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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Still Treatment Free

    Greetings!
    Occasionally I return to the Treatment Free thread just to see what's going on. In response to a posting by Oldtimer and question by Michael bush on the Small Cell/Natural Cell (didn't read the whole thread) thread re: those who were treatment free but now advocate treatments...

    I'm one who has been treatment free since 2005, when I reentered beekeeping. Still treatment free for mites. I plan to update the blog this spring, after I know what my overwintered losses are.

    Oldtimer wondered why some people, perhaps like me, quit posting on Treatment Free, and if we've gone over to "the other side." M. Bush suggested it was because we got tired of the constant debate. Well, I can only speak for myself. I quit entering into the treatment free discussion because for me, it had degenerated into nitpicking....arguing about what constitutes a treatment, and what doesn't. Is sugar syrup a treatment or not? I just didn't feel like playing that game any more.

    I've had losses to starvation, shb, absconding, queen issues, ppm, but not to mites. fwiw. And I still don't treat.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    arguing about what constitutes a treatment, and what doesn't.
    Hopefully we've ironed that one out, but as you can see, there's still work to do.

    Do you have any suggestions as to how to move the forum forward?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New Port Richey Fl USA
    Posts
    238

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Please continue to post your experiences about treatment free beekeeping. Do not be discouraged by those hard core oldtimers who resist any change and believe that due to their experience they have all the answers. There is many new beeks including me coming on board with open mind and no baggage.

    I started with screened boards, small cell, no mite treatment, and year after my few hives are still kicking and non is dead, contrary to common opinion that it is "normal" and expected for a new beek to lose at least 50% of hives a season and be happy with it.

    Obviously I do not have enough evidence on superiority of treatment free beekeeping due to short time I am in it, but in few years I will definite have clear answer and hopefully satisfaction that my instints and common sense paid off.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Hi Sol.... my impression is that the Treatment Free Forum works just fine as it is. And meets the needs of the participants.

    Pascopol, it wasn't the old timers, lolol it was the new "treatment free" beeks that drove me up the wall, arguing this or that was/was not a treatment, seemingly forgetting it was all about the bee. I congratulate you upon your success, that's neat! Most folks who fail with treatment free, don't start with treatment free bees to begin with. My motto is "Let the bee breeder do the tough work for you. Enjoy the fruits of their labors." As long as you get some honey, your bees survive, and you have fun enjoying it, you'll be satisfied. Far too many folks overanalyze things... use your common sense.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,131

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Don't worry Steven I never thought you would be one of the ones who was forced out of bees. In fact I've got more respect for what you've done, plus your honesty, than just about anyone else here. And the other interesting thing is that you are not using small cell (i think),

    You are not the only one who felt that way about all those nitpicky polls, etc, I think that is what happens when somebody gets bored LOL!

    Anyhow the way I see it, a forum like this, believe it or not, is actually more open minded than some of the other TF forums. But a place like this is going to attract all types of people. Everybody has their own story though, so arguments or not, it's still a great place to come and thrash ideas around.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,238

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Glad you came back, hopefully you stay and share you expertise, you must be doing something right

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    789

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Quote Originally Posted by pascopol View Post
    I started with screened boards, small cell, no mite treatment, and year after my few hives are still kicking and non is dead, contrary to common opinion that it is "normal" and expected for a new beek to lose at least 50% of hives a season and be happy with it.
    Just curious...what percentage (approximately) of your hives were started from packages and what percentage(s) were started from nucs, swarms, cutouts, etc.? -james
    Last edited by Barry; 01-26-2012 at 06:11 PM. Reason: excessive quoting

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Thank you, Oldtimer, you are very kind. No, I'm not using small cell. I'm too lazy and cheap to replace my foundation and foundationless mix. Besides, from all I've ready, the jury is still out as to whether small cell is that much of a help for mite control.

    James, I'm not sure if your question is directed to me, or Pascopol, but I'll answer just in case. I started out with two packages from B. Weaver. I've bought two nucs of Russians. No swarms or cutouts for some strange reason. From those initial 4 I've bought queens and made splits, I've also done walk-away splits. That's how I'm trying to get to my goal of 50 hives.

    FWIW, my pure B. Weavers and mutts (splits not requeened with a Weaver queen, but allowed to raise their own, which then mates with whatever) outproduce the Russians hands-down. Depending on what comes out of this winter, I'll probably requeen the Russians next year and eliminate that line from my apiaries.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    789

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Steven -

    It was directed to Pascopal but am glad you answered. My curiosity is due to the fact that so many who buy packages wind up with deadouts. I wonder if it is due to the packages themselves or the neophyte status of the beekeeper or some other variable. So far, the only hives I have lost were due to ants and robbing and all those were from cutouts. No losses (so far, knocking wood) from swarms or splits. I've never bought a package.

    When my club has its spring beekeeping school, I may have to take an informal poll: How many lost a hive last year? What was the source of that hive/those hives - package(s), swarms, etc? I wonder if anyone has done such a study, either scientifically or informally.

    -James

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    723

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    I should have started out treating and moved to treatment free. Still no losses this first year (all packages) but with only one bout of really horridly cold weather for a few weeks, it has been more like spring than winter. I'm pretty sure all my hives have nosema to some degree. The top bars are clean but the entrance has brown poop streaks, not badly, but its there. My mentor and I agreed that when the cold weather hits later this month for about a month an a half I'll know for sure. As far as shb, we don't have that problem here, varroa - I'm going to incorporate splits and drone comb into my management practices next season for their control, AFB and EFB - hope it doesn't happen but if it does I'll have a nice campfire, but nosema I'm going to treat for if in fact it is present. My opinion is that there's no reason for me to stuff my hives full of chemicals if there are other ways to achieve the same goals, but starting out completely treatment free wasn't the wisest choice given what kind of stock I could have gotten, inexperience, and other factors that could have destroyed my apiary. This possible nosema issue though, I'll bite it before it bites me.
    Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
    Facebook

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,194

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Hi Steve,
    I'm still here also, third year with powdered sugar as my only treatment.
    Lost one the first year. Wintered 7 the second year all survived, wintered 5 this winter all are still doing well.
    Dan

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bardstown, KY, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Until you report your winter losses and postion, can you give us a short story about your experiences since returning to bee keeping?

    Phil
    Grandchildren are the best.... Bees a close second....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Houston, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Steve you make me hopeful. I am starting my beekeeping this year with 2 packages from B Weaver. Maybe my story will be as successful as yours.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    895

    Default Re: Still Treatment Free

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    FWIW, my pure B. Weavers and mutts (splits not requeened with a Weaver queen, but allowed to raise their own, which then mates with whatever) outproduce the Russians hands-down. Depending on what comes out of this winter, I'll probably requeen the Russians next year and eliminate that line from my apiaries.
    Steven,

    Are you considering requeening the Russians only based on honey production? If not, what are the other reasons?

    And, what types of queens are you considering to use for replacements and why?

    Thanks,

    Tom

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