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Chronic re invasion is a Myth?

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2 hours ago, David Yanke said:

Yes, Varroa destructor is a distinct species, but it originated as a mutant of Varroa jacobsoni less than 60 years ago.  And yes, it was Dennis who finally solved the puzzle, and differentiated between the 2 species- we can almost claim him as an honorary Kiwi because he spent a lot of time working for DSIR at Mt. Albert during the 80's, and a bit into the 90's, and a lot of beekeepers came to know him well, and enjoy his company.

 

 

Yes, Denis did early virus  surveys here in NZ. 

But you’re mistaken David  - the species that we know to be V. destructor has been around for longer than 60 years . . . as in separated as a species millions of years ago. It is not a ‘mutant’ of V. jacobsoni 

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2 hours ago, JohnF said:

 

Yes, Denis did early virus  surveys here in NZ. 

But you’re mistaken David  - the species that we know to be V. destructor has been around for longer than 60 years . . . as in separated as a species millions of years ago. It is not a ‘mutant’ of V. jacobsoni 

I stand corrected.  That just appeared to be what happened when beekeepers brought mellifera alongside cerana. Without the genetic tools we have now, there was no way to distinguish the species.  All that was known for sure was that jacobsoni could not reproduce on mellifera, and all of a sudden in 1960 it could, and a convenient explanation was the mutant jacobsoni, and that was accepted theory, until your modern genetic tools took all the fun out of it.  If destructor has been around in cerana for millions of years, it did an amazing job of avoiding mellifera until 1960.  So nothing until 1960, then virtual global distribution by 2000.

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9 hours ago, john berry said:

I never said I didn't want varoa tolerant bees. I merely said that perhaps we're better off financially with varoa than without.

I agree with David on the varoa destructor. My understanding is that it is a mutation.

How can we be better off with varroa than Without it  ?  It's a pain in the arse and cause of many a sleepless night, increased work load and decreased crop.

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7 hours ago, jamesc said:

How can we be better off with varroa than Without it  ?  It's a pain in the arse and cause of many a sleepless night, increased work load and decreased crop.

Pain in the asked- absolutely. Sleepless nights- had plenty of those. Increased workload- couldn't agree more.

Decreased crop- I would agree that varoa has caused a decrease in the hives productive ability but I'm not so sure that varoa has caused a drop in production.

Here is one example of an apiarys average production (including winter stores) I'm not going to say where it is for obvious reasons but it is an area that had very high numbers of feral hives.

Average yearly production for 10 years prior to varoa  63 kilograms per hive.

Average yearly production for 10 years  after varoa 103 kilograms per hive.

Nothing lasts forever of course and productivity in this apiary has dropped like a lead balloon thanks to corporate neighbours.

 

 

 

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@john berry varroa has turned bees from being a wild animal into a totally  domesticated one dependant on human management to survive .

There are advantages in that.

It is now theoretically possible to wipe out AFB .

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1 hour ago, john berry said:

Pain in the asked- absolutely. Sleepless nights- had plenty of those. Increased workload- couldn't agree more.

Decreased crop- I would agree that varoa has caused a decrease in the hives productive ability but I'm not so sure that varoa has caused a drop in production.

Here is one example of an apiarys average production (including winter stores) I'm not going to say where it is for obvious reasons but it is an area that had very high numbers of feral hives.

Average yearly production for 10 years prior to varoa  63 kilograms per hive.

Average yearly production for 10 years  after varoa 103 kilograms per hive.

Nothing lasts forever of course and productivity in this apiary has dropped like a lead balloon thanks to corporate neighbours.

 

 

 

John IMO what you have presented here are 2 ten year snapshots in history.
One must also factor in the reality that Varroa as a Hive pest is changing, so what might seem like a reasonable rationale now or then ,may be totally inappropriate in the future as Varroa changes, or at least as the effects of Varroa change at a faster rate than the Bees and or our management practices can adapt

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My personal feelings on varoa are that we should have destroyed every hive in the North Island when we had the chance . I think varoa is the biggest threat facing beekeeping full stop.

I was merely raising a point that varoa appears to have some financial benefit at least at the moment

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3 hours ago, john berry said:

 My personal feelings on varoa are that we should have destroyed every hive in the North Island when we had the chance . I think varoa is the biggest threat facing beekeeping full stop.

I was merely raising a point that varoa appears to have some financial benefit at least at the moment

Speaking as a south islander i Think that would have been a wonderful idea .

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this afternoon a couple of trucks picked up a whole lot of hives just off my boundary leaving behind an absolute assload of bees (and all the way down the road) so i cant help but think whatever problems they have could well become mine

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On 19/01/2019 at 5:46 PM, john berry said:

varoa is the biggest threat facing beekeeping full stop.

A beek called me today and said something like, "What can you tell me about these OA Staples"? "Whats with them"?

I assumed he had heard about them and wanted to know about how to get them  .

I was wrong, he already had them, having been given some last Spring by another Beek.
What he really wanted to know was, why do they work so well?

He used them in half his Hives and another treatment in the other half.
The resulting difference was such that he was at a complete loss to understand it.

Another Beek called today and spoke of an increasing decline in Hive productivity over the years.

He spoke about Hives that appeared to be OK, with plenty of Brood and good Queens but less Bees than he would expect and low production.
He also spoke of dead bees out front as a norm now
He used 3 synthetic treatments a season.
It will be interesting to see how his Hives go on Staples
Might be time to have a good look at the system John.

 

Edited by Philbee
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Been escaping honey in the hot sun , feeling like a someone, but riding without a shotgun ..... diesease checking and noticing varroa ...... hives treated with Bayvarol in the spring and collapsing now. Just in time with the staples. And I can confirm that even in a howling Nor'Wester - they don't call it Windwhistle for nothing - we were shaking nectar from the brood, albeit it very low moisture nectar.

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On 19/01/2019 at 5:46 PM, john berry said:

 

I was merely raising a point that varoa appears to have some financial benefit at least at the moment

Would it be fair to say the money spent on varroa treatments and all other associated costs , dead outs, patch ups and sick virus ridden colonies producing nothing ... far exceeds this “benefit” of more nectar available from zero ferals John? 

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4 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Been escaping honey in the hot sun , feeling like a someone, but riding without a shotgun ..... diesease checking and noticing varroa ...... hives treated with Bayvarol in the spring and collapsing now. Just in time with the staples. 

Aah but all may not be as it seems grandmaster... 

dem poor collapsing bees have raised dem poor winter bees that gotta raise dem poor new spring bees... ? 

 

That mite wheel keeps on turnin’

proud keeper keeps on yearnin’

Rollin .. rollin. .. rollin .. rollin,

rolling down the river .. 

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1 minute ago, Stoney said:

Aah but all may not be as it seems grandmaster... 

dem poor collapsing bees have raised dem poor winter bees that gotta raise dem poor new spring bees... ? 

 

That mite wheel keeps on turnin’

proud keeper keeps on yearnin’

Rollin .. rollin. .. rollin .. rollin,

rolling down the river .. 

Another freakin' poet ?

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On 19/01/2019 at 5:46 PM, john berry said:

My personal feelings on varoa are that we should have destroyed every hive in the North Island when we had the chance . I think varoa is the biggest threat facing beekeeping full stop.

I was merely raising a point that varoa appears to have some financial benefit at least at the moment

Quite a few years ago I took the "Soon to be missus" back to the Old Country to introduce her to the reli's.  Thankfully we got  out alive, and on the way home stopped off in the US. We hired a convertible and did a Tiki tour of some of my old haunts  ..... Reno where I lost my shirt ..... Chico which I loved to hate for long nights hauling bees out of Up I 5 and midnight feeds of massive steaks and orange juice washed down with a bottom less coffee to keep you awake , and the stunningly beautifull ghost towns out in the desert where the Gold and Silver miners chased dreams. And more importantly, I tracked down the shop where I bought my first pair of Cowboy boots, and replaced them.

And we visited my old Boss Wayne up in Shingletown  below Mt Shasta ,where we split bees out of the Almonds and caught queens in the snow with no gloves to slide into packages bound for Canada.

That was the year Varroa arrived in New Zealand.

Wayne liked his Budweiser and it got him into trouble down the local bar, and with his wife ..... quite often.  But him and his Dad were a fountain of knowledge.

 

"Jim" he said " That litttle varroa sucker has the potential  to wipe you out. If you have the chance, you need to nuke that critter before he gets you".

 

He was right. We had the opportunity to nail it. It would have been a painfull experience for those involved but in the big picture it would have saved the industry a gazillion dollars.

But of course, back then ..... Manuka was coming to the fore,  I was'nt so lippy in my opinion, and nobody in the industry had the balls to do it.

 

Edited by jamesc

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13 minutes ago, jamesc said:

He was right. We had the opportunity to nail it. It would have been a painfull experience for those involved but in the big picture it would have saved the industry a gazillion dollars.

But of course, back then ..... Manuka was coming to the fore,  I was'nt so lippy in my opinion, and nobody in the industry had the balls to do it.

But was it really possible to wipe it out?

Consider the cost versus the risk of failing.

The cost increases as the risk decreases in that to ensure all the NZ Hives were dead an extended Beeless period would be required to ensure that all the ferals were dead.
This Beeless period might have been 2-3 years and even then there would still be risk.

Could NZ have survived 3 seasons without Bees?

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Just now, Philbee said:

But was it really possible to wipe it out?

Consider the cost versus the risk of failing.

The cost increases as the risk decreases in that to ensure all the NZ Hives were dead an extended Beeless period would be required to ensure that all the ferals were dead.
This Beeless period might have been 2-3 years and even then there would still be risk.

Could NZ have survived 3 seasons without Bees?

If it had happened soon enough the south would have been fine.

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11 minutes ago, Philbee said:

But was it really possible to wipe it out?

Consider the cost versus the risk of failing.

The cost increases as the risk decreases in that to ensure all the NZ Hives were dead an extended Beeless period would be required to ensure that all the ferals were dead.
This Beeless period might have been 2-3 years and even then there would still be risk.

Could NZ have survived 3 seasons without Bees?

We had the technology ...... fipronil bait stations placed at 2k intervals in the infected areas..... southern bee keepers ready and willing to restock wiped out operations ...... and we never even tried.

Having said that, varroa was good for us ..... we sent truckloads of nucs north to beekepers who di'dnt know how to do it for themselves.

That's what really amused  me when we moved our operation accross the strait. The Bay of Plenty 'aint called that for nothing. It's a bee paradise .... so why the heck were we sending nucs up there  frrom Canterbury ?

But what ever ... it's all history now and thankfully we have Phils staples came to the rescue.

 

Edited by jamesc
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2 hours ago, Stoney said:

Would it be fair to say the money spent on varroa treatments and all other associated costs , dead outs, patch ups and sick virus ridden colonies producing nothing ... far exceeds this “benefit” of more nectar available from zero ferals John? 

I suspect it varies from apiary to apiary and I have not done an in-depth cost benefit analysis but a quick look at my records suggest that yes I am better off Financially because of varoa.

It might be pretty close though especially with the extra work involved. Another major benefit was the elimination of AMM from the scene although that gain has been largely lost both through carniolan (probably better than AMM) and just the sheer number of hives run by people with no idea what a good breeder looks like which has affected both production and temperament.I am seeing far more variation in production between hives in an apiary that I used to. There was always the odd dud but everything else tended to be full pretty much at the same time. I now see a lot more variation and I'm pretty sure it's not because some of them are so much better.

Bee genetics are complicated but if you always select for the best characteristics they do improve markedly over time.

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Anyway , here we are living with varroa, nucs we wrote off in the spring are finally graduating to big boxes..... and Spot the dog. Love is blind.

3B188456-9A10-4CDB-8926-12DE622CE271.jpeg

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Reminiscing of wiping varroa out is all well and good, but would  possibly only have  delayed the inevitable arrival of the second invasion. There is no doubt it would would have found its way across the oceans to our naive bees, again .

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So how come Australia is still free ...?

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9 minutes ago, M4tt said:

Reminiscing of wiping varroa out is all well and good, but would  possibly only have  delayed the inevitable arrival of the second invasion. There is no doubt it would would have found its way across the oceans to our naive bees, again .

Does this mean the current campaign to wipe out M bovis is a waste of effort ?

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7 minutes ago, yesbut said:

Does this mean the current campaign to wipe out M bovis is a waste of effort ?

The jury is still sitting.

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9 minutes ago, yesbut said:

Does this mean the current campaign to wipe out M bovis is a waste of effort ?

Hmmm. 

Its been holiday season .

The powers that be have a fairly long break and info doesn’t flow forth over that time so I wouldn’t know 

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