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  1. #1
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    Default sure death with no treatments?

    honeyshack,

    I was giving a very general description of my hives' condition after a couple years having varroa mites. If you want more specifics I would be happy to give them, such as what I meant when I stated my bees still are producing "lots of honey". First of all, I don't have the slightest idea what the average honey production is for my state or area, where would you find that information? I'm sure you realize that honey crops can vary considerably from one part of a state to another part of the same state due to differences in weather, types and quantities of forage, etc. Even if I did know what my state average was, what would that mean to my operation, seriously? And what if I fell short of the state average, does that automatically mean that I have a mite problem that is going to be terminal? Of course not, there are many factors that affect a honey crop. So, what does "lots of honey" mean to me, well, I am on track to do better this year than last, so far about a 60 lb. average on my overwintered hives, and I expect I will harvest another medium super at least from now till the end of the goldenrod and aster bloom. My bees are not located out in the open country, or in agricultural areas, so I think they are doing very well considering the forage available to them. How much better could I have done without any mites, who in the world knows that answer.

    You have been around this forum long enough to know that there are many, many treatment free beekeepers who are JUST AS SUCCESSFUL as those who treat, so don't be so quick to say we are doomed to failure. John

  2. #2
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    Default Re: sure death with no treatments?

    "You have been around this forum long enough to know that there are many, many treatment free beekeepers who are JUST AS SUCCESSFUL as those who treat, so don't be so quick to say we are doomed to failure"


    I did not say you were doomed to failure. If your non treating works for you FANTASTIC!.

    That said, I will say it again...one persons "lots of honey" is another person's crop failure. Just like if you said "lots of bees in your hive"...or "low mite counts"...that is a personal assesment not a quantative measurement.
    For example, you are happy with 60 pounds of honey per hive. For me that is a failure considering my livelihood depends on 150-180 pounds per hive per year...Provincial average for our area!
    So, I was not condemning you or chastizing you. I wanted to know a quanative measurement to compare to for your area. What if the origianl poster's idea of alot of honey was say 200# of honey. You have offered advice based on your experiences....Great, Fantasitic. But we need to be clear on quantative measurements so that we are comparing apples to apples and not apples to eggs.

    Please also note, i said state or your area averages. I am provincial. We can get our averages through our provincial ag bee department which are put out yearly. We can also get the averages for our area from our packing company in the city.

    You might want to start with your local bee association to find those numbers


    Edit,
    Please, next time you would like to start a thread and direct that thread at me, how about we keep it in the PM's. Threads are open based, for everyone to see. But a thread directed at someone should be kept in the PM's as a private chat

  3. #3
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    Default Re: sure death with no treatments?

    I found this USDA report for honey production for Michigan.
    Looks like 60lbs is about average...


    http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_...igan/aam03.txt


    United States Department of Agriculture
    National Agricultural Statistics Service
    Michigan Field Office
    Cooperating with Michigan Department of Agriculture

    Vol. 31
    No. 3
    Agriculture Across Michigan
    March 2010...
    ...


    Michigan Honey Production Up 12 Percent

    Michigan honey production for 2009 totaled 3.96 million pounds, down 24
    percent from 2008. This estimate included honey from producers with 5 or more
    colonies. Nationally, Michigan ranked ninth in honey production in 2009, down
    from seventh in 2008. Yields from Michigan's 66,000 colonies producing honey
    averaged 60 pounds in 2009, compared with 73 pounds the previous year.
    Michigan honey price averaged $1.51 per pound, up 7 cents per pound from
    last year. Value of production totaled $5.98 million, down 20 percent from
    2008. Honey stocks were 1.51 million pounds, down 26 percent from 2008.
    Nationally, honey production in 2009 from producers with five or more
    colonies totaled 144 million pounds, down 12 percent from 2008. There were
    2.46 million colonies producing honey in 2009, up 5 percent from 2008. Yield
    per colony averaged 58.5 pounds, down 16 percent from the 69.9 pounds in
    2008, and is the lowest yield since 1989. Colonies which produced honey in
    more than one State were counted in each State where the honey was produced.
    Therefore, yields per colony may be understated, but total production would
    not be impacted. Colonies were not included if honey was not harvested.
    Producer honey stocks were 37.2 million pounds on December 15, 2009, down 27
    percent from a year earlier. Stocks held by producers exclude those held
    under the commodity loan program.
    Honey prices increased to a record high during 2009 to 144.5 cents, up 2
    percent from 142.1 cents in 2008. U.S. and State level prices reflect the
    portions of honey sold through retail, cooperatives, and private channels.
    Prices for each color class are derived by weighting the quantities sold for
    each marketing channel. Prices for the 2008 crop reflect honey sold in 2008
    and 2009. Some 2008 crop honey was sold in 2009, which caused some revisions
    to the 2008 crop prices.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  4. #4
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    Default Re: sure death with no treatments?

    Velbert,

    Do you think it is possible for the average common honeybee (excluding Russians, or any other recently developed hygenic strains) to become hygenic if left to their own instincts over some period of time, without human interference (treatments)? I would venture to guess that most people would say NO WAY. I cannot pinpoint exactly why my bees that have mites continue to not only survive, but prosper. As you say, there are many factors that contribute to a colony's survival year after year. My management style and goal is doing things as natural as possible, and still be able to run a large number of hives as my sole income. I let my bees build all comb naturally, foundationless, I don't feed sugar syrup to build them up in spring, or to boost their stores for winter, I leave more than enough honey on the hive in the fall to get them through any winter scenario. If I need to feed for any reason, I feed them frames of their own honey that I keep in reserve. I don't feed pollen substitute either or any other nutritional formula's. I eventually plan to trap my own pollen for that purpose.

    Another thing, you seem to think that a good queen can out produce mites, thus the hive can stay ahead of them and survive, I don't think so. The answer is not in out producing the mites progeny, you will lose every time. John

  5. #5
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    Default Re: sure death with no treatments?

    >Please, next time you would like to start a thread and direct that thread at me, how about we keep it in the PM's. Threads are open based, for everyone to see. But a thread directed at someone should be kept in the PM's as a private chat.

    Honeyshack,

    Repies to individual posts goes on all the time in open forums, that is all I was doing, I just didn't think it right for me to go off in a different direction from the original posters question, so I opened up the discussion again in my own post. Even though this subject has been discussed at length many times before, it can't hurt to talk about it openly, maybe someone new has something interesting to contribute. However, if you like, I would be happy to talk to you in PM. John

  6. #6
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    Default Re: sure death with no treatments?

    RayMarler, thanks for the report. John

  7. #7
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    Default Re: sure death with no treatments?

    There where some countries where beekeepers couldn't afford to purchase mite treatments. If I remember correctly the bees started doing better after 9 years. Treating has set our countries bees about 20 years behind in my opinion.

    Sorry i don't remember the article I got the info from last year.
    Dan

  8. #8
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    Default Re: sure death with no treatments?

    Most beeks aren't willing, or able, to sustain the losses necessary to develop their own resistant bees. And we don't have to, when breeders have done that for us. I re-entered beekeeping treatment free, and others have gone this route too, quite successfully. But, as I've said elsewhere, and frequently, I bought bees that were treatment free.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  9. #9
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    Default Re: sure death with no treatments?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    Most beeks aren't willing, or able, to sustain the losses necessary to develop their own resistant bees. And we don't have to, when breeders have done that for us. I re-entered beekeeping treatment free, and others have gone this route too, quite successfully. But, as I've said elsewhere, and frequently, I bought bees that were treatment free.
    Regards,
    Steven
    I did NOT buy bees that were treatment free. I just stopped treating (15 hives) and after half died, I rebuilt from survivors. Maybe it's isolation, maybe it's genetics or maybe a balance of bees/varroa----I don't know. I just know that you don't necessarily have to purchase treatment free to become successful without treatments. And, on the resources page of this forum there are instructions from 10 years ago on how to do it.
    Last edited by heaflaw; 08-16-2010 at 09:46 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Sure death with no Beekeeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post

    You have been around this forum long enough to know that there are many, many treatment free beekeepers who are JUST AS SUCCESSFUL as those who treat, so don't be so quick to say we are doomed to failure. John
    I cannot speak for you, but here is a suggested edit:

    "You have been around this forum long enough to know that there are many, many beekeepers that CLAIM TO BE treatment free, who are IN MY OPINION JUST AS SUCCESSFUL as those who treat....."

    I know many, many excellent beekeepers in the Northwest. All of them, without exception take care of their honey bees health and nutrition as any good beekeeper would.
    Often, this means dealing with pests and diseases.
    For those reading along; please done ever be ashamed for being a good beekeeper.
    I carefully monitor pest & disease levels and adjust them as necissary.
    When the bees fail, it is my fault; no excuses.

    "Well fine, but what did the bees do for millions of years before beekeeping?"
    Answer: Bees did then what they do now VERY, VERY, regularly: Die!!!

    Bees are really good at coming up with creative ways to perish.
    Hmmmm, now what is the beekeepers job? what could it be?? what could it be ?......

    maybe....KEEPING THEM ALIVE????

    BINGO!
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sure death with no Beekeeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryVanderpool View Post
    Bees are really good at coming up with creative ways to perish.
    And just when we thought we saw it all, they find a new way just to keep us on our toes.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sure death with no Beekeeper?

    >I know many, many excellent beekeepers in the Northwest. All of them, without exception take care of their honey bees health and nutrition as any good beekeeper would.
    Often, this means dealing with pests and diseases.
    For those reading along; please done ever be ashamed for being a good beekeeper.
    I carefully monitor pest & disease levels and adjust them as necissary.
    When the bees fail, it is my fault; no excuses.

    "Well fine, but what did the bees do for millions of years before beekeeping?"
    Answer: Bees did then what they do now VERY, VERY, regularly: Die!!!

    Bees are really good at coming up with creative ways to perish.
    Hmmmm, now what is the beekeepers job? what could it be?? what could it be ?......

    maybe....KEEPING THEM ALIVE????

    BINGO!
    [/QUOTE]

    For those of you reading along, especially beginners, deciding to treat or not treat is a personal decision. All beekeeping is local, and also personal, that's the way its always been and will continue to be. Some believe that treating when your hives are affected by mites is the right thing to do and makes you "a good beekeeper". Just because my conviction is to not treat does not mean that I would stand by and watch as the last hive of honey bees on earth crashes at the hands of the varroa mite. What good would that do, and what would it prove? Every beekeeper who works bees for a sideline or full time has much at stake here, even the hobbyist surely has an investment that they want to protect. We also want to produce a quality product for our own consumption and/or for sale. So, how do we go about balancing producing a quality product with keeping the bees alive long enough to produce the product, this is the question that needs to be answered by everyone individually. Some may equate this decision to the difference between those that like trees and those that are tree huggers. Just as some are relying on treatments to keep bees alive, I am relying on a more natural approach to keeping them alive and prospering, I do more than just dump bees in a box, walk away, and hope for the best. That would be irresponsible and not being a "good beekeeper" as you say. John

  13. #13
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    Default Re: sure death with no treatments?

    I know 2 local guys that are treatment free, not because they wanted to, but b/c they didn't know any different. They are not members of a bee club or online forum, and do not get any of the magazines. I inspected one of the guys hives a few weeks ago. They had at least 3 full medium supers on each and were the healthiest bees I have ever seen!!!!! The hardest treatment I have done since I have started in 07 is POWDERED SUGAR. No beetle traps, no screened bottom boards, no mitecides. This year I have not put one thing on my hives for treatment! It can bee done.
    Mike

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sure death with no Beekeeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryVanderpool View Post
    .... but here is a suggested edit:

    "You have been around this forum long enough to know that there are many, many beekeepers that CLAIM TO BE treatment free, who are IN MY OPINION JUST AS SUCCESSFUL as those who treat....."
    I take it that you are implying those who "CLAIM TO BE" treatment-free are lying about treating and their yields? If not, I am sorry to misunderstand you. (What is your point, then?)

    Anyway, when I see Dee Lusby at the Arizona conference in February, I'll ask her if she's been lying to us all these years and is secretly dousing bundles of blue shop towels with Mavrik out in the desert.

    Or Kirk Webster in Vermont.

    As far as I can tell, their bees aren't dying from lack of treatment even if you use lots of capital letters in your post and cry "bingo" as if the issue is decided.

    Wayne.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: sure death with no treatments?

    sigh... here we go again... the "Claim to be treatment free" and the "if you don't treat they will die" crowd.

    As jmgi mentioned, the decision to treat or not treat is a personal one. I no longer get insulted by those who accuse me of lying regarding being treatment free. They have their problems, and life is too short to get insulted any more by ignorance.

    As one beek mentioned above, he went treatment free, lost half his colonies, and bred from the survivors. He is now successfully treatment free. In some respects, he made my earlier point that many beeks don't or won't take the hit to go treatment free. That's why I've suggested buying treatment free bees and going from there. But doing as he did is certainly one way to go, and I commend him for his guts and fortitude in proceeding as he did.

    Last year there was quite an animated discussion regarding treatment vs. treatment free. Several of us decided to proceed with a study, and I've been doing it, and reporting somewhat regularly. When I re-entered beekeeping, it was with the intention of being treatment free and expanding.

    For you new beeks, and others interested, you can read the blog that the moderators of this forum encouraged and helped me set up, here: http://www.beesource.com/2010/no-tre...bees-report-3/

    You can get off the chemical treadmill, and go treatment free. Save your money, and spend it on other things besides chemicals. But it is always your choice. And there will always be those who say those of us who are treatment free are less than truthful. But I came out of last winter with 13 colonies, and am now at 26, treatment free. Had problems this year in my expansion, but it wasn't because of the mites.

    And yes, beekeeping is much more difficult now than it used to be. Just makes it much more interesting...
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  16. #16
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    Default Re: sure death with no treatments?

    Call me one of those that don't know any better, 20 hives here this year and no treatment whatsoever. just brought in a colony yesterday that has not been treated in 16 years. Cut out of a old oak.

    Secondly I went against conventional wisdom (also didn't have the money) and i did not use foundation in my hives. Let my bees build their own NATURAL comb. Got lots of beautiful comb sitting in my foundationless frames and no mites, beetles ect.

    hives are strong and thriving. Why would i treat a strong healthy hive??

    Third, if I had to medicate a hive all the time, is that hive worth keeping? isn't it supposed to be making a profit and not eating up the profits. I am fast becoming a believer in culling sickly hives. if it cannot survive on its own without treatment then cull it.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sure death with no Beekeeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by waynesgarden View Post
    Anyway, when I see Dee Lusby at the Arizona conference in February, I'll ask her if she's been lying to us all these years and is secretly dousing bundles of blue shop towels with Mavrik out in the desert.
    Wayne.
    Geeze Wayne! Is that the extent of the information available in Maine, that Mavrik is the sole solution to all honeybee ailments? REALLY?!!!

    But great Idea. Ask Dee Lusby if upon finding high nosema spore counts, does she douse shop towels with Mavrik.
    Ask her if, in the event of finding some cells of decaying brood that later proves positive for foulbrood; does she soak shop towels with Mavrik?

    Virus? More Mavrik?

    How about red spider mites on ornimental shrubs? Mavrik?

    BINGO!
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

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