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  1. #21
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    We move hives perhaps thousands of miles, which I have found is extremely stressful, leading to dieoffs.

    What's the opposite of benign beekeeping, malignant beekeeping?
    I don't recall ever reading anything you ever wrote about moving bees thousands of miles. When did you do that and what were your observations?

    The opposite of benign beekeeping could be benign neglect.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  2. #22
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    any thoughts?
    One effect of humans keeping bees in beehives is that humans have been able to take honeybees w/ them whenever humans have expanded their territory beyond their original place of residence. And, the tgransportation of those beehives has given you who read this your bees.

    Now maybe if you really want to practice benign beekeeping you will simply give me all of your bees. From where I sit, the only way to be a benign beekeeper is to not tend to any bees, don't move them, don't have anymore than one per every ten acres, and keep them up in a tree 10 to 15 feet off of the ground, facing S or SSE, and don't ever work them.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  3. #23
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    ...snip...Also responded to a call where the hive had succumbed to SHB and was being robbed out. We may be seeing a AHB type adjustment in colony size and absconds due to SHB pressure...snip..
    Wouldn't hives out in the sun have fewer small hive beetles than the natural tree cavity? At least on that count, the bees are better off in a hive and an open apiary.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  4. #24
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    Mar 2012
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    santa monica, ca
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    About 5 years ago I responded to a craigslist post wherein a man was giving away all his boxes and frames. I brought them home with the intention of one day taking the equipment to the county (I'm in the big city). I stacked the equipment in 4 stacks in my backyard and forgot about them. Several years later I took a look and found that I had bees in all 4 stacks.
    At this point I was still not ready to move the equipment to the country and the city did not allow beekeeping, so I just let them 'do their thing'.
    Jan 2011 the city passed an ordinance allowing 2 hives. In late spring the city code enforcement guy came around and told me to get those bees registered and legal. So I became a beekeeper. Being required to reduce the number of hives to 2 I gave 2 to my neighbor. We moved 2 of the stacks to his house and I began actually taking care of my 2.
    When I opened the hives for the first time, I found some comb that was messed up the the majority was built onto the frames that were in the boxes.
    These bees were doing just fine without any help. They have been through some trauma since I intervened, but have bounced back and are again doing fine.
    Were they better off before me? I can't say, but do know that before I took a hand in their lives, they had more honey they could keep.
    Thus far I have not done anything to or for them other than try to give them the space I think they need. When I did the last mite drop I counted 3.
    Buzz Abbott
    USDA zone 11a, Western Garden zone 24 (75 ft elev. n34.0w118.47)

  5. #25
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    From where I sit, the only way to be a benign beekeeper is to not tend to any bees, don't move them, don't have anymore than one per every ten acres, and keep them up in a tree 10 to 15 feet off of the ground, facing S or SSE, and don't ever work them.
    Oh, now Mark what fun is that?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  6. #26
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lburou View Post
    Wouldn't hives out in the sun have fewer small hive beetles than the natural tree cavity?
    I am not sure about that. Because the beetle returns to the ground it may be an advantage having the hive in close proximity to the ground. Could be a negative.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #27
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    I begin with the basic premise that comparing bees from an apiary with feral bees is like comparing a dog with a wolf. This difference if it exists would be solely the result of man keeping bees.

    The above point does bring into the frame the issue of "Are bees domesticated"? In past conversations that I have seen on this subject directly. It is fairly well argued that they are not. Yet very few beekeepers would hesitate to admit bees do not stand much of a chance of survival if you don't care for them. If domestication is defined as an animals dependance on mans care. then it is hard to argue that bees have not become domesticated. Not all bees any more than all Canine have become domesticated.

    In addition I believe that mans intervention has drastically altered the life of the honey bee. and in doing so has impacted the well being of the honey be. IT is very unlikely that man with his intentions has impacted the be in a positive way. We consider excess honey production a good thing. since we think it is good. we also tend to think it is good for the bees. it is not. it is a complete removal and unintentional behavior from what a honey bee should be. It is inefficient which that alone is a radical departure from any other behavior associated with bees.

    This and many other differences keeping bees makes are not only significant. they are most likely harmful to the bees. I cannot even begin to make a complete list of impacts. but here are a few. many of which have already been mentioned.

    Interruption of the hive. not only frequently or not frequently. but at all ever. This introduces conditions and stresses that the bees are in no way naturally equipped for. In nature colonies that get invaded are killed. It is the result of poor colony location skills and is eliminated by natures selection process.

    Limited genetic pool. This one is probably fr more devastating than it is given credit for.

    Frequent replacement of queens. Tampering with an already poor genetic pool.

    Selection of traits that we consider beneficial, and even worse making the mistake of thinking what we consider beneficial is good for the bees. This then lends to the likelihood that beekeepers will breed their bees straight into the jaws of disaster, eyes wide open, thinking all is well.

    I have seen it mentioned in several places that bees will naturally select a cavity roughly the size of a 10 frame deep. In reality bees seldom get to choose optimum anything. In fact always having the optimum woudl be a negative. a huge negative. natural selection thrives on diversity. Colonies that range anywhere from baseball size cavities to small sheds is what makes mother natures way work out. that man is locked into the best way to do anything, always, is one of the primary reasons he impacts everything around him negatively. Nature does not have maximization as a goal. never has. Survival in as many various conditions as possible. and it will try them all. Most will fail.

    Nature created the AHB. And we think she got it wrong. nearly completely and utterly wrong.

    We on the other hand strive to make puppy dogs of the honey bee. Necessary. yes for our purposes. but int eh process we have caused a lot of damage. we have caused a highly dependent bee. and we cannot like our dogs. pen them in and protect them from an environment they are no longer suitable to survive in. It would be comparable turning your dog loose to run with wolves. But to some degree I think that is exactly what we have done. We breed dogs that must run with wolves. We are seeing the results.

    Bees that cannot resist parasites that infest them.
    bees that cannot survive diseases that they are subjected to.
    Bees that cannot survive winter.
    Bees that do not take optimal advantage of their environment.
    On the issue of an apiary and colonies that are located to close together. I tend to look at them as a single mega colony with multiple queens. What sort of impact is that having. Sort of like subjecting bees to living in projects. A getto evolves. Still necessary.

    I don't think beekeepers should stop keeping bees any more than I think people should stop keeping dogs as pets. But I do think that beekeepers need to be far more clear in just what they are keeping, and what is necessary for it's care. If feeding and treatment are necessary. then that is the result of making dogs out of wolves.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    I don't recall ever reading anything you ever wrote about moving bees thousands of miles. When did you do that and what were your observations?
    I moved six hives from Oregon to Arkansas in 2008. They could not survive temperatures of 0 F, twenty degrees lower than to what they were accustomed. Five of the six died within two years. The sixth is my hive that has survived almost ten years treatment-free with natural succession of queens. It is also the mother to about half my other hives.

    That was a case of moving a hive permanently, whereas most commercial beekeepers to my knowledge stay in the same places at the same times of the year.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  9. #29
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I moved six hives from Oregon to Arkansas in 2008. They could not survive temperatures of 0 F, twenty degrees lower than to what they were accustomed. Five of the six died within two years. The sixth is my hive that has survived almost ten years treatment-free with natural succession of queens. It is also the mother to about half my other hives.

    That was a case of moving a hive permanently, whereas most commercial beekeepers to my knowledge stay in the same places at the same times of the year.
    I have no idea why your 5 hives died but I suggest there were a myriad of variables involved. What made you decide on temperature as the sole cause of death?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  10. #30
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    I have no idea why your 5 hives died but I suggest there were a myriad of variables involved.
    Why don't you come look at my hives and then you can tell me what they died of.

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    What made you decide on temperature as the sole cause of death?
    Cold starvation. The cluster gets too cold to move and starves on the comb. Plenty of honey, no sign of disease or mites.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #31
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    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I moved six hives from Oregon to Arkansas in 2008. They could not survive temperatures of 0 F, twenty degrees lower than to what they were accustomed. Five of the six died within two years.
    I moved 12 nucs from Arizona to Illinois and they all survived.
    Regards, Barry

  12. #32
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    >>Cold starvation. The cluster gets too cold to move and starves on the comb. Plenty of honey, no sign of disease or mites.

    As long as the hive is in good shape, I have never had a hive die of starvation with honey in the hive. I have had lots of hive die of starvation within inches of honey but they were destined for death anyway. A good hive doesnt starve with honey in the hive.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  13. #33
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Sol: You do understand that "cold starvation" is a result and not an actual malady dont you? Its pretty hard to say four years removed from the fact what actually caused the death of your hives. Wait a minute.....something is coming into view in my crystal ball........yes, yes! I see small clusters..... I think their are five of them. They appear to be very small, yes very small clusters, looking closer..... trying to figure out what the problem might have been.......poof! Darn it!!!! It just went black on me. Ah well! Probably varroa.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #34
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    I have had hives starve on hard honey also, yet the hive right besides were fine. The difference was the hive that starved on the hard honey had issues, the hive that lived beside them went in looking good
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  15. #35
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Ian, I would put it this way: Good hives don't die. That's perhaps the cornerstone of my philosophy.

    Ultimately, it doesn't matter why they die, unless I caused it, therefore I don't waste time on mite counts and such. It's their responsibility to stay alive, mine is to keep from killing them.
    Last edited by Solomon Parker; 11-16-2012 at 09:23 AM.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  16. #36
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Ian, I would put it this way: Good hives don't die. That's perhaps the cornerstone of my philosophy.
    yup,
    I always get a kick out of beekeepers claiming hive death to "they starved inches away from the honey!" Unless those hives have been exposed to the depths of winter for weeks on end, they did not starve because they couldnt reach the honey, they were not in shape to winter at all!
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  17. #37

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    yup,
    I always get a kick out of beekeepers claiming hive death to "they starved inches away from the honey!"
    The one that always gives me a chuckle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    no sign of disease or mites.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  18. #38
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    Jul 2012
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    St. Paul, MN
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    145

    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    I've always ran 9 frames in my brood chamber, gives me more space to work and I feel like it's less likely I'll squish her majesty.

    In this case I'm increasing the bee space from how the hive originally built the comb which I'm sure changes how the brood is heated and cooled.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    I would love to hear an alternate explanation rather than just chuckling.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  20. #40
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    Default Re: benign beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Nature created the AHB. And we think she got it wrong. nearly completely and utterly wrong.
    Is this two quoted sentences and a third sentence of your authorship?

    The first sentence is untrue which makes the second sentence untrue also. So the trhird sentence is incorrect. Nature didn't make the AHB, so Nature didn't get it wrong.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

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