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Thermosolar hive for control of Verroa

 
Liz Gattry
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Have any of you seen this? My husband showed this to me. We are still in the research phase of bee keeping. What are your thoughts?
 
David Livingston
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Other beekeeping sites I go on are all very sceptical plus it cost a lot of money .
Will it cook the bees ? Many of us believe that the inside of the hive is a special place full of pheromones etc and to introduce such a device is problematic.
My suggestion is that you look for a local beekeeper who raises there own bees NOT packages and buy some from him/her . Try using A Warré hive or similar .
You can make your own hives at a fraction of the price of this machine .

David
 
Liz Gattry
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Fair enough- but with a plain glass top and a thermometer wouldn't it be relatively simple to make something similar (obviously adjusting for temperature we wouldn't want it to go above?).

I know varroa is really problematic and I think it's an interesting control, especially since many of the acaricides (mite killers) being potentially toxic to the bees themselves as well as becoming less and less effective. :/
 
Burra Maluca
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My poor bees seem to spend quite enough time in the summer collecting water to cool their hives. I don't think I'd be comfortable increasing their workload.
 
David Livingston
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I personally believe that the acaricides are not potentially toxic they ARE toxic !
Its really about control . I trust my bees to control the temperature in their hive they have been bees a lot longer than me they know what they are doing .
Its like the bee dance , humans think they know how bees communicate by watching them dance and can work out things like when one bee is telling another where the best flowers are. However in the hive its dark so how can the other bees see the dance ? Scent ? Vibration ? We dont know really .
 
Liz Gattry
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So how do you control for varroa?
 
David Livingston
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I dont I let the bees do it .
Many beekeepers are rejecting the invasive techniques, the treatment and just letting the bees get on with it .
Also rejecting the use of packages , common I know in the USA , as doomed to failure .
The great Dr David Heaf on the subject

his web site http://warre.biobees.com/

See also http://www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org/#!blank-5/wzfzn
Micheal Bush


There are a number of Warré bee keepers in the San Fransisco area

David


 
Todd Parr
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I think that hive is very interesting, and I wouldn't think it would contribute to the mite problem the way chemical treatments would
 
Michael Cox
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Actually the thermosolar hive has the same fundamental issues as chemical treatments. When we artificially cull the varroa population - regardless of if it is chemical, mechanical, or in this case thermal - we disrupt the balance in the hive. This supports populations of bees with weak genetics and selects for mites which reproduce rapidly to expand their numbers again.

As with all other treatments for varroa, it benefits the individual hive in the short term, but at the expense of allowing natural selection to work effectively on the species as a whole.

It is much better to let nature take its course and breed from the bees that survive varroa, rather than prop up weak colonies. Many people are using these techniques successfully, and there is a very active facebook group of treatment free beekeepers.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/treatmentfreebeekeepers/
 
Todd Parr
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Michael Cox wrote:Actually the thermosolar hive has the same fundamental issues as chemical treatments. When we artificially cull the varroa population - regardless of if it is chemical, mechanical, or in this case thermal - we disrupt the balance in the hive. This supports populations of bees with weak genetics and selects for mites which reproduce rapidly to expand their numbers again.

As with all other treatments for varroa, it benefits the individual hive in the short term, but at the expense of allowing natural selection to work effectively on the species as a whole.

It is much better to let nature take its course and breed from the bees that survive varroa, rather than prop up weak colonies. Many people are using these techniques successfully, and there is a very active facebook group of treatment free beekeepers.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/treatmentfreebeekeepers/


While that is somewhat true, at least this type hive doesn't contribute to the problem of creating ever more chemical resistant mites. It also doesn't select for mites that "reproduce rapidly to expand their numbers" if it can actually kill 100% of the mites.

I personally don't treat my bees, but I also think there is the possibility that rather than evolving to the point of being able to overcome the mites, bees could just lose the battle with them. Nature doesn't care if the bees win, or the mites do. I know two bee keepers that live very near me. One treats, and he lost 2 hives of 800 this year. The other is a small beekeeper with 30 years experience who switched to treatment free this year. He lost all 12 of his hives to mites. Obviously, I'm hoping to establish bees that can survive without treatment, and without feeding. I handle my hives accordingly. One of my hives made it through their first winter and seems to be doing well so far this year. At the same time, I realize that "It is much better to let nature take its course..." is only true if we don't lose the honeybees while trying to do so.
 
Michael Cox
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Todd Parr wrote:
Michael Cox wrote:Actually the thermosolar hive has the same fundamental issues as chemical treatments. When we artificially cull the varroa population - regardless of if it is chemical, mechanical, or in this case thermal - we disrupt the balance in the hive. This supports populations of bees with weak genetics and selects for mites which reproduce rapidly to expand their numbers again.

As with all other treatments for varroa, it benefits the individual hive in the short term, but at the expense of allowing natural selection to work effectively on the species as a whole.

It is much better to let nature take its course and breed from the bees that survive varroa, rather than prop up weak colonies. Many people are using these techniques successfully, and there is a very active facebook group of treatment free beekeepers.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/treatmentfreebeekeepers/


While that is somewhat true, at least this type hive doesn't contribute to the problem of creating ever more chemical resistant mites. It also doesn't select for mites that "reproduce rapidly to expand their numbers" if it can actually kill 100% of the mites.

I personally don't treat my bees, but I also think there is the possibility that rather than evolving to the point of being able to overcome the mites, bees could just lose the battle with them. Nature doesn't care if the bees win, or the mites do. I know two bee keepers that live very near me. One treats, and he lost 2 hives of 800 this year. The other is a small beekeeper with 30 years experience who switched to treatment free this year. He lost all 12 of his hives to mites. Obviously, I'm hoping to establish bees that can survive without treatment, and without feeding. I handle my hives accordingly. One of my hives made it through their first winter and seems to be doing well so far this year. At the same time, I realize that "It is much better to let nature take its course..." is only true if we don't lose the honeybees while trying to do so.


It can't kill 100% of the mites. For a start some of the population of a hive are outside the colony on foragers or on drones at any one point. Even if it did manage to kill every mite within the structure of the hive, the colony would be immediately reinfected by mites drifting from other colonies. SO what selection pressure does this put on mites? Surely mites that spend more time outside of their host hive become selected for (to avoid the heat treatment, and to increase the chances of reinfecting a hive that is treated). The mites that drift into a newly cleansed colony then breed explosively... this is where the seletion for rapid breeding comes in.

And finally, why do you believe that varroa will wipe out bees? Historically this is not what has happened with other parasitic species that have made the jump to honey bees. Tracheal mites wiped out bee populations from about 1905 to 1925 in the UK - known at the time as Isle of Wight Disease. There were no treatments for Isle of Wight disease and by some estimates 95% of colonies were lost. The colonies that survived showed resistance to the mites and were bred from, such that now tracheal mites are an innocuous parasite cohabiting with bees that causes no problems.

Why hasn't varroa reached a similar equilibrium, given it has had more time to do so than it took for Isle of Wight disease to be beaten? Quite simply it is because we treated to save individual hives, rather than to selectively breed for bees with resistances.

In countries where treatments for varroa never became popular - for instance poor african nations - their bees suffered for a few years but varroa is now a non-issue for them. Some developed countries are now starting to catch up, but faced with an overwhelmingly large population of treated bees the progress is slow.
 
Todd Parr
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Michael Cox wrote:It can't kill 100% of the mites. For a start some of the population of a hive are outside the colony on foragers or on drones at any one point. Even if it did manage to kill every mite within the structure of the hive, the colony would be immediately reinfected by mites drifting from other colonies. SO what selection pressure does this put on mites? Surely mites that spend more time outside of their host hive become selected for (to avoid the heat treatment, and to increase the chances of reinfecting a hive that is treated). The mites that drift into a newly cleansed colony then breed explosively... this is where the seletion for rapid breeding comes in.

And finally, why do you believe that varroa will wipe out bees? Historically this is not what has happened with other parasitic species that have made the jump to honey bees. Tracheal mites wiped out bee populations from about 1905 to 1925 in the UK - known at the time as Isle of Wight Disease. There were no treatments for Isle of Wight disease and by some estimates 95% of colonies were lost. The colonies that survived showed resistance to the mites and were bred from, such that now tracheal mites are an innocuous parasite cohabiting with bees that causes no problems.

Why hasn't varroa reached a similar equilibrium, given it has had more time to do so than it took for Isle of Wight disease to be beaten? Quite simply it is because we treated to save individual hives, rather than to selectively breed for bees with resistances.

In countries where treatments for varroa never became popular - for instance poor african nations - their bees suffered for a few years but varroa is now a non-issue for them. Some developed countries are now starting to catch up, but faced with an overwhelmingly large population of treated bees the progress is slow.


I don't know whether it can kill 100% of the mites. They say they can, and I have no evidence either way. I also don't know that the colony would be immediately reinfected. I have one colony of bees and I live in a very rural area. The closest person I know that has bees is 10 or 12 miles from here. Are there wild bees close to me that are affected with mites? Maybe, maybe not. Even if it is a fact that my hive would be immediately reinfected, I don't think my hive is going to put much selection pressure on anything, no matter what I do.

I also never said I believe varroa will wipe out bees. I said I don't know which will overcome which. Neither do you and neither does anyone else. Obviously I'm hopeful that the bees will indeed adapt and overcome. That's one of the reasons I don't treat. Maybe you're right that the reason bees haven't adapted to these mites is because people treat them and prop up weak populations, and maybe you're wrong and if no one treated, honeybees would be extinct by now. No one can say with certainty. The only thing I can say is that if this hive kills varroa mites simply by heating the hive for a couple of hours and uses no chemicals and it has no harmful effects on the bees or the honey, I would be interested in trying it. I assume my friend that lost every hive to mites the first year he didn't treat might be interested too.
 
C. La Chassagne
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I think this new hive design is very interesting. At the same time, this here makes a lot of sense:

Michael Cox wrote:It is much better to let nature [natural selection] take its course and breed from the bees that survive varroa, rather than prop up weak colonies.
 
Liz Gattry
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I'm really glad I asked about this as I've learned a lot just reading the responses.

Being scientifically minded- if I have space in the future I may set up an equal number of these hives and Warre hives and just see how it goes for a few years. But then by that time we'd probably have more information on this and my question may have already been answered.
 
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