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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,033

    Default Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    I've been perusing BeeWeaver's site from time to time over the last couple days.
    They claim not to have needed treatments for ten years now and I see no mention of small cell.
    Far be it from me to approach the topic of small cell beekeeping with such orthodoxy that it would not be accepted in this forum. Small cell has certainly gotten its fair share of discussion lately.
    At the same time, there have been a number of passing mentions of treatment-free beekeeping on conventional foundation. I know it can be done, one of my pastors at church has seven hives treatment-free on regular foundation last I heard. On the other hand, most if not all the cases I've heard of where conventional hives have gone cold turkey, there has been huge death.

    So I don't want to reject this is a topic for discussion seeing all the small cell conversations. Who does this? Assuming BeeWeaver does it, there's our example for a commercial operation. And boy are they real proud of their stuff.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,379

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    In my experience the people who are doing treatment free on large cell are still having a lot of Varroa issues. Some seem to be splitting enough to overcome those losses, but they still seem obsessed by Varroa. I haven't worried about Varroa for many years now. I'm not saying they aren't succeeding. And their stock must be really well adapted to survive the levels they seem to have.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    In my experience the people who are doing treatment free on large cell are still having a lot of Varroa issues.
    What is your take on foundationless as far as Varroa?
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    I have a number of "treatment-free" hives. I use that term loosely as, in my personal opinion, many intentional, managerial manipulations are, in fact, treatments. But that's an argument for another day and I'm in the minority with this opinion so I don't want to make an issue of it. Suffice it to say, I don't treat specifically for Varroa in these treatment-free hives and random sticky board counts do not seem to warrant the need.

    I don't use small cell foundation. In these hives, I use a fair amount of foundationless frames ("natural"-sized cells) and keep a lot of feral stock raising queens out of the survivors. My losses run between 15% to 25% in both treatment-free and treated hives (mostly with formic acid and nothing else).

    One may make the case that my "natural" sized cells are "small." I've never measured and don't really feel the need.

    I don't doubt the benefits of small cell, but I'm not sure if it's necessarily a key component to successful treatment-free beekeeping.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    >What is your take on foundationless as far as Varroa?

    I see the same results for, I believe, the same reasons. The cell size is smaller.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,719

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    Beeweavers bees do perform well at varroa resistance, and in fact I've read where they have been introduced to hives with varroa issues, then after a time the hive clears up.

    It's not stated on their web site far as I know but their queens include primorsky genetics. Hence you'll often hear people say they are "hot", and tend to swarm.

    I have no idea if they use small cell, but I doubt it. Wouldn't that be a conundrum! The only successful commercial treatment free operation, does NOT use small cell.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,197

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    This is not a conundrum at all, just a sign that the bees have natural tolerance mechanisms. As for weavers being a successful commercial treatment free operation, I have to point out that they are not migratory. My defining point of high tolerance is for a colony to be able to survive repeated moves say 3 to 5 times in a year. Exposure to other migratory operations that treat seems to be a deciding factor in survival for mite tolerant lines.

    DarJones
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >What is your take on foundationless as far as Varroa?

    I see the same results for, I believe, the same reasons. The cell size is smaller.
    I would tend to agree, MIchael, but as I "eye-ball" these foundationless frames of "natural"-sized cells, there is a great inconsistency with the cell size, especially with the drone cells mixed into the outer areas of the brood frames. One of these days I'm going to have to get off my lazy butt and measure. I like the comment that there is likely a natural component to this varroa resistance that is not strictly small cell...which is not to argue against small cell. Like so much of this human intervention, even regressing our bees back to smaller physiques, there's more here than we realize...and more that they can teach us.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    portland, dorset, UK
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    there have been a number of passing mentions of treatment-free beekeeping on conventional foundation. I know it can be done, one of my pastors at church has seven hives treatment-free on regular foundation last I heard. On the other hand, most if not all the cases I've heard of where conventional hives have gone cold turkey, there has been huge death.

    Who does this? Assuming BeeWeaver does it, there's our example for a commercial operation. And boy are they real proud of their stuff.
    Not sure but I believe that John Kefuss is still on standard foundation and running an operation of comparable size to b weaver. Anyone here know for sure?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,197

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    portland, dorset, UK
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    Thanks, a great article -I actually have it in an old magazine (abj?) somewhere but had pretty much forgotten the specifics.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,719

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    I read the article very interesting. But it does go back in time a bit, what has become of his operation now?

    Can you get his queens in the US?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    portland, dorset, UK
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Beekeeping without Small Cell

    there's another link

    http://www.centerforhoneybeeresearch...se-France.aspx

    which is a quite recent so it would seem that his business is still thriving.

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