The Art & Adventure of Beekeeping was Oh, So Sweet beefore Mites, (BM). All guidelines were shattered upon entering this Era of After Mites, (AM) in the early 1990’s. The only consistency to beekeeping practices during this era has been change. Randy Oliver of ScientificBeekeeping.com fame details the severity of the two Symbiotic Parasites, Varroa Mites & Deformed Wing Virus, (DWV), in his article, Coevolution of the Honey Bee, Varroa Mite & Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). This article xplains the likeliness of Varroa’s permanent status within our Colonies, authenticated by Varroa's crafty propagating procedures, including the Mite’s Mutation during its short stay in the USA. Understanding that the Declaration of War to Varroa was unsuccessful, sheds Hope on finding alternative solutions, as we strive to find a balance with which our Bees can coexist with these Destructors, as did Apis Cerena in Asia!
Have a look at To Treat or Not, for a Heated Debate, or if viewing one platform from the other it appears to be a dichotomy as parts of the same mission, all intending to bee in the Bees best interest.
I now refer You back to Randy Oliver, "We now stand at a point in time in which our common beekeeping practices have become a self-perpetuating hindrance to the natural course of evolution of mite-resistant bees. With the impending failure of amitraz, commercial beekeepers are going to be forced to shift to a Plan B for varroa management.
If You Xperienced a Deadout in the Fall/Early Winter whereby the Girls Simply Vanished, leaving beehind Brood to die and Honey to bee Robbed out by Unsuspecting Opportunist Robber Bees, which, incidentally, will bee returning to their Home with Dye Packed Laced Loot, I sincerely Hope that You Read Meghan Milbrath’s Death by Varroa.
Dr. Milbrath is the Coordinator of the Michigan Pollinator Initiative @ Mich. State University. She also Manages 150 – 200 Colonies at Sand Hill Apiaries for Queen Rearing and Nuc Production, and will bee a Guest Speaker @ CCBA’s Annual Seminar on March 11, 2017.
If Death By Varroa has Played Out in your Apiary, You are not alone, and following Mark Winston’s counsel, All Beekeepers Must reanalyze All That We Do, Questioning Everything, Probing for the Root of the Problem. In Addressing the Root, You will fare Better than applying a Band Aid, more Sunscreen or Another Miticide!
Mites & Viruses are not the Root of ALL Problems Plaguing our Beeloved Honey Bees, yet by Keeping the Varroa Destructor Mites in Balance, many Viruses & other Ailments will Subside. We Must continue with Breeding from our Survivor Stock and Introduce Genetic Strains with Favorable Traits, (Hygenic Beehavior, Propolis Gatherers and Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH), arming our Bees to police themselves. But First, We Must heed Randy Oliver’s Diagnosis, "Since the essence of the problem is that so long as we keep replacing our varroa/DWV-killed colonies with fresh colonies from the same susceptible stocks (isn't that someone's definition of insanity), the situation is only going to get worse as the mite and the virus continue to evolve."
I invite you to read an article gleaned from PSBA’s newsletter on Nucs v Packages by Jeremy Barnes, with the support of Karen Roccasecca, State Apiarist.
I have had the Pleasure of Tending Honey Bees for nearly twice as long as I’ve been Dealing with Mites, and would much prefer NOT to have to Treat for Mites. No Doubt, all Beekeepers would rather not bee involved with Mite Treatments, yet the General Consensus among all the Speakers at Pennsylvania’s Winter Meetings was that as we are Restructuring all that we Know & Do, Timely & Responsible Treating is still a Wise Choice, as opposed to Losing Your Bees and with them the Genetic Strains that You have been Developing!
Consider This Scenario: It’s Fall and You are monitoring your Bees prepare for Winter. Your Bees are Looking Good, Glistening...
At Swarmbustin’ Honey we treat our Overwintered Hives in the Winter, whilst they are Broodless, with a Commercial Model Oxalic Acid Vaporizer. We beelieve that this Treatment is the Most Dynamic of all that We do to offset the Miteload, allowing us to begin The Bee Season with a neglible Mite Count. We monitor our Mite Count continuously, Shakin’ Sugar Rolls, every Visit, every Yard. When the Mite Count xceeds 2%, We Treat, beefore Symptoms Appear. This Reduces # of Treatments, therefore less resistance.
The Twofold Invasion of Varroa & Viruses is Huge, yet like Humans which can ward off Illnesses with a Strong Immune System, Honey Bees would have a defense, if only they were Healthy and supported by a Good Immune System, not compromised by Toxicity, which is rooted in Agribusiness & Apicultural Practices.
Randy Oliver delivers his Reader Friendly, yet thorough Breakdown on the Coevolution of the Honey Bee, Varroa Mite & Deformed Wing Virus (DWV), including the Varroa Mites Mutation.
Mark Antunes, beekeeper and auctioneer extraordinaire gave a talk on "WHAT YOU DO'T KNOW ABOUT YOUR PACKAGE MITE KILL THEM" He shared with us that he had his Beeginning Beekeepers that he was mentoring last Spring, treat their newly installed Packages with an Oxalic Acid Dribble. The Treatment was applied 7 days after the Queen was released, corresponding with an absence of Capped Brood. The Mite Count for 10 Days ranged from 4 to 174. Maryann Frazier, of PSU Fame, needed Clean Bees to use in one of their Studies, and so, as a precaution, they gave to the packages an Oxalic Wash. One Day Mite Kill Counts were in the mid 70’s to 80’s.
Randy Oliver, Commercial Beekeeper, Pollinator of Almonds, and Webmaster of ScientificBeekeeping.com fame is constantly giving up Fresh Findings accompanied with cross-references from World Renown Researchers. Oliver refers to Ingemar Fries and Scott Camazine as the Brightest Minds in Bee Research. Fries and Camazine beelieve that “in the case of Varroa, Apicultural Practices are Responsible for Maintaining Virulent Forms of the Parasite.
"You are what You Eat"
I’ve adopted and have illustrated with the following:
"You are Responsible for how You Feel"
and apply when,
Your diet has drifted from your Norm,
Sleep Patterns have been altered,
your Stress Levels have Spiked, or Reduced
Honey Bees are no different, although, I feel that as Beekeepers,
We are Responsible for How they Feel.
Look back on Mark Winston’s new paradigm, (highlighted on first page).
Rusty Burlew, monitor for The Honey Bee Suite, has a nice blog on Nutrition.
The USDA recently released findings supporting the need to improve the Nutritional Deficiency Plaguing our Honey Bees. The USDA’s awareness is Good, yet, in my opinion, their proposed Remedies are alluding to New & Improved Supplemental Formulations.
Have a Look at the last paragraph in the publication on Honey Bee Nutrition prepared by Deb Delaney and MAAREC, the Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium.
Honey bees are vulnerable to many of the insecticides used to control damaging pest species by fruit, vegetable, nut, and seed growers. Growers dependent on honey bees for the pollination of their crops. Protecting Honey Bees from Chemical Pesticides.
Have You any idea as to Why Beekeepers are Suing the EPA? Check out the Pollinator Stewardship Council’s analysis of the “new label.”
Promoting major changes to Agriculture and Beekeeping, Mark Winston has observed during his Educational Tours, that there is now recognition "that beekeepers’ interests and those of agriculture as it is practiced today are not necessarily compatible". Finding alliances with other organizations with allied values could create a considerably more effective coalition lobbying to shift agriculture in a direction healthier for bees.”
Having Vented in this section, the last section will bee Inspiring Hope, when You learn of all of the Collaborating already in motion…
BUT FIRST, Jeremy Barnes has composed a MUST READ, Rousing Analogy involving rodents and soldiers with PTSD that relate to the big (VERY big) picture.