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  1. #221
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Does "No non bee related products" mean "no Treatment"?

    Does it show that all methods were in the 30+% loss range? Does that tell us that it is almost worthless to treat? No major decline in losses? Or did the treated hives have a substantially higher percent of survival?
    I am old, feeble and uneducated. I can't determine what the graphs mean.

  2. #222
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    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i heartily accept every point you make there sol, and this is exactly how it happens in nature, but as i have pointed out before there is nothing natural about putting bees in artificial homes and molesting them on a regular basis. it seems only fair that if we impose these compromises on them then we shouldn't wholeheartedly dismiss intervening in other ways as well.
    The part I have to push back on is the idea that it is fair to make the problem worse because we caused the problem to begin with. Firstly, there's no such thing as fair, but that's a philosophical argument for another forum. My case is that it isn't fair anyway to help bees with disease because it actually hinders them in getting along with the progression of their species. It's like "sorry we shot all your buffalo and evicted you from your land, here's some blankets." Not really.

    What a skilled beekeeper does doesn't cause all that much of a problem. I personally frown upon molestation. What I do doesn't cause problems (or I'd have a much higher mortality rate). What does cause major problems that I see is not changing the shape of their home or moving their combs around, it's moving the whole hive miles and miles, to a new climate, on a truck with 400 other colonies to be immersed in a pool of colonies more dense than ever could be possible in nature where disease can be spread wholesale. And the people that do that have to treat, because bees will die if they don't. Most of us don't do that, and that's why all my efforts at education are toward hobbyists.

    So yes, I wholeheartedly and strenuously dismiss intervening in those other ways, because I'm not compromising them and they should be able to handle it, and they're insects.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #223
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Could somebody just answer my question in simple English for my simple mind? What were the percents of loss, treated VS untreated? I do not see untreated on the survey.
    What you see is "No non-bee derived products" which equates to treatment-free in the context of this forum. Mean loss for this management philosophy was 33.6%

    Those who are willing to "Use anything" to treat their hives had losses of 35.7%. This group contains the vast majority of colonies.

    I don't really understand why anyone would think there is a contradiction in these results. Treatment free beekeepers are a small minority of the respondents, and most of them are backyard and sideliner beekeepers. Many of them are beginners, and many of them will have very high losses, due to inexperience and bees that are not adapted. The fact that the loss rate is as low as it is, is a testament to the few successful treatment free beekeepers among them, whose remarkably good results skew the results back to a loss rate similar to the loss rate of the commercial beekeepers. These folks make up the vast majority of treaters, and their sample size is vastly larger and therefore more likely to be accurate.

    If you have any understanding of statistics, and of the population being surveyed, these results are extremely encouraging. It means that if you're an above-average treatment-free beekeeper, you can look forward to losses well below the industry average.

  4. #224
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    If/when beekeepers simply stop treating, they'll often lose around 90% of their hives in the first year.
    not an option for many beekeepers, who's colonies represent all but a small percentage of managed bees.


    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    The only treatment that encourages the evolution of bee mite management from this perspective is one that doesn't work at all. The same goes for manipulations.
    putting it in context are we not in the process of selecting and deselecting for all kinds of traits by choices and manipulations that drive the genetics toward the end that meets our needs?

    why should it be different with mites? what is so anti-selection about removing the most virulent mites from the mite gene pool (the one's that collapse a colony) while allowing the less virulent ones to coexist?


    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    ......because I'm not compromising them and they should be able to handle it, and they're insects.
    does this apply to the summer losses due to starvation that you have reported?

    do you totally dismiss any impact you have by placing your hives in closer proximity than the would exist in nature and removing resources from them?



    as with most things in life it isn't always black or white, but rather black and white or grey.

    mike, sol, your positions have merit and i respect them. my sense is that the bees will adapt despite anything we do or don't do to them. i'm a medical professional so i guess the medical model suits me, i choose to believe that helping the process along by deselecting the most virulent mites and preventing them from spreading if the opportunity arises is helping rather than hurting the cause.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #225
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    It means that if you're an above-average treatment-free beekeeper, you can look forward to losses well below the industry average.
    We should note that this survey counts winter losses, I believe October 15 through March 15. I would postulate that it's calculated this way to eliminate the variables of splits, swarms, etc. My numbers would have a natural advantage with this regime in that I typically lose more through the year than over winter. For instance, Over the last year, I lost one in the winter (1/23=4.3%), one in the spring (1/22=4.5%), and one in the summer (1/40ish=2.5%). So in the last year, my average number of colonies was about 27, total loss of three, 3/27=11.1%, or a third of what was reported, or right at a third of the average of my cohort (assuming the numbers hold for this year) calculated for just winter losses. If winter losses only are counted, I'm at about one eighth. That data seems to back up your assertion.

    What it doesn't mean is that stopping treating cold turkey will result in the same losses as continuing to treat. That is an unwarranted conclusion based on the data. What it does infer is that those beekeepers who practice these methods on average see no substantial difference in losses. I will be the first to tell you that if you quit cold turkey, bees are going to die, which is why treatment-free isn't just another option with similar results, it's a whole other road. Even I, above-average treatment-free beekeeper that people claim I am, could not take a random apiary with treated bees and produce the same results as a treated control apiary in the first year. It's a steady-state proposition.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #226
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    does this apply to the summer losses due to starvation that you have reported?
    It does. Summer losses are typically due to insufficient collections (not due to excessive harvesting) or failed supersedure. I don't lose production hives in the summer.


    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    do you totally dismiss any impact you have by placing your hives in closer proximity than the would exist in nature and removing resources from them?
    Yes. That's good management. Plus I keep 8 or less in most yards. State law is 10. But even if there is an impact from density, I have not the losses to demonstrate it concretely.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #227
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    ...not an option for many beekeepers, who's colonies represent all but a small percentage of managed bees.
    Sure - but you don't ave to go the do or die way! Understanding the processes at work, or just following a basic instruction set (like that provided by Marla Spivak or John Kefuss) allows you to move over to non-treatment management without loss.

    You will have to make the effort to do a liitle learning.


    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i'm a medical professional so i guess the medical model suits me, i choose to believe that helping the process along by deselecting the most virulent mites and preventing them from spreading if the opportunity arises is helping rather than hurting the cause.
    I guess then you can be a medical professional and not understand the mechanisms of adaption. Have you ever heard of MRSA? Do you understand the nature of that problem?

    The fundamental error is believing that removing the most virulent mites (which you believe is what is responsible for the worst cases) will 'help the processes along'. I've just explained how it will do exactly the opposite.

    In fact one of the most important mite-management behaviours involve bees being able to detect and destroy the most 'virulent' mites. (The term is 'fecund' - meaning 'has the largest number of offspring') The bees thus effectively breed mites that have few offspring - lowering rates of mite growth.

    What is responsible for the worst cases of infection is not virulent (fecund) mites - its bees that lack the ability to do anything about them. Once you understand that its a small step to seeing that preserving those bees and allowing them them to supply genes to the next generation is pure madness.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  8. #228
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    why should it be different with mites? what is so anti-selection about removing the most virulent mites from the mite gene pool (the one's that collapse a colony) while allowing the less virulent ones to coexist?
    The problem is that you're not able to do that. Even the most effective treatments do not kill all of the mites. So what you are doing is killing some of the most virulent mites, and leaving resistant mites alive. The next time you treat, the treatment is less effective and more of the most virulent mites survive. You're arming the most virulent mites with additional resistance, and at the same time, damaging the health of the bees. This is a treadmill that will just keep going faster until you can't keep up. As we've seen, acaricides begin to lose their effectiveness fairly rapidly; treatments that worked okay just a few years ago are no longer effective.

    I'm a novice beekeeper, but I've been an organic gardener for 50 years, and I've seen this same treadmill play out in agriculture in general.

  9. #229
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Summer losses are typically due to insufficient collections .....
    and insufficient collections are due to......?

    the point i am trying to make is that when a colony (split) is artificially created at a time and in a manner in which it would not have done so on it's own, and then placed arbitrarily in a spot that it would not have chosen on it's own, and then subjected to the subsequent tearing apart and redistributing of it's architecture as well as the removal of it's resources.....

    it seems intuitive that all of this would tend to have some impact.

    is it your position that good management somehow makes life better for the colony than it would be if it were undisturbed in nature?

    if one concedes that we impact the bees by virtue of keeping them in the first place and i do concede that, then it seems arbitrary to single out intervening in any way when it comes to mites et. al.

    but then i use beetle traps so i probably shouldn't be posting on this forum.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #230
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    and insufficient collections are due to......?
    Bees that can't cut it.


    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    it seems intuitive that all of this would tend to have some impact.
    I try to avoid attaching insinuations in internet conversations.


    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    is it your position that good management somehow makes life better for the colony than it would be if it were undisturbed in nature?
    No.


    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    ...it seems arbitrary to single out intervening in any way when it comes to mites et. al.
    Why is it arbitrary to do one thing and not another? Because the one thing ought to be done, and the other ought not. There's nothing arbitrary about making a decision based on evidence and following through with that decision. You're equating keeping bees as done for thousands of years with treating bees for mites which as been done for tens of years. That's a false equivalency. One has been done since time immemorial, the other is new and has well known negative effects. What negative effects you ask? Stop treating bees and the evidence is obvious which overall method is more useful.


    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    but then i use beetle traps so i probably shouldn't be posting on this forum.
    You really ought to read the rules.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #231
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post


    I guess then you can be a medical professional and not understand the mechanisms of adaption. Have you ever heard of MRSA? Do you understand the nature of that problem?
    of course mike. are you suggesting that mankind would have been better off not ever having developed antibiotics? there are always compromises and trade offs. my opinion is that the benefits have outweighed the risks so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    The problem is that you're not able to do that. Even the most effective treatments do not kill all of the mites.
    i agree with that ray, and i wasn't talking about using mite treatments. i was talking about preventing the spread of colony collapsing mites by preventing robbing and euthanizing the bees and mites.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I try to avoid attaching insinuations in internet conversations.

    i'm not sure what you mean there.

    Why is it arbitrary to do one thing and not another? Because the one thing ought to be done, and the other ought not.

    good point sol, i'll concede there

    You really ought to read the rules.

    reread the rules, looks like beetle traps are o.k., thanks.
    (and i like the the part about "spirited discussion", that's how i feel about what we are engaged in here, thanks to all for contributing)
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #233
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    of course mike. are you suggesting that mankind would have been better off not ever having developed antibiotics? there are always compromises and trade offs. my opinion is that the benefits have outweighed the risks so far.
    Well... you might be straining an analogy to equate bees with people. People are valued for their individual qualities, bees not so much. If people bred at the same rate bees do and only lived 6 weeks, antibiotics and other ways of propping up less vigorous individuals might be seen in a different light. But I think there are useful lessons to be taken from antibiotics and their use in agribusiness. Feedlot cattle and broiler house chickens are given antibiotics because the high density and conditions of confinement would kill a very large number of these animals if not for prophylactic antibiotics. Is the better solution to come up with better and better antibiotics, as disease organisms develop resistance? Or is the better course to grass feed cows and pasture chickens?



    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i agree with that ray, and i wasn't talking about using mite treatments. i was talking about preventing the spread of colony collapsing mites by preventing robbing and euthanizing the bees and mites.
    I misunderstood you. Do many folks actually do that? I think Kirk Webster blows out failing colonies at the end of the season, but it doesn't seem to be a common tactic.

  14. #234
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    > are you suggesting that mankind would have been better off not ever having developed antibiotics?

    No doubt the human race would be genetically hardier and the microbes would be less virulent if we had never invented antibiotics. So, yes, Mankind would be better off. But you might not be and I might not be. We have a different view of humans. We tend to value each one as an individual (hopefully). We have a different value system for human life.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #235
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Well... you might be straining an analogy to equate bees with people.

    i don't equate them ray, it was mike's analogy.

    I misunderstood you. Do many folks actually do that? I think Kirk Webster blows out failing colonies at the end of the season, but it doesn't seem to be a common tactic.

    the one and only collapse from mite infestation i have had (over 100% infestation by alcohol wash) was last fall and i think i killed most of the mites in the small handful of remaining bees with the alcohol. i shook the rest out, but in hindsight i wish i would have put them in the freezer.
    it's almost time for mite counts here, i am really curious to know what infestation rate my treatment free bees are tolerating.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #236
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    > are you suggesting that mankind would have been better off not ever having developed antibiotics?

    No doubt the human race would be genetically hardier and the microbes would be less virulent if we had never invented antibiotics. So, yes, Mankind would be better off. But you might not be and I might not be. We have a different view of humans. We tend to value each one as an individual (hopefully). We have a different value system for human life.
    very well stated michael.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #237
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Do many folks actually do that? I think Kirk Webster blows out failing colonies at the end of the season, but it doesn't seem to be a common tactic.
    I combine nucs at the end of nuc season (about now). Experiments show a 5 frame nuc has a very small chance of surviving the summer here. I also moosh a poorly performing queen combine weak hives in the fall, but I think that's more common. Then again, sometimes I just let them ride.

    Squarepeg, the only I was referring to with insinuations on the internet is that I find it to be best practice to simply read the text for what it is and not try to read anything into it. We often get a lot of things like "are you calling me a liar" or "is that an insult" or "you think....." or the like and it's just embarrassing because it's almost always wrong, so I don't do it.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  18. #238
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    got it sol, and please know that i wasn't trying to 'getcha'. i was just trying to understand your position on whether or not we impose additional stresses on our managed bees (as i believe we do) as compared to their feral cousins.

    but as you pointed out even accepting that they are additional stresses imposed by us doesn't necessarily have to compel one to exercise management practices (help with mites ect.) because of it.

    this is my first summer to put together five frame nucs for overwintering. we have had an unusally wet summer this year and there has not been the dramatic dearth that i have seen in previous summers. i am concerned that some of them may be too strong and susceptible to swarming on the fall flow.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #239
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    This demonstrates the frame of mind in the treating vs. non-treating (there's gotta be a better word than "debate").
    Your wires are a little crossed, this is not a debate about treatment versus non treatment, let's drop that mindset for now. Most other posters have been unable to address it properly either, they are reacting rather than thinking about it, cos they too think this is a debate about treatment vs non treatment, so hence the defensiveness.

    I'm going to have one more attempt to phrase it in a way that may be more understandable.

    My point is, that you cannot have two groups that have losses, of insignificant difference between the two groups. But one group claims that they are benefitting from selective pressure, but claim that the other is not.

    Makes no sense.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 07-23-2013 at 08:32 PM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  20. #240
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    It makes no sense if you can't grasp that a "group" is more than one person, and don't understand what a "mean" is.

    As an example: say you have three beekeepers. Two are clueless beginners like me. they have 5 hives each, and like me have not subjected their hives to selective pressure. They just don't treat. One loses 3 of his hives, the other loses 4. The third beekeeper is a guy with 10 hives who has figured out how to succeed at treatment-free beekeeping, and he has zero losses. What is the mean winter loss of this group of three beekeepers?

    You're trying to treat a group as if all members of the group have the same skill level, the same time in process, the same resources, the same environment, the same exact approach... the same results. That's not how it works.

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