   So from my little experience, mine only lasted 3 season without any treatment.   Yes, it does depend on
the type of bees you keep.  And what strain of mite you have locally.   How mite resistant your bees are no matter what is the outside mite environment like.  All are dealt with within the hive itself. 

Offline little john

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2018, 05:07:03 am »

Quote
Topic: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa

One year, two years, or even three years?

Well, although with so many variables involved that question is impossible to answer with any certainty, nevertheless I think it's a good question to have asked - with the reality in practice for many beekeepers (but not all) tending to be between 2 and 3 years.  That assumes by 'untreated' one includes all forms of physical treatment, such as artificial brood breaks, removal and destruction of drones within drone-comb and so on ... as well as chemical treatments.

Year 1 is invariably trouble-free, as colony collapse from a Varroa infestation is essentially 'a numbers game' based upon the initial numbers of mites which then 'seed' a colony's future Varroa population.  Thus, in year 1 there will probably have been some significant disturbance which becomes reflected in the reduced number of mites initially present within a new colony - such as swarming, chemical or other treatment by a previous beekeeper, and so on ...

The 'best case' scenario is where a colony starts off the first season with Zero mites present, but then picks up a few - perhaps sometime towards the end of year 1.  Those few mites will duly overwinter to have a much 'earlier start' within year 2.  During year 2 that tiny mite population will follow behind the brood population numbers, increasing perhaps to several hundred (the actual number being anybody's guess).  There will undoubtedly be losses due to grooming, mites simply falling-off bees, and mites being spread to other colonies - with the remaining number of mites being insufficient to cause the colony's demise as it overwinters after year 2.
But year 3 may then start with a mite population of a hundred or more, which will be quite sufficient to build-up - again with mite numbers always following behind brood numbers - to a very serious infestation level towards the end of year 3. 

In the autumn (fall) of year 3 a cursory inspection will undoubtedly reveal a very powerful colony about to enter the winter period, only for a total colony collapse to then occur - the reason being that as the honeybee brood numbers declined in autumn, the number of mites had by that time peaked, with the colony's fate then being sealed, with the 'collapse' itself occurring slowly but inevitably during the winter period when the hive is closed-up and with those events thus being invisible to the beekeeper.  Then - come the spring of year 4 - the hive is opened, and - with great surprise and disbelief - discovered to be completely dead.
 
The 'worst case' scenario has a similar pattern, except that in year 1 the colony acquires a similar number of mites as seen at the start of year 2 of the above - and thus the timetable is advanced by one year - otherwise the story is identical.
LJ
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Offline Acebird

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2018, 10:03:52 am »
Package bees come from migratory pollinators.  If they are not treated prior to you receiving them they will already have a heavy mite load.  It is not unusual for a first year hive to have thousands of mites by the time August comes around.  That is why they perish in the first year.  If the queen was replaced or has some genetics that allow the worker bees to deal with the mites then the hive makes it to the second year.  A split is then required to curb swarming and to give a brood break to the split hive.  Left untreated the second season you could lose the parent hive in the fall.  It all depends on how well the colony can deal with mites.
Each year you continue to split, the split picks up more and more genetics from the drones in your area.  If you are not backed up to a commercial operator you stand a chance of acquiring local genetics that are surviving mites.  Three years is the most I would expect a purchased queen to last treated or not treated.  I have never heard of a commercial operator waiting that long.  Most do it every year or every other year.
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Offline little john

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2018, 11:57:29 am »
Package bees come from migratory pollinators. 

"Package bees" don't feature in the OP's question ...
LJ
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Online cao

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2018, 01:10:02 pm »
The 'best case' scenario is ....

I would argue that the best case senario would be that the bees build up in the first year enough to survive the winter.  The next spring they are strong enough to swarm.  Which if I understand correctly, that natural brood break would drop the mite levels to nothing or at least a managable level.  That summer they build back up for winter and the process continues year after year after year.  After all that is the goal of the bees(reproduction). 

The 'worst case' scenario ....

The beekeeper interferes too much with the bees and they die that first year. :wink:


Offline Acebird

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2018, 01:28:34 pm »
"Package bees" don't feature in the OP's question ...
LJ

How did you make that determination?
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Offline little john

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2018, 01:57:30 pm »
If we restrict ourselves to data taken from published research, then as can be seen in the following graph:




The 'best-case' - from a survival point-of-view - is to start the year (typically colony year 1 - or the first year of infestation) with 10 mites or fewer.  As can be seen from the graph (green line), providing the mite population is not increased during the season from outside (which would happen if a neighbouring failed, untreated colony is robbed-out by the subject colony) - over a typical season of 6 months the mite population never gets to reach 1000, which is considered to be the minimum threshold for colony demise. But - even if that mite population were to be reduced over winter, providing it doesn't drop below around 100, that population would then be sufficient to cause colony demise in the following year (yellow line).

I take your point about the interference (nice wink) - but I think here we're talking about zero beekeeper intervention ?  As in - "how long would a colony survive these days if left entirely to their own devices ?"  At least, that's how I read the OP.
LJ

BTW - graph taken from Marion Ellis's excellent talk: http://youtube .com/watch?v=q4WvPNmS7uc
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Offline gww

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2018, 03:11:32 pm »
If a coloney is left compleetly to its own devices, seeley says 8 years and still going.  Even if the question may seem to be left to their own device, it may really mean, left to thier own devices as far as mites are concerned.  There are plenty of studies on this that do not make three years the end result or 1000 mites the death threshold.  On an island of managed bees they were regularly living with over 40 percent mite threasholds.  There is a lot more to do with it then it only works one way.  Location, the bees, the virus load, etc etc.

There are bees and places where it also works just like LJ says.  You don't know with your bees untill they are tried.  When trying they may die just like they die in some places up to 80 percent even when treating.  There are alway exceptions to the rules on all sides.  There are studies on all sides.   The only way to know for sure where you are is to try and to adjust to what ever your bees tell you after trying.

LJ is correct on what the mite modles people have come up with but there are other factors that can effect those modles. 
Some of those factors are understood and some are not.

There is antidoltal evidence that people do better then that and are happy with the results they obtain.  Somebody else may look and say that I would not be happy with that.  It is probly not a good ideal to allow other people to decide what makes you happy.  I bought the only bees I have ever bought from a guy who has had bees for 20 years and does not treat for mites.  I was told that if I kept those bees like the guy I bought them from, I should have the same success he has.  The question then becomes and I happy with that level of success? 
It does not work the same every where cause you can not control all the external things that are around you.  LJ's advice is probly good more then not but is not the only advice for every place out there.  I may or may not be best where you are.  In the end, I still say you don't know till you try.

I am starting my third year.  I start it knowing and even expecting my bees to die.  They are alive right now and looking good.  If I was in seeleys forrest, I would be expecting some of the established hives to die but not all of them. 
Cheers
gww

Ps There is a need to get unstuck on some definition of what does treatment free mean and get more stuck on the definition of what does personal success mean.

Offline little john

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2018, 04:46:18 pm »
Another issue which appears never to be addressed is the comparison which people so frequently make between bacteria and their developed resistance to antibiotics - and the relationship between Varroa and the Honeybee which is one of parasitism and not bacterial disease.

If Adaptation by Natural Selection is to occur, then the mutated genotype must be expressed as an altered phenotype BEFORE the organism reproduces, in order that whatever beneficial changes have taken place within the genetic code may then be passed on to the next generation - thus enabling the organism to evolve (i.e. adapt permanently).

But nothing approaching this ever happens with the Varroa parasite.  If colony death were to be instantaneous the moment a Varroa mite entered the hive, then it might - but - even during a very serious infestation, provided that a handful of larvae can be reared as queens and drones respectively, then the original genetics will proceed onwards to form the next generation.  A completely different mechanism is involved, and so applying the logic of Adaption by means of Natural Selection in this case is flawed.
LJ
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Offline Beeboy01

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Re: How long will a hive last untreated for varroa
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2018, 05:36:45 pm »
My best so far has been six years without any mite treatment. The hive was "hot" and I expect had a lot of Africanized genes in it. It was also a lot more hygienic than the other hives. Didn't produce much honey but was always loaded with brood and threw small swarms which is another Africanized trait.
  Lost most of that blood line to a SHB invasion and only have one hive left that shows similar genetics. I use the hive as a brood producer for splits and building up weaker hives but really should requeen it this year.