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  1. #81
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    Jul 2008
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    DeeAnna, what on earth are you going to do with the answer to this question? If he did use HBH, does that mean to you that treatment free doesn't work? What about his hives? Were they made in some natural manner with absolutely no trace of 'unnatural' method (I assure you that they were not, unless a tree grew them)? What about the hive stand? If they are cement blocks, does that detract from the 'I do not treat for mites' methodology in you mind?

    Heh. What about your grass? Do you cut it with a mower? That's certainly not 'free of treatment'. Did you have someone transport your hive/package/nuc with a horse? I hope it wasn't fed with bailed hay (at least not bailed by something running on fossil fuels.)

    Understand the point. Otherwise you spend you life missing the forest for the trees.

  2. #82
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    Nov 2010
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    Postville, Iowa, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Ted referred to the use of HBH in Steven's report. I couldn't find any reference to HBH in said report. So either I missed Steven's comments about HBH, or Ted is mistaken about said use of HBH in Steven's hives.

    I'd like to know which it is. Just that and only that. I am a newbie to beekeeping, and I want to learn. I can't do that unless I ask questions about things that are not clear to me.

    I do NOT have some agenda about "treatment free" or otherwise, and anyone who assumes that I do is completely incorrect. I am just politely asking a simple question that deserves a courteous, factual answer.

    What am I going to do with the answer to my question? It will help me to better understand the methodology he is following with his beekeeping.

  3. #83
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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

    Hi DeeAnna, and welcome!

    Ted was right. A couple years ago perhaps, I gave one feeding of HBH in sugar syrup. The only feeding of HBH until last week.

    When I started, my intent was not to get on the chemical treadmill treating for mites and other pests. I bought bees that are supposed to be treatment free, and that's the course I've taken. Some beeks use acids, essential oils, powdered sugar, and who knows what else to treat for mites. I don't.

    Since last year, there has been a new thread on the forum on treatment free beekeeping. I used to read and post there, but gave it up as they were too busy arguing about what a treatment was and wasn't, and I just don't have time for that. I also have not updated the blog, and at this point don't plan to. The link to it no longer exists here, and I find updating the blog to be extremely cumbersome. I had surgery on my right shoulder 2 weeks ago, which has slowed me down. All is well though. I'm just an old fart (turned 63 this past Tuesday) and I decided some things I just don't have to do or put up with any more.

    Now, having said that, I do plan to post regular summary updates here, for those who care to follow. To me, feeding HBH in sugar syrup as a stimulative for hive health and brood rearing is not a mite treatment. But I probably ought to say I'm semi-treatment free, for the purists.

    For an update: I made splits, ordered 20 B. Weaver queens, and 2 Russians. Several of my donor hives had issues, some of the splits had issues. I went foundationless a couple years ago, and for me that was a really big mistake. Been tryijng to clean that up, which probably caused issues with a couple of hives that absconded and/or died out. Had to order 3 more Weaver queens and 2 Russians 2 weeks ago. They're here, and installed. I ended last fall with 27 hives, began this season with 23 hives. I've made 21 splits this year, and should be at 44 hives, but now I'm at 38 colonies. Should be at 50, just didn't make it.

    Last year I fed 1800 pounds of granulated sugar to 14 colonies in the spring and 27 colonies in the fall. So I stocked in the sugar which I got wholesale, had 2500 pounds of it first of April. Have only fed 200 pounds, splitting my colonies from 23 (had deadouts) up to 44, but lost several for various reasons. Now have 38colonies.

    For me, personally, the issue is: What do I put in my hives? We beeks have put so many different things into them, without understanding the long term ramifications. So I tend to err on the side of caution, and want to minimize what I put in my hives. Ergo the bare minimum - and other than an occasional stimultative feeding of granulated cane sugar syrup with HBH, some MegaBee patties, and a rare Nosema treatment, that's all they get.

    Hope this helps, and feel free to ask any questions any time. I'll do my best to answer.
    Regards,
    Steven
    Last edited by StevenG; 06-09-2011 at 08:54 PM. Reason: corrections and clarifications
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  4. #84
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    Nov 2010
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    Postville, Iowa, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Hi, Steven -- Thank you for your answer to my question. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I thought it was likely that I'd missed the info in your blog/report, but I couldn't figure that out for sure, so the feedback is a great help.

    "...A couple years ago perhaps, I gave one feeding of HBH in sugar syrup. The only feeding of HBH until last week...."

    My goodness, you got a lot of mileage out of that one feeding of HBH!

    Like you, I have also been reading the treatment-free forum. I usually glean a few nuggets of good information from most threads, but the frequent digressions and heated side-debates often make it tough going. Not a good situation for a newbie, but that's the way life (and BeeSource) usually goes.

    Your ongoing report has been extremely helpful. It has been great to be able to clearly follow what you are doing with your hives and learn what is working for you and what isn't. I look forward to following this thread about your beekeeping. Thank you for being willing to share this information on BeeSource.

    Regards, DeeAnna

  5. #85
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Greetings folks!

    Thanks for your kind words DeeAnna.

    I had a pm question from Tim in KY about some issues I had with foundationless, and I thought I'd answer here to help others. When I went foundationless, I didn't have much drawn comb, and was expanding. So I simply put a 10-frame foundationless deep on some hives, because that was what I had. BIG mistake! Some comb was drawn nicely, most was drawn willy-nilly, and woven together in such a way you couldn't get the frames apart without major damage. So I thought to use a queen excluder and eventually get those boxes to the top of the hive with honey in them, them extract. Sigh, not going smoothly. And most of the comb they drew was the ugliest drone comb you ever saw. And paradoxically, some hives drew out beautiful worker comb. Others have mentioned that they'll draw drone comb until they have enough, then draw worker. But I've never seen so many drones in my colonies.

    Ok, what I've learned. Gotta put foundationless frames between nicely drawn worker brood comb, and the bees will draw the foundationless nice and straight. Generally. lolol I use wedge top, divided bottom bar frames, that's what I had. I simply turned the wedge and nailed it in vertically, instead of as it is supposed to be nailed in. Bees used that as a guide, and it worked very well. I did not use starter strips of foundation. You cannot put foundationless frames in between frames of foundation...bees will do what they want, and you won't like it.

    I'm reverting to foundation, until I get the messes cleaned up. Though I am doing some foundationless as a continuing test. But I'm not as enamored of it as some are. FWIW
    Regards,
    Steven
    Last edited by StevenG; 06-11-2011 at 09:05 PM. Reason: additional info.
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  6. #86
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    What is HBH?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #87
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    HBH, Honey Bee Healthy
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  8. #88
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    Jun 2011
    Location
    Cole County, Missouri
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    170

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

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    I went foundationless a couple years ago, and for me that was a really big mistake. Been tryijng to clean that up, which probably caused issues with a couple of hives that absconded and/or died out.
    Steven
    Hi Steven I am interested in your negetive experinces going foundationless? I was seriously concidering this. been reading up some. Please tell me your experinces on why going foundationless was a mistake for you?

  9. #89
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    I started out with DuraComb. When the bees misdrew it I blamed the plastic. I went to wax. When it melted and crumpled and when they drew it uneven, I blamed the wax. I tried putting drawn combs between undrawn combs and they drew out the drawn combs so they protruded so far into the space of the undrawn next to them that I couldn't get a single frame out of the hive. I went to plastic. When they built fins on it and combs between other combs I blamed the plastic. I went to foundationless. They sometimes make some of those mistakes, but the foundation never crumples, they never build fins out from the face, if I space them right they don't try to build a comb between two foundations. I think we often blame the foundation or lack of it when it's the timing, the genetics or the method that is at fault. Putting drawn combs between foundation in a honey super was not the right method. Putting foundation in when it was hot caused the buckling. Putting the plastic in where there wasn't a flow and/or spacing it wrong lead to issues with that.

    Now I use a mixture of all of them with no serious issues, but some issues just come with working with creatures that can and do make decisions.

    Don't you find it interesting how many people hate one or more of these methods and are sold on one or more other methods and yet people are fairly evenly divided on which one they hate and which one they love?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #90
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    BeeG, Michael Bush nailed it perfectly! If I put foundationless between perfectly drawn comb during a honey flow, the bees drew it beautifully. If I put a box of foundationless frames on a hive, I generally had a mess. And I didn't like frames and frames of drone comb. I was expanding my colony numbers, and just didn't have enough drawn comb.

    FWIW, what I discovered was the best way to get the best foundationless comb was to insert foundationless frames between frames of perfectly drawn worker comb. It didn't matter if that perfectly drawn comb was on foundation or was itself foundationless. Since my initial experiences, I've used some foundationless, but like I've said, between drawn comb. As a creature of habit, I prefer foundation - fewer headaches or need for careful planning on my part. But I have a lot of time pressures, and tend to find things that are easy and quicker. When I retire, and have more time for the bees, might do some things differently.
    Hope that makes sense.
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  11. #91
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    Feb 2007
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    Lincolnton, NC
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Don't you find it interesting how many people hate one or more of these methods and are sold on one or more other methods and yet people are fairly evenly divided on which one they hate and which one they love?
    Yes. People tend to make draw conclusions based on only limited knowledge and with that limited knowledge truly believe that they are correct and that others who have drawn different conclusions are wrong. They can stick to those conclusions all their lives without ever investigating what the truth really is.

    Of course we do this with politics, career decisions, love decisions, etc, too.

    Maybe if we are truly honest, beekeeping can teach us humility of what we know of life.

  12. #92
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Er, religion. U left out religion. Must have been part of the "etc.", I guess.

    We could call this laziness or expediency. Making up opur minds based on little knowledge or evidence. Who has the time?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  13. #93
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    ... We could call this laziness or expediency. Making up opur minds based on little knowledge or evidence. Who has the time?
    Good point Mark. But we all do it. We make up our minds based on what knowledge and/or experience/evidence we have. Perhaps the difference between wisdom and foolishness is that wisdom keeps an open mind to new knowledge/experience, thus modifying decisions/actions/activities, and foolishness does not.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  14. #94
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Er, religion. U left out religion. Must have been part of the "etc.", I guess.

    Yes, definitely religion.


    We could call this laziness or expediency. Making up opur minds based on little knowledge or evidence. Who has the time?
    And since we don't have the time, we should trust the expert's knowledge and understanding. But it is against our human nature, particularly in US culture, to trust what others say. We want to make up our own minds and not be told how to think.

  15. #95
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    I think most of us have been burned by various "experts" in such a way that many of us, well, at least my approach is to trust, but verify. Another fly in the ointment, particularly when it comes to beekeeping, is that what works in one section of the country, just might not work in another section of the country. Thus a trustworthy expert in New England for instance, might be a complete failure in Texas, if he/she practiced New England beekeeping in Texas. Just a for instance. Of course, there are certain generic truths applicable to any locale, but...

    Meanwhile, I'll read and trust people like the lamentably deceased Richard Taylor any day of the week.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  16. #96
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Agreed StevenG. So many variables in beekeeping. And it really is part science and part art. And Richard Taylor like several of the more experienced guys on here seem to have a deep understanding of bee behavior that goes beyond facts.

  17. #97
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Quote Originally Posted by heaflaw View Post
    We want to make up our own minds and not be told how to think.
    What can I say.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #98
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Greetings all!
    It has been a while, but I won't bore you with the details in my personal/family life this past fall. But it's past time for an update on my program.
    FYI, the two colonies I restarted beekeeping with in the Spring of 2006, treatment free, are still going strong, and still treatment free.

    In the Fall of 2010 I entered winter with 27 hives. I lost four over winter, entered 2011 with 23 live colonies.

    Expansion goals: I hoped to hit 50 colonies this year. So, Spring 2011 I bought 20 B. Weaver and 2 Russian queens, for splits and requeening. Because of queen issues, during the summer I bought 3 more Weavers and 2 more Russians. I managed to get up to 44 colonies. However, due to absconding and queen issues I lost 10 colonies between June 1 and Aug. 1. One hive succumbed to the small hive beetle, but it obviously had other problems. I had entered the year with some comb messes related to ppm and foundationless frames. That cost me problems with colonies, but I managed to get all that mess cleaned up this summer.

    I entered Fall 2011 with 34 live colonies, all heavy with stores.

    Honey: The crop this year was poor again. Clover in two fields I have bees on failed to bloom. I moved my trailer of 20 hives to soybeans again, and got a good crop there. From 22 producing colonies, I gained 681 pounds of honey. That is a 36.8 pound average. The breakdown is as follows: Weaver queens averaged 28.76 pounds each. Purvis mutts averaged 47 pounds each. The one productive Russian hive gave me all of 5 pounds... I really struggled with the Russians this year, and clover failed there as well.

    I had 7 colonies produce over 50 pounds each: 2 led by Purvis mutts, 5 led by B. Weavers. The Purvis colonies averaged 60 pounds each, the Weavers averaged 58.3 pounds each.

    For those who like to pick nits, the only treatments I gave my bees were a couple of feedings of granulated cane sugar syrup, one with HBH. Also one feeding of Mega Bee. That's it.

    For 2012 if my Russians don't do any better, I'll phase them out, replacing them with a different strain. I have four Russell Sunkist Queens on order. I have tried in the past Minnesota Hygenic, but they didn't work out, and I've replaced them with Weavers.

    I checked the four hives in the back yard today, bees flying and still very heavy with stores. In a week or two I'll do a serious check of all my hives, but right now, I'm leaving well enough alone.
    Regards,
    Steven
    Last edited by StevenG; 02-21-2012 at 09:22 PM. Reason: clarification
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  19. #99
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Are you strictly buying queens as your mode of operation? What is your life span for the queens with treatment free?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #100
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    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    At this point, when I requeen a colony, I do so with a bought queen. When I expand via splits, I do a walk-away split, and let the bees raise their own queen. A queen called a Purvis or Weaver queen for example, is bought. A Purvis or Weaver Mutt is the result of a walk-away split, and not bought, thus not pure-mated, as I have no control over how they mate in my yards.

    I try to mark my queens so I know their age, but I'm not always successful. So every third year I try to replace the hive's queen, if the bees have not already done so. Thus my queens generally have 2 years of laying.

    My goal is to have at least two genetic lines, if not three, in each apiary. And I'm hoping in the next 2-4 years to begin raising my own by means other than walk-away. There are factors in my family life for the next two years that preclude me reaching that goal any faster.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

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