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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    I have been talking with people on the "Brother Adam" thread, and I realized it had wandered too far from the hypothetical, to my specific interests. So I thought I'd begin anew here.

    I have 13 colonies of bees. I would like to be treatment free, but fully understand that goal to be a difficult challenge and I am certainly aware of the great controversy that surrounds how to get there.

    I would like to maintain a sustainable population of bees; raise my own queens and not have to buy new bees every year. In another thread on a similar subject a while back, Mike Palmer suggested that one would really need around 100 colonies to be sustainable, saying that you'd need those numbers to select from and to handle the ups and downs without collapsing, and to be able to maintain your genetic program (he did not use these words - I'm summarizing my understanding of his post).

    Anyway, I have 100 colonies as my goal. I am planning to a lot of nucs; probably 3/4 of my total in the future.
    Right now, I have:

    4 Queens from three different local beekeepers - all from within 1 hour of my home. Each has been raising queens here for at least a decade.
    3 Queens from walk away splits from those queens
    5 Buckfast Queens from Bill Ferguson in Ontario
    1 Queen which I got with a swarm in early June. I'm assuming by the timing that this queen has overwintered at least once here.

    Right now, 6 of my colonies are overwintering nucs.

    There are several beekeepers in within a few miles of me, but I do not believe any of them has more than a couple of hives. Many of them would have queens from the same local beekeepers as the ones I have came from. The rest would be some of the annual import from Hawaii. Some of those come from Kona, and I think they brought some in from Big Island as well.

    How would you recommend that I proceed in reaching my goals? Should I attempt to bring in a particular stock? Should I 'deepen the pool' and add the bees of other breeders? Or should I just work with what I have?

    What are some of your thoughts?

    Adam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    5,840

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Id work with what you have.

    Whats your reasons for going treatment free? There are alot of treatment options other than chemical. Also there are alot of management options to help control varroa. If your idea is to raise bees and live off bees, your going to have to treat and manage your diseases. There is no way around that.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    I think everyone would like to go treatment free, wouldn't they?

    I've used oxalic vapor and drone comb removal. And will do what I have to do to make it work. But I've never tried treatment free, and figure it's better to try it sooner - while I don't have many colonies - than to try it later, when I have so much more at stake.

    On the other hand, I feel that if I am running a lot of nucs, and splitting a lot, the the brood breaks should stem the tide of mites to some degree as well. I'm certainly not against anyone else's methods, and I love to hear about them. I'm just trying to find the best one for me and my own bees.

    Adam

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Deleted. repeat.
    Last edited by Adam Foster Collins; 11-28-2012 at 01:14 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Yes, everyone would if it was possible and if it were just as easy as figuring breeding will solve the whole issue. Breeding has focused on this problem for quite a while, and we have yet to find anything that satisfies the problem.

    We take bees out of their natural environment, we take them pretty much where ever we choose to raise them, we manage them in workable frames and manipulate their growth to manage production from them, we feed them to manage growth and to prevent starving, we move them to flowering fields and into conditions more suitable during durths, we wrap them up or move them to help manage the winter, we choose the breeding selections for them to bring in traits and characteristics more suitable to our needs,
    So when it comes to disease control, why would we not treat to control the disease pressures? Everything else we do to manage the hives is not natural or normal for the bees,.?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Libertytown, MD, USA
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    My reasoning for wanting to do so would be that there is nothing in your second paragraph with any potential to harm my health, but that can't be said across the board for disease treatment. Better safe than sorry, or in this case better safe and sorry.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    why or how does controlling disease create any potential harm to our health?
    now not treating sick animals does create huge health problems

    Quote Originally Posted by justusflynns View Post
    My reasoning for wanting to do so would be that there is nothing in your second paragraph with any potential to harm my health, but that can't be said across the board for disease treatment. Better safe than sorry, or in this case better safe and sorry.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,312

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    How would you recommend that I proceed in reaching my goals? Should I attempt to bring in a particular stock? Should I 'deepen the pool' and add the bees of other breeders? Or should I just work with what I have?
    Patience Grasshopper.

    This is a long term project and nothing you're going to accomplish overnight...or in a year or in five. You need to build up your numbers, learn successful queen rearing, bring in other stocks to incorporate with yours. Change over the drone population in your area, and select and select and select.

    You have all the parts of the puzzle...the options have been given in answers to all your questions. Get out there and do it...and have your failures and successes. Two steps forward and one step back...or...

    Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,575

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Listen to Michael.....he is a wise man.

    I understand your frustration....you want to do things "right". you can ask and read all you want...but the true learning is when you are in the field by yourself, making decisions based upon what you know......and late at night when you are second guessing everything you have done.

    Deknow

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,378

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    there you are adam, and straight from the masters' keyboards. i believe you are asking all the right questions and have a good idea of where you want to go.

    i'm not sold on treatment free for the reasons ian laid out. on the other hand, i will do my best to propagate bees that require little to none.

    justusflynns, beware of eating raw honey, it contains formic and other organic acids.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    642

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Adam,

    I've found keeping very detailed records pretty well shows me my mistakes and which colony/queens are actually doing best in my area and for my management.

    One of the great benifits of being treatment free is that queen selection actually becomes much easier.


    Like you I'm at that growing stage with lots of questions (40 hives wanting to get to 500).


    Don

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    Adam,

    One of the great benifits of being treatment free is that queen selection actually becomes much easier.


    Don
    I think there is a wide spectrum of what beekeepers consider treatment free as being,
    Adam, for the purpose of your question, what do you consider treatment free?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

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