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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default ordering package bees

    first post here. i've been skimming the board for a few weeks, what a great site! thanks to everyone that takes the time to contribute.

    after keeping bees with langstroth hives and medication treatments for a few years i'd like to try a few topbar hives with as little treatments as possible.

    my questions are: should i consider this when ordering package bees? if i buy a package that has been treated are they going to survive without these treatments?

    i live in chicago and i've tried contacting treatment-free beekeepers in the area for packages and i haven't had any luck. i'm also thinking about getting in touch with swarm-removal companies to see if i can get a swarm. any ideas?

    -chris-

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    486

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    swarms would be a great idea localized to your reigon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,408

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Or you can re-queen the package with a treatment free queen. In a short time you have treatment free genetics through out the hive.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,899

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Quote Originally Posted by RiodeLobo View Post
    Or you can re-queen the package with a treatment free queen. In a short time you have treatment free genetics through out the hive.
    I only wish it was that easy and we could do away with the "treatment free beekeeping forum". John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
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    2,408

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Obviously, but the initial post was about treatment free packages. If you want to give a comprehensive treatment free tutorial please proceed.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,899

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Let me answer the OP first, I guess I didn't do a very good job the first time. I buy packages that have been treated all the time, some of them make it and some don't. My most successful treated packages are ones that I installed into top bar hives, yes, top bar hives. I have a couple that are going on their fourth year this season with absolutely no treatments or special management. They have mites alright, but the bees handle them, how they do it I have no idea, just as long as they keep doing it. Am I just lucky? Maybe, but I would bet on it that it's not luck.

    Treatment free packages in Chicago are probably not going to happen, maybe treatment free nucs are available. Buying treatment free bees may not mean much, how long have the bees been treatment free, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, what? Getting a swarm from a feral hive or doing a cutout of a feral hive that has been alive continuously for more than 3-4 yrs. would be a great way to start a treatment free hive, but how do you know where the swarm came from when you get the call?

    I like the idea of you considering a top bar hive, although using Lang equipment is fine too, just use foundationless frames in the Lang so that you get natural cell comb drawn, bees know what's best for bees don't you think? John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,408

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Here is one option for TX free packages.
    http://www.beeweaver.com/
    I have not used them but I hear good things.
    It is always a balance between acclimatization and genetics. You can find one or the other, but you have to be fortunate to find both.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sandy Ridge,NC
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    when i first got in to honey bees i got some nucs, the guy that sold me his nucs said they where treatment free.i did not even know what treatment free ment. i had never had bees before and nobody in my family had bees, i new nothing about them. i never treated the nucs they where amazing. they done so well i thought i wanted more bees. i ordered package bees because they where cheaper than the nucs. guess what i never treated the packages either and guess what they all died. they had so many mites it was terrible.my nucs from my treatment free are 1 ft away and have mites but seem to do fine. so if i had it to do over again i would have requeened the with some of my queens.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    great input folks. i'm going to consider bee weaver packages unless i can come up with a more local option. sort of running out of time here...

    ashb82-interesting that you had such different outcomes from package vs. nucs.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    >after keeping bees with langstroth hives and medication treatments for a few years i'd like to try a few topbar hives with as little treatments as possible.

    I'm not sure I follow the connection between treatment free and topbars. But you will get natural comb and that will be one of the things you need.

    >my questions are: should i consider this when ordering package bees? if i buy a package that has been treated are they going to survive without these treatments?

    In my experience it's not the "treatment free" or "treated" that is the cause of packages failing. It's that they are not adjusted to your climate. Granted the health and fertility of treatment free will probably be better (there are plenty of studies on the detrimental effects of of acracides on the fertility of queens and drones), but I think locally adapted stock is the main issue that affects winter survival.

    >i live in chicago and i've tried contacting treatment-free beekeepers in the area for packages and i haven't had any luck. i'm also thinking about getting in touch with swarm-removal companies to see if i can get a swarm. any ideas?

    Start with whatever you can get. If you can get local or northern queens, you can requeen later.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Start with whatever you can get.
    great advice. i tend to get overwhelmed with all the possibilities and not take any action at all. i'm going to get two packages in my price range and see how it goes but also put my feelers out for swarms.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,335

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Quote Originally Posted by schwinn View Post
    ... but also put my feelers out for swarms.
    Also, you could build some swarm traps, bait them with lemongrass oil, and set them out where you can. You just might get lucky and have a swarm move in. Search this forum for "swarm trap" for some ideas.
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Also, you could build some swarm traps
    thinkin' about that!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Lake County Illinois
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    I should have extra 2# packages in a couple weeks. PM me if interested.

    All my hives are treatment free.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,899

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernIllinoisPlumber View Post
    I should have extra 2# packages in a couple weeks. PM me if interested.

    All my hives are treatment free.
    So you shake packages from your own treatment free bees? What kind of bees are they?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Lake County Illinois
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    So you shake packages from your own treatment free bees? What kind of bees are they?
    Oh no, I meant I may have extra 2# packages from my order....that you can raise treatment free. All of my packages from last year are treatment free.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Lake County Illinois
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernIllinoisPlumber View Post
    All of my packages from last year are treatment free.
    Ugh...I goofed. I feed Winter Patties from Dadant, so technically they are not treatment free.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: ordering package bees

    Please re-read the Unique Forum Rules to properly understand the definition of 'Treatment-Free' as used in this forum.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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