Thursday, March 3, 2016
A POST TO THE TREATMENT FREE Mite Farmers out there
: "The mites have gained the upper hand." Says Dr.Spivak, Randy Oliver writes more on BeeL
> > The treatment free crowd, as we know, creates a
> > reservoir for varroa to thrive and re-infest healthy
> > colonies. The live and let die approach is not
> > working, and varroa are a bigger problem than ever.
I have recently had the pleasure to hear Dr. Spivak, Dr. vanEngelsdorp, Dr.
Mussen, and two BIP tech team members speak (all independently and at
different venues than WAS) regarding the impact of "treatment free"
beekeepers upon the beekeeping community.
The essence of their messages matches the above summary. This is also the
overwhelming conclusion of most knowledgeable professional beekeepers.
> In her actual words: "The mites have gained the upper hand."
I don't recall her saying those specific words, but the most recent BIP
data clearly show that this is indeed appears to be the case across much of
the country. Mite levels this October, on average, are above the level at
which one would project good winter survival of colonies.
These experts are universally frustrated by beekeepers who continue to
blame colony mortality upon *anything* other than poor varroa management
(they are also clear that many colonies die from other, or contributing
factors, such as poor nutrition, starvation, other disease, or chemical
At two venues I heard well-spoken commercial beekeeper John Miller float
the notion of "national treatment weeks" in order to coordinate mite
management across the country.
My take on the situation is that there is a storm brewing. The life
preserver of the commercial beekeeping industry, amitraz, appears to be
finally starting to fail. And the monstrous growth of the number of
recreational beekeepers, the majority of whom erroneously think that they
are helping to "save the bee" by not treating colonies started from
commercial stocks, is creating a reservoir of varroa that threaten *all*
As I suggested in a recent presentation, there now seems to be a growing
conflict between bee-keepers and "mite farmers." I pity the poor bees.