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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Greenville County, South Carolina, USA
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    8

    Default The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    Before I get any bees, I am trying to learn as much as I can. I really like the idea of treatment-free bees, but am not sure whether I ought to start that way or not. Undecided.

    I was just wondering if as many people as possible could tell the reasons why they use this method. I am guessing for many people the idea is to have purer honey with less possibility of contamination by harmful chemicals. Maybe others just love a challenge. But tell me, if you don't mind, what your personal reasons are?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    Reason 1 is I don't want to spend any money. I cut down my own trees to make hives, collect free swarms. I'm new and of four swarms collected, one died and the others spun off two new swarms.
    Reason 2 is Darwinian adaptation. I'd rather the bees be adapting to the pests, than the pests be adapting to the treatments and I be adapting to this adaptation.
    Reason 3 is that I read Michael Bush's website.
    Reason 4 is that I know of four feral hives in oak trees near our place that seem to survive for years and probably make lots of drones.

    You may need to keep three or four hives in order to keep at least one or two going through the winter once mites build up.
    This advice is free and worth every penny.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,135

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    We started beekeeping chemical free a few years ago.
    My main reason was that it just didn't feel right to me to put the chemicals in the bee hive. Un-natural is probably a better description of the way I felt about it.
    After reading the beginner books, & all the chemicals it says to dump in the hives, I decided if it was really necessary I wasn't going to start beekeeping. If it wasn't for this website, I wouldn't have started beekeeping.
    Dan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,908

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    It is good to keep harmful chemicals out and natural chemicals in unnatural amounts.
    Treatments do breed resistant "bugs"
    Antibiotic resistance is in the genes. A natural plasmid, pMA67 is present in all the resistant strains of foulbrood.
    http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/jul07/bee0707.pdf
    "Antibiotics kill beneficial bacteria as well as pathogens. You may be killing the beneficial bacteria bees need for good health. While little is known about beneficial bacteria in honey bees, when we have looked in other organisms beneficial bacteria have been found."
    http://www.beeccdcap.uga.edu/documents/CAPArticle4.html
    Treatments postpone the inevitable until an opportunity when the bees cannot recover due to multiple calamities at the same time. That is the closest definition of Colony Collapse Disorder. CCD is beekeeper initiated!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

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

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    I am apparently one of the few who started out treatment-free and was able to continue successfully.

    When I was younger, my father procured a hive from a local commercial beekeeper and we caught another swarm that summer, but both died the first winter of massive mite infestations. When I started of my own volition when I was 19, it became known to me through BeeSource that there were beekeepers able to keep bees without treatments. When I found out about that, the decision was natural, I was doing it that way. I didn't want to be reliant on chemicals to keep the bees alive.

    I knew at the time that it wouldn't be easy and starting from commercial stock, I had been told to expect 90% loss of original stock within three years. It took six years, but it eventually happened. But I planned from the beginning to push through.

    My philosophy has changed from then to now, now it is less about simply wanting to not be dependent on chemicals, and more about wanting to keep bees that don't ultimately need my help. For me, keeping bees treatment-free is more challenging and more fun. It is a great learning experience.

    I hope you decide to go the treatment-free route. Once the chemicals go into the hive, it's quite difficult to get them out.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Barnesville Pa.
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    Reason 1 Im cheap

    Reason 2 Im lazy

    Reason 3 I have faith in the fact the bees can take care of themselves without me sticking my nose in there business.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    Okay, I realize my previous post was not in list form as was asked for, so here goes.

    I don't want to be dependent on something I cannot make (chemicals).
    II want bees that can live on their own without my help.
    III don't want to spend more money than necessary.
    IV want clean pure honey.
    V want to do things people say can't be done.
    VI don't want chemical companies getting any more of my money than necessary.
    VII know now that it can be done and I'm not going to stop doing it.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    Reason 1: I want to be able to eat my own honey with little or no chemicals in it, and be able to give it to my friends or sell it honorably as pure.
    Reason 2: We are killing the planet with poisons and I like the idea of helping my tiny little corner of the earth in some way.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Greenville County, South Carolina, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    Thanks guys, these are the kinds of reasons I am looking for. I like them all. You are convincing me this is the way I want to go. One thing Solomon said especially spoke to me-- "I don't want to be dependent on something I can't make (chemicals)."

    This is part of what drives me to have bees in the first place-- as part of a plan to severely reduce my dependence on others. So why would I want to depend on others to supply chemicals for me? My wife and I are always looking for the answers to the $64,000 questions of self-sufficiency-- like "how do you make cheese if you can't buy rennet?" and so on.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,069

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    1) The only way to have a sustainable system of beekeeping is to stop treating. Treating is a death spiral that is now collapsing. To leverage this, though you really need to raise your own queens from local surviving bees. Only then can you get bees who genetically can survive and parasites that are in tune with their host. As long as we treat we get weaker bees who can only survive if we treat, and stronger parasites who can only survive if they breed fast enough to keep up with our treatments. No stable relationship can develop until we stop treating.

    2) We need clean wax. The entire world wax supply is now contaminated with acaracides. Natural comb will provide clean wax. Not treating will keep it as clean as possible. Apistan and CheckMite build up in the wax and cause sterile drones which in turn causes failing queens. One estimate I heard from one of the experts on the subject put the average supersedure rate at three times a year. That means the queens are failing and being replaced three times a year. This is stunning to me since most of my queens are three years old.

    3) Most treatments (other than Apistan and Check Mite which actually kill bees along with mites...) kill off microbes. A bee colony is a whole system in itself of beneficial and benign fungi, bacteria, yeasts, mites, insects and other flora and fauna that depend on the bees for their lively hood. All of the pest controls tend to kill the mites and insects. All of the antibiotics used by beekeepers tend to kill either the bacteria (Terramycin, Tylosin, essential oils, organic acids and thymol do this) or the fungi and yeasts (Fumidil, essential oils, organic acids and thymol do this). The whole balance of this precarious system has been upset by all the treatments in the hive. And recently beekeepers switched to a new antibiotic, Tylosin, which the beneficial bacteria has not had a chance to build up resistance to and they have switched to formic acid as a treatment which shifts the pH radically to the acidic and kills many of the microorganisms of the hive.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmorethan.htm

    4) I'm lazy and cheap. If you don't treat, you don't have to buy the treatments. You don't have to drive to the yard and put the treatments in and drive to the yard to take them out. You don't have to contaminate your wax. You don't upset the natural balance by killing off micro and macro organisms that you weren't targeting but who are killed by the treatments anyway. That would seem like upside enough, but you also give the ecosystem of the bee hive a chance to find some natural balance again.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.ht...oartificalfeed

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursim...m#notreatments

    5) The whole point of honey, in my opinion, is a natural healthy source of sweet. I don't want that contaminated by anything, especially things that are actually poisonous to humans as well as bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    Quote Originally Posted by Okraeater View Post
    One thing Solomon said especially spoke to me-- "I don't want to be dependent on something I can't make (chemicals)."
    My work here is done.

    It's the main reason why I'm using wax queen cups for my upcoming grafting project. I can't make plastic ones.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Greenville County, South Carolina, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    Thanks, Michael. That's where I'm heading.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,346

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    I've been keeping bees for awhile now, I consider myself a treatment-free beekeeper, and I've always been that way.

    Reasons:
    1) Cheap
    2) Lazy
    3) and I don't want to eat, breath, or have contact with anything that might be toxic to me, nor to share the poison with others, even honey bees.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,951

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    I can only repeat what Solomon and Michael have already said.

    1. I believe the treatment of bees is a mistake. It is now causing as many or more problems than it solves. It has not been that long since all bees where treatment free. I simply find it hard to believe that treating bees is not contributing in some part to the long trail of it's decline.

    2. I have not interest or intention of putting a few hundred dollars in to my hand full of hives every year.

    3. So far my focus is both treatment free as well as sustainable. I don't like buying new flowers for my flower beds every year. I am never going to find it okay to buy new bees for my hives.

    4. Although I realize that there has been war for the beekeepers in recent decades. It appears to me that answers where found to address emergencies, then adopted as a permanent answers. I have a firm belief that there are better more permanent answers. I also believe the bees are more capable of discovering them than we are. many will die in the discovery.

    5. The bees need more keepers that are interested in the well being of the bee rather than production of the products of the hive. Seems reasonable to me that if all your focus is on honey production. Your honey production will go up. Probably at the expense of the health of the bee. Yes bees make honey naturally, but not hundreds of pounds of it. All things in moderation.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,687

    Default Re: The Newbee asks-- List your reasons for going treatment-free?

    Let's review here. Treatment free is not a new thing, the opposite is, treating with synthetic chemicals.

    By default then, I can not answer your question, because I can not go to a place I have always been.

    Crazy Roland
    Linden Apiary, est. 1852

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