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  1. #101
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I will only ever recommend small cell or natural cell.
    I think this is your only reference to cell size. I'm curious, is this no longer seen as an important element in treatment free beekeeping? I know in another thread some feel SC has been shown with several studies to be ineffective, and you haven't put much emphasis on it as well. Perhaps you should expand a bit more on this in your writing.
    Regards, Barry

  2. #102
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Does one make ones' bees conform to small cell? Or does the regression to small cell occur naturally through making the bees draw comb w/out foundation? If you make bees do something they don't normally or naturally do on their own, isn't that as much of a treatment as anything artificially applied?

    Just asking for my own edification. Not arguing one way or t'other.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  3. #103
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Does one make ones' bees conform to large cell or any cell size for that matter? Aren't bees free to build what they want even with foundation? Aren't bees free to leave a hive (swarm) if conditions are not suitable for them?
    Regards, Barry

  4. #104
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    You're very perceptive Barry.

    I did de-emphasize small cell without eliminating it all together. I believe it works, and others I know believe it works, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that it works, but the studies say it doesn't. There are also those who are treatment-free without it. I guess that's why I include it as a recommendation rather than a requirement. It is included on my "Natural Size Considerations" page, so it's not like I left it out completely.

    I totally believe in it. I really started being successful in beekeeping when I was able to get completely regressed small cell nucs. I haven't looked back.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #105
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Hair splitting is what I do, but that wouldn't be swarming. And I don't know that bees like or dislike.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  6. #106
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    And I don't know that bees like or dislike.
    Maybe you should get some more beekeeping experience under your belt.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #107
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I believe it works, and others I know believe it works, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that it works, but the studies say it doesn't. There are also those who are treatment-free without it.
    And this is where the tension/confusion comes in. Where are the studies that show one can be treatment free on "standard foundation" (cell size 5.4)? I'll be the first to ditch SC and go back to the other, but that was why I went the SC route to begin with. All my hives were crashing on the larger size.
    Regards, Barry

  8. #108

    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    anecdotal evidence that it works, but the studies say it doesn't.
    The only studies I familiar with say only that it doesn’t reduce varroa. Please send me a link to a legitimate study that says ‘it doesn’t work’.
    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Where are the studies that show one can be treatment free on "standard foundation" (cell size 5.4)?
    This is, in my opinion, where we get in trouble. There haven’t been any studies conducted that say one can’t be treatment free with small or conventional sized cells. The impracticality of creating such a study and limiting variables to make the results significant…..is just overwhelming.
    The scientific honey bee research community has taken the time, expense and energy to test the sc proponents primary claim, varroa control, and the results weren't favorable. Those same sc advocates now demand some impossibly grandiose experiment to prove them right.
    As I said on another such thread, if you can finance or conduct a study of your pet theory….then that is what you should do.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  9. #109
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I did de-emphasize small cell without eliminating it all together.

    [snip]

    I really started being successful in beekeeping when I was able to get completely regressed small cell nucs.
    So the obvious, why de-emphasize it?
    Regards, Barry

  10. #110
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    The only studies I familiar with say only that it doesn’t reduce varroa.
    You know that's just a straw man. In practicality, everyone interprets it to mean SC doesn't work. You're the only one who has pointed this detail out on here. Study after study get referenced by some regarding SC and their comment is, it doesn't work.
    Regards, Barry

  11. #111
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    And this is where the tension/confusion comes in. ... All my hives were crashing on the larger size.
    I know. I am under that tension too. I want to be able to say that small cell is the answer, or at least part of the answer, but those damnable studies get in the way of my scientific mind saying it with certainty. Fortunately/unfortunately I never got to experience the conventional way, and that stands in the way of my offering my experience as well. I don't feel comfortable offering advice about regressing or switching over because I've never done it myself. More tension. I leave that to you and Michael.

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Those same sc advocates now demand some impossibly grandiose experiment to prove them right.
    This is absolutely false. I'm not trying to be proved right. The study I suggest would be no different at all from the ones already done, just for an extended period of time. I want a study that proves something in a real world situation. It would be nice if I were proved correct over the long term, but I'm not looking for my answer, just the answer and I haven't seen it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    So the obvious, why de-emphasize it?
    More tension. Like all of us who have been doing this for a while, I've come to my own conclusions why it works. While I have had few if any hives die of varroa in the last several years (that may change this winter with one hive that I have), I do still have hives with varroa. I see several mites over the course of the year. I usually have a couple hives with DWV and crawlers in the spring. But it clears up and they survive despite. I think that clean wax is just as important or even more so than small cell. And bees that are hygienic (or have other traits that allow them to survive) is important as well, or maybe even more so. That's why I put so much emphasis on reproduction. There's little doubt that the right cell size is smaller than conventional. However, in my view, the whole attitude toward beekeeping, the management, the bees, and especially clean wax are all equally important in successfully keeping bees treatment-free.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #112
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    There's little doubt that the right cell size is smaller than conventional.
    You are getting ahead of yourself, no? If you have no proof that small cell is the answer your statement doesn't make sense.
    A tension I have is everyone is claiming feral hives die out, can't survive. Isn't that where the idea of small cell comes from? Another tension I have between natural cell and foundation. Do the bees regress into a smaller size because they have to work harder and are more stressed? Why did humans get bigger (before the growth hormone deal) easier life, no?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #113
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I want to be able to say that small cell is the answer, or at least part of the answer, but those damnable studies get in the way of my scientific mind saying it with certainty.
    Ha Ha I love this place!

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I think that clean wax is just as important or even more so than small cell.
    You may be on to something. Nearly all LC foundation is made from contaminated wax.

    But it must be about management too. When varroa arrived in my country, the wax was contaminant free as until then it was illegal to use any medication whatsoever, in a beehive. But the hives dropped like 9 pins when varroa arrived. So more is needed than treatment free wax. I read a case study about a guy in the US who bought into the SC idea, before varroa arrived in his area, he converted all his hives over to sc, to be prepared. But when varroa arrived, he lost virtually all his hives. More so than his neighbors, because they treated.

    A management aspect of being treatment free that has been mentioned, is constant reproduction. And indeed, when I read TF literature there seems to be much refence to making splits and replacing deadouts. So being TF might be about cell size, might be about uncontaminated wax, and might be about management.


    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Michael Bush doesn't seem to be around to address this himself...

    He's been unable to keep close eye on the bees due to work assignments for the last couple years, but last time I spoke with him he was planning on semi-retiring and focusing on bees full time this coming spring. In the past, he has had more than 200 hives.......

    Currently, I'd estimate that he has somewhere in the range of sixty, but that was in June. We did a lot of splits.
    I found it interesting that now M Bush has been too busy to put much care into his hives, his hive numbers have dropped from 200, to 60. These kind of losses would have been inconceivable pre varroa, even in unmanaged hives. What's presumably happened to the Bush apiary is he has small cell, and chemical free wax, but the management aspect has been removed due to time constraints, and that's obviously had a huge effect.

    It can't just be about small cell alone. And that's what the studies have concluded also. I see no contradictions.

    I think over the next few years the small cellers will become more aware that it's not just about small cell alone, and take a harder look at what else is involved. I'm trying to be a part of that, as are others, and we can only win, by gaining greater understanding.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #114
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Unfortunately I think it is about changing the environment back to what the bees had before varroa and that isn't going to happen by any beekeeper / beekeepers. Over time genetics will overcome the threat of varroa but the resulting traits may not be so desirable as they once were.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #115
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Study after study get referenced by some regarding SC and their comment is, it doesn't work.
    Just like the Cell Towers kill bees theory. Misquote a study often enuf and it becomes the truth.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  16. #116
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Very good point Ace. That's why, in my humble opinion, it's important we actively manage the breeding process rather than let it be pure natural selection. They had pure natural selection in Russia, look what they got.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  17. #117
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    A tension I have is everyone is claiming feral hives die out, can't survive.
    What? When did I ever say that? Most feral hives have died. Just as almost all the people who have ever lived have also died. Just like the feral COLONIES, not hives, have died. Just not allo of them at the same time.

    Since knowledge is the easiest thing I can give that doesn't cost money, let me give you some. A HIVE can't die. Hives have never lived. A COLONY of Bees, whether living in a hive or not, can die, being live animals.

    Acebird and Oldtimer,
    There is no such thing as uncontaminated beeswax. Even if the bees make their own way and produce trheir own comb. Studies show that bees will bring chemicals into the hive w/ them. Dr. Maryann Frazier bought package bees and put them in foundationless framed hives. After the bees drew comb, the wax was analyzed and found contaminated. One source was the environment forage upon by the bees. The other source could have been where the package bees came from.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  18. #118

    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    A tension I have is everyone is claiming feral hives die out, can't survive. Isn't that where the idea of small cell comes from?
    Nope. Dee and Ed Lusby in Arizona dreamt it up.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  19. #119
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    A HIVE can't die.
    Actually, it can.

    hive |hīv|
    noun
    a beehive.
    • the bees in a hive.
    • a thing that has the domed shape of a beehive.
    Regards, Barry

  20. #120
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    Default Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    dreamt it up.
    Wow, I've thought more of you Dan. You jump over people for badmouthing researchers, but I guess well intentioned beekeepers are open season.
    Regards, Barry

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