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  1. #81
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    From my perspective of many decades of experience and some trips to CA before I went all stationary, what's not spoken about is mite treatments, hive inputs and success in CA.

    From the 2 dozen of so beeks I know in Wi/MN that go to CA it seems like a pattern of the beeks that have kept their brood comb clean and free of apistan/checkmite and off label miticides have good success in CA and the following summer.

    Its typically the same bunch of beeks that complain about heavy losses also have a long history of off label mite treatments. Many fo these guys have enforcement actions from Sodak and MN and have used a myriad of treatments some of which I don't want to mention for fear of someone else trying them.

    Comes down to some very experienced beekeepers lost their magic when they started tossing homemade mite treatments (and 2 or more antibiotics/yr, pollen subs, essential oils, syrup etc) into hives multiple times a year and now have contaminated brood comb and a host of problems.

    Sure they have lots of experience to draw from etc but playing chemistry set with their bees year after year is not something they have the education or skill to comprehend what the affects mite bee.

    Even the top bee researchers will tell you that the synergy between multiple chemical treatments in hives is not something that is well understood. And I'm not sure its something we need to have research conducted on either since some of these are illegal treatments .

    I see some newbies and pro's still think that micrograms of trace pesticides brought into hives somehow trumps the massive levels of chemicals and additives that some beekeepers INTENTIONALLY put into their hives multiple times a year.

    Getting back to the basics and designing a bee business around the concept I SHALL PUT MINIMAL INPUTS IN MY HIVES AND STRIVE FOR NONE is in my view the key for successful commercial beekeeping for the next decade.

    The Last Beekeeper could be more accurately titled: The Last Industrial Beekeeper. Think about it....

  2. #82
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett View Post
    PS. What would Micheal Moore have to say about this.
    My guess would be... "mmm honey... FEED ME!"

  3. #83
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud Dingler View Post
    I SHALL PUT MINIMAL INPUTS IN MY HIVES AND STRIVE FOR NONE
    YES, and I thank you for the clarity.

    I have to ask is CCD like AIDS? Once the virus is out there due to the extreme practices-yes AIDS was tied to the extreme promiscuity of the era- in this case the extreme stresses of sloppy industrial beekeeping, is everyone now going to pay the price or can it be avoided by safe practices?

  4. #84
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    Nov 2004
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Again there seem to be unsupported assumptions being made. CCD caused by "sloppy industrial beekeeping"? Puleeeese! There has been no correlation that I am aware of that supports this assumption. In fact, I believe there have been reported cases where the effected beeks were technically treatment free.
    The consensus is growing that CCD is a combination of virus/pathogens/nutrition issues that somehow reach a tipping point and cause collapse. The evidence is strongly pointing at IAPV as concurring at this tipping point, as a majority of collapses had this virus and it was very rare in non CCD cases. Is IAPV a cause or a symptom? I think the jury is still out.
    Is heavily contaminated comb part of the equation? Remains to be seen.

    It doesn't do the industry a bit of good for people to bring their favorite whipping boy to the docks as the cause of CCD. It almost seems like some would wish harm on this important industry just so they can say "I told you so".
    Sheri

    PS As to what Micheal Moore would say..... He would be outside the labs of Beyer with his bullhorn, I can see it now.

  5. #85
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    I was not making an assumption. I was asking about the AIDS/CCD analogy.
    HIV/IAPV Bud felt that sloppy industrial beek practice was a predisposing factor, weakening bee immunity which would be analogous to promiscuous anal sex along with drug use weakening human immunity. You think there is no analogy between AIDS and IAPV or CCD it sounds like. I am not so sure.

  6. #86
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Sorry, JBG, it looked like an assumption to me.
    Promiscuous sex and drug use does not cause AIDS, HIV virus does, which can also be transmitted through marital sex or blood transfusions. If a virus is "causing" CCD, mass populations in California may make transmission easier but it does not CAUSE the virus. A single beehive sitting in someone's backyard in Illinois could catch that virus too, whether or not it has clean comb. Comb contamination may have little or nothing to do with CCD.
    Perhaps it is a fine line but I think it is an important distinction. If we all decided to suddenly replace all old comb and not use any sort of treatments at all, we would have much less money in the bank (or bigger loans), make the woodenware companies very happy, have a much larger mite problem (a more likely suspect in the losses IMO) and might still be having losses. Jumping to convenient conclusions does no good and does harm while we put too much attention to a "gut" feeling.

    A weakened immune system may well be what is making bees more susceptible to collapse but the question is what causes the weakened immune system. Bud zeros in on contaminated comb, citing the beeks he knows that have enforcement actions against them. Maybe he's on to something. Maybe he's hanging around with a bad crew. Just kidding, Bud!
    Kidding aside, contaminated comb has been looked at, both the beekeeper and bee introduced contaminates, along with mono-crop-induced poor nutrition, poor mite control, and a veritable host of viruses. Unfortunately saying "XX" is the cause of all the problems doesn't make it so. If only it were that simple.
    If CCD were caused by bad comb it would be replicable. Has that happened yet? I don't think so.
    Sheri

  7. #87
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    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    .....If CCD were caused by bad comb it would be replicable. Has that happened yet? I don't think so.
    Sheri
    It is hard to replicate something when folks won't admit to what they have been putting in their hives for fear of regulatory action against them. Off label use of pesticides and chemicals is very common in all areas of American agriculture. I think for some it is easy to justify in the face of the politicization of our regulatory structure. It is unfortunate as it really does complicate the search for a cause when we see things popping up like CCD. There is so much obfuscation and finger pointing (and not just in the beekeeping venue) that I don't think we will ever get to the bottom of it. History is on my side, this sort of thing has come and gone more than once in the past with no real revelation as to the cause. I keep hearing that it is a combination of things but we can't seem to identify the thing that "tips it over the edge". Nature is like that, the stability of many natural systems can be quite fragile making the smallest and seemingly insignificant disruption a possible cause of calamity. I think it is obvious to even a casual observer that nature did not intend for bees to be managed by humans particularly in the ways that modern beekeeping has evolved, so it follows that we are really pushing the envelope when it comes to keeping that un-natural system stable. Eventually something happens to remind us of this fact. So far, between human innovation and dedication coupled with the natural resilience of the bees many of us have kept ahead of it, others have not been so lucky. It remains to be seen how far we can continue to push this envelope.
    Last edited by Gene Weitzel; 09-25-2009 at 06:20 PM.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  8. #88
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    Jul 2008
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    oneida ny usa
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    It seems alot of people on here are targeting the commercial beekeepers as the cause of these problems discussed in this post. Honestly, how many of the hobby beekeepers have bought packages to get started? Seems if it were not for the commercial guys there would be a lot less hobby guys.

  9. #89
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    lake geneva wi
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    Sorry, JBG, it looked like an assumption to me.
    Promiscuous sex and drug use does not cause AIDS, HIV virus does, which can also be transmitted through marital sex or blood transfusions.
    What I said was that Prom. anal sex and drug use are predisposing factors in AIDS which they still are. Not that they CAUSE AIDS. Both as highly immunity suppressive activities and done together, anal sex and drug abuse, you are back in the late 70s early 80s.
    They are also significant factors in the etiology of AIDS, unlike bathhouses and discos, which are correlated yet have no real etiologic significance. Yes it is caused by a virus and is now transmitted via marital sex, transfusions and the like but how that virus manifested in the human population is the question. It looks like AIDS did not come from people engaged in marital sex or plain old drug use is the point.
    Now for CCD what are the significant factors, what is the real etiology?

  10. #90
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by Gene Weitzel View Post
    So far, between human innovation and dedication coupled with the natural resilience of the bees many of us have kept ahead of it, others have not been so lucky. It remains to be seen how far we can continue to push this envelope.
    I agree with G W on this one. Very well put along with the Bud dictum too of being minimal as better in my estimation. This pushing the envelope is a nice way of looking at the last beek as a documentary.

  11. #91
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by michael-bees View Post
    It seems alot of people on here are targeting the commercial beekeepers as the cause of these problems discussed in this post.
    You are right. How RUDE to come to the commercial forum and trash commercial operators! No more packages for them. No more queens either.
    But more importantly, if the commercials go away so will much of the food they eat. Instead of harassing the commercials who are trying to deal with a myriad of newly introduced pests and a tightening profit margin, perhaps they should be picketing the producers of the foods that need bees to pollinate them. Right or wrong, monoculture needs massing of bees to do the job, that is not going to change. Instead of crying about how things used to be and trying to turn back the clock, we should be trying to figure out how to keep our bees healthy in the more challenging environment we are asking them to thrive in.

    Quote Originally Posted by JBG View Post
    Now for CCD what are the significant factors, what is the real etiology?
    Very good, that is the correct question. Unfortunately there is no definitive answer. They're working on it.
    Sheri

  12. #92
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Ahhhh progress! This info. about the extent of off label use and the practices of the not so scrupulous / economically challenged is disturbing. I was making the same point about big Ag with respect to dairy farming. My neighbors are first rate but the problems are with the 2nd and 3rd rate operators. They are probably not big on this kind of forum.

  13. #93
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Bud:

    Have to disagree on inputs. How can you say that patties and syrup contaminates comb and your neighbours have since lost their magic? Patties and syrup do just the opposite. Studies consistently show better colonies when bees are fed patties. I don't think to many beekeepers would disagree based on their experience feeding patties. Syrup can prevent hives from starving overwinter. It also kick starts queens in the spring. In my experience more inputs of patties and syrup equals bertter colonies. Homemade mite treatments is another story altogether. There are some good ones though, thinking Mite Away 1 now.

    Jean-Marc

  14. #94
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    sqkcrk:

    You can't send bees on combs to the USA from Canada anymore. That changed at about the same time Aussies started shipping bees to the USA. We can send them south in packages if we can jump through all the hoops.

    Jean-Marc

  15. #95
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    Thumbs Up Re: The Last Beekeeper

    JM, post #93 very well said.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  16. #96
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Keith:

    Thank you.

    Jean-Marc

  17. #97
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    Feb 2008
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    Auger Hole, MN
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    In the upper midwest our hives are typically packed full with pollen and honey by October. right now my 2 story hives have little brood but the upper deep is jam packed with honey and pollen and the cluster is in the bottom deep.

    Many successful beekeepers from this region do nothing but move south or to CA and let them sit until almonds.

    From what I have seen hives from some other regions come into fall with less stores and need patties and syrup to maintain or brood up in CA as there not jack to forage on from Nov-Feb.

    I'm just saying that the guys who fiddle around the most from my area seem to have the most complaints. They treat without any idea of what their mite loads are, feed antibitotics with no nosema testing or signs of AFB. Its called feel good beekeeping in my view. The beekeeper feels better if he puts something into the hive.

  18. #98
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    I just had no choice but to save my gals from the mites with formic acid pads yesterday. I don't feel good about it as I would much rather have been feeding. I do agree with Bud about minimal being better for sure, kind of like a Hiippo oath for beeks.

  19. #99
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Yes, Bud you are right about usually having a good supply of honey and pollen in October in the upper midwest. We are very lucky to be in an area with diverse honey and pollen sources over a fairly protracted period of time. Unfortunately not this year for us. We had to feed asap when we stripped the colonies because what honey they made early this year they either ate up or put in the supers; they didn't make more than a dime's worth after the end of July. I prefer they go into winter with honey in the brood nest like they did the last few years. Our bees will be getting much more syrup for winter feed than they normally do for California. We always (the last few years or so actually, since the growers are demanding such big bees in January) give them pollen. But even when they are full of honey we give them a touch of thin syrup along with the sub to get them broody. I am curious to see if they do as well this year without this stored honey.
    All the successful keepers I know give pollen sub to their bees if they are out in California from Nov on. Stored pollen and stored honey are fine for living on but it doesn't get those queens turned on like a little fresh syrup and sub does and we want young go-getter bees for almonds. Like you say, nothing for them to forage on at all for most of that time.

    As for putting treatment on without testing, that is one of those situations where some colonies might need it and others don't but how do you test each of 3000 or more colonies? It sure wouldn't be cost effective to treat without the need but we are hearing that Nos C is very widespread. I am testing for Nos C right now and finding very few spores but there are some. We know spore levels can vary greatly from one colony to the next. Without sampling every colony you just don't know if you are missing the ones that really need treating. So many beeks feel it is better to treat every colony if they see any signs of Nos C at all. A colony that doesn't need it today might need it tomorrow if only 1 colony in the yard is sick now, not to mention the bee yard they might be sitting next to in California.
    Same with varroa. If one is seeing varroa in the ones you look close at the assumptions is there that if they all don't have it they will soon so they all get treated. No one is going to ether roll each of maybe 5000 coloies. Too bad, there might be some that are mite resistant, but they get treated too. This is not ideal by any means but commercial beeks are not researchers they are commercial keepers that must keep ALL the bees healthy.
    You can call that "sloppy industrial beekeeping" or you can call it "covering all bases". It is definitely called "trying to stay in business" and "trying to put food on the table, keep the lights on and pay Uncle Sam.

    You say, Bud, that the ones that fiddle around the most are the ones with the most complaints. But consider, it might be more a case of those beeks that are having problems (for whatever reason) are desperately trying to find the answer to their potentially business-killing problem by (as you put it) "fiddling around". Ask those that have had the big losses over the past few years how they feel when their colonies are dying and they can't figure out why. Some have gone to the extent of trying some really out there treatments when traditional ones have failed them, out of desperation. It is a big difference between someone with a few colonies in the back yard, or even between a sideliner with a couple hundred but who has other income and the family that solely depends on those colonies for their entire sustenance and often the sustenance of employee's families as well.

    I agree there is little to be gained by throwing everything but the kitchen sink at a sick colony but I don't think beeks that are inefficient and wasteful will be in business for very long. It is a fine line all commercials walk to stay in business, with skyrocketing costs and a competitive honey and pollination environment. They can't afford much useless "fiddling around".
    Sheri

  20. #100
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud Dingler View Post
    They treat without any idea of what their mite loads are, feed antibitotics with no nosema testing or signs of AFB. Its called feel good beekeeping in my view. The beekeeper feels better if he puts something into the hive.
    Let's say that you have seen mites in your colonies, say in the drone brood or on some bees. Then you decide to treat.

    What is the point of sampling colonies to find out how many mites you will find in the samples? No one can really accurately tell me how many mites I have in a colony if I have 5, 10 or 15 mites in a sample. And treatments don't very in strength or duration whether you have a low mite count or a high mite count.

    So, my question is, why bother sampling before treating if you know that you have mites?

    I can see checking to see if you have nosema before treating for it. Fumadil costs so much that to use it when you don't need to is a waste.

    As far as AFB is concerned, I understand the idea of prophylactic treatment, but I don't do it. I burn what I find.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



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