Bio Control for varroa mite?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by hlhart2001, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    ef, my friend, you and i are on the same page, i just said something from a different point of view, and what i meant by compromise, is bio control in and of itself is a compromise. i won't bore others with my personal thoughts on this cuz it really doesn't matter. i understand there is no way around it, and as you pointed out, there are many aspects of bio control that are or have been beneficial, very true. many have been beneficial, but many beneficial bio controls have created additional problems, or effects, and many have backfired, so i am skeptical. i have an open mind and am not rejecting anything.

    i do not treat my hives, and like you or tecumseh, i think we are doing more harm to our hives with the chemicals we are using to treat the mites with and we are 'killing' our bees and contaminating comb with these treatments. i am all ears on combating varroa with anything other than chemicals. right now my 'silver bullet' is the russian breed of bees, it works for me.

    one of the bio controls here in the midwest was to bring the asian beetle here to take care of the aphids on soybeans. yes they did take care of that, so as not to use pesticides on crops. here are the effects; the asian beetles have affected the native beetle population. all homeowners, typically in rural areas have to spray insecticide on their homes, outbuildings, garages, etc......to keep the swarms of them out, and keep them from hibernating in the walls, attics, etc of their homes. i can't tell you what a mess and a problem this is, not to mention the loss of beneficial insects that happen to land on the building that has been sprayed with insecticide. they are also pesky on my beehives particularly in the fall, and will swarm a sunlit hive. i had to make a very hard decision, and had my farmer stop planting the soybeans, because of the asian beetle swarms. what happened? the lack of forage for my honey bees on the soy bean flowers; this affected my honey crop, and more importantly, winter stores, but i still have the asian beetle swarms, and still have to treat to keep them out.

    i really was speaking from what apis clarified for me but didn't have the finesse to say....: "What River is cautioning about is knowing what the mite will attack after the Varroa have been defeated. Will they Jump to another host? They could be detrimental to another host that is beneficial in an area. It could cause problems to other ecosystems if they take up hosting on other beneficial mites. And this could change depending on geographical region."

    and from something i read that says what i didn't say very well:
    "Biological control can potentially have positive and negative effects on biodiversity. The most common problems with biological control occur via predation, parasitism, pathogenicity, competition, or other attacks on non-target species. Often a biological control agent is imported into an area to reduce the competitive advantage of an exotic species that has previously invaded or been introduced there, the aim being to thereby protect the existing native species and ecology. However the introduced control does not always target only the intended species; it can also target native species.

    in closing, check out this article, it goes to what we are discussing:

    CLASSICAL BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF ARTHROPODS
    IN THE 21 ST CENTURY
    M.S. Hoddle
    Department of Entomology, University of California,
    Riverside, California, U.S.A.


    it's a great article, and is fair handed about bio controls, the positive, the negative.
    page 7 and 8 outline failed bio controls
    check out page 11 for the conclusion:

    Invasive species of agricultural and conservation importance are going to provide continual targets for biological control programs. Due to this chronic problem and greater public awareness of a need for sustainable control practices, biological control will probably be considered and used more frequently as part of a management program. If humans are to be good stewards of this planet then active management of valued ecosystems is essential. The “hands off†approach to management of wilderness areas will not preserve them from invasive species, and biological control will be the least disruptive technology available to help preserve valued areas. Biological control projects should be carefully selected and conducted by trained professionals. Host specific natural enemies should be used, neo-classical biological control programs should be regarded warily and subjected to close scrutiny, and the legal or illegal movement of generalist natural enemies by individuals seeking quick fixes for environmental and agricultural problems must not be condoned. Furthermore, the “shotgun approach†which releases large numbers of different species of natural enemies increases the risks of generalists establishing as “environmental winnowing†will most likely select polyphagous agents that do not exhibit high host and habitat fidelity. These kinds of projects are seen as reckless and bring biological control into disrepute with ecologists and conservationists who should be considered supporters of biological control and proponents of the careful use natural enemies. Consequently, greater regulatory guidelines will probably be developed to mitigate adverse effects of biological control agents of arthropods and to provide criteria for selecting “safe†natural enemies for release. Applied biological control research continues to provide enormous and valuable datasets
    for the development of theory in population ecology and invasion biology. Our predecessors laid down the foundations of many of the theoretical concepts and experimental techniques that are still in use. Prof. Harry S. Smith an entomologist from Riverside, California, coined the phrase “biological control†(Smith, 1919), and later formally developed the concepts of density dependent and density independent mortality (Smith, 1935). Smith’s work influenced Nicholson who developed population dynamics models with Bailey, both of whom visited the University of California, Riverside Campus. G.C. Varley who spent a year in Smith’s lab as post-doctoral research developed the concept of delayed density dependence after leaving Riverside (Sawyer, 1996). Paul DeBach, a student of Smith’s made major experimental contributions towards evaluating natural enemy impact on target pest populations. Most notably DeBach used pesticide exclusion (i.e., removal of natural enemies with insecticides to demonstrate their regulatory effect), physical exclusion (i.e., the use of field cages to exclude natural enemy access to pest populations), and biological exclusion (i.e., the removal of ants to allow natural enemies access to honeydew producing pests). Current research efforts use similar experimental techniques and use refined theoretical concepts to build upon this historical foundation. Biological control is unreservedly an ally of agriculture and conservation in its attempts to reduce pesticide use, as a habitat management tool, and biological control presents itself as the only sustainable and cost effective technology for pest management when the risks from the “do nothing†approach are unacceptably high.


    research, research research......:grin:
     
  2. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    RB, we're smiling together and now, after proper clarification, undestand each other---we're saying the same thing with different emphases. :grin:
    And yes, the article by Hoddle is quite good, definitely worth reading from A to Z.
     

  3. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    This is very interesting reading, as I already use lady bugs on my hops field each spring as a natural insecticide against aphids.

    What is also interesting to me is that they say they don't overwinter in freezing soils, yet they are native to Canada...... Doesn't gel.
    One update said they have been shown to breed inside the hive. The original fact sheet I read said they will breed in just about any media, albeit normally found in friable soils.

    I know many of the crop scientists at Syngenta, as their USA headquarters are 3 miles from me, also my neighbor works for them as do a few of my brewing buddies, so will be asking some pointed questions tomorrow ..... And I also know a few greenhouse growers, so will ask if they use them already.

    Price wise they are cheap, $18 for a pint or 12,500 mites.
     
  4. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Glad to see you reactivating your participation in the forum, Zulu. I like your questions and look foward to reading the answers your "neighborly research" brings up.:thumbsup:
     
  5. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Thanks Ef

    i read the forum often but my life is upside down at present..... And only have time for very few pursuits.

    Bee keeping was a mess this last season with all the rain, and only 3 hives made it thro the summer, all survivor stock from iddee's friend, so will rebuild next spring with them.

    Message into two friends already on the subject.
     
  6. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I look forward to the results of this very interesting experiment. Since honeybees aren't even native to this country, we should do what we can to help them survive here.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Zulu, I hope one of the few persuits your are continuing with is the scouts. They'll bring you back to success with the hives
     
  8. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Yes it is , thanks

    have a few youngsters interested again so may do another full course starting January , with wooden ware etc in the workshop.
     
  9. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    So I got some basic feedback from the lead guy at Syngenta , who is now in contact with the expert in the UK.

    The Ca guy had no idea on use with bees , but was interested, so I will be forwarding him this thread. Will keep updating as I find out more.
     
  10. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Thanks for expanding the number of people who are in on this new developing potentiality. The more interest generated, the more likely there will be progress with this potential solution.
     
  11. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    I was hoping I would have news , but the lead guy in the UK has not been very forthcoming.

    ​Have not not given up yet.

    but also made contact with a PHD student doing other work on bees right here at home , and she expressed big interest. They have also just started AI on bees , to keep a certain VSH line they have purchased , clean. She promised more info over coffee, as I was at a beer meeting and too loud to talk in detail.
     
  12. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Keep plugging away at it Zulu. That's the only way to make sure that this potential biological agent will get its due research. Either one way or the other, finding out that this predatory mite can be used or finding out that it can't, the information is very important to all beekeepers, and I dare say, to an awful lot of people who are unknowingly effected by bees, their activities (=pollination) and their products.
     
  13. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    For clarification, I don't know squat about the varroa destructor mite. But in my scattered readings, I see that the mite was transferred to our country from Asia. What keeps the mite in check in Asia? Is it that their bees are resistant, or does it have a predator that keeps its numbers lower?
     
  14. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Not sure they have bees anymore, they just sell flavored sugar syrup....:grin:


    My connection is still working on some research for us, he gave me an update on the weekend.
     
  15. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    It also jumped sub species its origional host was apis cerana, that survived with the mite but is also an tropical climate bee.
    From Wikipedia.
    [h=2]Pests[/h] Apis cerana is the natural host to the mite Varroa jacobsoni and the parasite Nosema ceranae, both serious pests of the Western honey bee.[SUP][6][/SUP] Having coevolved with these parasites, A. cerana exhibits more careful grooming than A. mellifera, and thus has an effective defense mechanism against Varroa that keeps the mite from devastating colonies.
     
  16. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    Apisbees:

    Could we import Apis Cerana and use them to produce honey and other bee products? Just a thought.
     
  17. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Apis cerana is quite different than Apis mellifera in its general behavior and can't compete with our honey bee (mellifera) when it comes to producing honey. A cerana builds small colonies and absconds frequently. This behavior seems to be its method of co-existing with varroa---as the mite populations build up, the bee leaves its home and the mites in the cells are left behind. In the new location the mite is at a set back stage and has to start building up its populations again.
    Because of this behavior A. cerana has small hives and low honey yields.