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  1. #41
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    If it's not your experience, then to whose experience are you referring?
    Actually, no one. The paragraph was discussing the definition of success. The thought behind the question was; if being successful in this endeavor means going from a small number of hives to a larger number, is it required to have hundreds of die-outs in between? "Hundreds" was a clear exaggeration for emphasis, the number 5 was picked from your website as being what you recommend as a start, and 20 is about where I want to go.
    I think that is a fair question. Is that what it takes for TFB? My other option is to medicate via IPM via soft methods and not have to go through so many. Trying to weight the advantages and pitfalls.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Quote Originally Posted by bbrowncods View Post
    Actually, no one. The paragraph was discussing the definition of success. The thought behind the question was; if being successful in this endeavor means going from a small number of hives to a larger number, is it required to have hundreds of die-outs in between? "Hundreds" was a clear exaggeration for emphasis, the number 5 was picked from your website as being what you recommend as a start, and 20 is about where I want to go.... Is that what it takes for TFB?
    If I understand your questions correctly, you are investigating options, and you'd like to know what the whole process involves, correct? You'd like to know numbers right? I can understand that. I am an engineer myself and I love numbers.

    The first thing you need to know is that results will vary. I cannot tell you how much, but I can tell you what I have experienced and I have some good numbers for you.

    As of last winter, here is how it went for me. I started with 20 packages. But I had overstepped my resources so rather than splitting and increasing, I allowed natural attrition to reduce my numbers to approximately six after five years. Then I started with renewed interest in beekeeping, buying new nucs and queens and things, splitting and catching swarms. Last winter, I had a grand total of 11 hives, one of which died in November, so ten through the winter. During that time, I had owned approximately 42 total hives including all the dead ones over the course of nine years of beekeeping, with ten of those remaining alive.

    This year, as I began raising queens in much more rapid fashion, the numbers are not so easy to work out. I made 29 queens, most of which successfully mated, some died during the summer, some were sold as nucs, some were sold as queens, etc. At the height of the spring, I had approximately 40 total hives. Now I have 23. At the end of winter, I expect to have a number in the high teens, which is exactly where I want to be.

    Now, if you started with good resistant stock, you may fare better, I don't know personally, but there is a user on Beesource who did just that, buying about 30 resistant queens and maintaining low losses for the past couple years.

    To answer your question directly, I do not believe hundreds of losses are necessary. Some are necessary, more if you don't start with treatment free bees. And some level of losses will be necessary over the duration, but every beekeeper experiences losses. Some low losses are inherent to treatment free beekeeping every year, just as losses are required for the whole of natural selection. They should not be seen as detrimental but rather as simply part of the winnowing process. Much winnowing has already been done.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #43

    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Parker, thanks for this last post of yours. It clears alot for me. I am also one of the first year beeks being infected with the treatment free ideal which is better i guess than going the well established status quo anti varroa treatment paranoia.
    I have a few month to study the Queen breeding and increasing colonies by doing splits, artificial swarms and to build some nucs and a few more top bar hives.
    I dont think i can buy treatment free bees in Sweden, but small cell bees i could find.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Che Guebuddha View Post
    Parker, thanks for this last post of yours. It clears alot for me. I am also one of the first year beeks being infected with the treatment free ideal which is better i guess than going the well established status quo anti varroa treatment paranoia.
    I have a few month to study the Queen breeding and increasing colonies by doing splits, artificial swarms and to build some nucs and a few more top bar hives.
    I dont think i can buy treatment free bees in Sweden, but small cell bees i could find.
    I wa in Sweden for a week back in July (Soderhamn area) didn't see a single honeybee. And I was looking, may have still been a bit cool. Did see a sign for a local apiary but didn't visit as I was already worried about getting lost in the countryside. What kind of beekeeping season do you have there?

  5. #45
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Clears up a lot for me as well. I am seeing the pieces, just need to put it all together.
    Sol, are you seeing a trend that shows you are making progress, maintaining, or loosing ground?

  6. #46
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    I have a feeling that I am where I want to be. This winter's losses are almost guaranteed to be higher than last. It's hard to beat 9% with this many hives. I have reached the level of hives I want to keep so now work goes into refining the stock, and raising queens and nucs which can pay when honey doesn't come in.

    I believe I am still making progress. I still have a mean hive or two, and I still have a few hives which are unproven and some which have not done what they should and will probably not survive the winter. But I have a method for increase down, and work continues on refining the plan for beginning beekeepers. I am certain the current plan could work, however, I cannot vouch for it because I cannot get nucs to survive the summer here. Nucs have an incredible propensity for drawing comb and putting in brood and therefore an excellent aptitude for increase, but small hives don't survive the summer here. I think it's a good plan, but just not for here. I need a plan that works well everywhere.

    By the way, I heard a story on the radio about flooding problems in Norfolk this morning. I am a Civil Engineer so I found the problem intriguing.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #47

    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    I wa in Sweden for a week back in July (Soderhamn area) didn't see a single honeybee. And I was looking, may have still been a bit cool. Did see a sign for a local apiary but didn't visit as I was already worried about getting lost in the countryside. What kind of beekeeping season do you have there?
    Soderhamn is VERY North no wonder there were no hives to be seen. Bees up there have very long winters and very short summers. If those summers end up rainy (like it was this year) sugar feed is a must otherwise they all persih.
    Since Sweden is such a long country with many climate zones its varied.

    This year I kept bees up North in region Varmland which is very cold (Swedish Zone 5) (I studied self-sufficient homesteading for 8 month).
    I live down south in region Skane which is much warmer (aka Skania which is Zone 2). I will be establishing my very first (private) apiary in May next year which is inspired with the treatment free ideal.

    This IDEAL is the driving force, the energy towards a single point which is much stronger than the energy which is fragmented (not sure etc). This ideal is not treated as a rigid belief, rather it is embeded in the overall observation of what is taking place in the hives and in the environment. Such endeavour can result in loss and gain as beeks like Parker, Bush etc have shared with us. One is to get armed with lots of equanimity since great loss can bring the spirit to the dark side. These are the wise words of my bee master Yoda;

    "The fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side. Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those Bee colonies who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed that is. Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose. This is the path to treatment free beekeeping.
    Much to learn you still have my young padawan." - Beemaster Yoda

  8. #48
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    It's my observation that beekeeping guided misinformed idealism will lead to unsatisfactory results.

    Here's some relevant insights from Randy Oliver:

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/the-...ul-beekeeping/


    A valuable read for new beekeepers, particularly those leaning to the "natural" side of things.

  9. #49
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Quote Originally Posted by bbrowncods View Post
    Actually, no one. The paragraph was discussing the definition of success. The thought behind the question was; if being successful in this endeavor means going from a small number of hives to a larger number, is it required to have hundreds of die-outs in between? "
    Success is what you want it to be. For some new beekeepers, success is simply forgoing the use of "treatments" regardless of whether or not their bees die. For others, it's survival at any cost. For others, it's honey production. For others, it's bees-as-surplus. Some are just content to put bugs in a box without considering what success may or may not be for them.

    For the hobbiest, success is, and should be, subjective. If others are determining what constitutes success, one's hobby is at risk of becoming another obligation.

    Having some objectives in mind can be a helpful tool to give one direction and facilitate improvement.

    I have a very clear idea of what constitutes my own success.

    Unfortunately, I am a harsh taskmaster, and my own bar seems always to be set about an inch higher than what is realistically attainable.
    Last edited by Metropropolis; 11-06-2012 at 05:43 PM.

  10. #50
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Metropropolis View Post
    Here's some relevant insights from Randy Oliver:
    ...that's the one where Randy uses the term "taliban" and "fatwa" to describe other beekeepers...while he tells everyone how bees should be kept.
    My point? There is nothing unnatural about using essential oils or organic acids as treatments against the varroa mite or other disease organisms. Putting such natural treatments in our hives is akin to the way that people have long used herbs and spices to repel and kill parasites, and to preserve food.
    Really?

    deknow

  11. #51
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    Oct 2009
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    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Determination of success is easy.

    For a hobby keeper, you are successful as long as you are enjoying your hobby.

    For a commercial, you are making a satisfactory income from your endeavor.

    Now the level of success is more difficult to define.

  12. #52
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Why in this forum must the word success be redefined all the time? This gets said all the time. Why does it keep needing to be said? It doesn't.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  13. #53

    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    It is very difficult to get rid of the "profit orientated mind". Our "westernised culture" is solidified into personal gain, even if simply to help others just so to feel good about it is also a personal gain = success vs. failure. Fear of failure is the driving force towards the desire for success. All this creates much suffering, all this is the true source of suffering. May we all find courage to look into our own minds and make the true change in there.

    I think this thread is starting to look very fragmented
    De-fragmentation needed! LOL

  14. #54
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    ...that's the one where Randy uses the term "taliban" and "fatwa" to describe other beekeepers...

    Your response seems unnecessarily unkind to Randy, D.

    Upon a re-reading Randy's words, it's clear to me that the "Beekeeping Taliban" refers to the dogmatic elements that a beekeeper will encounter in his own region, whether they be retrograde old-school, or from the "Natural" beekeeping movement.

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    while he tells everyone how bees should be kept.

    Really?
    The options presented are not showcased as the only true path, but as acceptable options, by way of saying "If you want to do it this way, that's OK.".


    Where I am located, I find myself sandwiched between dogmatic retrograde elements, and a "natural" beekeeping Taliban. Randy's article makes complete sense to me, and was a breath of fresh air when I read it.
    Last edited by Metropropolis; 11-07-2012 at 11:42 AM. Reason: Extraneous comma removed for readability.

  15. #55
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Randy pretty much nailed it though he may have been a bit too direct in his phrasing. To fully understand his tone you needed to hear the tone of many of the accusations directed at him.

  16. #56
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    It is unfortunate that this thread had created conflict between the practices and supporters of a handful of simply great beekeepers.

    It need not be either/or.

    Like Bruce Lee said: Take what you need, and discard what you don't.

  17. #57
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Metropropolis View Post
    Your response seems unnecessarily unkind to Randy, D.
    He wrote the article, it should be able to stand up to my criticism.
    Upon a re-reading Randy's words, it's clear to me that the "Beekeeping Taliban" refers to the dogmatic elements that a beekeeper will encounter in his own region, whether they be retrograde old-school, or from the "Natural" beekeeping movement.
    Sorry, you would have to rewrite Randy's article to include "retrograde old school"...he only references "treatment-free" in reference to the "taliban". Here is the section where he talks about the "taliban"...no mention of anyone but the "treatment free" types:
    The “Beekeeper Taliban”

    In many areas that I’ve visited, there exists a well-intentioned and vocal “Beekeeper Taliban” that is adamant that newbies must practice some specific sort of bee management (such as the style of hive, type of comb, strain of bee, or sort of mite management, or lack thereof). In some areas the local Taliban exhorts newbies to rigidly adhere to some form of “Faith-Based Beekeeping” in which their sacred duty is to follow some specific practices, or to trust in Nature to be benevolent.

    The reality is that Nature and varroa aren’t nice to bees. I recently spoke to the beekeeping club in a California region known to be a beekeeping paradise, but whose local Taliban promotes “treatment free” beekeeping. In a survey of their membership last year, some six out of ten colonies perished! It makes no sense to me to set up bright-eyed new beekeepers for the feelings of failure, disappointment, and guilt that come when their darling little bees die a miserable death. Indeed, a quarter of those in the survey did not plan to try their hand at beekeeping again. To me, this sort of dismal outcome is unnecessary and inexcusable.

    May I suggest that if you’re going to put your faith into some sort of unproven varroa management method, that you at least monitor mite levels and have a back up plan. (If you are reading this article, then you clearly were not swept up in the Rapture on May 21. I covered my bets by supering up my hives the week prior, just in case.)


    I meet hundreds of newbies each year, and really enjoy their enthusiasm and joy in their newfound hobby. My wish is for them to be successful at their novel adventure. The point that I try to make is that it is not up to beginners to save the world by trying to keep bees without treatments. Everyone wants to be a “treatment free” beekeeper—but you are not really “keeping” bees if they die each year! Beekeeping is enough of a challenge to learn without making it more difficult by allowing varroa to run rampant.

    What I suggest is to first learn to practice good bee husbandry, such as you would if you were starting with any other pet or livestock. Learn to keep your bees alive and well for a few years; then you can raise the bar. You wouldn’t allow your dog or cat to suffer from a gruesome mite infestation, so why would you allow your bees to die a similar awful death?

    My advice to newbies is to relax, and have fun keeping bees—it’s one of the most amazing and enjoyable things that you’ll ever do, and a great way to get in touch with nature. Keep in mind that beekeeping is simply another form of animal husbandry. It’s your responsibility to take care of your charges, and the reality is that sometimes they may require your help in dealing with a lack of forage or the relentless depredation by the varroa mite. It is rewarding to assist them through difficult times.

    Well, by this point I’m sure I’ve affronted quite a few beekeepers, but since I am an equal opportunity offender, please allow me to continue to get into more hot water!


    The options presented are not showcased as the only true path, but as acceptable options, by way of saying "If you want to do it this way, that's OK.".
    ...you mean the "options" that are presented as "rules"?

    ...but the most obvious problem with the article is casting anyone as the "taliban"
    . The taliban isn't funny, it isn't a clever analogy.....it isn't a thing for making fun.

    You have cast my comments as "unnecessarily unkind"...yet, is Randy trying to reach out to beekeepers with whom he doesn't agree? Is he trying to be friendly...by calling others "Taliban"? Do you think it will work?

    deknow

  18. #58
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Randy pretty much nailed it though he may have been a bit too direct in his phrasing. To fully understand his tone you needed to hear the tone of many of the accusations directed at him.
    Jim, anyone that sticks their neck out has accusations directed at them. Heck, I've been accused of working for evil chemical companies, had bad reviews of my book posted to amazon by folks that haven't read it, had my publisher threatened with litigation if our book wasn't pulled from the shelves...etc. and so on.
    Randy is responsible for how he expresses himself...he was writing for a magazine/the internet, not addressing specific individuals who he don't agree with him.

    deknow

  19. #59
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Treatment-free beekeeping is not a varroa management method. That framing is totally wrong.

    Reminds me of "treatment-free treatments." I will never forget that one so long as my brain is capable of thought.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  20. #60
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    Default Re: M Bush on Treatment-Free

    Dean: I'm not going to try to speculate as to what may have led up to this analogy though I would agree any comparison to the Taliban is pretty harsh. I will say that that there is a lot of ideological intolerance associated with the whole treatment free issue and it cuts both ways.

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