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  1. #1
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    Default ipm as a path to treatment free

    as we have seen from several recent posts, one of the bigger challenges for those desiring to be treatment free is that tf stock is not always available for purchase.

    we also see the many reports of limited success when beekeepers, beginners in particular, attempt to withdraw treatments cold turkey from colonies that come with a history of being treated.

    the original intent of the 'treatment-free beekeeping' subforum is outlined in the forum description on the page listing all of the forums, and reads:

    "Discussing and formulating honeybee management methods that cooperate as much as possible with natural bee biology without resorting to the use of chemicals and drugs."

    when the 'unique forum rules' for the tf subforum were drafted and adopted, the definition of treatment was presented more specifically as:

    "Treatment: A substance introduced by the beekeeper into the hive with the intent of killing, repelling, or inhibiting a pest or disease afflicting the bees."

    so the bar appeared to be raised from 'chemicals and drugs' to any 'substance introduced by the beekeeper' to include powdered sugar and honey bee healthy as examples.

    also drafted into the unique forum rules was the important caveat that discussing the use of treatments was acceptable in the context of being:

    "employed as part of a plan in becoming treatment free."

    ...which brings me back to my purpose for starting this thread. it's about having a discussion about how folks transition from readily available nonresistant stock to bees that are much less or not at all dependent on interventions. it gets to the intent of formulating methods as laid out in the original description of the subforum.

    just like we have various definitions of 'treatment' that are out there, i find that ipm is described in different ways depending where you look. the basic idea is that effective monitoring is used and interventions are approached in such a way as to employ the least invasive methods necessary to get the job done, with the ultimate goal of arriving at a management scheme where very little or no intervention is necessary.

    it is my hope that folks like jrg13, astrobee, ruthiesbees, and others will find it within their comfort zone to share with us here the approaches they have been using as a means to this end, and that those who are looking for a path from starting with treated bees to becoming treatment free will be helped by the discussion.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  2. #2
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    This is, and always has been a very important issue with me. It came out of my own personal experiences moving from treatment to treatment free beekeeping. Having started under the instruction of the Lusby's, I followed the 'no exception' route and it took a huge toll on my bees. When discussion was not allowed about how to move away from all treatments by still using some type of treatment, that is when I parted ways and laid down the direction of this forum. That is why there is an 'organic' group that Dee now heads up, and this one here that doesn't believe in the hard line, cold turkey approach. The end goal is much the same, but the path to reach it is different.
    Regards, Barry

  3. #3
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    The end goal is much the same, but the path to reach it is different.
    The painful lessons from watching bees die can be skipped with an IPM approach. The hard work of selecting for mite resistance still has to be done.

    I was fortunate to be able to go more or less cold turkey by having access to the right genetics. IMO, it is much easier to get to treatment free by incorporating queens from existing TF beekeepers than to develop TF stock. I'm going to try to make more queens available this year so we can give a few more beekeepers a running start.

    I would really appreciate if Barry would tell his TF story here so others can read how things went for him. Kim Flottum has shared quite a bit of his philosophy for beekeeping in the TF zone. Would you do the same?
    NW Alabama, 47 years, 22 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  4. #4
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    The term IPM (or Integrated Pest Management) is misunderstood/misused on BeeSource. On this site it has evolved away from its commonly-understood usage in agriculture where it means adding non-pesticide management practices to conventional management techniques as a means of reducing, but not exclusively avoiding the use of various agricultural "chemicals".

    The key is the word "integrated", meaning both approaches are to be combined and used simultaneously with the goal being a reduction in pesticide use, and in some cases a synergy, which leads to healthier and more productive crops. But it does not imply a replacement of one approach by the other, as I often see it used here.

    And indeed in the larger world of general agriculture, IPM techniques can actually involve the use of more, and different, agricultural chemicals to reduce the need for chemical pest management. An example would be using glyphosate (Round-Up) to burn down hedgerow weeds in order to reduce alternate hosts for some crop-damaging insects, thereby reducing the need to spray the crops themselves to prevent damage.

    Perhaps it would be less confusing to use another categorical name for practices such as SBB, sugar dusting, drone trapping, etc, when they are intended to replace the use of miticides. I don't think IPM is quite the word you want since in this forum you aren't integrating these techniques to merely lower the need for miticides, but to eliminate their use entirely.

    Enj.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Please forgive my ignorance. What exactly are treatment free bees? If the genetics are there to breed treatment free bees then why can't it be propagated to fix the entire industry. Are you guys keeping your bees alive year in year out, or are you simply splitting enough to replace your dead loss? I know a few talk about it, and some claim to have special genetics, and profit from it, but it just seems like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    hi tvb. treatment free can mean different things to different people but i believe what most folks are talking about here is not using any interventions for mite control. i can only speak for myself, but i've been chronicling my experience for the past couple of years in this thread:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ree-experience

    the short answers to your questions are:

    yes my colonies stay alive year after year; no it is not necessary to split all of the hives to replace losses; the majority of my hives are not split but instead managed for swarm prevention and honey production; i don't know if the reason for success is special genetics, management, environmental, or some combination; i sell a few nucs and queen cells but i wouldn't call it profitable; pots of gold at the end of rainbows don't exist but my experience is real.

    it's not entirely understood why bees like these fail when they are transplanted into other areas, but the thinking is that it because bees are very good at hybridizing with whatever local population they are put into, and within a generation or two the traits of the bees pretty much become the same as all the other bees in the neighborhood.

    if you are interested i have put my 2015 and 2016 production tallies in post #839 on page 21 of the thread linked above.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Do you two north Alabama guys share stock with each other?
    Started with swarm March 2017. The plan, to be TF and foundationless.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Sounds reasonable, thank you very much. I'll dig into your thread.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by R_V View Post
    Do you two north Alabama guys share stock with each other?
    if you are talking about dar and i then yes, i managed to acquire a colony from him last year and grafted queens from it. i think i've got 3 or 4 colonies now of his line. i'm planning to make more of those this year.

    Quote Originally Posted by TNValleyBeeK View Post
    Sounds reasonable, thank you very much. I'll dig into your thread.
    you are welcome tvb, i appreciate your interest.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #10
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by TNValleyBeeK View Post
    If the genetics are there to breed treatment free bees then why can't it be propagated to fix the entire industry
    Because the industry has many different needs and there is no right bee for all those needs, and every selected for trait enacts a cost
    As an example with no real numbers or reality
    say you run 1,000 hives, If its costs you $25 a year in labor and cems to treat a "breed" of bee, and the available TF stock makes $45 a year less honey what do you do? You treat and make the extra 20k a year.

    or say instead they do make comparable honey crops and overwinter well on a small thrifty cluster, but do to that, end up not brooding up in time for almonds, you stick with the bees you have and treat.

    a bee that lives in a backyard/hobbyist setting with a modest crop with no treatment, yes it's out there, the shear existence of local ferrals prove that beyond a doubt! Much less people like all the people here like SP

    a bee that is economically competitive when kept treatment free in high density feedlot conditions VS treated stock...., maybe, maybe not, you can't do that with most stock, whatever animal your running.
    Randy however is a big believer that TF IS the future for the industry, but read his "The Genetic Consequences of Domestication" http://scientificbeekeeping.com/what...domestication/ to get a feel of the issues.

    it looks like the old business aixam... Good, fast, cheap... you can pick 2

  11. #11
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    ...which brings me back to my purpose for starting this thread. it's about having a discussion about how folks transition from readily available nonresistant stock to bees that are much less or not at all dependent on interventions. it gets to the intent of formulating methods as laid out in the original description of the subforum.
    Is anyone here aware of someone who has successfully transitioned to being completely treatment free in that manner? I would be curious about the details of how they did it. I think that it would delay the process. "Half measures availeth nothing." But I also would not want to try to start with 90% losses, work with the survivors, and gradually increase survival rates.

    I'm thinking that good genetics in the managed bees are "necessary", but they are not "sufficient", as logicians might say. Effective methods (in many different respects) that are in sync with local flows are likewise necessary, but not sufficient without good starting genetics in the managed bees and at least the potential for good genetics in the local breeding population. When I read about a beekeeper in a particular location that wants to be treatment free, I sometimes kind of play a game with myself, look a google satellite map of the general area and think how would I try to successfully be treatment free in that area. In a couple of areas, from the way conditions are described, I think I would try to raise turnips and chickens instead.
    David. "Im only a very stubborn beekeeper, who has decided to stop treatments. Thats all." Juhani Lunden

  12. #12

    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    My original plan to get treatment free was to diminish treatments little by little and eventually became treatment free. But did that with the help of Primorski(=Russian) genetics and also other bees claimed to be more resistant. Starting with common normal bees would have been much more painful.

    Never considered IPM just because, like enjambres said, it means the use of all methods, the use of chemicals is left out only when it is possible, but it is not a route to chemical free.

    I wanted to be chemical free and did it my way (love Sinatra).



    But , from now on,I use the letters "IPM" to mean somekind of a path to TF bekeeping. In my original plans, back in 2001, I reconed that in a situation where some colonies are treated and some not, the actual steps taken forward in breeding work would be very short. There might be no progress at all. These were my thoughts and that is why I took the "diminishing treatments route". The big idea was to give bees time to adjust and evaluate in a more sure way the true value of different stocks.

    Lets consider a situation where some colonies in a beeyard are treated and some not, and the beekeeper is starting with normal bees (silly not to use VSH bees say from Adam Finkelstein).

    - The eventually treated hives may have actually been better genetically than the not-treated, because in the starting point situation they just had more mites than the untreated. For the average beekeeper it is a challenging task to evaluate mite infestation level correctly.

    - Now the treated bees get new queens from TF hives, which by the way is a difficult task for the average beekeeper too, and these treated hives, with new queens from TF hives, seem to be very good in the next two three years. The beekeeper is sure that the secret was his breeding work(selection) and takes grafts from them to make the next generation. The truth is that they are better because they got treated. Treatments mess up the evaluation process and eventually the beekeeper takes one step forward and two back.

    - In the years coming the beekeeper has a beeyard where there are hives treated one year ago, hives treated two years ago and maybe even hives treated three years ago. How do you evaluate their genetic value?

    - The new queens are mated with all the normal treated hives drones in the area and varroa resistance returns to the average without mating controls, if some progress had been made

    In stead of IPM method I have propagated the Josef Koller idea (Breeding Program ROOTs) of filling the world little by little with TF beeyards, starting in remote places and good genetics.
    TF since 2008, max 1 nuc/hive, no swarm collecting, www.saunalahti.fi/lunden/varroakertomus.html, YouTube juhanilunden

  13. #13
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    In stead of IPM method I have propagated the Josef Koller idea (Breeding Program ROOTs) of filling the world little by little with TF beeyards
    This is pretty close to what I did. I found a queen in a swarm caught in 2004 that maintained a healthy colony with no treatments. I purchased 10 goldline queens from Purvis and used them to produce drones to mate with queens raised from my swarm queen. The result was the line of bees I have today. I deliberately pushed my bees in 2006 and 2008 to swarm heavily with the result that this area is saturated with feral colonies that have never been treated and don't need to be treated. The result is that beekeepers who bring treated stock into the area gradually shift to resistant genetics because that is what the background population carries.
    NW Alabama, 47 years, 22 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  14. #14
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Still, to me there is one essential question left:
    if most small beekeepers are not isolated and would not be able to requeen every one or two years with resistant purchased queens because of the high costs, and would not have ferals or resistant drones around to keep better genetics,
    whats to do then? The Koller idea is what is propagated on ResistantBees forum and tried by many, but who in crowded conditions is isolated enough?

    - Now the treated bees get new queens from TF hives, which by the way is a difficult task for the average beekeeper too, and these treated hives, with new queens from TF hives, seem to be very good in the next two three years. The beekeeper is sure that the secret was his breeding work(selection) and takes grafts from them to make the next generation. The truth is that they are better because they got treated. Treatments mess up the evaluation process and eventually the beekeeper takes one step forward and two back.
    Im not able to understand this. I graft or breed from established tf hives which are survivors, so I have an impression about the queen`s abilities.
    The problem I see is: a purchased queen which is introduced into your treated , but now tf hive and you dont know how "resistant" this queen is.
    But in one or two seasons you will know. So until then it is just luck.

    It is my hope that dars methods will work here sometimes if multiplying and selecting leads to enough stock as to distribute some genetics among other beekeepers hives.
    No setting free of swarms ( not possible in my location, I think) but giving away to co-workers.
    Last edited by SiWolKe; 01-28-2017 at 04:41 AM.
    Listen to good advice, then.... make your own decision. fusion_power
    www.vivabiene.de

  15. #15
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    I don't think IPM is quite the word you want since in this forum you aren't integrating these techniques to merely lower the need for miticides, but to eliminate their use entirely.
    TPM - Temporary Pest Management
    Regards, Barry

  16. #16
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    I would really appreciate if Barry would tell his TF story here so others can read how things went for him. Kim Flottum has shared quite a bit of his philosophy for beekeeping in the TF zone. Would you do the same?
    Oh, I'm sure it's all here. I'd have to do a little searching.
    Regards, Barry

  17. #17

    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    Im not able to understand this. I graft or breed from established tf hives which are survivors, so I have an impression about the queen`s abilities.

    Yes, you breed from your established tf hives, which are survivors (hopefully true survivors, not by chance) and give daughters of these queens to the hives which you have treated with your foolish (machine, not you) ultrasonic device, or by any other means as we are now talking in this thread about IPM management. So the queens get into a treated hive in IPM management. THESE hives, with new queens are propably preddy **** good the next two three years, and you admire them and write 210 beesource messages about how wonderfull they are. BUT they are good just because of the treatment.

    Did I explain it well enough?

    (From forum rules: Treatment: A substance introduced by the beekeeper into the hive with the intent of killing, repelling, or inhibiting a pest or disease afflicting the bees.)
    TF since 2008, max 1 nuc/hive, no swarm collecting, www.saunalahti.fi/lunden/varroakertomus.html, YouTube juhanilunden

  18. #18
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    I suspect a hard bond is the shortest path to filtering genetics and eventually arriving at sustainable local TF stock. I'm going into my 3rd winter and it looks like I will have quite a few more bees this vs last year in spite of losses unacceptable to others. At the same time I understand that numbers are on my side, and that my success depends on increasing my genetic foot print in the absence of proven resistant feral stock. That means finding new yards to put bees. For those that want a limited number of hives, it means forming cooperative arrangements with other local TF keepers. One can go with some isolated breeding situations or A.I. to supplement the approach. The danger is that there are probably other good traits out there that one's bees could use even if it means more losses short term. Of course the advantage of hard bond, is that nature does the selection work for you and one can be more or less ignorant of the fine details, so long as enough bees survive year to year. But if one wishes, and is curious, one can survey bees and see what solutions they are coming up with. Very informative as nature explores all solution space and maybe provides opportunity to introduce new traits that are missing from local populations that would give additional boosts in terms of survival and production.

    The need for doing some treatment depends on whether you have enough bees to work with in the spring. I recently heard a report of a TF keeper losing a very large percentage of his hives, to the point he has nothing to work with in the spring. This and other reports indicates in some area, some sort of treatment regime is probably needed in the short term or maybe even the long term in areas of large scale interregional bee movement, where the adaptive environment, specifically viral, is too chaotic for local adaptation to get dialed in. It also means detailed use of proxies for resistance. More expertise is needed, maybe some A.I is needed, more judgement is needed. Eventually TF yards are needed to properly assess.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post

    Did I explain it well enough?
    No, its only your mood which shows.

    You queen breeders sell queens to people like humble me who write 210 messages about being enthusiastic, so we will have better stock in future.
    So into which hives should we introduce them since the "resistant" ones are not bred already?

    Its the same plan I have with my two bee yards.

    First step: multiply.
    Second: look for better queens or breed them.
    Third: change all hives to be better performers
    Listen to good advice, then.... make your own decision. fusion_power
    www.vivabiene.de

  20. #20
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    Default Re: ipm as a path to treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    Second: look for better queens or breed them.
    Your second step is the step that ultimately allows you to either have hives that prosper and produce decent yields of honey or have so many hives die you are constantly splitting just to keep the count constant and produce a dribble or less of honey. So, how about a whole lot of detail on how that second step is accomplished? What kind of written records must you have to make sensible choices in a breeding program for instance? How are you going to recognize a better queen when you see her? What is your breeding target? For example low mites or low virus titers. How are you going to measure each colony against those breeding targets?

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