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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Mendham, NJ
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    Default Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    I sent an e-mail to the state bee inspector saying that if they would be in the area would they mind stopping by and checking out my hive to make sure I was doing everything properly and that my hive was clean of any issues.

    It went good, the guy was very nice and informative, he taught me a few things and showed me a few things about my hive. everything is looking fine in the hive.

    I am very happy with the way everything went. The only thing that I was a little concerned about was he asked my if I was planning on medicating. Personally, I am all down for organic, natural, let em bee, however if there is something that is wrong then I will treat them as necessary. I said I would only medicate if they need it. He told me that there was no doubt that they would need to be medicated for mites and I pretty much have no choice.

    Is this true ???

    What is the best brand of mite treatment. Maybe one with the least impact??? Organic???

    Thanks guys.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Lakeland, FL USA
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    834

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    Quote Originally Posted by Waterbird17 View Post
    What is the best brand of mite treatment. Maybe one with the least impact??? Organic???

    Thanks guys.
    Tell him that you are going 'small cell' by letting them build their own comb.

    This makes it to where the bees can naturally better defend against such critters - for one thing - the bee larvae hatch two days sooner than the large cell and this cuts down significantly on the mites being able to reproduce.

    Check out Michael Bush's info (although I'm sure the inspector will claim it's anecdotal):

    Natural Cell Size - And it's implications to beekeeping and Varroa mites


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


    Also

    Four simple steps to healthier bees -
    Common sense choices to keep your bees alive


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

    .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Lakeland, FL USA
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    834

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    .

    Also, I highly recommend listening to all these archived podcasts from this site which promotes natural bee keeping. These interviews are excellent:

    (There are about 3 pages in this archive, so be sure to click on "PREVIOUS" once at the bottom of page):

    Organically Managed Beekeeping Podcast and Forums

    http://somdbeekeeper.com/

    .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,752

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    What is the best brand of mite treatment.
    Get some nuc equipment and start to over-winter more bees. If you want one hive in the Spring, I would have three colonies going into the Winter...

    Try to get "summer queens" from a local / regional source.

    I don't use any chemicals, and I'm not sure if I did any sugar dusting last year... My bees are are mostly from Michael Palmer queens or queen daughters of MP's and some Russians.

    Start some nucs!

    I do happen to use small-cell as well, but make no claims to its effectiveness in reducing mites.
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    You do have a choice, that is what Memorial Day is all about.Millions of people have served and some have died, so you can make that choice. I don't treat and never have. It is your choice not some bee inspector's.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,032

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    Water, I think you have the right approach on it. I'm not going to say the inspector is wrong as he was probably told to encourage people to treat whether they need it or not. It's probably the state/county's way to think they're being proactive and minimizing infestations even though, from a pest-management perspective it's not the best practice. I believe in treating, but not un-necessarily. You have to think about the issue as a management issue, and part of the mite problem is the way bees are kept too. Part of it is due to not being able to completely shut down the hive, clean everything up and start with ideal conditions every year.
    If you look at the mite problem, I don't believe in true "resistance". I would say mite tolerant at best. True resistance would be zero mite reproduction in your hive.
    Also, you need to take people who claim "non treatment" with a grain of salt. If they're doing brood breaks, making splits, using drone comb.... guess what that is.... that's treatment. That is manipulating your bees to kill mites. Also, everyone's situation is going to be different. Sometimes true-non treatment works, but there's so many factors involved we'll never know why. It could be the bee genetics, the local mite population genetics, maybe there's some plant pollen or nectar the bees are feeding on that is toxic to the mites, maybe there's a local fungus/bacteria that kills mites, maybe there's something their equipment was treated with that kills mites.... I think you're on the right track, just find or make a management strategy that works for you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Nashua, NH, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Bee Inspector Go treatment free but if you must "treat as necessary" go IPM

    Quote Originally Posted by Waterbird17 View Post
    I am all down for organic, natural, let em bee, however if there is something that is wrong then I will treat them as necessary.
    So taking your statement to the inspector as your philosophy, sounds like your current view is IPM. I practice true treatment free (although as I do some walkaway splits & shake artificial swarms for breeding and anti-urban swarming, you could claim that as a side affect I do something that doesn't meet forum guidelines for "treatment" but JRG13 points out is helping treat for mites unintentionally.

    So I encourage treatment free using local stock and foundationless brood area, but if you are looking to "treat as necessary" look up Intergrated Pest Managment (IPM) it may be "natural", "Unofficial Organic" it won't be treatment free. I think it does long term damage to treat and would rather suffer losses of bees that are so week to need treatment. But the premise of IPM would be measuring the mite loads (shake cup or mite drop) and using least damaging treatment if needed (i.e. essential oil/thymol, or acid fume/formic acid.)

    I think you should change your mind and listen to the great non-treatment approaches listed above, but to be fair to your question, if you continue to want to "treat if necessary" lookup IPM with bees (a good IPM pdf book for free is Beekeeping basics http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/agrs93.pdf.) Check out IPM on page 49.

    Principles of IPM
    Decision-making process based on understanding the pest, the host, and their interactions
    Based on thresholds
    Uses multiple tactics
    Must be safe, profitable, and environmentally friendly

    To answer what is "most organic" or however you phrased it, I think the essential oils less drastic then formic acid, so maybe Api-Life Var, but while I've seen others use it I have no experience with it as I went treatment free from start. I have seen bees flee the hive from formic acid though and hear the queen breaks laying for a bit, hence more drastic. The claims by the companies on % killed give formic a slight edge, but on studies of effectiveness I've seen Api-Life Var have a slight edge.

    All that being said to answer your question, but please ignore it and follow the link to Bush and the podcast links others put above.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,810

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    Go to the treatment free forum. Read the definition of terms first, they are not "per Webster".

    We use non chemical methods to treat mites and CCD. It can be done, but is much more expensive that the synthetic(man-made) chemical methods.

    Crazy Roland

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    10,133

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    Quote Originally Posted by Waterbird17 View Post
    He told me that there was no doubt that they would need to be medicated for mites and I pretty much have no choice.

    Is this true ???
    I don't know for NJ but I would find out. I didn't think any state had any restrictions for mite load.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
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    1,259

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    the bee inspector sees everybodys bees every day. he sees what works and what doesnt. without treatment your bees will probably die in 2-3 yrs at the best. we have not treated for 2 yrs in our present cycle but we are not treatment free, just lucky. we make a few nucs each yr, also most of our hives get a break from the brood cycle which helps. some of our hives hives have to be treated soon. there are a lot of soft treatments available today. stay away from apistan and you should do well.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
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    834

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    Quote Originally Posted by beeware10 View Post
    without treatment your bees will probably die in 2-3 yrs at the best. l.
    Admittedly, I'm new at bee keeping.

    But, given your statement above, how are feral colonies able to survive treatment-free?

    I'm not trying to be a smart-@$$ or anything like that. I am really trying to find out the truth from all of you people who are experienced.

    .

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    moravia,ny
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    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    they are replaced by swarms that happen upon vacant nests. we just got back from sc to bring back hives for summer. we were 2-3 weeks later than we wanted because of older parents health problems. for every swarm lost where did they go. probably some tree that someone thought to be feral? no way to verify.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,729

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    >He told me that there was no doubt that they would need to be medicated for mites and I pretty much have no choice.

    And I haven't medicated mine for a decade... You DO have a choice.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Mendham, NJ
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    wow, Im a little over whelmed by all the responses. Thanks everybody I really appreciate the help.

    right now I have a package of Italians installed 11 days ago, they have capped brood and probably half or two thirds of a deep super drawn out. right now that are not being fed however I am picking up feeders and starting that very soon. I also have 2 Nucs of Carniolans coming in very soon.

    The bees I have now are building on mostly wax coated plastic foundation and some wax foundation.

    He said wait until the brood box is fully drawn out and then add another deep super and continue feeding until that super was drawn out as well. and that a honey crop would be very unlikely for this year.

    I thing that foundation-less frames are out of the picture for this year. as much as I would like to try that some day. I think that the essential oils are the treatment that might work best for me but im still not sure.



    Again I appreciate all the responses, and the more and more I get into Beekeeping Im finding that everybody has their own way of doing things and they are ALL different so Im enjoying my time learning from everybody I meet.

    Thanks again,

    Al

  15. #15
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    Jul 2010
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    moravia,ny
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    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    there is a fortune to be made from treatment free beekeeping. look up the science of university tests and find one to verify it. sometimes the more you learn about something the more confused ya get. this may be one of them. good luck with your beekeeping.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    4,149

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    Bees die if you treat or not - that is a fact not an opinion. If you want your bee keeping to be sustainable then you need to make increase and go into every season with enough colonies to be viable even when some die. This is as important as your choice of managment practices. Or more.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
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    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    I think waterbird17 was talking about the mite factor. beekeeping was easy before they got here.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
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    2,082

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    Quote Originally Posted by PatBeek View Post
    Admittedly, I'm new at bee keeping.

    But, given your statement above, how are feral colonies able to survive treatment-free?

    .
    What makes you think feral bees have been surviving just fine in recent years? That's a myth. Simply put, they haven't. They have been dying off at an alarming rate.

    Sure there are some colonies that have survived for years and many more that have simply been re-colonized by the many swarms from managed hives.

    The simplistic "feral colonies survive" argument is without basis in fact.

    Wayne

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    >The simplistic "feral colonies survive" argument is without basis in fact.

    I would say the simplistic the feral colonies all died is without basis in fact. I find a lot of feral colonies and know many people who are overrun with requests to remove them.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnatural...rsNaturalCombs
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,272

    Default Re: Got a Visit from the Bee Inspector.

    I don't know that any blanket statement about feral bees can be made w/ any accuracy any more so than any blanket statement about managed colonies. I can say that I know of a cavity which has had bees in it for the last 12 years or more. During the years of my observing the entrance I have seen one year which I can recall when the colony must have died. And then it was reoccupied the next year.

    So, I think it is safe to say that feral hives get occupied by swarms. Those colonies may survive for a number of years, casting off swarms most likely, and then they die. Getting reoccupied the next year or some year after that.

    I have a maple tree hive in my front yard that has been unoccupied for a couple of years now. Maybe I should let some of my home yd hives swarm?
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



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