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  1. #1
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    Default Are we trapped by treatments?

    Or do we just surrender without a fight?

    I came across this quote in an article from the Washington Post on VSH Breeding. The comment is in context a reason to not adopt recent developments to Non Treatment.

    "a major queen producer in Orland, Calif. said he spends “in excess of $40,000” a year medicating his queens against gut disease. “I’m not sure it’s necessary,” he said, but he can’t risk selling diseased bees to his customers."

    The simple answer I see. Buy a $400 microscope and start looking. You might get a better than "I don't know" reason to treat. Or not. Monitor mites. examine for foul brood.

    What is riskier. Monitoring or managing a business on I Dunno guessing? It seems to me it is a matter of taking the easy way out. Just treat em anyway. save all that data collection effort. For 40 grand you could do a whole lot of sampling.

    I get the overall impression that many if not most beekeepers are looking for improved results form minimal effort. I admit that may just be me. Do others also get this impression?

    Many do not want to think about problems. collect information when they can simply drop in some meds and walk away. if the colony dies it could not have been from the disease they treated for. Of course they will not grab the microscope and confirm that either.

    Recently I read a thread on this group about Alcohol tests for Varroa. the entire thread was full of. oh my kill a jar of bees! Nah, that would be cruel. Risk the entire hive. that's a better answer.

    Anyway I just wanted to share something I saw and the general impression it had on me.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    The year old article is mostly about Adam Finkelstein's queen breeding. " He says he hasn’t medicated his hives in 14 years."
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    Actually the article reports on multiple researchers and breeders. and the quote above does not come from Adam.

    Regardless the issue of this thread is "are Beekeepers keeping themselves strapped to treatments. Not sure I see the importance of Who said What in there. What I do see important is that anyone anywhere said it at all. "Yeah I keep bees half assed and get half assed results, Lousy breeders".
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    "Yeah I keep bees half assed and get half assed results, Lousy breeders".


    Is there a reason that you quote from a Washington Post article but don't provide a link?
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 12-22-2012 at 08:09 AM.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    and the quote above does not come from Adam.
    Of course the quote doesn't come from Adam... It's the article's author that I quoted.

    Adam doesn't refer to himself in the third-person. And it seems that he doesn't treat.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    as with a lot of things, the answer is usually not cut and dry.

    at one extreme, you might have someone who doesn't invest the time and energy to inspect all of their hives for diseases and pests, and applies treatments religously to all of their hives according to a timetable, according to 'standard' practices, and based on what has worked for them in the past. there are risks with this approach, including creating resistance to the treatments, contaminating the comb and honey, discouraging the natural resistance the bees may delevop, upsetting the microbiota, ect.

    the opposite extreme would be someone who doesn't believe it's necessary to inspect the hives for diseases and pests, mostly because they have decided they are not ever going to intervene with treatments or manipulations anyway. the risks here are avoidalbe losses, creating 'typhoid mary' hives which can become a concentrated source from which diseases and pests can be transmitted to nearby hives, ect.

    (these are hypothetical extremes, and not meant to describe anyone on this forum)

    my impression daniel is that most of the members here would probably describe themselves as not ascribing to either of these extremes, but rather approach their craft reasonably and responsibly.

    there have been a myriad of approaches represented, and the beauty of beekeeping is that it is up to the individual to decide exactly how to approach it for themselves.

    if we can draw any conclusions from all of the spirited discussion on this topic, one would be that there will never be a one size fits all approach.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    Of course the quote doesn't come from Adam... It's the article's author that I quoted.

    Adam doesn't refer to himself in the third-person. And it seems that he doesn't treat.
    I still don''t see how your comment applies to this conversation. Or are you still just stalking me? I must have really gotten under your skin.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    You asked " Are we trapped by treatments?", from the article you've read, it seems that some are not "trapped". So...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    I still don''t see how your comment applies to this conversation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Anyway I just wanted to share something I saw and the general impression it had on me.
    As the saying goes, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." Daniel seems to think it OK for him to share "the general impression it had on me", but BeesCurious is not allowed to do the same?



    Apparently I missed Barry's announcement where Beesource got converted from a Discussion Forum to a Lecture Series from Daniel Y.

    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    >>Many do not want to think about problems. collect information when they can simply drop in some meds and walk away. if the colony dies it could not have been from the disease they treated for. Of course they will not grab the microscope and confirm that either.
    >>I get the overall impression that many if not most beekeepers are looking for improved results form minimal effort. I admit that may just be me. Do others also get this impression?

    Daniel, I knew a few beekeepers like that, and they went broke within years. For the rest of the beekeepers Id say they take the business very seriously.
    I also know of a commercial beekeeper who decided to go all natural, and fight the mites with organic treatments. He went broke within a couple of years.

    Your making broad strokes with your assumptions.

    Beekeeping is business, and very unforgiving. You cant simply state beekeepers ignorance of disease situations because of the economics required on make those treatment decisions. Guys will work within threasholds, they will work on operational averages, they will work within weather limitations,
    they also work in a huge cloud of uncertainty and unknown and sometimes even the best of us seem like we are riding by the seat of our pants.

    The comment your referring to is just a fact of his business. Breeders have been getting caught with sending out queens with nosema ailments these last number of years. Those queens are bum queens. It very expensive to the beekeeper buying them and also very detrimental on the breeders reputation.
    Daniel, if you were in the position of the queen breeder, and you had back ground levels of nosema, as most operations do, what would you do? Would you send out tens of thousands of queens hoping that nosema didnt catch them along the way? or would you spend money on protecting that investment from falling ill in the beekeepers hands,.?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    Beecurious. I am looking at the quote as if it is a comment by beekeeping in general. It is as if treatments are more of a security blanket than anything else. It was not the steadfastness to treat that caught my attention it was the admission that he had no idea one way or the other that it is even needed. Is he also completely unaware if it is making a difference? He has a $40,000 a year answer to a problem he really has no idea if he even has.

    What I don't get is the resistance to even seeking a diagnosis. Almost like a person not wanting to go to the doctor because they are sure they will be diagnosed with cancer. It happens but it is also obviously driven by fear, irrational choices etc.

    I guess that is what really hit me. This guy doesn't know what shape his bees are in. he doesn't want to know what shape they are in. Hew ants to treat them so he can gain that security.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    As the saying goes, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." Daniel seems to think it OK for him to share "the general impression it had on me", but BeesCurious is not allowed to do the same?



    Apparently I missed Barry's announcement where Beesource got converted from a Discussion Forum to a Lecture Series from Daniel Y.

    Sure, but do like I did and start your own thread to do it.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    Ian, I can't say what I would do if I where a queen breeder as I am not a queen breeder yet. I know what my thinking tends toward. and it is consistent with how I have managed my bees so far. it is also consistent with how I have manged the husbandry of any animal my entire life. I would get out the microscope and confirm if there is a disease or not. If there is I will make my choices then. Most likely treatment.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    One thing that gets lost is that most honey producers have very narrow treatment windows. For most its early spring or late summer. You have to make decisions based on not what the situation is at the moment but what you might project will be the case several months from now if you opt not to be proactive. Yes I am aware that hopguard and maqs are billed as products that can be used midsummer during a flow but the reality is that reports from those that have tried it have not been encouraging because of the potential of queen loss in high temps and also inefficiencies relating to the additional hive volume that you are treating when bees are supered up. So it may mean that along about the first of August is when you find out if your decision not to treat in April was a good one. Another thing to consider is that unless you have just a handful of hives getting a real accurate picture of mite or nosema problems is an imperfect science to say the least. In our case we make mite assessments not on a per hive not a per yard basis. We pull a few bees from a lot of hives within a yard to try to get a broad based assessment of what is going on.
    I have been around a lot of big queen raising operations and I am always struck with how much management goes into what they do. They are for the most part a bright and hard working bunch of people dealing with situations that no one outside of the business, particularly a novice who has been reading up on it, can even begin to grasp.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    The breeder should know his nosema levels regardless if he is treating or not.

    Treatments aside,
    He is shipping out bee stock, he has to know the levels of disease in those queens
    and your right, simple act of treatment should not provide the impression that he has no disease afterwards.
    The breeders I deal with have a very sharp monitoring system. But they also dont leave anything to chance

    most everyone I know examines before and after.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    >>They are for the most part a bright and hard working bunch of people dealing with situations that no one outside of the business, particularly a novice who has been reading up on it, can even begin to grasp.

    thats a good discription of the fellows I buy queens from. The big guys in Cali and also my local breeders a few miles away
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    I have been around a lot of big queen raising operations and I am always struck with how much management goes into what they do. They are for the most part a bright and hard working bunch of people dealing with situations that no one outside of the business, particularly a novice who has been reading up on it, can even begin to grasp.
    IT is easy to claim someone cannot understand something you are not even trying to explain.
    The idea that things can happen later does not really hold water. things that will happen later are going to happen later whether you treat or not. The issue is the refusal to gather additional information that treatment is needed at all.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    One thing that gets lost is that most honey producers have very narrow treatment windows. For most its early spring or late summer. You have to make decisions based on not what the situation is at the moment but what you might project will be the case several months from now if you opt not to be proactive. Yes I am aware that hopguard and maqs are billed as products that can be used midsummer during a flow but the reality is that reports from those that have tried it have not been encouraging because of the potential of queen loss in high temps and also inefficiencies relating to the additional hive volume that you are treating when bees are supered up. So it may mean that along about the first of August is when you find out if your decision not to treat in April was a good one. Another thing to consider is that unless you have just a handful of hives getting a real accurate picture of mite or nosema problems is an imperfect science to say the least. In our case we make mite assessments not on a per hive not a per yard basis. We pull a few bees from a lot of hives within a yard to try to get a broad based assessment of what is going on.
    I have been around a lot of big queen raising operations and I am always struck with how much management goes into what they do. They are for the most part a bright and hard working bunch of people dealing with situations that no one outside of the business, particularly a novice who has been reading up on it, can even begin to grasp.
    this is the best post i have read so far.

    jim, my plan is this:

    (and i assume that we are talking about varroa here, and i will rename 'treatment' with 'intervention' here)

    i will probably forgo spring 'intervention', other than identifying colonies not keeping up with their cohorts, and they will be sacrified for making nucs. i'll use these nucs for brood, comb, and mating to attempt to get better queens for the remaining production colonies.

    mite counts will be taken in the spring to help with decisions about which colonies get culled for the nuc yard, and to help decide which drones get to live or not. (all hives will get a a foundationless frame early in the spring to make drones on).

    after the spring/summer harvest, i will take mite counts again in the production yard, and i'll most likely requeen the worst ones. these will get a brood break after pinching the queen, and i'll probably use powdered sugar to dislodge the phoretics before putting the new queen in. (formic would be ok with me, but powdered sugar will be faster and cheaper and safer all around, plus it would keep me treatment free according to my definition).

    checking for nosema will also be a part of my management.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    squarepeg, when you kill off your queen, are you going to wait for 21 plus days before you re introduce your queen? Powder sugar will dislodge your mites, and the new queen will start fresh, but you have lost 3 weeks of your year waiting for all your brood to hatch, does this leave you time to re establish your hive
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Are we trapped by treatments?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    squarepeg, when you kill off your queen, are you going to wait for 21 plus days before you re introduce your queen? Powder sugar will dislodge your mites, and the new queen will start fresh, but you have lost 3 weeks of your year waiting for all your brood to hatch, does this leave you time to re establish your hive
    understood ian, that is what the nucs will be used for. either just for the queen, some brood, or to combine the nuc with what's left of the dequeened colony.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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