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  1. #21
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    Jan 2012
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    Indianapolis IN 46227
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    I have 14 years with bees, but this is my first year back in since mites. Yes, I'm old.
    As one trying to pull 45 new hives through the winter. I've researched various treatment and non treatment programs, but see nothing that makes a dramatic difference given the money and time required.
    I think the drought here has helped keep the mites down for now. I haven't treated, am open to it, but also afraid I'll kill half the queens I just put in.
    Since MAQS is formic acid, I'd be inclined save a few bucks and treat with formic acid if and when I see the need.

  2. #22
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Keth, I already said earlier that my honey production from these hives is around 125# average which is the best you can get in my area, twice the state average I believe if that means anything. John

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    C'mon Mark, you're sounding like I am one of those problem beekeepers we hear about. John

  4. #24
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    [QUOTE=cerezha;837825]More than agree! I find very disturbing that people so resistant to learn something different/new. It is my opinion that US commercial beekeeping approach actually DOES create the problem. Numerous bees lost over the years is a result of unchanged methods used and promoted by many commercial beekeepers. Thus, this approach is not credible to me.


    Well here is a "one size fits all" statement ya. Apparently in your mind all commercials are the problem? All commercials follow the same treatment procedures?? Only commercials lose bees??? Only commercials are resistant to change???? Have you ever been around one of these commercial operations? Can you back any of this up with data or is this all just sort of a WAG?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #25

    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    I have never lost a hive to mites in four years and never have treated with anything.
    What have you lost them to?
    I have no problem with folks going treatment free. Its important, in my opinion, that they have a good understanding of the potential consequences. Every stress faced by a colony of bees is exacerbated by mites. Parasitized bees are weaker bees. Whether its tracheal mites, bacterial or viral diseases, small hive beetles, wax moths or whatever. Mites add to the pressure and increase, significantly, the likelihood that the colony will fail.
    If you understand and accept this and want to go treatment free, I say fine.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  6. #26

    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    I find very disturbing that people so resistant to learn something different/new.
    Sergey, what's new about not treating? Back in the eighties commercial beekeepers didn't treat for mites. When mites arrived some walked away rather than treat. Others treated so that they could make the mortgage, pay their employees and stay in business.
    Do you think they like to treat?
    To my knowledge there are only a couple of successful, commercial treatment free beekeepers. Dee Lusby and Kirk Webster. And, I believe Kirk Webster will tell you that you will have huge losses periodically.
    There isn't anything new about not treating.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    As usual, this conversation has degraded down to "you're the problem", or "you do what you want and I'll do what I want." In a perfect world, which this isn't, we would not have to contend with mites, agreed? So, is my hope for a miteless beekeeping industry someday unrealistic? In reality, even if every last beekeeper treated we would still have mites to some extent, even if that meant that the mites adapted to every treatment we throw at them along the way. Also in reality, even if every last beekeeper did not treat in the short term, we would certainly have more mites than we currently do, but the possibility of the bees adapting a resistance long term would be greater than it is now. I agree that we don't want to see another downswing in worldwide honey bee populations to the point where they are nearly extinct. So should I give up the hope in a better bee that can handle mites through non treatment, or treat and forever have bees that depend on us to handle the mites for them? This is the basic question that I would like to see answered here. John

  8. #28

    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    As usual, this conversation has degraded down to "you're the problem", or "you do what you want and I'll do what I want."
    The only implication of fault that I've read in this thread is when treatment free proponents suggest that commercial beekeepers are the problem. Is that what you're referring to?
    Instead of 'you do what you want and I'll do what I want', what do you think it should be?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    C'mon Mark, you're sounding like I am one of those problem beekeepers we hear about. John
    Moi? I had no intention of pointing out any one person in particular. But if the shoe ... .
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    So, is my hope for a miteless beekeeping industry someday unrealistic?

    bees adapting a resistance long term would be greater than it is now.

    to the point where they are nearly extinct.

    So should I give up the hope in a better bee that can handle mites through non treatment, or treat and forever have bees that depend on us to handle the mites for them? John
    John,
    Yes, a world w/ no mites is a dream you will never live to see. The original host of varroa destructor still has them. They co-exist. Tolerance, not resistance.

    Nearly extinct? Hasn't happened. Won't.

    If you are dependent on your bees they should be sure that they can depend on you. That is my opinbion and in no way me telling you to do anything.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  11. #31
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    Jun 2011
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    Portland, Oregon
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    965

    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post
    If you don't treat them, and if they survive and recover, you will have mite resistant bees.
    You also may very well not only have a dead hive, but a possible "Mite Bomb" when the mites migrate to a nearby hive if the hive dies.

    I'd suggest a soft treatment such as a sugar shake. Have a look at what Randy Oliver says about his surprise at the effectiveness of sugar as a treatment in the articles on varroa treatment:
    scientificbeekeeping.com
    WOW.

    I didn't expect such emotional responses to a suggestion to try soft treatments first.

    Granted, my response to one of the posters on this thread anthropomorphism of bees was a bit extreme; my intent was to prompt what I perceived as a somewhat condescending post addressing what I'm sure that poster considered a morally corrupt practice of not treating to consider that there might be moral considerations beyond the infested hive...ie, preventing larger scale hardship on the species because mite susceptible genetics remain in the gene pool.

    Mark:
    My reference to concerns about short term financial interest was in no way intended as denigrating. Failure to maintain short term solvency is a short step from bankruptcy.

    Segregating a portion one's hives and not treating in order to have hundreds and in the case of some outfits thousands or tens of thousands of hives adapted to survive without treatment is an expensive process and would take years to accomplish.

    Once accomplished, there would be far fewer males in the drone pool distributing genes that require treatment.


    "Short term financial interests? What is short term when outfits have been able to stay viable in business since 1986?"

    How much do you spend on treatments in a year?
    I suspect the amount is not insubstantial.
    The savings of not treating over one man's lifetime may or may not come out on the profit side of the ledger.

    But if we think generationally, it is cheaper to take the loss and convert to non treatment.

    We'd have bees that took care of mite on their own and aren't dependent for survival on us.

    On the other hand, I think guys like Kirk Webster will tell you you might expect 90% losses short term by not treating.

    Looking out for short term financial interests may be folly in the long run, costing a good deal over time, and leaving bees dependent on human treatment intervention, but it keeps the lights on, the wife happy and the kids tuition paid.

    The folly is in leaving the situation status quo, so that three generations from now our [collective] great grandkids are still worried about mites in their bees.

    Or managing one's bees based on emotion rather than wisdom. (I'll admit that my second post was couched in very emotional in an attempt to persuade a poster whom I perceived was motivated by emotion to treat to consider alternatives, both to his perspective and protocol, and was a bit extreme.)

    Personally, so long as my living expenses are not dependent on my hive count, I'll treat as little as I possibly can.
    But you can bet that if some other stressor compromises a hive's health and a line of bees whose genes I work to develop is in danger of perishing without treatment, I'll seriously consider doing so, weighing the whole cost (contaminated comb on one hand, for example, and loss of the work that went into them and income potential from them on the other).

    "How does the successful treatment use of a commercial beekeeper effect you?"

    Substantially.
    The decisions of a single commercial guy can have a greater effect on what genetics are or aren't present in the drone pool than MANY hobbyists with one to ten hives.

    don't think that commercial beeks are fools, or wicked, greedy, bad guys.

    When assert that it's folly to not treat because of short term financial interests, I'm talking about us as a whole community not coming up with a pragmatic, practical path to something more sustainable long term, spmething wise ofr our progeny, and getting off the tread mill of spending for treatments.

    I'm not intending at all to say a guy is foolish for protecting the business that provides for his family.

    Respectfully,
    B

  12. #32
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    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    I'm out of this conversation, again. There will be a much better world for all someday. John

  13. #33
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Beregondo,
    Yes, I tried that. Not on purpose. Went from 732 down to 100 in less than 9 months. Looked at my options, too complex to go into here, and decided to fight mites instead of succumbing. I wanted to make a living keeping bees.

    I would like you to talk to a friend of mine who has over the last 5 years grown from 1500 or so to 3700 colonies and suggest to him that he should do as you suggest. It's fine for you, but doesn't fit the business model of a commercial beekeeper. No one of size who wants to exploite, for lack of a betyter word, all avenues of beekeeping to make a living. He is doing quite well. Thriving. So are his bees.

    Steve Taber suggested just what you do and in 30 years, he predicted, our bees will tolerate mite presence. But, we will have no commercial beekeepers, he said. So, how is modern agriculture supposed to handle that? We saw how. They will import pollination from Australia.

    I believe that what you are supposing is a nice idea. Just not practical in todays world. Not for those dependent on bees.

    I think we understand each other. Let's part in Peace.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    I'm out of this conversation, again. There will be a much better world for all someday. John
    Only if we make it so.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post

    "How does the successful treatment use of a commercial beekeeper effect you?"

    Substantially.
    The decisions of a single commercial guy can have a greater effect on what genetics are or aren't present in the drone pool than MANY hobbyists with one to ten hives.

    Respectfully,
    B
    Okay, how does it effect you personally? If we followed your suggestion, stop treating across the board, do you know how much the gene pool would be limited?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  16. #36
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    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    This is a classic topic on Beesource that naturally brings up the finger pointing.

    Glock, I can't be you. I can only be me and I don't treat. With one to three hives in my possession it isn't going to change the world of bees. Possibly if my little apiary builds some resistance to mites it may help the gene pool around me that will help some local people. If it doesn't my bees will just die. If you are a local person that treats my increased farm of mites will not affect you because you are already treating. I don't know enough about genetics but I don't see how a neighbor that treats affects me. As far as I know treating for a disease does not pass on a resistance or lack of to the offspring. I am more concerned about the treatment of food sources for the bees and myself over long periods of time. That is the stress I worry about. These chemicals or more permanent than what we were led to believe.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  17. #37

    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I don't know enough about genetics but I don't see how a neighbor that treats affects me.
    That guy down the road who treats is nurturing a bunch of mite sensitive bees. His drones spread those genes into your mite resistant bees. So the theory goes.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  18. #38
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    Jan 2012
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    Reidsville, NC
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    114

    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    How about caging the queens for a while...
    This is how I treat for mites. Either that or just squish the queen and let them rear another. It is the break in the brood cycle that will help. I never use chemicals in the hive. I have done it twice and both times the hives have rebounded to be just fine.
    Experience is better than theory.

  19. #39
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    Reidsville, NC
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Let me also say this; I do not have a full time job doing this (yet; I am working towards it). I do believe that breaking the brood cycle is a treatment just not a chemical. I think it is important that we treat our bees; I just provide a product that has no chemicals or antibiotics and that is what my customers pay a higher price for.

    Do I lose honey production from doing this? Yes

    Do I lose bees from doing this? Not yet, but it has not been a real problem so far.

    The problem as I see it and I run into in a lot of discussions (both old and younger); is simply, the unwillingness to try something else. I would not suggest that a commercial operation stop treatment, which would be foolish. What I suggest is that instead of saying chemicals are the only cost effective treatment method; can we open our minds to a possibility of another way? In my case; I save time by just squishing a queen. I lose honey by doing so, but I also get a higher price for the end product. In my case; I am able to come out the same or a little ahead, in the end as if I would have treated.

    There is no blanket statement that can be done for all; however anyone who feels that the industry standard or status quo is the best option might need to rethink their own arrogance. I will never have the answers and will always listen to suggestions. The suggestions must be able to be proven; either with numbers that show the risks or with proof from experience, not just simply an opinion.

    I think both the hobbyist and the commercial beekeeper are important and as with other things (faith) people need to stop attacking and fighting. It is walking hand in hand with your brother (or sister) that will find you the most success.
    Experience is better than theory.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Treat or not to treat

    Well, just have to toss in my 2 cents.... In the year I spent researching bees before re-entering the craft, and in the years since, I've discovered a truth - if you bought or acquired treated bees, you have to treat or they will succumb to the mites. If you bought treatment free bees, don't treat. That is the route I've taken for about 7 years now. If you obtain a swarm, and put them in your treatment free apiary, probably even odds they'll survive treatment free. But I don't treat at all, and won't treat swarms. Want to maintain the integrity of my operation.

    The key is to do what you're comfortable with, but do it rationally, with your long term goals in mind. And just because someone does it differently than you, it doesn't mean they're wrong. Or right.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

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