Varroa Free?

Discussion in 'Organic Beekeeping' started by Bens-Bees, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Quick question, is it normal to be completely varroa free at this time of year? I was picking through the photos from my EOY inspection and although I haven't treated any of my hives, I can not spot a single mite in any of the pictures. Just wondering if that's normal (earlier in the year I was able to spot 2 or 3 per box, but not now)?
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I suspect varroa free may be a temporary delusional state.

    with the decrease in brood rearing you would think the level of varroa infestation should be waning.

    just as a bit of casual information how old is/are the hive(s) and do you still have drones?
     

  3. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    The hive came from a swarm early this spring (end of march), but in the summertime I did find a couple of mites, so it's not like they haven't been exposed to them yet. There are no drones now, they kicked the drones out several weeks ago.
     
  4. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    If I was a betting man, I'd bet, and win of course, that your bees have at least some mites. :D
     
  5. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Well they might have tracheal mites, but varroa show up very well in the photos I take (I started taking pictures of each side of each frame when I do inspections now because I can see things in the 10 Mpix pictures that I could never see in person, esp. through the veil), and like I said before, earlier in the year there were some in there.

    I'd post the pictures, but they're about 3 - 4 megabites each and if I shrink their size, they become pretty worthless for spotting mites.
     
  6. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    varroa is readily visible but with that said--with all the bees in a strong colony to have missed a few would not be crimminal--merely a product of too many bees to manually inspect. Now were you to say you handled and inspected each and every living bee and were varroa free that would be either the most impressive feat or lie either way not finding them with as you stated before declining brood and NO DRONES suspect is merely a seasonal decrease in varroa populations. :frustrated: :dash1: :ranting:
     
  7. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    HMMM never hear of hornets getting varroa wonder if they can be trained to gather honey--not honeybees :idea:
     
  8. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    If you want to manage hornets, knock yourself out. :chased: But as for me, I'm going to stick to my nice gentle honey bees. :D
     
  9. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    As a side note....you may not really want bees with NO mites. Bees not constantly exposed could lose their ability to deal with mites.

    Breeding or getting bees to a survivability point, is not about never having mites. It's about having them deal with the mites.

    If you had bees that never had mites, and then expose them to mites, you would probably be starting over.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    bjorn writes:
    If I was a betting man, I'd bet, and win of course, that your bees have at least some mites.

    tecumseh:
    my wager would be on bjorn.

    I see some folks post here and there that their bees are varroa free (or make some statement that this or that state apairy inspection service documents that their bees are varroa or trachael mite free) is really misconstructing what these kinds of 'health permits' really do and don't do. I am never certain when I see such a comment if the folks making such a claim are participating in a scam or are simply uninformed and/or inexperienced????

    even a causual look historically at how the various 'varroa' testing developed should convince almost anyone that no matter how you might decide to test or look for varroa the error term in the predictor is extemely large (and even for the folks trained directly in this kind of testing). as a novice (I am assuming here you are not a professional entomolgist) would you expect you error term to be less, equal to or greater than the professionals error term?
     
  11. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    If infact european honeybees ever were able to actually deal with Varroa, then the need for miticides would be a mute point. There would not exist a reason to procure it--the BEES would deal with it. Since we know that while SOME strains manage to avoid colony destruction while others totally fail is a fact of life--but also demonstrates that they really can not deal with the problem without assistance--low mite count is not the same as no mite count.
    Got it about continuing exposure to Varroa to maintain resistance to this pest, understand the concept--really I do but most european honeybees do not do well enough with Varroa to believe they won't need some assistance. Varroa in just another pest imported into US like traechial mites, yellow jackets, and european hornets. That NOTHING was done for first 5 - 8 years while these pests were establishing themselves into our enviroment and allowed to totally acclimate and dominate is our faults on many levels so is it not OUR reponsibility to cure what we caused. Unless my memory is that bad both Varroa and Traechial mites are of Asian origins perhaps there is where the answers are. :thumbsup:
     
  12. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    I know we talked about this before, when you first brought the idea of photographing each frame to us, but that's why visual and manual inspection is so valuable. And detecting varroa, especially their infestation ratio, by eye is a poor way to do it. Unless you are uncapping drone brood.

    Get yourself an empty mayonnaise jar, a small one, and a can of ether. Then you will find your mites.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    barry writes:
    Unless my memory is that bad both Varroa and Traechial mites are of Asian origins perhaps there is where the answers are.

    tecumseh:
    asia is a huge place. there is evidence that the european honey bee was exposed to trachael mites several times over the years. one of the more recent dna/genetic studies suggest that bees in southern europe may have been exposed over the eons to trachael mites and have therefore obtained some resistance to trachael mites. some of brother adam's reflection on England's initial exposure to trachael mites (the isle of wright disease) and the kind of bees that survived somewhat reinforces this notion.
     
  14. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Wouldn't have any this time of year to uncap.
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    how many folks caught the article in the American Bee Journal concerning the fellow who coined the 'Bond method... ie 'live and let die' strategy of dealing with varroa?

    some fairly useful/meaningful insights there.