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  • Varroa treatment

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #1282  by Chrisbarlow
 05 Nov 2018, 20:22
Beeblebrox wrote:
05 Nov 2018, 20:03
> what is popular in your area or indeed are you considering not treating at all?

I don't treat and most of the experienced beeks round me don't - IF you ask them. They tend to keep heir heads down on this as the pro-treatment lobby is so aggressive towards non-treaters.
Its surprising how many people around me that dont do an Autumn treatment I agree there, I dont think there is any aggressive thought towards "non-treaters" as you put it though. I personally treat and find far better overwintering rates. Its a case of what ever works for you.
 #1283  by Patrick
 05 Nov 2018, 23:19
Beeblebrox wrote:
05 Nov 2018, 20:03
> what is popular in your area or indeed are you considering not treating at all?

I don't treat and most of the experienced beeks round me don't - IF you ask them. They tend to keep heir heads down on this as the pro-treatment lobby is so aggressive towards non-treaters.
Hi Beeblebrox and welcome to the Forum.

That is interesting to hear. I am not surprised that some folk get exercised about variations from accepted normal practice. Beekeeping does attract some strongly held opinions - its nothing new (see Thomas Cowan, Herrod Hempsall, R.O.B. Manley et al and a few thousand others ...).

I am particularly interested that you mention that most of the experienced beekeepers around you don't treat. Around here it is the other way around. I saw a report a while back from an area on the Welsh borders I think which suggested most beekeepers there did not treat either.

The beekeepers around me that don't treat seem to lose their bees fairly consistently but that is not necessarily a causal link, it appears to be at or after year three generally. They are generally more "let alone" in their management so it could be other things as well.

Since none of us want to spend money on treatments unnecessarily nor treat bees with anything just for the sake of it, I am interested in what else they might or might not do instead - is it they just consider varroa no longer the big Bogey it once was?
 #1284  by NigelP
 06 Nov 2018, 08:12
Three years is about the norm for varroa killing a colony.
Honey yields are well down in non treated colonies. This was nicely demonstrated by the Avignon feral bees. These were feral non treated bees that were moved into hives in an apiary and studied for several generations. They treated half of the colonies with miticides and they brought in nearly 3x as much honey as the non treated. Non treatment costs you a fortune in lost income, but your bees survive...sort of.
Way I look at non treatment it's a b it like allowing tapeworms to flourish in all your cats and dogs....Good for the tapeworms, but bad for the hosts.
I like healthy bees not thriving varroa populations.
 #1285  by AdamD
 06 Nov 2018, 09:27
IF you are looking at bees as a means of generating income, then I can understand the need to treat all the time. If you are a hobby beekeeper and have just a few hives and do it for the fun rather than the income, it is still the case that to leave the bees untreated you risk colony mortality and in most cases beekeepers will want to treat in order to retain healthy colonies. Beeblebrox' post might indicate that "we" as beekeepers generally are overtreating. But who would take the risk if you see a colony that is suffering; do you leave it to die out so the only the strong, varroa tolerant, survive or do you treat in order to save your investment and to save the colony from being robbed out and passing the varroa to others?
If varroa sons breed with daughters as they do unless there is a heavy infestation when two varroa get sealed into a cell, is there a genetic mistake of inbreeding which will result in a 'weakening' of varroa over time?
 #1286  by Jim Norfolk
 06 Nov 2018, 13:43
The problem is not so much the Varroa but the viruses, notably DWV, which it transmits. Some strains of DWV are less virulent and bees can overwinter with Varroa untreated. Try that in an area with a virulent strain of DWV and the bees will dwindle over winter. They may die out or a weak colony may be left which is too small to build up and produce a decent honey crop. I used to be in an area where I very rarely saw a DWV bee in my colonies and feral colonies survived well for years. I did overwinter some colonies untreated. I have seen enough evidence of DWV in my current location to make me want to make sure Varroa numbers stay low and treated early with Apiguard. One colony now has an increasing daily Varroa drop, and I am about to give them an early blast of OA vapour.
 #1287  by NigelP
 06 Nov 2018, 13:44
AdamD wrote:
06 Nov 2018, 09:27
If varroa sons breed with daughters as they do unless there is a heavy infestation when two varroa get sealed into a cell, is there a genetic mistake of inbreeding which will result in a 'weakening' of varroa over time?
It's basically a brother sister mating and there is/was thought to be a distinct lack of genetic diversity in varroa. A recent https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5089174/suggest it's a bit more complex than that and small differences can be found in microsatellite DNA in varroa between apiaries, hives within apiaries and even in individual hives. This suggests there is a lot of movement and transmission of varroa between hives/apiaries etc. Robbing is possibly one of the main transmission methods of varroa from one weak hive to a strong hive. Plus add in drifting and moving a frame from one hive to another...etc.
Although I'm still intrigued by Seeley's video of a varroa on a flower hitching a ride back on a bee...He's yet to prove they jump ship on a flower and wait for another bee to come along to assist their spread.
 #1288  by AdamD
 06 Nov 2018, 19:59
An interesting study; thanks for posting the link Nigel - I skipped over the sciency bit and concentrated on the discussion and conclusions.
 #1289  by Patrick
 06 Nov 2018, 22:17
We are led to think limited genetic diversity is an inherent problem but different species seem to be variably susceptible and it is certainly not axiomatic that it will lead to their natural demise given enough time. Unfortunately.

Its an attractive idea that bees may become less susceptible to a novel pest over time. The problem is the speed of reproduction of bees via changing queens and hence any chance for adaption is achingly slow compared with varroa over the same period. Evidenced by their ability to quickly generate miticide resistance at a population level.
 #1296  by Steve (The Drone)
 09 Nov 2018, 07:00
I suppose that if we had stopped giving polio jabs then the human race may have become resistant to that awful scourge. Not a good idea! I for one will continue treating for verroa on a very regular basis and let them develop a resistance as they may.
Steve.
 #1297  by Hivelifter2
 09 Nov 2018, 09:42
I have a friend who has 3 colonies. When I asked about varroa treatment, he hadn't thought it necessary as there was not much of a drop on the boards.Persuaded him to do something about it. What to use in October was the next question.After due consideration Apivar was decided on mainly due to it not being temperature dependent. Result was one colony dropped thousands, of mites, more than practical to count.
The other two didn't drop anywhere near the same amount but enough to have been worthwhile treating. The difference would seem due to these two having swarmed in the summer so perhaps the brood break could be the reason for less varroa?
The other hive was a large colony which had not swarmed and would probably have been continually multiplying bees and varroa.
So, a good outcome and a treatment which appears to do the job. But.....the recommended time of six to ten weeks before removing the Apivar strips?? A long time, maybe giving the mites more time to think about resistance? If that's what they do. A bit different to, say, Oxalic trickle, one hit and gone. Any thoughts?
Will be interesting to see how (if) they come through the winter.