Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 12-18-2012 at 08:35 AM. Reason: clarification, referring to post 318
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft
I can see how my wording could be open to misunderstanding. In the interest of full disclosure we havent used any of those listed miticides in years and in the case of Amitraz, never. I have used fumidil on occasion, the most recent was 4 years ago. We have used tetracycline and tylosin in recent years but never closer than 2 and a half months prior to the main honeyflow. I doubt if I will use tylosin again though. I have heard they are more apt to move and store it and my results bear that out though the residue was truly miniscule.
"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney
jim, were those few parts per billion of tylosin acceptable for the packing house?
journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives
I am not a chemist but I do know that chemicals will combine with other chemicals and become something different so if you use a chemical in your hive it is possible you should test for something else to find residuals. I also know that there isn't one pill made that people take internally that doesn't have side effects so my line of thinking is anything that you treat a hive with chemically will have side effects whether you know what it is or you can successfully test for. So chemicals are out in my book.
So why is there such a fuss if one commercial guy promotes TF and another doesn't? There really doesn't appear to be a "Commercial Beekeepers Manual" any more than there is a hobbyist manual.In the commercial world things can be a bit of a mystery at times.
Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping
Jim, I came across this today.
I would enjoy visiting this guy. Would you not want to know how this guy does it. Seams to me you would if you were serious about treatment free and making a living on it.Most of the work and expense of maintaining a healthy, untreated apiary lies in propagating up and selecting down each generation--not in obtaining the initial breeding stock.
Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping
1. What we pay is between us and our suppliers, as it should be. A "price" arrived upon between someone that doesn't have the product and someone that doesn't need the product (we are well supplied for our needs at the moment) isn't relevant to anything.
No, I will not tell someone (anyone) my private business details in order to settle some internet forum fight...get real people. I know that many of us are making our livelihoods here (and therefore this isn't some kind of virtual argument on a newspaper comment forum), and although there are probably many that would be happy to post "their numbers", I'm afraid such revelations would be unverifyable, and those reporting would be skewed towards those that feel good about their current numbers...that's just human nature. In any case, you can all stop asking me what we pay....when/if you have treatment free honey to sell AND I need some, we can talk business.
2. The beekeepers we work with (as I posted before) all do things differently, all get very different results....and none of them went "treatment free" because it was, or did bring extra money.
Chris Baldwin (who is as treatment free has he can be...he migrates and sometimes almonds with no mite treatments) has said to me several times that after he stopped using mite treatments, he tried to figure out what why he had done it, what had convinced him that it was the right path for _his_ beekeeping....the answer he came up with was, "Because it was the right thing to do."
3. I've "introduced" Mike Palmer a few times (he has spoken at our conference twice), and I've discussed his methods in talks many times...what I always say about him is roughly, "if everyone used treatments the way Mike Palmer does, we wouldn't be having this conversation".
Every time I've brought up our adulteration test results I've mentioned the local "sideliner" who does feed, but is very conscientious about it, and his honey came back 100% pure.
I've always fully recognized in every talk I've given (including some comments at a showing of "vanishing of the bees" at a small, publicly run organic farm in a wealthy town), that the way we grow food in this country requires migratory commercial beekeeping as one of its components. To change this would be to change agriculture...and I can't imagine that those kinds of changes are peaceful and smooth. I talked quite a bit about this at the first organic conference in Oracle in 2008, and it's the kind of things I talk to my customers about regularly.
The assumption here is that I'm not being fair....by what? By what you all assume I say to my customers? By the fact that I talk about "treatment free"? Would I be implying that other honey has antibiotics in it if I stated that ours was tested and found free of them? Wouldn't that imply that some honey has antibiotics in it?
4. If you are looking for studies that show that honey from untreated, unfed bees is different than honey from treated, fed bees, you will have to wait a bit...the first modern study to consider untreated and unfed bees as something that may have to be studied in contrast with how bees are generally kept by beekeepers and bee researchers has just been published...the Moran study shows a 25+ year effect on the genetic makeup of gut microbe populations when antibiotics are used (rather definitively).
Tobias Olofson and Alejandra Vasquez (a married research couple from Sweden) have shown microbial fermentation to be part of what makes dried nectar into "honey" (but don't expect much more public research out of them, they are in the probiotic business now), the Sammataro/Yoder paper saw in vitro effects of even HFCS (never mind formic acid) on the essential fungi for producing bee bread, and Martha Gilliam showed that yeasts, bacteria, and fungi (and their relative balance in the bee/colony/hive) are all affected by feeding, by confining, by fumidil, by TM, and by 24D....and I've provided links to most of this research.
If you are looking for more concrete data, you will have to be patient like the rest of us...but as I said, just now, for the first time, a researcher has considered that the gut microbes of untreated bees might be different than those of treated bees (something one would think bee scientists would be on top of), and the findings are significant....things don't just "go back" to their original state after treatment with antibiotics....not in more than 25 years at least.
...with all that said, I think I can state (without oversimplifying) that it is generally understood and accepted by anyone studying complex microbial systems, that changing what goes into such a system (food, treatments) changes the nature of that culture. If we change the nature of the culture, we are changing the nature of the bees, and if the culture has any influence on honey production (I think it is safe to say that it does even though the details are just starting to become apparent), then it is unlikely in the extreme that honey isn't effected. It is simply not a reasonable assumption that messing with the inputs doesn't affect the outputs.
As far as providing a blueprint as to how this can work for others...well, Dee did this years ago (hosted here on beesource), and I've provided quite a bit of information...I try my best to help people avoid easy to commit pitfalls (it is much more fun to make "interesting" mistakes than dumb ones), and I do what I can to answer questions...especially from folks that are genuinely interested.
But I'm not being paid to "change the industry", and at the moment, I'm not in a position to setup a business model that would allow me to get enough return on the investment to make that goal my priority....I'm busy running a business and helping those that want my help. Roland and Jim (and everyone else) is left in the uncomfortable position all thinking people are left in...what is the best thing for them, with their sensibilities, their resources, and their goals. This is a gift and a curse.
...I could say that I don't like your pens....that would be an uninformed opinion.
...I could say that your pens are lousy...that would be both uninformed, and dishonest...I have no way of knowing, as I've never examined one of your pens.
Things is, is being a walking encyclodeadia of bee gut micro fauna, worth anything? Can a person with this knowlededge run a beehive any better. I know some beekeepers who have probably never heard of bee gut micro fauna. But they understand bees, watching them work a hive is beautiful, and I would not be so brave as to challenge them who could get better results from a hive I'd likely end with my tail between my legs.
I guess what I'm saying is academia is fine. Is it nessecary for someone to read all sorts of studies on peripheral issues? No, and in some cases they'd be better without it. I think we are talking in this thread about two distinct disciplines. One, academia, and one, real beekeeping.
Thank you Dean for your thoughts. I found them a good reminder that our knowledge about bees will continue to grow and the best we can do right now in some areas is to speculate based on our current understandings. An especial thank you for your (and Ramona's) work with gut microbes.
It is hard to speculate on what a healthy environment looks like to everyone. Just down the road from me a commercial blueberry grower is expanding some fields, clear cutting new growth woody trees (mostly birch and alders), and collecting rocks and leveling the ground so that mechanical harvesters can do their thing. It looks nice, but I know it represents a change from the status quo. First, native pollinators that reside in the bridge area between woods and open fields are going to have to move, evolve or die. Second, mechanical harvesting means less manual labor picking jobs, jobs the companies say they have trouble filling, with local labor anyway. Third, I presume these fields will be managed as most fields around here are, relying on controlling plant & insect pests and disease with agricultural chemicals. I could go on but I'll trust my point is made: the "improvements" to the field are being done to embrace cutting edge best practices. The knowledge that goes in to those practices is evolving, changing as research dictates.
I'm disappointed that my question on Bee-L regarding elements that should be included in a Small Cell study brought only opinions. I hoped for better, hoping that there was curiosity about practices embraced by the TF community as epitomized by Dee, that have a positive impact on bees, and, may be transferable to other climates.
Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com
...many fields of human medicine were "successful" without taking human gut microbes into consideration...the most interesting things, and the most promising treatments are now coming from our growing knowledge of human gut microbes. 95% cure rate for C. Difficil (even in cases where the patient was expected to be in diapers the rest of their life) by inoculating the patient's digestive system with poop from a healthy subject. Several autoimmune diseases are being successfully treated with pig whipworms, "probiotics" are all the rage, and even doctors now recommend eating probiotics of some kind if you are on antibiotics.....even our moods and psychology are now, we know, somewhat regulated by our gut microbes:
These are concrete, practical reasons to care about the microbiota in humans (ones that we were all ignorant of not so long ago)....and it would be silly to think that it would be different for bees (after all, we are all "of" this microbial world). ....but no one is forcing you to consider this stuff important. But after all, if we accept that nosema, EFB (and probably AFB) organisms are present in most hives and not causing a problem, then how can we see nosema, EFB, and AFB as something other than an unbalance of the gut microbes?
Oldtimer, that's the kind of thinking I agree with. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to work bees at all. Some people like myself like to do things the simple way, some like to get in depth on everything, either way is fine!
I don't get into the scientific aspect of beekeeping because it just doesn't interest me and when I do attempt to read scientific studies I end up just losing interest and find something else to read that is more in layman terms.
Coyote Creek Bees
Andrew, I am not posting on Bee-L these days, but I think the discussion there would benefit from mentioning the Moran study (which has not been brought up on Bee-L). I give permission to post my analysis along with the link to the study over there..paste the text from our website rather than what I've posted here....it is more complete and better edited
Oh don't get me wrong i DO see it as important, very much so. Do remember though, bees are not people. Arguments comparing bees to people are normally anthromorphistic. Whatever happens in people does not prove one way or another if bees carrying microfauna that's resistant to some antibiotic, matters a jot.
But my survival has been based on results, that's what I've lived by. Now I'm helping out lots of new beeks, and what's been quite apparent of recent times is the amount of "stuff" they can know, or think you have to know, or weird theories they may hold. But their actual beekeeping is so bad they will fail, in part, because all their efforts are going into barking up the wrong trees.
I almost have to "re-indoctrinate" some of these folks, before they are freed up enough and enabled to keep their bees successfully.
EDIT - Posted before I saw your post BeeGhost, good comments.
Last edited by Oldtimer; 12-18-2012 at 04:40 PM.
in my field, and when i was a student thirty years ago, there were investigations into things that at the time were considered academic, that are now being applied in practice.
there are other things, that were being investigated back then, that are either still academic, or have been abandoned as the investigations ran into dead ends.
i think that it is already generally recognized that nutrition and gut physiology is fundamentally important to the health of the colony/superorgansim, and i would like to learn more about it.
this is worthy of a thread of it's own.
journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives