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Author Topic: the myth ? of the mite bomb  (Read 1474 times)

Offline SiWolKe

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the myth ? of the mite bomb
« on: January 09, 2019, 02:36:00 am »
The most unnatural way to keep bees is to place the hives right next to each other.

This promotes diseases and drift and could have led to the opinion, there would be mite bombs and a domino effect in the apiary, on which one would have no influence.
The claim that a collapsing colony would spread mites and this effect could not be stopped, is not proven until today, because in the experiments the beehives were most likely placed directly next to each other.
So you could say that in a research configuration, for example having two beeyards, one treated, one tf, and the mite numbers compared, how can you say the tf beeyard produces more mites if only one or two colonies are susceptible and the mites drift into the neighbor hives with the bees? Most of this reseach is started with treated bees anyway, which are not mite resistant.

I've been examining this effect for a long time now, claiming that by spacing between the boxes (Seeley speaks of 5m having effects) entrance pointing in different directions and permanently installed robber screens and marking the entrances the drift can be severely restricted, avoiding mite bombs . Thus, even treatment beekeepers no longer have to worry about treatment-free working beekeepers in their neighborhood, if they would use the screens.

For this purpose, each of the beekeepers should maintain his apiaries, so that not several hives crash and are robbed at the same time.
And immediately clear away dead colonies.

In my eyes it?s always the best approach to work together to improve the situations than attacking each other. Much to learn from both sides.

This management could make tf beekeeping more sucessful in countries or areas where there are no ferals and there is a high density of hives.

Thoughts and comments? Please no tf versus t.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 06:35:24 am by SiWolKe »

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2019, 07:11:22 am »
Sounds logical and worth trying but in my case hard to do. I think adding robber screens would be ease to do, especially one with the top of toe screen wide open instead of a small hole.
I would have to build 30 some stands to put all of the hives on and place a lot of them out side of my electric fence. Most of the year, most of my bees are on a trailer and that makes this not doable.
For someone with just a few hives it is definitely doable and worth trying.

Jim

Offline Acebird

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2019, 08:31:20 am »
I think placing robber screens on a hive permanently is detrimental.  If mounted permanently robber bees would eventually find their way into a hive so their effect would be mitigated.  Secondly, it is bound to slow things down vs. having the entrance wide open in a heavy flow when robbing is unheard of.  I have never used a robber screen and placed hives inches apart.  The only hives that died in my apiary during the flying season were the ones that didn't produce a queen and I dumped them out.  Personally I don't believe in robber screens.  To me it is knee jerk reaction.  Simply close down the entrance so the colony can defend it.  As it grows it can defend a larger entrance.  This is one major advantage that a beekeeper can do for his/her bees.  Vary the entrance size as needed.  In nature the bees have to swarm or abscond to vary their living quarters.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2019, 08:50:44 am »
In my location hives crash in the winter when there are no bees flying.  About the only time I have losses in the summer is from pesticides.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Acebird

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 09:08:25 am »
In my location hives crash in the winter when there are no bees flying.
I was going to say that Michael but thought I would get too much flack from the mite bomb alarmist.
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Offline SiWolKe

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2019, 12:09:49 pm »
I think it is a fairy tale that you have more honey when you increase the entrances, because then more bees have to be turned off foraging to guard and ventilate.
Show me any research on that and I will believe it.
About the robber screens too. I monitored my hives and it makes a big difference, so big, some famous european beekeepers I know want to copy the management after I mailed my tablets.

In nature, there is no one who changes the entrances. It contradicts the practice of noninterference when you do it, Ace.

If the bees in the tree or building have too large entrances, these are often constricted, usually with honeycombs that are built across the larger knotholes, like a door, I've already seen it myself.
Or propolised.

Michael, I'm not talking about your enviable situation, you already have resistant bees. Anyway, thanks for chiming in.
I'm talking about the European situation where the bees usually die if they are untreated, and they die in summer. Mine are better, they die in winter , but I have resistant bred stock.

>>>....thought I would get too much flack from the mite bomb alarmist.<<<
please don?t provoke bad discussion. Thanks.

Sawdstmakr,  can you imagine arranging the boxes on your trailer so that the entrances point in different directions?

I am now cooperating with two Demeter beekeepers ( Demeter is an organic label) who want to work without treatments. They are commercials.
We as a forum group will have a meeting in april in bavaria. Tf and T Beekerpers visiting a tf beeyard and enjoying a barbecue. Hopefully without fights.


I collect ideas and am grateful for each one. They will ask me, what works and what`s in vain. I appreciate sawdstmakr`remark very much.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 12:21:28 pm by SiWolKe »

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 04:12:16 pm »
SiWolke,
Here are some pictures of my trailer from last year when I was adding supers.
There are up to 18 hives on this trailer and the space is tight. The trailer is 5 feet wide by 18 feet long.

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I have 2 of these trailers, this is the larger and heavier one.
Jim

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2019, 04:20:14 pm »
By the way, anyone planning on making a trailer like this, do not use a wheel jack. Here is a picture of the wheel that is less than 6 months old when I took this picture and the damage is just from sitting on the ground from all of the added honey weight. That is a 1500 pound jack. As soon as I can get the hives off this trailer I will bee making a new base out of 4 by 4  quarter inch steal.

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Jim
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 04:41:58 pm by sawdstmakr »

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2019, 01:52:29 am »
Ah, yes, you work on the bees from the passage in the middle.

Then you would stand in front of the entrances, if you align them in different directions. Very uncomfortable.

In that case I would label the entrances with geometric colored characters and point the screens openings upwards and downwards.

The one?s at the end can point backwards or forwards perhaps. Ot place the supers in between if you transport them separately.

Thanks for the pictures, that's great thinking.
Good luck with the new wheel jacks. Some heavy load but good harvest!

Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2019, 02:12:36 am »
My hives are two side by side. Entrances wide open all year long.
If one has a higher mite-count and the one on the side has lower, they don?t equal out over time. There is usually only a little drift, sometimes practically none. The entrances are about 2 inches apart.
The only time I get robbed hives is - as Ace said - "colonies" having a weak queen or none, which makes them a "non-colony".
The other oppurtunity for robber-bees is: sick bees.
Honey in the stores has nothing to do with robbing. Every hive has honey.

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2019, 02:49:38 am »
My hives are two side by side. Entrances wide open all year long.
If one has a higher mite-count and the one on the side has lower, they don?t equal out over time. There is usually only a little drift, sometimes practically none. The entrances are about 2 inches apart.
The only time I get robbed hives is - as Ace said - "colonies" having a weak queen or none, which makes them a "non-colony".
The other oppurtunity for robber-bees is: sick bees.
Honey in the stores has nothing to do with robbing. Every hive has honey.

That?s interesting! That means the mites stay mostly in the hives as long as there is no crash?
How do you place the other ones? Or do you only have two in one place? In a row, most people say the bees drift into the outer ones.

Yes, I agree, the honey is not the cause to rob, it?s the colony defense that weakens which makes it a target.

Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2019, 03:03:18 am »
At the moment I have 16 pallets of 2 colonies each at a yard. They are often set-up in a row just with space to walk between (I like to work from the side).
Most nucs are side by side, next ot each other. Sometimes 18 in a row. Even for mating. A large colony will stay large, a small will stay small, even if side by side.
Mites: I would say there is some drift, but not a lot. Nothing I have to take action for, I would say.

Sometimes a real jump in mites will occur. But not necessarily in all! If I was at the place and just could look at them every day! I would see which ones were out robbing. Because I would say a mite bomb did go off somewhere and not all the colonies took part in robbing.

I once - at my hobbyist setup near the house (well, still a walk up a steep hill) - saw heavy flying going on. I thought there was a flow again. But next day bees were lazy again. A week or two later mite count was UP. And not in all....

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2019, 04:00:48 am »
Because I would say a mite bomb did go off somewhere and not all the colonies took part in robbing.

I once - at my hobbyist setup near the house (well, still a walk up a steep hill) - saw heavy flying going on. I thought there was a flow again. But next day bees were lazy again. A week or two later mite count was UP. And not in all....

My first hive was treated in July 2014. 3 weeks later mite drop was 30 a day. they did not make it through winter.

I always scan the area to know how many beekeepers are around. So in January 2015 I found this neglected commercial nuc place. I think my bees robbed them, because I was inexperienced and they starved in august. A friend told me to feed and I did, but maybe too late. They robbed while feeding. When they died the stores were enormous. Mostly open nectar.

I called the bee inspector because the nucs had no adress on them. He told me it was someone who was too old to care for his bees anymore and just left them there. They took away the bees, 2 colonies were still alive. The others were devastated by wild pigs and woodpeckers.

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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2019, 04:29:52 am »
SiWolKe,
You are really lucky to have found them. Commercial beeks place their hives in the forest all around me in the spring for the Gallberry bloom every year. I know where a few of them are but most are hidden. I once asked a big commercial Beek if one of the clusters of hives were his and his answer was; if you can see them from the road, they are not mine. He then added if I were to go up in an airplane during the spring flow, I would see thousands of hives all around my farm.
I do know that the year that none of the commercial beeks placed hives on the gallberry, I made a lot of honey.
Jim

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2019, 04:53:38 am »
I like to walk my dogs for hours, when I have time, crossing the countryside. I am isolated with my tf project by 2.5km, but this could change every day, so I have to check.
Google maps mostly is to late showing the hives.

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What you say, sawdstmakr, means there is not enough flow for so many bees? I wonder how many hives an area can take.
I have planted two flow fields for my bees 2018 and the bees produced much more honey despite a very good flow in the environement.
Plus, the fields are not sprayed and I want to see if the bees are more healthy. This could mean fewer winter losses.

The fields were 2x400qm on 11 hives.

Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2019, 05:04:59 am »
that`s pretty much nothing to 11 hives, I would guess.
about 5 colonies per hectar (100 m x 100 m = 10000 sqm) for rape-seed, is a saying.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2019, 06:17:38 am »
SiWolKe,
The commercial beeks put 64 hives per location and usually 2 miles apart. The problem is that they usually do not account for other beeks around them doing the same thing because most of them are hidden. One of them is within 30 feet of my property and 2 others are less than a mile and on top of that I have 12 hives. These are the closest ones that I know of.  2 years ago, the closest one realized that the hives next to my property did not make much honey, same as mine, where as his other ones did. This past year he did not place them next to my place. Yea. I made a lot more honey.
Jim

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2019, 06:26:15 am »
SiWolKe,
The commercial beeks put 64 hives per location and usually 2 miles apart. The problem is that they usually do not account for other beeks around them doing the same thing because most of them are hidden. One of them is within 30 feet of my property and 2 others are less than a mile and on top of that I have 12 hives. These are the closest ones that I know of.  2 years ago, the closest one realized that the hives next to my property did not make much honey, same as mine, where as his other ones did. This past year he did not place them next to my place. Yea. I made a lot more honey.
Jim

That?s crazy. In such an environement I could forget about my tf beekeeping completely.
Good luck to you he learned the lesson.

What?s gallberries? Can you send a link?

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2019, 10:24:11 pm »
Here it is.
Gallberry Honey
Ilex Glabra

Gallberry honey is sourced from a small evergreen holly bush (also known as inkberry) that grows along the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast and produces a unique honey that is popular throughout the piney woods and swamps of southeast Florida.

It is desirable for the rich, elegant taste and is prized for its honeycomb. Its flavor is thick and aromatic, a perfect table honey, and also recommended for baking. Gallberry honey is known for its lack of granulation.

Gallberry honey is high in pollen and enzymes and therefore slow to crystallize. According to Florida beekeeper and National Honey Board member Doug McGinnis, this variety is a favored blending honey in Europe because it blends with other varietals and punches up the amount of diastase enzymes in the blend, preventing the honey from crystallizing even in cool temperatures. Gallberry is one of the highest honeys for diastase enzymes.

For a very short window of time every spring, from late April to early June, the bush blossoms with white flowers that drip nectar, providing beekeepers? with their only opportunity to make the amber colored honey. Ideal production, according to beekeepers, occurs when the gallberry bush has ?feet in water, head in sunshine.? As with any pure, single varietal honey, producing Gallberry honey takes the patience of an experienced artisan beekeeper because the bees must not be allowed to harvest nectar from any other flowering plant.

Unfortunately, this time-honored, local tradition is threatened by habitat loss to development throughout the area. Today, the untamed forests of the southeast where the plant is ubiquitous are rapidly being developed. Without this environment, the beekeepers of Southern Georgia and Northern Florida cannot continue to produce Gallberry honey. Doug McGinnis notes, that due ?to destruction of wetlands, it?s harder to find areas that produce lots of gallberry honey. When I was young, the ?galberry woods? were most abundant just north of here, from Bunnell, Florida to Palatka, Florida. Today that area is encompassed by the Palm Coast development. So, sustainable? Only as long as we preserve some of the wild lands left in Florida and Southern Georgia.?

Single variety honeys and their bee colonies have yet to be affected by colony collapse disorder. Still, this increasingly widespread and mysterious disease is a danger and could put small, artisan and single-variety beekeepers out of business or cause them to turn to less sustainable, market-driven practices.

By the way, gall means sour but the honey is not sour.
The berries that emerge are.
If you remember, Christ was offered Gall wine while he was on the cross. It was a very cheap wine made from a sour berry.
Jim

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: the myth ? of the mite bomb
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2019, 01:55:06 am »
Thank you!
It?s this plant family.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilex_aquifolium
I have them in my garden and yes, the bees love them.
They are protected by law if they grow in nature, because they are almost became extinct by the forest farming.

Wild growing here is the "Schneebeere", a very good plant for bees, blooming from june to september.
I planted 30 of them on my property.
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gew%C3%B6hnliche_Schneebeere

I wonder how much a diversity of pollen and nectar in the hive helps with health. If there is wild plant?s pollen around when bees breed winter bees, hopefully after migration or at the location if there is no migration done this could be a good thing.
Of pollen there is some reseach.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 02:05:09 am by SiWolKe »