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  1. #281
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Beelosopher, I restarted with bees 6 years ago, after a year of reading and preparing. Subscribe to one or both of the journals, that will be a big help, as is this forum.

    I started with two hives, with the intent to grow over the years to 50ish, experimenting and studying along the way. So the short answer is that you can keep as many or as few treatment free hives as you want.

    Some treatment free beeks will treat for Nosema, some will give HBH, some will practice IPM and break the brood cycle, others will use drone frames, removing and freezing when full.

    Personally all I've done is buy treatment free bees. Over 6 years I've medicated for Nosema once (because that's what we did each spring in the old days) and given HBH in one or two feedings. Seems to me the key is to develop a plan and work it. When absolutely necessary, modify it. I have just never treated for mites, don't even do mite counts. I know I have them, but the bees are taking care of them, so why bother? And that approach is heresy to a lot of folks.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  2. #282
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
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    2,956

    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    And that approach is heresy to a lot of folks.
    Regards,
    Steven
    The landscape is shifting so quickly as new products come out. I don't know personally of anyone using the hard chemicals of Apistan and Checkmite anymore, as the general consensus seems to be that the mites are resistant to them and they don't provide adequate control (any more.) I'm troubled by US beekeepers who try the latest gee whiz products that are not approved for use in the US. I understand that oxalic acid is approved for use in other countries and that there isn't a champion to shepard oxalic through the approval process. But still, when people talk about honey purity it is hard to reconcile the use of unregistered compounds. And the standards shift too - Certified Naturally Grown now allows the use of Thymol, presumably for use by people transitioning their apiaries to CNG.

    As someone who is willing to reach for a bottle or jar of ag chemicals when they seem called for, I want to use products that are the gentlest on the hive, me and the consumers of my honey. Heresy? I hope not - it appears to me to be a reasonable extension of IPM.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #283
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Andrew, sorry I wasn't very clear. I meant heresy in that I don't do mite counts.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  4. #284
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    Oct 2011
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    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by Beelosopher View Post
    ... So I am trying to decide if an IPM approach like Randy Oliver's is more appropriate than an absolute "no treatments ever." ...
    Well
    than you need to read the whole tread - it is all about positives and negatives of no-yes-treatment approaches...
    Серёжа, Sergey

  5. #285
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Platteville, WI
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    134

    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    My father-in-law has 4 hives. He lives out in the middle of nowhere... seriously excluded from other beekeepers. He owns about 80 acres, most of which goes untouched, filled with a variety of pooen and nectar sources.

    He adds supers and takes supers off. That is the extent of his involvement. His bees take care of themselves. He's had bees for over a decade. They survive harsh Indiana winters. He doesnt wrap for winters; however, he does have them in a great place, as far as a windbreak is concerned.

    As I read through this thread, I am astonished by how many people refuse to cosider the different locations, set-ups, and resources that are available to the bees.

    I don't think my father-in-law is much of a beekeeper; however, his bees consistantly stay alive. He doesnt feed, treat, or even crack the hives open to inspect them (unless he is checking on whether to add a super). It can happen.

    I do not plan on trying his methods; however, I do believe it is possible to have bees that do not NEED treatments.

    I appreciate this thread, but please keep in mind that beekeepers can and do have different experiences.
    "Life will find a way - it always finds a way." -Jurassic Park (MOVIE/BOOK)
    USDA Zone 5a

  6. #286
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    >I appreciate this thread, but please keep in mind that beekeepers can and do have different experiences.

    and i appreciate your post kirk. hopefully that would be exactly the conclusion one would reach after reading the thread.

    i would bet your fil has the benefit of feral survivors contributing genes to his apiary.

    i would also bet that your father in law keeps a close eye on his hives, and realizes there may be a problem if one is acting way different than the rest.

    if he has been keeping bees awhile, it's almost certain that he has had a hive gone queenless at some point. do you think he lets these die out, and then get repopulated later by a swarm? just adding and removing supers doesn't make sense.

    >I do believe it is possible to have bees that do not NEED treatments

    yes, of course it is possible.
    Last edited by squarepeg; 10-16-2012 at 06:54 AM. Reason: spelling
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #287
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    Oct 2012
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    Platteville, WI
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    134

    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Actually, he doesnt watch them at all. He checks for honey, takes honey from the hive, and adds more supers to get more honey. There is no management at all beyond the honey aspect of it. His hives are a mess - full of burr comb, queen cells, and enough propolis to drive most Americans nuts. Despite what most of us would think (the bees inevitably failing), the bees seem to be strong and doing well. Again, he is kind of out in the middle of nowhere, all by himself and the bees he started with have most certainly reproduced with the genes of the feral bees from his area.

    His parents used to be beekeepers long ago. They stopped and the equipment lay dormant for a long time. Most of it was pretty messed-up by moths and mice. About 10 years ago, my father-in-law noticed bees in one of the hives. He set it up properly and in the same year made a few splits - totaling 3 hives. A few years later, he ordered a package of bees and set up another hive.

    This past year, he tried adding another split, for a 5th hive, but it is weak and not doing very well. I am curious to see if even the weak hive will manage to save itself this winter. As always, I am rooting for the bees; however, it isn't looking good going into Fall. I would have fed them already, and left them extra honey.

    Again, I do not encourage beekeepers to do thi; however, given his unique circunstances - it seems to work for his bees, in his environment.
    "Life will find a way - it always finds a way." -Jurassic Park (MOVIE/BOOK)
    USDA Zone 5a

  8. #288
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    very interesting kirk, and i appreciate it.

    i was short on time this morning, but i was going to post again, and say that i didn't intend to point fingers or launch a personal attack at anyone.

    in a scenario like that, one might argue that disease could be introduced into the feral population, (and maybe into other native pollinator populations), afb being one of the more deadly, but other pests and diseases too. sounds like there may not be any other managed hives within miles of your fil, but they could be at risk too.

    i'll take you back to that last page of posts on the tfb thread 'absolutely amazing'. not to repeat, but one of the reasons i started this thread was to expose the possible consequences associated with being too 'hands off', i.e. the risks that extend well beyond one's own bees.

    as i've said, my goal was to allow beginning beekeepers like myself to have all the facts, because i wasn't seeing that happening in the tfb forum.

    again, i'm not the momma, nor the sheriff, and i do believe that most of us want to practice beekeeping responsibly.

    best regards.
    Last edited by squarepeg; 10-16-2012 at 12:09 PM. Reason: spelling
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #289
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Along those lines:
    There is a book called, "At the hive entrance." You can have a "un intrusive" practice and still know a lot about what is going on in your hives. It takes some time, and a few mistakes,,,,in my case many,,, and you learn. Hands off does not necessarily mean don't know.

  10. #290
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    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick 1456 View Post
    .. There is a book called, "At the hive entrance." ..
    I did not know about the book (sounds very interesting), but this is exactly, what I am doing - observing my bees mainly from outside of the hive body. Just bees behavior could tell a lot. Also, yes, entrance and landing board. I would add to this a sticky board - it is really simple and useful diagnostic tool. I must admit that all these more "natural" ways are good for bee-enthusiasts at small scale. It would be difficult to implement similar approach(es) in commercial beekeeping.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  11. #291
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    rick and sergey,

    i'm in full agreement with you on this. i was able to pick up on two of my hives being queenless this year, after noticing they were not foraging as much, and especially not bringing in as much pollen, as compared to the other hives.

    rick, 'hands off' for the sake of this discussion has been linked to 'the bond method'.

    actually, i try to be as hands off as i can. i avoid going into my hives unless i have a definite purpose for doing so. this is partly because of shb, and kind of like we were talking about before about not getting in the bees way.

    i am going to be more care next year in my manipulations, and avoid forcing my bees into too many unecessary 'colony decisions', the best example of this being i have learned to not put an empty box of foundation in between the brood box and a honey super. i believe this led to swarming in several first year colonies.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #292
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    I think the book has been re printed and available from some of the Bee Supply company. (Mann Lake ?) LOve to find one at a yard sale
    My bad, I took Bond Method as letting a hive and queen die due to Mites. Hands off was adding boxes, harvesting honey, no other mgt.

  13. #293
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    yep, but it's the 'no other management', taken to the extreme.

    (afterthought, is it the mites that kill? or all of the nasty contagions that they vector...)
    Last edited by squarepeg; 10-17-2012 at 05:11 AM. Reason: added afterthought
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #294
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick 1456 View Post
    My bad, I took Bond Method as letting a hive and queen die due to Mites....
    I learned couple of things from this thread:
    - if bees were bred to live with regular treatment, as many commercial bees are, than of coarse stop treating will probably kill bees.
    - if bees are sort of "feral" and did not see treatment before (or had a minimal treatment) - they shall probably die from the standard treatment - the concentration of chemicals may be too much.

    The bottom line - the "Bond Method" may potentially work on feral bees, but the truth is that feral bees do not need such extreme - they already have some mechanism of survival. For bees bred with treatment (many commercial) - sudden stop of the treatment would probably kill them since regular treatment becomes part of their life (addiction) and they just become extremely vulnerable if treatment suddenly stopped.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  15. #295
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    >The bottom line - the "Bond Method" may potentially work on feral bees, but the truth is that feral bees do not need such extreme - they already have some mechanism of survival. For bees bred with treatment (many commercial) - sudden stop of the treatment would probably kill them since regular treatment becomes part of their life (addiction) and they just become extremely vulnerable if treatment suddenly stopped.

    i'm not sure i arrive at those conclusions from this thread myself, but my bottom line sergey is this:

    i don't care how you accomplish keeping your hives healthy, as long as you do. we should all care if one allows their bees to become weak, sick, and/or die out from transmittable pests and diseases, and does not take responsible measures to prevent these collapsing hives from getting robbed out by other bees.

    the consensus on this thread seems to be in agreement on this.

    this does imply that beekeepers have a responsibilty to take care of business in such a way as to not pose threat to others. this is why there are laws on the books mandating removable frames and inspections. this is why the guy in florida had his hives confiscated and destroyed. this is why it may not be alright to say, 'well, whatever works for you.....'.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #296
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Starkville, MS, USA
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    82

    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    John Kefuss - some background on the guy that originated the "Bond Method".


    http://survivorstockqueens.org/John%...Themselves.pdf

  17. #297
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    Thanks for that post. Seems a lot like Kirk Websters "Collapse and Recovery.) Mite pressures the bees into a change. So, if you are a BAT Bond, you are 007. I'm a soft Bond,,,,006.75 (you have to read the J Kefuss link.)

  18. #298
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    very cool stuff tfg.

    there's no doubt that breeding for resistance will prove out to be the most powerful weapon.

    looks like these guys advocate requeening with proven genetics, (like i suggested in post #80).

    they don't really get into how or when they intervened when the colonies collapsed in their controlled experiment.

    these are obviously experts who knew what they were doing, and it's likely that they went about it responsibly.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #299
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    I would think the intervened "after the storm" was over so to speak. The one I had that I believe went through this, had started their spring build up, then supered the queen, then swarmed. Just an observation. I had reduced the entrance and had a robber screen in place. Really interesting stuff. I guess the test will be when when we start sending queens to each other to see what they do

  20. #300
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    Default Re: treatment free beekeeping - the risks

    you bet!
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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