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  1. #21
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    Jul 2008
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    Richmond, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Excellent.

    How will you choose your Queen mother? I am curious about this, as I also do not treat (well, I have been known to do a powdered sugar dump). I had intended to use my mite drop count as one of my indicators of a good queen mother (or genes that I wanted to pass along). What indicators do you plan to use?

  2. #22
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    The splits I'm going to make to requeen themselves will come from hives that produced the largest surplus last year, went into winter with the best cluster, came out of winter with the best cluster, and are building up well this spring. So far I have three colonies that are perfect by those standards.

    One of them I haven't even had to feed this spring. Led by a Purvis queen, the cluster was still in the bottom box, with sealed honey above. That colony now seems to be exploding. The other two, one Russian and one B. Weaver, are bursting at the seams with bees.

    I'll watch my other colonies, naturally, to see if any are worth propagating. At this point when I make splits from those three, I'll try to work the parent hive for honey production, and then as the splits develop, pull a frame of eggs from the queen mother, and frames of brood and bees from her first generation offspring nucs, and grow more nucs. That way I'll get several first generation queens from the queen mother, and not impair honey production from the parent hive, I hope. We'll see how that plan develops. If there are real good brood patterns from her daughters, and they build up quickly, I may do splits from her daughters... we'll see.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  3. #23
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    The blog has been updated tonight, April 5. I've started making splits, and as I do so, I introduce foundationless frames in the donor colonies. Got 6 splits made so far. Each "walk away" split will produce it's own queen. If all goes well, by first week of May, I'll have a laying queen in each colony. That will give them plenty of time to build up for next winter, and I might even get some surplus off them. Depending on the queen.
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  4. #24
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Updated the blog today, Sunday, April 18th. I've made my walk-away splits, which seem to be doing well. I haven't gotten into them - had read you shouldn't do that for about 4 weeks. 2 weeks to go.

    Had a swarm today, fortunately I was able to hive it. Will know Tuesday whether I'll reunite it with parent hive, or keep it as a new colony.
    Regards to all, who are following this.
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  5. #25
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    Jul 2009
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    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    Today, March 27, I inspected all the hives after being gone almost two weeks. The blog is updated, here's the link in case you need it:
    http://www.beesource.com/2010/no-tre...bees-report-3/

    The weather was not conducive to doing what I really wanted to do. It was a cool 58-60 degrees, overcast, chilly breeze. The bees were really, and I mean really, cranky. So I wore gloves for a change, and glad I did. I did get most everything done I needed to do. I did notice some mites on drone pupae when frames were removed for inspection. I messed up, didn't note count or hive they were in. Realized my mistake when headed to the next group of hives. I'll make that note next time. However, in about 4 dozen pupae, I only saw about 5 mites... in about 5 colonies. But, on me for not noting it in the journal. I could have guessed and gone back and entered it, but it would not have been accurate, so I didn't do it.

    Each time I work the hives irrespective of the weather, because I know they have to be worked, I have a deeper appreciation for the commercial beeks who do this all the time, fair weather or foul. You simply gotta do what you gotta do. I honor them for their hard work.

    If I didn't have to work, I'd not be so weather dependent. On Tuesday I'll feed the ones needing feeding, and prepare site named MARK B to receive 10 colonies when I get my nucs and make my splits. I'll do some of that next weekend, when weather permits, and will probably update the blog again then.

    Regarding the foundationless frames I added to hive #2 because they had drawn some comb: I was surprised how much comb they had drawn since installing the deep super. Unfortunately, it looks to be mainly drone comb. I understand they'll draw what they need, but I sure didn't want solid frames of drone comb. I'll see what the queen lays in those cells, to be sure. But its like they started drawing comb in two or three different points at the top of the frame, and where they joined the comb, it's rather wavy. New experience for me. It could be it was simply too early for them to draw worker comb...but they sure did want to draw comb.

    Remember, any questions or comments, post them here on this thread. Thanks!
    Regards,
    Steven
    What your doing is awesome, there is way to much speculation in the beekeeping community imho. On the drone comb, what I have read is when suddenly given the freedom to draw their own comb they will draw a lot of drone, my tb hives had less then a frame of drone comb and all of it was natural comb, a big selling point of foundation is the inhabitation of drone comb (imho)

    Sam.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Sam, I think you're right about the selling point of foundation - it inhibits drone comb. However, I've noticed while going thru my hives, how the bees will take perfectly good foundation, and make the biggest section of drone cells you can imagine! Either centered in the bottom of the frame, in a semi-circle, or a wave of drone cells going up one side of the comb.

    Several folks have observed that the bees will build what they need and want, irrespective of our desires. Soooo true! The swarm I just hived, I put in a deep box with one frame of old worker brood cells, and 9 frames of foundationless. I've read a new swarm will build worker comb, so I'll see. And if so, I'm going to keep those little darlings as a separate colony, not reunite them with their parent hive, and let them build as much worker foundationless comb as they want. As long as they keep building worker comb, I'll keep adding boxes of deep frames.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  7. #27
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    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tulsa OK. USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Good report, Shows that record keeping is a must in our hobby.At the end of your report it seamed that you were letling you splits make their own queens I plane to let my two hives do the same as they both are 2 yr old and nonmedicated and appear to be doing good. we'll see. Thank you Jim

  8. #28
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Yes, I am letting my six splits make their own queens. However, the first week of May I pick up 2 nucs of Russians, and 2 nucs plus 6 queens of Minnesota Hygenic bees. I discovered that the breeder uses Thymol (?) an essential oil, once in the fall on his MnHyg bees. sigh... I may have made a mistake, but time will tell. I have had only one other colony of MnHyg and I never treated them, with any kind of mite treatment. However, in regular requeening, I did requeen them with a Purvis queen. So we'll see how these MnHyg bees do.

    I plan to pull 6 two-frame splits from existing colonies to hive those 6 MnHyg queens. Small, but I'll have enough time to build them up into two-deep brood boxes before fall. I want to get a honey crop off the donor colonies this year, else they'd donate more frames of brood and bees.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  9. #29
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    Mar 2009
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    Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Sunday, May 9th...
    I've updated the blog, here's the link: http://www.beesource.com/2010/no-tre...bees-report-3/

    I have finished making my splits, and will now settle down to trying to get honey production, and preparing my increases for the upcoming winter. I started 2010 with 14 colonies, one starved, leaving 13. With purchasing 4 nucs, hiving one swarm, buying 5 queens, and 6 walk-away splits plus two unintentional walk-away splits (found frames of swarm cells!), I now have 31 colonies.

    To be perfectly clear, I do not treat in any way, shape, or form, for mites. I do have sbb, and use AJ beetle eater traps. I also feed granulated sugar syrup, and have used some HBH in some of it... so far have fed approximately 700 pounds of sugar, and only one pint of hbh, so that gives you an idea of just how heavily I'm (not) feeding HBH. May be good, may be bad, but that's how it is.

    Remember, any questions or comments should be posted on this thread.
    Thanks for reading.
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
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    891

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Hey Steve, I notice you are using the AJ beattle eaters. Are you having that much trouble with the beatles? I live up in Sullivan, MO and so far knock on wood the only small hive beatles I have seen were in a tree I went and got in st.louis. The bees from that cut out quickly abscounded and I burned all the wax that I had cut out. I am also using a very limited treatment regime. I have only used oxalic acid for mites and at that I went 2 years with out doing that. I did 2 treatments in Jan or feb this year to knock them down some. I am all foundationless, they build what they want and if it's drone it goes to the outsides and we move on. Over the past winter I went into the winter with 8 hives. Lost 1 to its top blowing off and they got rained on, and one abscounded early spring from mice damage. So not bad considering the limited treatment.
    Rod

  11. #31
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Good for you Rod!
    Re: shb, I have not had a problem with them down here in Poplar Bluff, I just have them...but I trap aggressively so they don't become a problem. Last year in some of my hives I had 4 AJ traps, and 2 of the cd jewel box traps. I really, really don't want to lose a hive to the shb.

    Regarding mite treatments, I have never, ever treated for mites. HOWEVER, I started with bees that were advertised as not needing treatments - survivors some call them. Those, and Russian bees. I would NEVER advise a beek to go treatment free, unless he has bought or requeened with bees advertised as being "treatment free". To do otherwise is a guaranteed failure.

    And keep watching for those mites. I understand they can fly 20 miles at a time. Or if you buy a nuc or a package, you're bound to get a bonus!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  12. #32
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    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    I understand about the beatles and not wanting to lose a hive to them, they are nasty little creatures. a hive that has died due to varroa, the frames can be reused, a hive that dies from beatles maybe not. I no longer buy packages or NUCS. all of my bees now are muts. Probably new world carnolians and russians, but I let them do the requeening and if I do a split I always let them raise their own queen. I think having bees acliamatize to our area is a good thing. I think going to using your own queens would be the next step for your project down the road.
    Rod
    Last edited by Barry; 05-10-2010 at 04:48 PM. Reason: excessive quoting

  13. #33
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Quote Originally Posted by rweakley View Post
    I think going to using your own queens would be the next step for your project down the road.
    Rod
    I'm already moving that way, Rod. I did 6 walk away splits this year, and each raised their own queen. 5 were Purvis mutts, 1 is a Weaver mutt. My donor Weaver hive is going great guns. So much so I plan to buy enough queens from them next year to do about 20 splits, and requeen 20 colonies. I'll do the same with my Russians, in a separate apiary. That should give me the genetics I want to continue treatment free.

    I really want to see what my Weaver mutts do this year. Some concern has been expressed that the second generation becomes very hot. I'll know in a few months if that is the case. But so far, I love those bees!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  14. #34
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    Sullivan, MO
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    My hottest hives have always been my Russians. Well there is that one hive I got from a cut out (wild mutts I guess) that was so hot that as soon as you took the lid off BAM they were out in force to get you. My Russians have always been similar. Maybe they new I have always been a committed anti communist. Just think 5 years from now, no treatments and all home bred bees, you'll be selling queens. We'll call them G-Queens.

  15. #35
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    Jul 2009
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    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
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    206

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    StevenG are you moving towards converting all your hives to foundation-less? Because I believe you need to regress them for the benefits to be fully realised, I know Mr bush (and I agree) thinks foundation-less is a must for natural mite control, all my cut-outs are feral so they have naturally regressed themselves. Just wondering what direction you are going with the foundation issue.

    Sam
    My blog @ Bee Crazy

  16. #36
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Hi Sam!

    My main reason for going foundationless is to minimize chemical contamination of the brood comb. Not using chemicals myself, I don't want to "import" any via foundation in the brood chamber. I realize bees will bring chemicals in via pollen and nectar, and unfortunately that cannot be avoided.

    Regarding regressing and small cell, I've read all I could on that. There seems to be some disagreement as to how effective small cell is.

    By going foundationless, I'll simply let the bees take care of that debate themselves. I'll assist them by providing the frames and guides, and minimizing chemical contamination of the comb. My first efforts resulted in a horrendous amount of drone comb. But after making some splits and hiving a swarm, those colonies are producing beautiful brood comb. And it seems to be much lighter in color than comb drawn on foundation. As I cycle frames in and out of the hive, I figure the bees will produce what they need, whether small cell, large cell, worker cell, drone cell.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  17. #37
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    Apr 2008
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    Dallas, TX
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    how big a deal is chemical contamination of foundation? are there some good sources on that?

    my bees draw out perfectly white comb on foundation, btw.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Greetings Arthur....

    According to some, it is becoming a big deal. Here is a link to a discussion about it: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ion+foundation

    Also, do a search on this site for contamination of foundation, or comb. The problem is that wax comb acts as a sponge, absorbing all sorts of things that the bees bring into the hive, or beekeepers put into the hive. Then when that wax is recovered, rendered, and sold to the bee supply houses who make it into foundation, those chemicals stay in the wax. As the bees draw wax foundation out, to a small degree they stretch the sides of the cells on the foundation as they add their own wax to it to make the comb. Thus you'll have chemical contamination of the bottom of the cell, where the egg lays and hatches, and part of the side walls.

    I have read (sorry, don't remember where) that this contamination leads to some fertility problems with drones and queens... Not having done the studies, and not being a scientist, I don't know the veracity of this. But in general, personally, I think there is reason to be concerned about chemical contamination of foundation.
    Hope this helps.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  19. #39
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    Sullivan, MO
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Going a little but staying pretty close. First of all it would be surprising if the bees didn't produce a frame of mostly drone comb soon after switching from foundation to foumdationless. Think of it this way I'm a cook and I love peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, for the longest time I couldn't get any chocolate chips, but then suddenly I get a whole big box of chips what kinda cookies am I going to make You betcha chocolate chip. OK now I am on my soap box American beekeepers are doing themselves and the rest of us a huge disservice by only using worker foundation. Africanized bees in the wild don't have any foundation, they make the proper # of drones. which means in areas of an infestation at the DCAs there are going to be more African drones then nice gentle European drones. We are handicapping ourselves in the fight against those pests from the south. I probably won't have to worry too much myself if it's true the africanize don't over winter well because we get a pretty good winter here, but it is something to think about. Off my soap box.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    True, the proponents of foundationless say the bees build what they need. I've seen beautiful worker comb "spoiled" by a big chunk of drone comb in the middle bottom of the frame... they do make what they need.

    I had mentioned elsewhere that I horizontal wire my foundationless frames, because you never know.... Turns out one deep box is full of foundationless frames, and drone comb. After the drones hatched out, the bees filled those cells with honey, so now I have an unexpected bonus, a deep super full of honey! Fortunately I had cross wired those frames, so they shouldn't be too hard to extract without blowing out. If I'm careful with the speed on my new extractor.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

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