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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Alachua, FL, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default successful FL treatment-free?

    Hi --

    I recently went to a local equipment supplier to get some SC foundation. The proprietor asked me what I was doing for varroa and I made the mistake of simply saying SBB and small cell. I was then subjected to 10 minutes (felt like an hour) of reasons why you can't go treatment-free in FL. He's a nice guy and is totally convinced he is correct based on 40 years of experience and the reported experience of others. I am undeterred but psychologically-weakened. I was wondering if there is anyone on the forum who is either in FL and treatment-free successfully or knows of the like. Thanks.
    Last edited by kanapaha-lew; 04-19-2012 at 12:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Brandon, Florida
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    Not sure I want to go treatment free. It is something I think about. At this point I do not want any fancy bees from up north. I want mutt bees from down south. Or from a Florida breeder. One thing I did notice I was out Saturday at work day with TBBA and out of 64 hives I saw one hive beetle and no mites. But they do treatment. But I do not feel that is the only reason for the low count. It would be interesting to know the DNA from years of interbreeding from accident.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    Seems like if you can be treatment free in Texas, or Louisiana, or even Missouri, you can be treatment free in Florida. And you don't have to buy bees from "up north". Go west, young man, to Texas! Get some treatment free stock from there.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Alachua, FL, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    My first two packages were treatment-free from Texas, installed two weeks ago with great optimism, absconded after 2 and 3 days -- certainly nothing to do with the bees, and I've tweaked my setup to hopefully have better luck with another two packages to be picked up in Jacksonville in about 2 weeks. These J'ville bees are said to be mutts but I don't know their treatment status.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    You might want to find out their treatment status, as that will determine what you can do. If they've been treated, you must continue treatments, until you can requeen with treatment free queen. The big mistake some beeks make is to take treated bees, think they can go treatment free. Never works. Best of luck to you!
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,751

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    Quote Originally Posted by kanapaha-lew View Post
    ... saying SBB and small cell.
    Quote Originally Posted by kanapaha-lew View Post
    My first two packages were treatment-free from Texas, installed two weeks ago with great optimism, absconded after 2 and 3 days ...
    Just a suggestion... If your SBB's were open when you installed the packages that absconded, close them up before installing your new packages. You can always open them back up after the packages are established. There are multiple forum reports involving package bees absconding when installed on open SBBs. Of course, it doesn't always happen, but why risk it?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Alachua, FL, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    Steven, thanks -- I'll be sure to ask when I pick them up.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Alachua, FL, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    Graham, thank you -- They're Freeman SHB traps/SBBs and I'll be sure to keep the trays in.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Johnson City, TN, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    The big mistake some beeks make is to take treated bees, think they can go treatment free. Never works.
    Steven
    No rule is hard and fast. My research lab has a very hands-off approach to beekeeping (which is why I'm determined to learn how to properly keep bees this summer), and we've regularly installed packages into single hive bodies and not touched them again for months. We make no effort to acquire bees that were never treated, so I wouldn't expect that to be the reason they were able to survive untreated.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,785

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    >The big mistake some beeks make is to take treated bees, think they can go treatment free. Never works.

    I've done precisely that many times. Not that I wouldn't RATHER have treatment free stock.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,420

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    The big mistake some beeks make is to take treated bees, think they can go treatment free. Never works. Best of luck to you!
    Steven
    Really? Where do you think untreated bees come from?
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,128

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    Hi neighbor. I have been treatment free since 1969.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: successful FL treatment-free?

    Hi Mark! Thanks for asking the question that enables clarification.
    Treatment free bees come from bees that have survived... the breeder who sells treatment free has "paid the price" and "endured the horrendous losses" to get to that point. Many newer beekeepers hear about "treatment free" and think all they have to do is adopt "soft" treatments, or no treatments, and they'll do just fine. Then they wonder why in the third or fourth season (if they make it that long) they have 100% losses. There are two basic ways to go treatment free - develop the bee yourself, and pay the price, or let your breeder pay the price and benefit from his efforts, and minimize your losses.

    AshleyHoneyBee, you're right, no statement like I made is absolutely 100%. However, how many of those packages have survived past three years? That seems to be the maximum for those who buy treated bees and go treatment free. But, as Michael Bush points out, not all do even in that instance.

    Michael, seems like you hae treatment free bees now, if I understand correctly. How many colonies did you lose to get to that point? That might be a learning experience for newbies here. Some folks don't seem to realize there is a price to pay to get to that point.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

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