I raised 5 frame nucleus hives in 2016 from Spring splits and allowed them to grow out to double boxes (ten frames). This year, besides using the Hopkins method of queen rearing, I’ll also be using the Coweta mindset and method (below) to make increase or to sustainably maintain a hive after the sale of a nucleus hive or queen. I always retain 5 frames with at least one frame of young larvae and notch the cells to raise a new queen as detailed in the following article.
Source: Coweta Sustainable Beekeeping Method by Steven Page
Coweta Sustainable Beekeeping
Most beekeepers are not sustainable; they purchase nucs or packages each spring to replace winter losses. This is expensive and prevents the creation of local, sustainable honey bee genetics. The true cost of a package or nuc can escalate when some die during the winter before producing any honey. If only half of these young colonies survive until next spring the cost per a nuc or package doubles.
A beekeeper with only a few hives may experience the disheartening loss of all their colonies. No honey will be harvested for a year and they must start over purchasing nucs or packages if they can find them.
The current or traditional methods that the beekeeping books teach do not account for the difficulties we experience. A book may teach Varroa mite control but not how to thrive in spite of Varroa. Most are teaching beekeeping from a time before the combined effects of:
· Varroa Mites
· Numerous diseases
· Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
· Small hive beetle
· Short lived queens
· High pesticide use
There has to be a better way.
If you have bees you can make more bees or more accurately, colonies can be used to make more colonies. All beekeepers have the resources in their colonies to become sustainable.
In the south, winter losses average one-third. During the summer make enough splits begin winter with one and a half times the number of colonies required for honey production in the spring. If six colonies are required for spring honey production, begin winter with ten. For example, begin the winter with six production hives and four nucs. After losing two production hives and two nucs during the winter, a 40 percent loss, the two remaining nucs are used to replace the dead colonies restoring production hives to six. There is no need to buy colonies because of winter losses. In May, splits can be started to replace the nucs bringing the total number of colonies up to ten again.
“Almost every emergency of management can be met by putting something into or taking something out of a nucleus, while nuclei themselves seldom present emergencies.” E. B. Wedmore, A Manual of Beekeeping
To read more of this article visit: Coweta Sustainable Beekeeping Method
Sitting inside thinking about the recent rains beating down on the hives, it occurs to me that I’ve not written about my experience using markers for writing on and identifying hives.
This may appear as an advertisement of some sort but I assure you it’s simply a suggestion for those that are tired of marking and numbering hives only to realize weeks or months later that your notes or numbers have long since faded away. I tried everything to simply number my hives so I could match up my notes with the hives. I tried permanent markers, sign markers, and every marker I tried let me down. It seems the sun and the weather is a lot more brutal and persistent that I realized.
At first I tried to use permanent Sharpies for labeling hives. They make a clear and nice looking mark for stencils and labels but they faded in sunlight lasting only a couple months in daily direct sunlight, rain, etc. I moved on to their marker designed for Signs (also designated permanent) with disappointing, similar results. Then my friend showed me a really permanent marker he uses to label his hunting equipment and other outdoor property. The trick to finding a really permanent outdoor marking pen is in the name. If it says SOLID marker then you are getting real paint and not ink. I can’t remember the name of the one my friend originally showed me but since that first Solid Marker Pen I have started using Deco Color ID: Solid Stick. The ID Solid Stick is the perfect paint marker for most surfaces and is thermal resistant to extreme temperatures from -10°C to 200°C. This paint stick is opaque, water proof, fade resistant, dries in 5-7 minutes, and can be used indoors or outdoors. Use it outside on glass, tires, concrete, garbage cans, street address identifiers, PVC Pipes and plastic tubing/sheeting and much more! Indoor uses include sporting gear, toys, bicycles, boots, pots and pans, ect. Available in 5 colors: Red, Yellow, Blue, Black and White. They are available at Hobby Lobby for under $5 which is a little more expensive than I’ve found online but worth the price. They are truly permanent it seems. I started using them two years ago numbering hives. Last year I started using the hive tops as my notebook making notes, writing dates, hive status, etc. and so far the numbering and writing looks the same as the day I first wrote on the hive covers. In fact, the paint pen is so permanent the only way to remove the marking is to paint over older notes. Truly a product that works.
Always eager to improve methods of hive assessment, I have now developed the non-invasive queenlessness test method, hereafter known as The Number 6 Method.
Step one: Suit up well. No, really well as in “rubber bands around your pant’s cuffs” well. An extra cap under your veil is also advised.
Step Two: Clear the yard of bystanders.
Step Three: Crank up your riding mower and proceed to cut a swath directly down the front of your hives at normal cutting speed. If the mower hits a stob or cuts off during this procedure be prepared to abandon ship.
Step Four: Do not stop but as you loop away from the hives take a brief glance at the front of the hives. If a hive appears to be swarming out the front entrance console yourself that they aren’t swarming.
Step Five: If this was the hive you suspected of being queenless, the final assessment should present itself almost instantly in the form of a cloud of 50 -100 bees now chasing you and your lawnmower.
Step Six: Feel good about not unduly disturbing the bees with invasive inspections to determine queenlessness. You deserve a pat on the back as you shift into Number 6 on the lawnmower’ s speed control. With any luck they won’t follow you more than 100 yards. Be amazed at how honey bees can stick to your veil like Velcro.
Step Seven: Properly performed, this test should be conducted at the end of your beekeeping day. Returning to the bee yard sooner that 12 hours is not advised.
Embarrassing as it is, the above is based on a true story.
Below is a nice enticement to appreciating the art in The Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlink and illustrated by E.J. Detmold. The text can be read online here: The Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlink. And more on the illustrator at: Edward Julius Detmold
The Life of The Bee by Maurice Maeterlinck
(Translated by Alfred Sutro)
Illustrated by E J Detmold
George Allen & Co Ltd
Illustrated edition 1911
The Life of The Bee by Maurice Maeterlinck is a wonderfully eccentric book written in a variety of genres. It is informed by the author’s years of experience studying the complex behaviour of bees. Yet this intricate factual account is suffused with epic drama and wildly poetic philosophical digressions.
Maeterlinck, in telling the story of the bee, explores the subjects of life, death, truth, nature, humanity, and everything in between.
The story of the bee becomes almost a mystic parable to describe all human experience. It has the added charm of being one of the most beautifully illustrated books in our collection. Edward Detmold’s paintings perfectly reflect the sentiment and beauty of the writing.
Below I have gathered together some of Detmold’s illustrations and selected a few memorable passages from the chapter entitled, ‘ The Nuptial Flight’ which presents the tragic sex life of the heroic male bee. I hope you enjoy them.
‘Most creatures have a vague belief that a very precarious hazard, a kind of transparent membrane, divides death from love and that the profound idea of Nature demands that the giver of life should die at the point of giving. Here this idea, whose memory lingers still over the kisses of man, is realised in its primal simplicity. No sooner has the union been accomplished than the male’s abdomen opens, the organ detaches itself, dragging with it the mass of the entrail, the wings relax, and, as though struck by lightning , the emptied body turns on itself and sinks into the abyss.’
(Part V THE NUPTIAL FLIGHT 87 –page 166)
‘Nor does the new bride , indeed, show more concern than her people, (for the poor male Bee ) there being no room for many emotions in her narrow, barbarous, practical brain. She has but one thought, which is to rid herself of as quickly as possible of the embarrassing souveniers her consort has left her,…She seats herself on the threshold, and carefully strips off the useless organs…’
(Part V THE NUPTIAL FLIGHT 89 –page 173)
‘Prodigious nuptials these, the most fairy-like that can be conceived, azure and tragic , raised high above life by the impetus of desire; imperishable and terrible, unique and bewildering, solitary and infinite. An admirable ecstasy, wherein death, supervening in all that our sphere has of most limpid and loveliest, in virginal, limitless space, stamps the instant of happiness on the sublime transparence of the great sky;…’
(Part V THE NUPTIAL FLIGHT 90 –page 174)
Alright, so the title is a little cheesy. But the question does remain. Where would we be without bees?
The gardens of my childhood were filled with bees. Hot summer afternoons in gardens buzzing with their industry. Lying on our backs in the clover, we marvelled at their meandering flight paths, little back legs bundled with yellow pollen. Our raids on the strawberry patch were more deliciously dangerous for the possibility of being stung. When the inevitable happened we endured the pain of having the sting carefully scraped from throbbing limb with a knife. A paste of bicarbonate of soda and water slathered on the wound followed, to soothe the sting. After which we suffered a parental lecture about the poor bee losing its life as a consequence of our carelessness, since they die shortly after delivering that venomous barb.
And honey sandwiches! Who could forget the real honey of our childhoods?
Ahh, those idyllic bee-ful days of my childhood!
A dear friend started me on this path down memory lane recently when she suggested I look at the important role bees play in plant fertilisation.
So, where are they now? What’s going on? Even Spring in my tiny garden doesn’t deliver on the childhood promise of swarms of bees, nor butterflies for that matter, but that’s for another post. Why does it matter?
Bees and fertilization
It matters because bees are prolific pollinators, playing a huge role in the fertilisation of flowers, vegetables and other food crops. I’m sure I’m not telling you something you don’t already know.
But did you know that European honey bees (Apis mellifera) [introduced to Australia around 1822] are incredibly productive? A single colony can easily contain 10,000-60,000 working bees. Each female worker lives for roughly a month and is so effective at pollination that she may forage more than 500 flowers in a round trip. A single bee may range as far as 10km in the search for pollen and nectar. No wonder they say ‘as busy as a bee!’
Furthermore, the familiar European honey bee is not the only kid on the fertilisation block. More recently, attention is being drawn to our native Australian bees. I discovered to my amazement that in Australia we have over 1,600 species of native bee with endearing names like the Teddy Bear and Blue Banded bee, some of which I’ve seen around our local park Callistemons or Bottlebrush (below). They’re an important pollinator for our unique flora.
Increasingly our native bees, like the stingless varieties (genera Tetragonula – previously called Trigona – and Austroplebeia), are also proving to be valuable pollinators of crops such as macadamias, mangos, watermelons and lychees . Their impressive effectiveness as pollinators has even seen them employed by pollination services for commercial growers of these crops. Some native bees have the added advantage of being ‘buzz pollinators’ whereby the vibration of their wings facilitates fertilisation, a feat almost impossible for honey bees.
What’s the reason for the global bee decline?
It appears there’s not one single factor. Dr Les Davies, Chief Regulatory Scientist from APVMA, suggests ‘mutiple interacting pressures which may include habitat loss and disappearance of floral resources, honeybee nutrition, climate change, bee pests and pathogens [like Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which has wiped out millions of bees in North America], miticides and other chemicals intentionally used in hives and bee husbandry practices, as well as agricultural pesticides,’ are possible factors in the decline of bees. He makes a strong case for being informed about what we spray on our gardens [if this is a path we choose], advocating ‘a need to ensure that a range of regulatory, industry stewardship and educational measures are in place,’ to reduce the risks from pesticides.
My role as a gardener
We all have a stake in maintaining our bio system. When it comes to ‘bee-ing’ a successful gardener, a bit of research has turned up a number of ways I can contribute. It makes sense to plant any garden with bees in mind. A mix of flowers among the vegies will ensure bees are attracted to the garden and will do their bit to ensure bountiful fruit and vegetable crops.
I will be even more mindful of using chemicals in the garden after reading up on bees. While I’ve always preferred natural pest control, heeding Dr Davies’ advice of being more informed about the sprays, fungicides and other chemical products for garden use seems crucial. Especially given I consume the crops I grow, along with a variety of other insects and useful micro organisms who dine on my garden.
“If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.”
― Maurice Maeterlinck,
Read more at http://www.yates.com.au/healthy-gardens-need-healthy-bees/#r6Wma0Yg8TwPdexW.99
The travesty of imported honey http://www.tastyhoney.com/blog/honey/australian-honey-imports-from-china-hit-new-record-high/
How to attract bees http://www.yates.com.au/healthy-gardens-need-healthy-bees/#lwW0XsGMCMLsLbz9.97
Honeybee Research http://www.rirdc.gov.au/research-programs/animal-industries/honeybee
Medicinal Benefits of Honey http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/02/14/3689565.htm
Bee Biology Research
School kids need a new lesson about royal jelly.
The kids in the Grade 5 classroom knew all about royal jelly.
“The bees feed it to their babies and they turn into queens.”
And so it is. We think. Royal jelly – countless journal articles (and Wikipedia) tell us – stimulates the latent she-ness in a female larva. It removes her from a future life of weary drudgery as a worker destined to live six short weeks, then die wedged between some dusty stigma and anther. Royal jelly gives the lucky larva a future life as a queen employed in monotonous drudgery as an egg-laying machine destined to deposit progeny for three years in a crowded dark den, then die in a palace coup. There’s not much of an advantage in the queen’s life. But it’s longer. And there must be a crown or something that comes with the job.
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A few years ago I attended a presentation given by Florida Agricultural “Hall of Fame,” 3rd generation beekeeper, and now retired Chief Apiary Inspector Lawrence Cutts at the 2013 South Carolina Beekeepers Conference.
The audience groaned as he described all the negative parts of beekeeping: the viruses, mites, increased costs, various diseases. After each lengthy, gruesome description of a malady he raised his voice and proclaimed,
“Never before, in all my years, have I been so excited to be a beekeeper.”
Finally, after much more deliberation, he gave up the punchline: “Why be excited? Because never before in all my life has beekeeping enjoyed the attention it is getting today in the media and public eye.”
The point being, beekeepers are enjoying the attention and support as never before. Beekeeping organizations on all levels are being gifted with a wonderful resource of an ever increasing number of enthusiastic beginners eager to take on the tasks of learning both the science and the art of beekeeping. It is, indeed, an exciting time to be a beekeeper. Clubs and associations have won the lottery with the influx of excited newcomers and the many talents they bring to our organizations.
Can we as local and state organizations meet the needs of these beginning beekeepers and move them towards success in their new interest? Talking with some of our older association members, I’ve learned that at one time interest in local beekeeping was much less than seen today. Meetings were small enough they could be held in any small group room, and sometimes a beginner came. In those days a mentor usually coupled with a beginner and taught them the basics. I looked into this mentoring model of teaching and discovered that it wasn’t uncommon for a new beekeeper to visit the mentor’s bee yard for a season before getting their own bees. And once the mentee received their bees, either through a spring split or swarm the next year, they may have left them at the mentor’s bee yard to work in the presence of the mentor with appropriate guidance.
Times change and nowadays we find ourselves needing ever more mentors to serve our new members. Ironically, as pointed out by Lawrence Cutts, the new beekeeper today has been drawn to a hobby that has increased in difficulty due to an increase in pests, chemicals, lack of forage areas, and increased costs.
Simply stated the job of mentoring is getting bigger and bigger, beekeeping is ever more complex, and new beekeepers are joining and needing our support more than ever before. While periodically refreshing and increasing our mentor lists is a good and worthwhile goal, the need for mentors is outpacing the supply.
To complicate matters, not only has there been in increase in beginning beekeepers, most new beekeepers wish to start their own hives at their homes. I do find the occasional member that started by visiting a mentor’s bee yard for their first year but that now seems to be the exception to the rule.
This mentee/mentor dilemma needs a better solution and there is one available.
In part two of this series I’ll offer my thoughts on what mentors can do to assist our new beekeepers and newest members. In part three, I’ll discuss what your club is doing to help you succeed. But since spring, package sales, and classes are upon us I decided to first focus my attention on the new beekeeper and their role in getting themselves through that first year in the learning process involved in beekeeping.
Surfing the web, and various discussion boards, the prospective beekeeper looking for advice is repeatedly told, 1) join a club and 2) get a mentor. That’s pretty good advice but it falls short. Joining a club is great but sending in your $10 won’t get you any closer to becoming a better beekeeper. And just finding a mentor won’t either unless he’s a good friend or neighbor that’s willing to swap lessons for apple pies. First of all, most experienced beekeepers have bees to take care of also, limited free time like most, and finding one that is close enough and willing to teach a new beekeeper may be a challenge – finding one that has the heart and willingness to make home visits is GOLD.
I’m going to suggest a new angle towards getting the new, prospective beekeeper everything they need to find success in this challenging mix of science and art we call beekeeping.
- The new beekeeper should find a local club or association and start attending meetings. Your goal is to see if the club is a fit for you. Are meetings educational? If you don’t feel it’s a good fit then look elsewhere for a club that fits you.
- Start your search for a good beginning beekeeper class. Half-day or single day classes are good for determining if beekeeping is something you’d like to learn. Better introductory beekeeping classes span multiple evenings or weekends and offer Certified testing. If your local club doesn’t offer one, look for a class at the next closest club. Attend their meetings too. The drive may be worthwhile.
- Sign up and take the next beginning beekeeper class offered. Read the handouts; read the book. Don’t be satisfied to be spoon fed the information and don’t limit yourself to only the information in the class. Consider this class your foot in the door, your introduction, the beginning of your adventure.
- Visit your local library and check out books on beekeeping. You will find some entertaining, some are scientific, and some are histories. Read all that you find helpful.
- Decide right now that coming to monthly meetings is an important part of your continuing beekeeping education. Miss one at your own risk. Many club meeting topics follow the bee’s annual cycle through the seasons. Important things to do and observe are discussed at meetings. The meeting you miss may be the one that offers the information you needed to hear that month.
- Volunteer for club activities. If your club offers community outreach at festivals and events talk to your club’s event coordinator. Volunteer to work with someone else “talking bees” with the public. If you took the beginning beekeeper class you know 100% more than the general population. Listen to the experienced volunteer you are paired with and learn from them. Talk with them during breaks. If you enjoy speaking to children there is real need to visit with elementary classes. Senior centers also appreciate visits and often contact clubs to schedule brief talks.
- Watch your bees. Even if you aren’t going inside the hive. Get a chair and sit and watch them coming and going. Soak it in. At first you’ll not have anything to compare their coming and going with. As the seasons progress, nectar flows begin and end, temperatures change, their behavior will change as well. Soon you will notice subtle changes in their behavior on the landing board. With time you’ll know when something’s wrong and needs further inspection – just by watching them.
- If your club has social events like pre meeting dinners, occasional social events, or days in the bee yard, attend them. Beekeepers tend to want to talk about bees – exhaustively. Only other beekeepers want to talk about it as much as you will. You will learn a lot talking with others at these events.
- Find a bee buddy. A bee buddy may be another first year beekeeper in your neighborhood or a second year beekeeper that lives close by. Your bee buddy is the one you call when your hive swarms and you need to borrow a box. A bee buddy is someone to visit and look at their hives; they come over and look at yours too. Bee buddies show you how to do new things with your bees. Find a bee buddy at meetings, events, or during meeting fellowship time.
- Enter your hives as often as is prudent. During some seasons the bees are docile and tolerant of your intrusions. In the spring visit them often – even every week. When you enter the hive go in with an idea of what you wish to accomplish in mind. What do you want to observe? The first few times you will be so filled with excitement you’ll forget to look for those things you set as your goal. That’s okay, look on your next visit. There are other seasons when the bees are best left alone such as when they are arranging and securing their winter home or during colder months. Take every opportunity to observe them.
- Join your club’s online discussion group if it has one. You’ll find quick answers to questions you have. Often a photo and description to the group will result in helpful responses or allay your anxiety about something you’ve never seen before. If you do have an emergency often a club member can swing by after work and take a look. Both girls and guys participate in forums and sometimes you find that you’re neighbors!
- Read your club’s newsletter. Local happenings are listed. Important dates too. Sale ads and articles of interest as well as your clubs minutes and scheduled speakers and topics keep you informed. Often the club will have an article directly related to seasonal beekeeping letting you know what to observe and do in your hives that month.
- Attend local educational offerings. Some clubs bring in out-of-town speakers for special topics of interest. Other times clubs or local beekeepers offer day classes on specific topics of interest: Queen rearing, Moving hives, Making Splits, Africanized bees, oh my!
- Attend state conferences. Even if you can’t stay for two and a half days at least go for a single day. The information you hear will be from the scholars in bee research around the country. They have a knack for breaking it down for us simple beekeepers though so it all works out. Have lunch with fellow beekeepers. If you overnight, find out where your club or neighboring club will be having dinner and socialize. Carpool with your bee buddy. Hang out in the hotel lobby and talk bees until late.
- Placed last because you may never need it if you’re working all of the above. Visit your club’s mentor list and find a mentor close to you. Preferably one that also attends meetings. Sit with them, or watch and listen to them teach at the front of the room. If you don’t understand something ask after the meeting. Offer to help your mentor do hard work like pulling supers, rotating boxes, or extracting honey. Tell them you’ll gladly help with their next swarm retrieval. Ask them tough questions that show your enthusiasm and that you’re making every effort to learn. If they know you’re dedicated to learning, attending, and making an effort it makes all the difference in the world.
In the end it’s all about learning about bees, their biology, behavior, and management. Along with that come the seasons, foliage, the bees’ cousins, and foes. Today’s prospective beekeeper has more resources that ever before: face to face education, fellowship, books, YouTube videos, discussion groups, community outreach, conferences, and more. Take advantage of every offering available and you will succeed. Now, get to a meeting!
Caught in the middle with bees!
Starting out, the first two or three years, it seems easier, safer, and more financially prudent to simply buy queens from the local association prior to making spring splits. If you have 2 or 3 hives that need splitting it’s not too costly and ensures a greater degree of success to buy the queens and make splits installing the purchased queens. It almost always results in a good outcome.
Then, if your bee fever grows, you begin to have more colonies and the check for those queens adds up to serious cash – cash better saved for other beekeeping toys. Additionally, aren’t we suppose to be selecting breeding stock and rearing our own queens that survive our climate and the mites? Plus, raising my own allows me to drop that cool word, “sustainable.”
I’ve been resistant to rearing my own queens for the past couple years although I know I should have been doing so. I’m not quite sure if I’m just lazy, busy with other bee projects, afraid of failure, or just not interested in queen rearing. But, at last, it’s time.
I’m not sure if my eyes are good enough anymore for grafting. I thought about buying some of those jeweler’s or watchmaker’s glasses. But then I’d also be buying more dedicated queen rearing equipment as well. Cell punching helps and I’m waiting for a class which may convince me to adopt a simple grafting method. Regardless, most all the grafting methods neccessitate multiple boxes, transfers, more bee stuff and can be a bit pricey. Simplier (non grafting) equipment like the Nicot or Jenter systems are also costly.
On the other extreme is the walkaway split, making sure the queenless split has larvae of appropriate age and allowing the bees to make an emergency queen. Additional methods of cell crushing can be added to improve the outcome but making multiple walkaway splits is a bit scary – what if half of them don’t make it? I’m a little OCD and looking for a little more control and perhaps even better outcome.
So, remembering the low tech methods of our forefathers, and with a mind to keeping costs at a minimum, I decided on using one of the throwbacks like the Miller or Hopkins methods. A mentor once suggested the Hopkins method to me and it sounds easy enough and promises to raise more queens than I’ll need. Basically it involves taking a frame of appropriately aged larvae and placing it horizontally over a densely populated queenless split. It’s low risk as well, if all goes poorly, such as a sudden change in the weather, the worst that can happen is I re-unite that split with their parent colony. So that’s what I’ve decided to attempt this year. Another adventure in beekeeping! Above are pictures of the 2″ shim I’ll be using to place the frame over the colony. Also a link below if you’re interested in reading more about the Hopkins method of queen rearing.
The rule of 72 and mite control.
The rule of 72 is a financial rule of thumb that says that 72 divided by an interest rate will tell you how long it takes for any given amount of money to double.
There are a lot of factors involved but this is also true with many other things in life. For example, we could determine a similar calculation for mites in honey bee hives.
How is this relevant? The relevance is in the doubling effect. A financial planner will tell you to start saving early for this reason. No matter how much, or little, it matters to start early. Why? To get more doublings.
Your first year’s savings may take 7 years to double. That may be doubling from $1000 to $2000. Not much in the big picture of retirement, huh? But remember there’s another $1000 you saved the year after your first. And so it goes. Compounding takes effect and the total grows.
In ten years you might have$15,000. That $15,000 doubles in another 7 years plus any additional you added. By the second doubling you’ll start to see an effect.
So, here’s the kicker. By the time you actually are ready to retire say you have $500,000. That’s great but what if you had started 7 years earlier? Think about this. The answer is you’d have another doubling in the equation. That’s right, $1,000,000. The big One Million. Or an additional $500,000 in just seven years.
And to the point of this post. A mite population has a rule of 72 which can be calculated by it reproductive rate. What does that mean? It means that it isn’t the first doubling that kills the hive, it’s the last doubling. Now doesn’t this explain some things that seem unexplainable? Like sudden hive crashes and what appears to be abscondings? That last doubling is simply overwhelming. The viral load becomes unsurvivable. Of course the rule of 72 with mites in beehives has a limiting factor – the survivability of the bees.