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  1. #61
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    Dec 2009
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    Canada BC Delta
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    He also states he breeds all his own queens and uses local stock that are accustomed to local climatic conditions.
    Keep everything local including mites which are also part of the equation. Should help to breed a less virulent mite to the local bees over time.

  2. #62
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    Sep 2010
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    Wakefield, Yorkshire, England
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    19

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    Keep everything local including mites which are also part of the equation. Should help to breed a less virulent mite to the local bees over time.

    I dont think the mite would be affected/become less virulent. when breeding the queens he keeps them and the drones secluded however that might be, so he can chose father as well as mother. but once workers start flying they will bring mites in from all over not just his apiary, and by all over I mean more than 3miles away.

  3. #63
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    Jul 2008
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    Richmond, Virginia, USA
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    168

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

    That's one way to do it, I suppose, but I personally believe that breeding livestock for resistance to one pest out of many that attack it is not a wise strategy. You want livestock that can prevail against all of its current enemies. It may not be your best hive against the V Mites, but it holds its own when assailed against all known (and unknown) attackers.

    If you assume that there are unknown attackers out there (i.e. you have not come to a definitive conclusion as to what is causing CCD), it is even more important to simply leave your hives alone and breed from those that continue to survive, year in and year out, without feed, sugar or chemicals (one could argue that you could still feed them and you would only be countering environmental factors, I suppose.)

  4. #64
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    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Quote Originally Posted by jajtiii View Post
    If you assume that there are unknown attackers out there (i.e. you have not come to a definitive conclusion as to what is causing CCD), it is even more important to simply leave your hives alone and breed from those that continue to survive, year in and year out, without feed, sugar or chemicals (one could argue that you could still feed them and you would only be countering environmental factors, I suppose.)
    To me that is the key, which is why I began this report - to show folks there are bees available to us that do not need treatments, chemicals, etc to survive the mites and shb etc. And yes, I do sugar feed, and this fall am applying Mega bee also.

    Seems like more and more beeks are seeing the wisdom of a resistant bee, and non-treatment or not using chemicals. Personally I'd like to get back to the kind of beekeeping I did in the 1970's, only fed sugar occasionally as needed in times of dearth. But that isn't going to happen...seems like there are so many more chemicals in the environment the bees have to cope with.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  5. #65
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    Sep 2008
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    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    1,278

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

    In July of 2005 I placed 12 colonies with sister queens (Buckfast from Fergusons Apiaries) in a "live or let die" yard. My purpose was to see how long they would live without varroa mite treatments. The colonies were over wintered from 2004. They had been treated for varroa in August 2004 and then requeened in July 2005.

    They have received no management other than a check in spring and fall for disease and being queenright. Honey has not been removed but supers have been equalized among colonies in the fall. They are in standard 10 frame Langstroth equipment and are on Pierco plastic frames. They have received no treatments of any kind.

    As of today there are 5 colonies still alive. The queens are all swarm or supersedure queens from the original 12. Drones for the queens to mate with were from russian, Weaver Buckfast, and Minnesota Hygenics and drones from the surviving Ferguson Buckfast. The seven dead colonies (2 each year in 07,08,09 and one this past March) all happened when they failed to overwinter and it appeared they had queen failures in late fall or winter.

    April of next year I am taking any remaining colonies out of service and placing the queens in nucs. I am going to raise queens from these and remake 12 colonies using those queens. I will let them draw new comb and then check these for varroa resistance and honey production. I plan to manage these colonies with regular checks, I think had I been checking I would not have lost the 7 that I did. I would have seen the queen failing in time to replace her and save the colony.

  6. #66
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    Jan 2007
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    piedmont s.c.
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    244

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

    AR,I have not used chems or any thing in my hives sence 1994, I do have a screen bb with an oil pan under it , it kills every thing that falls in it .yes it was nice keeping bees in the 60`s and 70`s , I hope more beeks will try to go treatment free. but most look for the easy or the less expensive way of beekeeping. and the queen lived longer and most of the time more productive.It looks like everthing is going to hell in a hand basket ,but we can try to save our bee as best we can. good luck rock.

  7. #67
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    Mar 2009
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    St. Marys, GA, USA
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    16

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

    Quote Originally Posted by bbbbeeman View Post
    AR,I have not used chems or any thing in my hives sence 1994, I do have a screen bb with an oil pan under it , it kills every thing that falls in it .yes it was nice keeping bees in the 60`s and 70`s , I hope more beeks will try to go treatment free. but most look for the easy or the less expensive way of beekeeping. and the queen lived longer and most of the time more productive.It looks like everthing is going to hell in a hand basket ,but we can try to save our bee as best we can. good luck rock.
    Just like to chime in. Have had 2 hives of MN hygienic since 2006, have not treated them once and they are still doing great. I do have screened bottom boards, had a problem with deformed wing virus last year but the queen seemed to outbreed the mites. Also used the green drone frames in that hive to get the mite levels down.

  8. #68
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    Sep 2009
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    Glencoe, Okla USA
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    305

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

    Ark Beekeeper I need to visit with you about your procedure.
    Myron Denny
    Glencoe OK

    MDenny4396@aol.com

  9. #69
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    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Greetings all!

    The blog has been updated. http://www.beesource.com/2010/no-tre...bees-report-3/ I finished up 2010.
    For those who have not read from the beginning, I restarted in beekeeping April 8, 2006, with treatment free bees from B. Weaver. This April begins my 6th year, with absolutely no treatments for mites. You can read the details on the blog if you wish.

    No postings have been made yet for 2011, because I haven't opened any hives yet. I've walked by them. I've listened to some, but don't plan to open for another week or two. At that point, I'll feed Mega Bee patties, and possibly 1:1 sugar syrup. Will report that here.

    As most of us are, I am rather anxious to see how many of my colonies made it through the winter. I entered the winter with 26 lives colonies. I plan to expand up to 50 this year. I've already ordered 20 queens from B. Weaver, to pick up in April. So, until next time, may Winter be kind to you!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  10. #70
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    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    2011 reporting begins!

    The blog has been updated, inspections were made this past week for the first time this year. http://www.beesource.com/2010/no-tre...bees-report-3/

    Summation - entered the winter with 26 hives, lost 4. 15%, which isn't too bad, more than I would have liked. 2 clusters were pinned in place by brood, and starved with plenty of honey in the colony. 1 colony had queen issues late in the fall apparently, and dwindled to death. Last colony seems to have absconded last fall, or had a queen issue. You can read the details on the blog. Two other colonies I'm concerned about. We'll see.

    I inspected without gloves, except for the 5 hives in my back yard. Three of them were real, and I mean, REAL cranky. Other two were pussycats. But, I had already been stung 6 times in the other yard, and the first colony I opened let me know how upset they were, so I donned the gloves.

    20 queens were ordered from B. Weaver late last year, for pickup in April. I'm proceeding with my planned splits, and putting 20 colonies on a trailer to move to soybeans after the clover is over. I hope to be at 50 colonies by fall, we'll see.

    Hope you all have a great year this year!
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  11. #71
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,227

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

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    2011 reporting begins!

    15%,
    Me too.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Champaign, IL, USA
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    11

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

    what if I don't divide the hive so often? I know they will swarm, but my purpose to start beekeeping is not for honey production, is for the environment. Will my colonies still be strong?

  13. #73
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    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    bbm, I've been dividing in order to increase my colony numbers. I want to get up to 50 colonies before leveling off. In fact, you don't ever have to divide. You simply need to practice good swarm control measures. Of course you'll lose swarms, but that simply repopulates the feral populations, which is good for the environment.

    My take is, if you manage for honey production, you'll have the populations that benefit the environment, namely a strong and healthy hive. A strong, healthy hive does great job pollinating, but also producing honey. And when you have your very own first honey on a hot buttered biscuit, you may not be so altruistic! (just teasing! But there is nothing better than your own honey on a hot buttered biscuit)

    If you decide you don't want a lot of extracted honey for your use and to sell or give away, keep only one or two colonies. Or produce comb honey, a bit of a tasty speciality.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  14. #74
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    Feb 2011
    Location
    dadeville, alabama, USA
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    1,163

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

    I applaud, believe it or not what you are trying to do. But after reading through the blog and seeing that you have fed Honey bee healthy, which is an IPM essential oil concoction, used to help bees overcome all kind of problems. Thus you are not 100% treatment free. So with that in mind I would suggest setting up an IPM apiary, rotating soft chems like Thymol, hops guard, Formic and good old fashion apistan, which is a soft pyritherin over a period of two to four years. Used in conjuction with VHS/SMR commercial stock ,which can be aquired from several commercial breeders who post on this forum..... IPM will require you to do mite counts and physical methods like screened bottoms or partially screened pallets. Then you can compare the two methods-treatment free/semi treatment free or IPM on their results for hive survivability, honey production and cost of keeping those colonies alive. Thus the comparative results can thus be posted. TED

  15. #75
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    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Thanks for the input Ted. You're still going to owe me a steak dinner in 10 years!

    I started the blog as the result of some very heated discussion back then on this forum about the success of treatment free beekeeping - esp. as it relates to mites. In fact, back then, Treatment Free basically referred to chemical treatments of mites. The concept has expanded considerably since then. My original intent was not to do a comparative study, because there were those much smarter than I who were telling me what I would need to do in order to have a bonafide study.

    Before reentering beekeeping, I subscribed to both magazines, and studied the new problems. I decided early on to get bees that would not require a lot of treatments. So, I decided to do a report. Working full time, caring for a 92-year-old mother-in-law who lives with us, and a wife with Parkinson's, I don't have the time I'd like to devote to the bees. I had then, and still have, no desire to do a scientific study. I simply want to report my experiences so those beekeepers who want to keep a few hives can see what options might be available to them.

    By the same token, I hope that some commercial beeks might glean a nugget or two from my efforts. Especially if I'm able to get my honey production up where it was in the 1970's-'80's, namely 100 pounds per colony here in Missouri. I know there are parts of the country where that is low, but it is still nearly double the Missouri average.

    What I have learned so far: the MnHyg (Minnesota Hygenic) strain doesn't work so well for me. The second and third generation Purvis doesn't hold up (and Purvis is no longer in the queen business, so that's a moot point). The jury is still out on my Russians. The B. Weavers do the best overall, hands down. But sometimes the second or third generation gets a little warm ( a couple are downright hot! and got requeened a couple weeks ago). I'm going to try some of Russell's bees this year and next.

    Regarding "treatment free", by the current definitions, regarding mites I'm treatment free. In other areas? Not so much. But that's ok. I think WLC made an interesting observation in a recent post that perhaps we can never really get off the treadmill. I'd modify his comment to say We're all on a treadmill, we just choose how elaborate that treadmill is. I'm going to try to keep mine as simple as possible.

    So, while I think your observation is on target, and such a study might be beneficial, I have no interest in doing such a study. I'm simply reporting on what's happening as I am mite treatment free, and minimal treatments of other kinds.

    (I still think even commercials will be mite treatment free in 15 years [you said 10 so you'd have a better chance at getting that steak from me!]. And Stonefly told me to insist you have salad along with your steak. 10 or 15, get ready to pay up! I'm not going to forget! )
    Warmest regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  16. #76
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    Feb 2011
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    dadeville, alabama, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Did stonefly also tell you I prefer baked beans with the steak?? At least that was his observation while down here helping me--that I ate too many baked beans. But back on topic. Somebody needs to do a comparative study with real data generated. I am also a pre 1984 beekeeper and remember higher honey yields. Bees do not build up a strong due to mite predation, thus the lower yields in honey production. TK

  17. #77
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Glencoe, Okla USA
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    305

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

    Dadants have a film titled Organic Beekeeping 101, we have a local beekeeping group that meets monthly, does this film answer questions or just tell us what the problems are?
    How long does it take to see the film?
    Does it promote treatment free beekeeping?
    Do you know of a better treatment free film for a group to see?
    I sent this info to Dadants and so far they have not answered.
    Myron Denny

  18. #78
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    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Sorry Myron, I haven't seen that film so I know nothing about it. And I haven't seen any videos on organic beekeeping or treatment free beekeeping, so I can't make any recommendations there.
    Steven
    Last edited by StevenG; 04-30-2011 at 03:20 PM. Reason: additional information
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  19. #79
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    May 2011
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, U.S.A.
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    396

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

    nice report and very good to know some one in my area has broke the ground ahead of me ....now I have a much better idea of what kind of queens would be good here and lol I may even have a swarm that escaped from yours in the past .....collected it by the industrial park on fair street last spring

  20. #80
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    Nov 2010
    Location
    Postville, Iowa, USA
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    380

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

    StevenG wrote in his blog: "...2. “No Treatment” means I shall not put any medications in my hives. Nothing for mites, nothing for Nosema. No essential oils, no powdered sugar dustings, no treatments of any kind...."

    Ted Kretschmann wrote in post #74: "...seeing that you have fed Honey bee healthy, which is an IPM essential oil concoction..."

    I looked at Steven's blog and could not find any mention of the use of HBH. Admittedly I only used a fine toothed comb, and not a laser. Could someone enlighten me on this point? Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by DeeAnna; 06-08-2011 at 03:59 PM. Reason: typo

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