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  1. #141
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Anderson County, Texas
    Posts
    1,254

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Or maybe it's all just a freak accident...
    WOW, now believing that would take a lot of faith.

    I remember walking in the woods on a small island just west of Kodiak Island Alaska, about 1983. I came upon what looked to be a cabin built and well hidden in the forest, but no one was there. I shared this with my cousin who at the time lived on Kodiak and told him that some hermit had built a cabin in the woods. He said nah, that would be illegal, he was sure a storm came through and just arranged things like that. I laughed at himand he said, oh yee of little faith.

    Funny how things will bring back fond memories.

    Kindest Regards
    Danny Unger
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  2. #142
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

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

    That is an awesome little story. It has to be one the most succinct ways of explaining something that i have believed my whole life.

  3. #143
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,313

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

    >I laughed at himand he said, oh yee of little faith.

    And a cabin is so much simpler than a bee...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #144
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,821

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

    Mr. Bush that is a wonderful observation. But the pearls are often cast before the----- unappreciative.

  5. #145
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

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

    UPDATE!!!!
    It has been an interesting time since my last report... I'm struggling with some colonies, due to PPM and queen issues... having to deal with home repairs is keeping all my spare time away from the bees.

    In preparation to move my trailer with 19 hives on it to soybeans, I pulled supers this weekend, and extracted 352 pounds of honey! That was WONDERFUL, since last year I got nothing from that particular location. The honey should all have been clover, but it turned out to be a mixture of clover and wildflower. In a couple of days, I'll have the hives ratchet strapped together, all the hives affixed to the trailer, and have them moved to soybeans, and new supers installed. At that time I'll go thru them, and deal with any problems I find. I'm anticipating problems with 3 colonies. oh well, life goes on.

    By the way, one of the colonies, led by a year old B. Weaver queen, produced 95 pounds of honey.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  6. #146
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

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

    Nice. Keep up the good work. The weather was real cooperative this year.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #147
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

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

    Ok sports fans, the harvest is over for me, and it was GREAT!!!!
    To update, I do not treat in any way, shape, or form for mites. Do not even do mite counts. Have not done prophylactic treatments for nosema in 5 years.

    My total honey production this year from 23 colonies which produced honey was 1,539 pounds. That is 66.91 pound average, in SE Missouri. I had 5 non-productive colonies, so if you factor those into the average, the average drops to 54.96 pounds.

    Production by queen:
    - Feral swarm hived in April - 26 pounds
    - B. Weaver queens - including Mutts (11 hives) - 998 pounds, 90.72 lb. average
    - Purvis queens/mutts (5 hives) - 306 pounds, 61.2 lb. average
    - Russell queens (installed May 11 in splits) (3 hives) - 81 pounds, 28 lb. average (I found it interesting the feral swarm hives on foundation did as good as Russell queens given to single deep splits with existing brood, bees, and stores.)
    - Russian queens/mutts (7 hives) - 111 pounds, 15.8 lb. average.

    To get an honest comparison between Weaver queens and the Russian queens, part of the season I had 7 Weaver hives in a locale similar to the Russians. Those 7 Weaver hives produced 298 pounds, for an average of 42.57 pounds per hive, nearly 3 times the production of the Russians.

    The conclusion for me is to switch from Russians over to B. Weaver queens, and throw in another line for genetic diversity.
    Had I practiced better beekeeping this year (time and family constraints dictated otherwise this year) I would not have lost some hives over the summer, and my 5 non-productive hives might have been able to produce. But then again, maybe not.
    Now to get them ready for winter.

    For me, what this proves is that with the right genetics, you can be treatment free, and produce a nice quantity of honey. My two oldest colonies are 6 years old, in the back yard, and produced 79 pounds for one, nada for the other (queen laid throughout supers, had to leave). The second oldest hive is 4 years old, and this year it produced (I LOVE this queen!) 170 pounds! I had six hives produce over 100 pounds each, 1-170 pounds, another 175 pounds. I had four other hives produce between 75 and 100 pounds. And that, my friends, is treatment free, in SE Missouri. Not in fields of clover or alfalfa. I did have some hives on soybeans though.
    Regards,
    Steven
    Last edited by StevenG; 09-10-2012 at 09:04 AM. Reason: error in date
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  8. #148
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

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

    That's fantastic! Good show!
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  9. #149
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,793

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

    I would say we can't measure the success of treatment free on honey production alone but also first measure how many survive the coming winter. Like mine, many of your hives were this years starts. I am treatment free also, produce approximately 2.5 tons of honey, but suffer massive winter losses by so far undiagnosed causes. So I rate myself and my bees a failure as a treatment free beekeeper. Remember President Bush on the aircraft carrier? "Mission Accomplished". Report back in April. And five years from now.

  10. #150
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,103

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

    Yes, but good report and thanks for reporting. Is anyone else replicating the study?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  11. #151
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

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

    Mark (sqkcrk) as I mentioned in my blog a few years back, this is not a controlled study, but simply a report on my experiences endeavoring to be treatment free. A scientist would be driven to drink if dealing with this report as a scientific study.

    Odfrank - Actually my reported data goes back to 2006. See my blog http://www.beesource.com/2010/no-tre...bees-report-3/
    What I've been doing recently is giving updates here on this thread, so folks won't have to slog thru all the data in a blog to get the conclusions.
    Regarding my winter losses...Started 2009 with 2 colonies, ended with 14.
    winter 2009/2010, entered with 14 colonies, lost 1, a 7% loss.
    Ended 2010 with 26 colonies, lost 4 winter 2010/2011, a 15% loss.
    Ended 2011 with 32 colonies, lost 2 winter 2011/2012, a 6% loss.
    My best producers were 2 years old or older, and a 4-yr. old colony produced 170 pounds, rather unusual in this part of the state.

    Like you, I try to judge the success of the bee/colony by survival AND production. Some folks say treatment free bees won't produce. Mine have, thanks to their genetics, and environmental factors as well, I'm sure (e.g. forage, weather, etc.)

    I don't plan to go commercial, just be a successful side-liner with up to 50-60 colonies, give me some travel money in my old age.
    Kindest Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  12. #152
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Glencoe, Okla USA
    Posts
    297

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

    Have you used Buckfast Queens in the past?

    Do you see any noticable aggressive difference between the colonies you have?

    Do you actually use purchased queens to make your splits?

    How many frames with bees and brood do you use to make a split?

    Do you reuse the frames and foundation from your colony's that have died?

    Do you use any kind of sanitation on the frames and foundation after a colony dies?

    Myron Denny
    Glencoe Okla

  13. #153
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

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

    Hello Myron - did you get much alfalfa honey this year? When I lived in Oklahoma, I loved getting alfalfa honey! Anyway....
    Buckfast queens, haven't used them, sorry.

    Aggressiveness - Russians are consistently my most aggressive. But depending on time of year, weather, etc etc and honey flows, hives are pretty mild...never wear gloves. I get most of my stings in the spring, before the serious honey flows start. I'll take 3-4 stings from one hive before I'll put on my gloves. That usually happens every other year. I've had a "junk yard dog" hive twice - 30 years ago, and about 3 years ago...requeened 3 years ago. Endured it 30 years ago...produced bumper crops.

    Queens for splits - I generally use walk away splits, but also buy queens to introduce genetic diversity into my operation, and try different strains.

    Frames for splits - I use 4 frame nucs generally, so I pull 2 frames of brood and bees, 2 frames of bees and honey/pollen. Sometimes I'll use a frame of empty comb or foundation, depending upon my mood and comb availability.

    Reusing frames - yes, I generally reuse my frames/comb. I do a post mortem on any dead out. Most to date have been queen issues or starvation, so I've felt comfortable reusing those, with no problem. When I get this summer's deadouts in and autopsied, my guess is, thanks to the wax moth, won't be any comb to use. Now, if I think a hive died out for other reasons, e.g. foulbrood, I'll burn.

    Sanitation - to date I've let the bees clean them up. That is subject to change, if my post mortems indicate other problems. I'm also planning to follow a colony hived in previously used dead-out equipment, to see if there is mortality there. So far there hasn't been. So my practices are subject to change. I figure bees can do a good job, but with all the new stuff out there, I need to be willing and able to adjust.

    Now, to turn the question around, do you use any kind of sanitation on deadouts you plan to reuse? And what kind?

    Thanks for your questions! That's how we all learn, and I'm open to suggestions.
    Kindest regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  14. #154
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,010

    Thumbs Up Celebrating your Home Run this year Steven!

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    Ok sports fans, the harvest is over for me, and it was GREAT!!!!
    ...snip...For me, what this proves is that with the right genetics, you can be treatment free, and produce a nice quantity of honey....snip....The second oldest hive is 4 years old, and this year it produced (I LOVE this queen!) 170 pounds!...snip...
    Regards,
    Steven
    Normally, I wouldn't want to see a 170 pound queen, but not true this time: I think I'm in love too

    I ordered some BeeWeaver queens today for splits, please Steven, tell me your four year old, 170 pound, queen is a BeeWeaver queen!
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  15. #155
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Celebrating your Home Run this year Steven!

    I'm sorry Lee, but she isn't a four year old B. Weaver queen... she was installed April 9, 2011, but is a B. Weaver queen. She took off slow last year, colony struggled, as did most of mine last year. But wow! This year was great for her!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  16. #156
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,973

    Default Re: Celebrating your Home Run this year Steven!

    Isn't that normal for a hive to start slow and go gangbusters the second year? I did some crazy splits this year and I am both anxious and apprehensive at the same time to see what these hives will do next year (assuming they make it).
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  17. #157
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Celebrating your Home Run this year Steven!

    It is normal for a colony to start slow as it gets established the first year, and go gangbusters the second year. But this hive was in its third year when I requeened with a B. Weaver queen. Had last year been a better year all around, it should have done much better last year than it did. It only produced 7 pounds of surplus last year. But all my colonies were down last year, so I decided to see what she would do in her second year. And, rightly or wrongly, I always assume my hives will make it thru the winter. My good fortune has been if I can get a new hive, split, swarm or whatever, thru the season to fall and ready for winter, they make it thru winter. Last three years my winter losses have been 7%, 15%, and this past winter 6%. I think it's because I get quality bees, and get them built up for winter.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  18. #158
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Glencoe, Okla USA
    Posts
    297

    Default Re: Celebrating your Home Run this year Steven!

    I have many old boxes and used frames I have cleaned the old wax out and washed them in a heavy solution Clorox and water, I let them dry and filled them with new wax. I lost enough bees that I am now using new frames and new wax. This year I had a Nuc that after 2 purchased queens failed I let them raise their own queen, they got strong enough I put them in a 10 frame box with the 5 filled frames they had and 5 frames from a deadout that had not been washed in Clorox, they died. The old frames and foundation I think were the cause!

    The bees made honey early here, they have done very little from June on here because of the heat the last 2 summers. All my bees have alfalfa in their area, one field was left for seed which is being thrashed now. The bees that had Arrowleaf clover close by seemed to make the most honey. I never see bees on the beans in our area.
    I have a neighbor that bought packages from Weavers, they were in new equipment but they all died the second summer? Weavers used to sell Buckfast queens.

  19. #159
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Celebrating your Home Run this year Steven!

    Soybeans in my area are generally irrigated, and I've gotten real good crops off them.
    Which Weaver did your neighbor get bees from? R. Weaver or B. Weaver? I've only used B. Weaver. When I've lost some, it's generally been my fault.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  20. #160
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,249

    Default Re: Celebrating your Home Run this year Steven!

    test
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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