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  1. #141
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    JRG13,

    No, I understand completely what you were saying, I'm all for educating yourself about bees before and after you jump in. My comment was taking it to the extreme, and I doubt there are more than a handful of treatment people out there that actually believe what I said is true about people who have jumped ship and went treatment free. John

  2. #142
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    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    and let's not pretend that treating is helping to transition into not treating.
    No need to pretend. Either someone is treating to transition into not treating or they aren't. Only the person doing it knows.
    Regards, Barry

  3. #143
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    Those are the only two choices aside from not treating from the start, however not treating could transition into treating if plan A doesn't work out. And if you really want to stick to your guns you can vacate beekeeping if plan A fails, now that would be a stubborn person. John

  4. #144
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    Oct 2012
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    Norfolk, VA
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    166

    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    I think the issue for anybody, new or 125 years old, is that you understand what you are doing. Whether it is treatment free, or treatment, educating yourself is imperative. I have seen examples of success on both sides of the fence. I think you can ask any TF beekeeper if it is easy, or easier, and I bet the response is an emphatic no. But they understand the risks and choose to do what they do. If they don't understand, they have no business doing it. Same goes for treatments. I don't begrudge either side.

    I don't tell you how to raise your kids, and you let me raise mine. In the mean time we both do our best to learn about being the best parents we can, in our own way. And we accept and live with the consequences. Kids and bees are resilient; humans and Apis will survive our failures.
    Last edited by bbrowncods; 11-10-2012 at 02:56 AM.

  5. #145
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    bbrowncods,

    Treatment free for me is simple, of course you still have your normal routine maintenance of the hives like anybody else, but in end they either live or die, not unlike a treated hive. I treated at one time, now I don't, but if it comes down to having to treat in order to continue beekeeping the rest of my years, I will treat, but as of now I am having success keeping bees alive, healthy and productive without treatments.

    John

  6. #146
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    Apr 2010
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    Lititz, PA, USA
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    it seems a lot of new people with aboslutely zero experience in bees/insects or basic biological systems use it as an excuse to not learn about the maladies of bees as it doesn't matter to them since they're treatment free.
    I totally agree w/you on this and admit I'm not sure I ever really thought about it before.

    I find that 99% of new beekeepers want to start small (of course). Many times we're just encouraging them to get two hives instead of one, so the recommended 5 (I think I'd say more like 7-8) is just right out. If we believe that one can actually get off treatments once started, and I believe this to be so, then wouldn't brand new, first year 1-2 hive beekeepers be better served by hearing the message, "You really should monitor and treat when necessary until you know you like beekeeping, you're comfortable with looking at a hive and requeening, you plan to stick with it, and you're willing to expand to a number of hives that will allow you not to treat and greatly lower the risk of total loss"? Seems to me they would. Or said the opposite way, encouraging 1-2 hive beekeepers to be treatment free sounds like a disservice unless you also explain the very real risk of total loss.

  7. #147
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    john, do you autopsy your dead outs? if so, what have you found to have killed them? and what measures if any do you take to prevent spreading the problem to other colonies?

    i know that some tf beeks don't do these things, and i am not rendering a judgement here.

    i am asking because i have a hive that is dying. i have isolated it and plan to do an alcohol wash today, and will probably send a sample to my state lab for nosema testing.

    i have two other hives that i am suspicious about.

    all three are first year hives, and have not been treated or fed all year.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #148
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    squarepeg,

    Over the last 5 years the only hives that I have lost have happened during winter, and I attribute those losses to starvation due to extreme prolonged cold, and the bees unable to move cluster to get to new food. I ruled out any other cause of death because the deadouts exhibited the classic signs of starvation and nothing more. In addition, a couple years ago I tried wintering nucs for the first time and lost them all because the clusters were too small, which I knew might be a problem, and as it turned out it was. I am 90% sure none of my losses over the last 5 years were due to mites/related diseases.

    John

  9. #149
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    thanks john.

    i had to reread randy oliver's papers on nosema last night as a refresher.

    i had forgotten that collapse by nosema resembles starvation, because the infection prevents nutrients from being absorbed in the gut.

    i am still trying to find out how contagious it might be to other colonies, and what the options are for treating.

    i need to go back and find the info mike bush mentioned about fumidill actually resulting in higher spore counts in the long run.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #150
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    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    It would be a good thing if we could remove the demonization Barry speaks of from both points of view and achieve success through honest discussions of what is and isn't working with the realization there will be a vast chasm of what works in hobby operation and what may work in a commercial operation. We would all like to be treatment free. The truth is we are on path in that direction but have a ways to go, especially for commerical operators. The answer for larger operations will likely never be no treatment but more natural treatmens and achieved resistance. Certainly I've had my "defensive" moments on beesource so am a guilty as anyone. I think even within a successful similar operations great differences in success are likely due to the intraccies of any individual beekeepers managment plan and as well due to personal physical limitations (eyesight, sense of smell, etc). I can find and examine a queen in a hive quickly and see a suspcious looking brood issue because after years and years, thousands and thousands of hives inspections, training from some good bee people and a great deal of study and research I've developed a "system". Now that I am in my 50's though on my best day with good training and tons of experiance, and I work bees every day, that success is dependant on my bi-focals. Carpal tunnel in my elbow from driving and driving and driving slows me down, distracts me some days and I miss things I might not have 10 years ago. My goal is not aimed at treating or not treating but aimed at keeping healthy with minimal chemical interference and then responding as I identify issues:
    1) We look at a hive as a single organism, not just a group of individuals within a hive. Picture your body with organs that all need to function properly to keep you working. Now picture each caste of bees from nurse to field worker as an organ within that hive. When you inspect are those organs (castes) all working properly and strong you have the best chance of keeping healthy bees and minimizing or eliminating the need for treament. Dr. Shiminoko, formerly of Beltsville always taught this in his lectures. All our hives have all the pathogens for disease and collapse but usually only succumb when an "organ" or a group of organs weaken the hive and the "organism" succumbs just as if your heart and lungs were weak at the same time and you became ill. There are ways to boost weak organs through simple manipulations, such as equalization if you run 2 or more hives, which will keep bees healthy.

    2) I had to learn what a healthy hive looks like, sounds like, smells like, acts like. I think the most important inspection I make in our yards is the one standing and watching the entrance and seeing what the bees are doing. Are they doing the appropriate action for the weather and time of year? Are there a good number of active guard bees during a nectar flow? Are field field workers coming and going quickly with purpose, are there drones coming or going, are there bees on the ground alive near the hive that shouldn't be, are there an unusual number of dead bees outside the entrance, is their any dead brood visible at or near the entrance? These and other clues tell me who's getting opened today for a closer look.

    3) What is my bee space? Not that space between frames and combs but that space the bees forage within. How much forage do they have, is it shady, sunny, are their other competing hives nearby, how much can this area reasonably support. Too often we lose sight of the fact once any area is overpopulated with a species and comptetition arises disease, starvation and parasites are nature's natural population controls.

    4) What are my genetics. With CCD and the huge numbers of packages and queens being produced by fewer operations the "puppy mill" effect takes place and the quality of available stock from many suppliers has decreased due to pressure. Good genetics are an absolute essential and even within those genetics evaluation of indivdual stock is critial as a poorly mated, injured or substandard queen like a bad heart - your organism may survive for a time but the end result due to weakness is inevitable. Studies, I think from Beltsville, on queen rearing operations showed queens being shipped form suppliers with as many as 12 or more viruses in fresh stock. We can't cure see or cure the virus only watch in wonderment as a hive weakens and dies from the symptoms. We choose our suppliers carefully to bring in fresh stock and breed from own stock. Keep in mind no beekeper is too small to improve his/her own stock through breeding.

    5) Education - Read, watch video's, attend lectures and seminars, research and keep notes when you start out. Personal knowledge is the most important weapon in keeping healthy bees and keeping healthy bees is the 1st step to being minimal treatment of being treatment free. Can you recognize nosema, AFB, varroa infestation before it becomes an issue? Do you have your bees tested? Starting out with healthy stock or getting stock healthy and the right genetics will give you a much higer level of success with fewer treatments and potentially no treamtments.

    6) Respond to circumstances beyond your control. You will evenutally be exposed disease, parasites, starvation, bad weather, from sources you can't forsee or due to a queen which may take 2 brood cycles to deterimine a health or genetics problem. We had a rough spring with cold temps and chill brood for our nucs this year followed by a 6 week period of drought and nectar dearth. Supplemental Feeding, using formic to keep down mites, minor "treatments" kept a few hundred hives healthy and taking care of themselves and my family. We keep bees in an area where 6 or 7 years ago state inspectors were burning hives for AFB like vikings pillaging English hamlets. We will use anti-biotics to protect our's and other's operations but with the clear concept the term Anti-biotic means "against life" and we need to continue to develop hygenic behavior in our stock.

    We look at our operation like we would ourselves and our children. I don't take an advil every time I get an ache or pain and I don't treat every time I see an issue. The possiblity of keeping bees treatment free in the near future for me is unlikely because I am keeping un-natural numbers of a species in my bee space - usually 25 hives to a yard. Additionally we have many beekeepers in our county and although we work to stay isolated I know there is pressure from other bees. As I feed my family with my bees if Beltsvilles finds an issue with bees sent for testing I act responsibly and treat minimally. Just as if my kids had an infectious disease or a parasite and needed treatment. It's likely if they have the common cold or a headache we'll let nature take it's course. Healthy organisms are bombared by threats and usually survive the non-pandemics fine. We are treating far less then we did after losing our bees in 1997 to Varroa and appreciating success through keeping bees healthy. As more natural treatments become verified we shift to those and in some cases have found the bees are able, if we are willing to loose our weak hives every year and breed from our best stock, overcome many issues on their own.

    For those pointing the finger agains those attempting non-treatment I would say their influence has shifted the industry towards a much more natural approach. For those point the finger at those of us who do treat - 1 of every three bites of the very cheap food we appreicate in this country is a result of commercial beekeepers who do keep bees contrary to the laws of nature - and out of necessity - treat to keep them healthy,\.

  11. #151
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    Good read Joel, everytime I read a perspective such as yours it helps me minimize the tunnel vision I sometimes get.

    John

  12. #152
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    Quote Originally Posted by libhart View Post
    but it's not 1-2.
    Why not? It is one or two survivors that you are looking for. From there you split to three or four but as long as one survives you are sustainable. Yes there is a chance than you can be bee-less and have to start over but hasn't that happened to those that had 5,10, or 20 hives using treatments?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #153
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    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    It would be a good thing if we could remove the demonization [snip] from both points of view and achieve success through honest discussions of what is and isn't working with the realization there will be a vast chasm of what works in hobby operation and what may work in a commercial operation.
    "Like" Good to hear from you again, Joel!

    I've been guilty of defending TF to the extreme, in the past, but realized that was not the way forward for beekeeping as a whole. Thanks for your balanced post and reminding us to see an issue from other sides.
    Regards, Barry

  14. #154
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    Nice read Joel I normally scan quickly through long posts and wish more folks would learn the definition of succinct but I'm making an exception. My only critique is that I actually think this thread has stayed pretty civil with a lot of good give and take. I havent been offended by anything. To me it's refreshing to actually have a discussion like this in a forum where both sides of the issue can be heard and yes their are some good arguments to be made and listened to for those that choose to have an open mind. If your opinion was formed in the aftermath of our first clumsy attempts to control varroa back in the 90's I would encourage everyone to keep an open mind and look at what is now working without bias and I'm speaking to folks on both sides of the issue.

  15. #155
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    Quote Originally Posted by libhart View Post
    If we believe that one can actually get off treatments once started, and I believe this to be so,
    I don't believe it to be so because it means wiping out all your equipment and starting over from scratch. If a new person is going to get into beekeeping by buying new equipment the best opportunity to be treatment free is now when they first start. You can always go the other way but you can't flip back without new equipment.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #156
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    ace, is it really true that each and every form of treatment leaves harmful residues in the equipment?

    if yes, would that totally prevent the attainment of treatment free?

    if yes, wouldn't it tend to get culled out as part of splits with sustaining the apiary?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #157
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    Apr 2010
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    Lititz, PA, USA
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    ruled out any other cause of death because the deadouts exhibited the classic signs of starvation and nothing more
    I have a question for everyone here. If a small cluster, or say if many unhealthy bees exist in a reasonably sized cluster, goes into winter, would the cold not cause such bees to die off but appear to have died due to starvation? If a cluster is small or becomes small because of many unhealthy bees rapidly dying, the more that cluster has to shiver, and therefore eat, in order to keep the center warm. So a small cluster that has a long spell of cold will run out of food and then appear head-down in empty cells and give the impression of starving which technically was the coup de grace. But in the end, whatever caused the small cluster or unhealthy bees is to blame, not the cold and starvation. Is this logical or just specious reasoning?

  18. #158
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    excellent question libhart.

    i am kind of focused on nosema at the moment. but if the 'whatever' causing the bees to bee unhealthy is nosema, they can starve to death on a full stomach. the nosema eats their food, and they don't absorb enough to have the energy to shiver.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #159
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Why not? It is one or two survivors that you are looking for. From there you split to three or four but as long as one survives you are sustainable. Yes there is a chance than you can be bee-less and have to start over but hasn't that happened to those that had 5,10, or 20 hives using treatments?
    I agree with the method, but it's the splitting to 3 or 4 that's the issue. If a backyard beekeeper does not want more than 1-2 hives, that precludes splitting to 3-4, he won't do it. And I have yet to hear of anyone with 20 hives losing all of them in the same year, especially if treating.

    It's probability and percentages, the more hives you have, the more likely you are to have a at least some good survivors in the bunch. The fewer hives you have, the more likely you are to have a total lack of survivors, or rather a full apiary of non-survivors (those slow wildebeests). I understand that if you want to be treatment free then you don't want those non-survivors, but I'm talking about beginners with 1-2 hives understanding that only having 1-2 hives dramatically increases the risk of losing all of them as the chance of loss increases. Treating hives, whether one agrees with it or not, I think has been shown pretty conclusively to decrease the chance of loss. The argument of course is always around if you're allowing the survival of non-worthy bees by treating them, but that's not a point I was trying to raise with the 1-2 hive idea.

  20. #160
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    Default Re: "treatment treadmill"

    libhart,

    That is why I said I am 90% sure of my losses being solely due to starvation, the other 10% are the dead outs that I didn't send in to the lab for analysis.

    John

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