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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,709

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    If you wish to make Basswood section comb honey on a commercial basis, as did Mr. Killian, it is advisable, and although not necessary, one of the best ways. We aware, that this is an intense style of beekeeping, and maybe not for a neophyte.

    Lets see, more honey, fewer mites. No chemicals. This is a bad thing?

    We have practiced this method most years for comb honey production, at least since the 50's.

    Crazy Roland

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    641

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    All of my colonies are foundationless. I do nothing for Varroa management other than let them have a prime swarm each spring.

    Matt

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    Quote Originally Posted by Cacklewack View Post
    All of my colonies are foundationless. I do nothing for Varroa management other than let them have a prime swarm each spring.

    Matt
    this is the method i am following

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana, Clay County
    Posts
    568

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    Quote Originally Posted by Cacklewack View Post
    All of my colonies are foundationless. I do nothing for Varroa management other than let them have a prime swarm each spring.

    Matt
    Ok , I'll bite . What is a prime swarm ???

    regards
    Brad

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,278

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    A prime swarm is the first swarm a colony casts in the spring. About 50% of the adult bees and the queen leave with the prime swarm. The swarms that leave later with virgins that emerge are called afterswarms. My question is what does that do to your honey production? My colonies production are reduced by half or more if they swarm.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    Same as breaking the brood cycle only without the extra honey side-benefit.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    i beg to differ with ya i have taken 2 med supers off of 5 hives this year and will pull 1 more each in about 2 weeks before the golden rod flow

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    If you have ten hives don't treat them with anything, feed them if needed for the winter, make sure the hive has good ventilation, and let them go. In spring breed from the best. You might have 2/10 the first year, but you might have 9/10 alive the second. Breed from the best and nuc the rest. To get good bees you have to kill bad queens. I don't treat, I don't do counts, I have only given my bees sugar if they need it, the last 4 years, with no loses, the last two years. I have sold all of my equipment that anything was ever used in them. In my area bees will and can coexist with Beatles and mites if given the chance. Just my 2 cents

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick County, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    Quote Originally Posted by scdw43 View Post
    In my area bees will and can coexist with Beatles and mites if given the chance. Just my 2 cents
    Regarding the info above, just make sure you choose the correct albums/CD's e.g. "Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "Revolver" or "The White Album".

    I couldn't resist!

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    Quote Originally Posted by scdw43 View Post
    If you have ten hives don't treat them with anything, feed them if needed for the winter, make sure the hive has good ventilation, and let them go. In spring breed from the best. You might have 2/10 the first year, but you might have 9/10 alive the second. Breed from the best and nuc the rest. To get good bees you have to kill bad queens. I don't treat, I don't do counts, I have only given my bees sugar if they need it, the last 4 years, with no loses, the last two years. I have sold all of my equipment that anything was ever used in them. In my area bees will and can coexist with Beatles and mites if given the chance. Just my 2 cents
    Restarted with bees 6 years ago after a 30 year break,didnt know about mites ,beetles ,cdc ect.I just caught a swarm and it survived .made a split and did a few cutouts and caught more swarms.Now as i type i have 17 hives and 3 nucs and NO treatments. SPLITS FROM THE BEST AND SWARMS FROM LOCAL SURVIVERS IS MY METHOD AND IT SEEMS TO BEE WORKING.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    80% losses first year seems a bit high to me unless there are other factors. When I started with 20, on small cell foundation, no treatments, new equipment, I didn't reach 80% losses of the original stock for more than five years. Had I been splitting, I could have easily increased along the way, but I had way overreached equipment wise so I let the weak ones die out without replacing them. Then I moved.

    If you go treatment-free on old treated comb and large cell at that, I suspect losses will be higher. Possibly much higher. It limits recoverability at the outset.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Benton, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    On the green drone comb. My hives have wood frames with wired beeswax foundation. I put some green drone comb in to try it for varroa mite control, and they dont want to draw out the stuff. They have some in the middle and have put maybe 6 or so drones in it. I think I will order beeswax drone comb and try it in my wooden frames. I like the concept of this. I did powdered sugar dust 2 of my hives that had climbing mite counts. I am a new beekeeper, and while I understand that experienced beeks can do well without doing mite counts, but I need to do them to see what is going on. My hive that was smaller I was able to drop the 3 day mite count total from 43 to 15 after dusting. In my large hive the count kept on climbing. I am not sure why but I figure we didnt get them dusted good enough. So many bees and supers on that hive.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Canterbry, UK
    Posts
    1,656

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    Quote Originally Posted by NY_BLUES View Post
    I see your point. [...] Is it a sustainable practice?
    There are many, many questions to this management style. There are many answers that some people could give. I don't have answers to most of the questions, but the uncertainty does outweigh the certain.
    It depends what you mean by 'sustainable'. If you mean: does it work the way nature works, by continuously weeding out the vulnerable strains, so the each new generation is better equipped to deal with problems affecting health, then no. In fact *any* active management against varroa (except selection of the best, elimination of the weakest)frustrates the essential process of gaining mite-tolerant characteristics.

    If you mean: will it help the local feral population adapt to varroa, so the the natural process will be continually operating around me, sending good strong genes into my future generations through their drones, again no. *Any* active management scheme (except selection of the best, elimination of the weakest) will have the opposite effect. You will be killing off your local ferals by sending inadeqate genes into them

    In nature, populations thrive by constantly being made from the fittest parents in each generation, eliminating the more unfit. And any kind of population husbandry has to follow the same rules - or the population cannot help but sicken. The failure to breed properly is modern beekeeping's great error - and the direct cause of our varroa problem.

    Don't be afraid of seeing your bees die - just try to make sure you have better ones to replace them. Go hard for survivors, or buy mite tolerant queens, get into breeding, and learn about the various indicators that signal mite tolerance. You don't want to be managing, you want bees that are equipped to manage themselves.

    Mike
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    dallas, tx, usa
    Posts
    517

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post

    So, there is a way to keep bees treatment free. It's not the bees, it's the managenment.
    It also helps if you have decent stock! Kirk works harder than he has to. I have not treated in 15 years. When I experienced losses like that back in 97, I sold out and took a few steps back. The mites were everywhere! Those were rough times. Now I stick with BWeaver, feral stock, and my own survivor mutts. If the mites look bad (and they haven't in a very long time) I just make a split. Most people I know who keep bees the way I do (Crowder, Comfort, Lusby, Bouffard) have not worried about varroa for some time. It is a non-issue. It also helps being down south. It is 110 out today, and we are in our seasonal dearth. It provides a low-brood few months when the mites have nowhere to hide. Diseases also have a hard time getting a foothold without the moisture. Treatment free in New England is a tricky matter.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bardstown, KY, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    So, there is a way to keep bees treatment free. It's not the bees, it's the managenment.
    I'm a believer in the management. I just hope I don't kill a bunch of bees in the education process.

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