Losses higher or lower , experiments fair or unfair, really does not matter. That is not why people choose to try or be TF. If every person who tried TF was required to sign a statement saying they understood their losses would triple and their production would be nil that probably would not change the course of events. Branding aside, it really is freedom of choice, independence, and not much more.
Oldtimer hit it right on the head, encouraged to persevere. The whistle has not blown, game not over. Science is all about experientation. We are arguing about who is ahead right now. I'm rooting for the underdog, not all in with my money, but if they win we all win.
I was simply pointing out that the statement MB made regarding the survey was counter to the message being publicly delivered by the BeeInformed Project Director.
Not sure if that shows more about product used or experienced /not experienced based on # of colonies. You can't have that many colonies without being good at it.
I didnt read the rest, so forgive me if I am spouting things already stated.
I am FAR from an expert, but this is the approach I am taking. I have hives composed of feral bees captured from swarms out of KNOWN feral survivors that i DO NOT treat in ANY way.. In fact I try to stay away from them. the problem is that they are not fun to deal with. Manageable in the spring, and BEASTS during honey harvest.. I have vsh cross queens ordered for spring that I will hive in my home yard. I will winter them, check for mites etc.. I will pick the best and split them with no concern for production, working to prepare them for winter. I believe it will take me a few years of doing this to get the best of them singled out and split.. I will then make queens and put them in nuc's in my feral yard in hopes that they mate with the feral drones in an effort to maintain the mite resistance, but end up with bees that are calm...
Will it work?? I have no idea, but I AM CERTAINLY having a ball working toward that goal.. If it does work, I will have GOOD bees to sell. if it doesnt? I had a lot of fun trying...
I know you do not want to treat. I don't either.. However.. if you do a mite check and you know your going to lose that hive... TREAT!!! Save them, and re queen them with the genetics mentioned by others in the attempt to find something better. It is FAR easier to treat an infested hive, and requeen it later than it is to start from scratch. A 20 dollar queen is cheaper than an 80 dollar package that you will likely have to requeen anyhow.
Just my .2
SS1, my feral crosses definitely have more spunk than regular bees, but they also produce more. Can't speak for bees from other areas. I can see how mine would not be ideal for large scale industrialized beekeepng where time is money, and the bees get tossed around a lot. They don't take it very well. However, out of all my hives it seems mostly the domestic ones have issues. I do not recall any of my wildish bees hives I have ever lost to mites or mite related issues (IBDS). I have lost purely domestic hives, such as my Italians. I have only ever bought three packages, and those were eaten by bears. Bears are a bigger concern to me than mites currently. Don't plan on buying any more. Like I said, I really like my current bees, with the exception of a few domestic colonies I picked from other beeks that seem to be a bit on the slow side.
I do have one totally wild swarm that moved into an empty hive that is pretty defensive. They will definitely get a new queen next year, but the others are totally managable, my Italians being far more misbehaved. This is after several years of selection though. Hopefully I can keep them that way.
Ha Ha good comment Paul.
I've worked with some mean bees in my day. But commercially, you have your head on a beehive all day, every day (in season). Working with nasty bees is just too unpleasant, wears you out. One of my main selection criterion for breeding stock is gentleness. Thing is, if the work is pleasant, you actually do a better job of the hive. When you are getting the crap stung out of you the temptation is to rush through & get that hive slammed back together so you can get out of there.
It's a survey of beekeepers perception of what happened, not an independent measurement. Voluntary instead of being done at random. It's apples to oranges. It has value. But it is a very blunt tool. You want a very specific answer to, your bees, your location, your skills, your goals.
31% loss??? It all depends on how, where, and WHY you keep bees.
Fighting bees is definitely wearing on you. I have spent 8 hr days fighting those little wild girls when I was doing it full time (when I thought I was going to retire), before I scaled my operation back a bit and limited myself to strictly sideline type stuff on a very small local scale. The most tiring part is having to pace yourself not to make them angry and fly at you, while still trying to get things done. Very hard when you are by your self. I have help now, and nicer bees, and can get more done. But still not enough time to really get my queen raising going as I should.
Time management is the bane of beekeeping.
But if he does the survey, he would say the hive was treated, but died. So the results are inaccurate because they do not account for operator skill, and no doubt many other factors. I've seen this scenario play out on Beesource so often I'm certain it happens enough to skew the results, the hive was actually killed by lack of timely treatment, but is recorded as a treated hive that died.
I find it interesting enough to note that it's not enough to simply get hold of resistant stock. You'll have to do the work of artificial selection to end up with the type of resistant bees that you want to work with.
So, it will take quite a few seasons to accomplish your goals.
very good points made. the bee informed survey wasn't set up to answer the question of whether treated colonies fair better than untreated ones. the survey serves only to guide the way to more specific studies in which scientific rigor can be applied. with all due respect to those who have made the claim, to suggest that there are no differences in losses between treated and untreated based on the survey is a stretch.
Certainly any statement that is black or white (as most surveys are and most "scientific" studies are) especially when they are broad general statements (such as "treat" or "don't treat") are prone to erroneous conclusions, yet they are constantly thrown around and used to describe things in black and white terms.
"unless a distinction can be made rigorous and precise it isn't really a distinction."--Jacques Derrida (1991) Afterword: Toward An Ethic of Discussion, published in the English translation of Limited Inc., pp.123-4, 126
In order to discuss something precisely, one must define it precisely and in order to experiment accurately one must have cases that are precisely differentiated and only draw conclusions that are warranted and conclusions that are narrowly defined to match the limitations of those cases tested.
Unfortunately things are seldom discussed or tested in precise terms...
This imprecision leads to other fallacies such as "we tried that once and it didn't work". I've even had people tell me that when I was quite precise and further questioning reveals that what they "tried once" in no way resembled what I had just described...
Rather than a 20 dollar queen, why not make a couple splits from your best hives, and then you'll have free bees to replace deadouts? Your queens will be stronger, and the various commensal and symbiotic organisms in the colony will not be injured.
Of course, I'm a beginner, so all this is completely theoretical. So far so good, but I fully expect my hives to start collapsing left and right, and I may end up wishing I'd done things differently.
Just make splits and either let the old pass on, or shake it out. Your on the right track. Normally, if you make splits in time, and have resistant stock, the dead-out is a non-issue at least for me. That is how the MDASplitter method works. You can always re-combine them after a brood break.
in my opinion this last round of comments have been the most pragmatic on the subject that i have seen thus far.
in my first post to whaler i pointed out that it is up to him or her to weigh cost/benefit as best one can and proceed according to whichever goals or priorities are most important.
there is room in the universe of beekeepers for all kinds of approaches, and i submit that it wouldn't anywhere near as interesting if all of us did it exactly the same way.
so whaler, have you decided on how to proceed?