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  1. #121
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,949

    Default Re: something to think about

    >As to South Africa, I'm not terribly familiar, but doesn't Africa already have a large population of resistant bees to draw from that have spent many many years in contact with varroa already?

    South African, when Varroa arrived, had a mixture of breeds of bees including European and African stock of various kinds (Scutella, Adonsii etc.). The beekeepers decided do approach the problem as a group, and as a group, decided to not treat. They have heavy losses for a couple of years and they dropped off every since.

    "As to South Africa, I'm not terribly familiar, but doesn't Africa already have a large population of resistant bees to draw from that have spent many many years in contact with varroa already?" -- http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/availab...ssertation.pdf
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  2. #122
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    Oct 2011
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    Coopersville, Michigan
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    260

    Default Re: something to think about

    My bad I read them, but don't have them memorized. I guess I disagree with them, but I can abide by them and not mention mecahnically removing mites with powedered sugar again.

    You may be off the opinion that letting your bees die is the best method, but I'll be honest I can't afford that method, and yes I get free bees from swarms and cutouts, and minimize costs by building all of my own equipment. After three years of no honey and dead bees I've changed my tune. If you can afford it great for you, but it's good for people to know there are alternatives out there even if it takes longer to breed better bees.

  3. #123
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: something to think about

    >So we get back to the definition of what you mean by treatment free.

    it is true that there is no generally accepted definition.

    >My bad I read them, but don't have them memorized. I guess I disagree with them.

    as do many level headed and noteworthy contributors on beesource.

    my understanding is that the rules were put in place at an earlier time because the 'debates' on this subforum became frought with personal attacks and incivility.

    that is clearly not the case anymore, and the new moderator has been gracious to allow meaningful discussions here that sometimes involve the 'mention' of methods previously banned by the old rules.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #124
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    Oct 2011
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    Coopersville, Michigan
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    260

    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >
    South African, when Varroa arrived, had a mixture of breeds of bees including European and African stock of various kinds (Scutella, Adonsii etc.). The beekeepers decided do approach the problem as a group, and as a group, decided to not treat. They have heavy losses for a couple of years and they dropped off every since.

    "As to South Africa, I'm not terribly familiar, but doesn't Africa already have a large population of resistant bees to draw from that have spent many many years in contact with varroa already?" -- http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/availab...ssertation.pdf
    I can say this is great news, but hardly the same situation. I didn't even make it past the first paragraph before I read this.
    <Some colony losses did occur at the front of the varroa spread, and all colonies were found to be deleteriously affected by the mite which developed populations of 50,000 and more in some colonies. Colonies exhibited all the same varroa effects witnessed in other parts of the world, with the exception that the majority of colonies did not die as a result of infestation> (emphasis added by me)

    So they got varroa, but the majority of colonies weren't dying from it. No treatments should be the goal, but a choice between mostly or all dead bees (my result so far) and a few dead bees without treatment is definately not the same thing. Do you think all of the beekeepers would have agreed not to treat if their colonies had actually been dying?
    It looks like some great reading though it will take me a while to make it through all 90 pages. In particular the analysis of how the cape bee managed complete tolerance in just three years looks fascinating, but there again if it was a 3year process with our bees it would be over and done with.
    Last edited by Mr. C; 01-11-2013 at 12:54 PM. Reason: emphasis added by me

  5. #125
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,930

    Default Re: something to think about

    If a person has lost every bee, each year, for 3 years, that's long enough to know he should change something.

    I think you've come to the right conclusions Mr C, and will achieve your goals.

    In my country we have a varroa resistance breeding program running that is now, after some years, producing some pretty varroa tolerant bees. Treatments have been used, but have not affected their methods of evaluation. Pin pricks and freezing have not been used, too simplistic and don't even relate to varroa.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #126
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    2,931

    Default Re: something to think about

    In regard to mite pressure. What pressure do you consider would be necessary to see colonies actually improve in regard to mite resistance? With pressure being defined as the percentage of bees that show adequate improvement? I suppose in regard to treatment free this would be the percentage of hive that survive regardless if mite infestation without treatments.

    Quoted from Michael above.
    "Breeding for any one trait in my observation of human breeding programs, has almost always failed in the long run."

    Are you saying this in regard to bees or breeding of animals as a whole? I agree that breeding of bees has not produced the same results as other animals.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  7. #127
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    Aug 2012
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    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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    416

    Default Re: something to think about

    Quite often trying to selectively breed for one positive trait also unintentionally selects for an undesirable trait. You can see this in purebred dogs. Hip dysplasia in some breeds, breathing, skin issues, etc in others. The same is true in birds; blue budgies are prone to tumours that the native green type are not. Genetic modification is the only real way to isolate and emphasize a single trait without emphasizing or suppressing others.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  8. #128
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    Jul 2011
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    Richardson, TX, USA
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    84

    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkster View Post
    I only treat when counts indicate it is needed and then use "soft" treatments. However, I cant get my arms around people not treating at all and somehow expecting the bees to toughen up and figure out how to handle the mites, you have 1 queen per hive so i am not sure how anybody with less than a few thousand hives could expect a drastic change in the bees ability to handle the mites ? our best hope to my way of thinking is for the big queen breeders to breed a strain of bees that can handle them and in the meantime do what we can to keep our bees alive. I know there are mite resistant bees out there supposedly but I haven't seen one that people are beating down the doors to get which i really think would happen with a truly resistant bee.
    I think you are right on target.

  9. #129
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    Nov 2012
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    waynesboro va USA
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    24

    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    Quite often trying to selectively breed for one positive trait also unintentionally selects for an undesirable trait. You can see this in purebred dogs. Hip dysplasia in some breeds, breathing, skin issues, etc in others. The same is true in birds; blue budgies are prone to tumours that the native green type are not. Genetic modification is the only real way to isolate and emphasize a single trait without emphasizing or suppressing others.
    are you making a plug for Monsanto?

  10. #130
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    Dec 2008
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    Phoenixville, PA
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    579

    Default Re: something to think about

    I agree with your beekeeping as long as your doing it my way.

    Don't even think about telling me what to do.

    I suggest you leave well enough alone or I'll lobby the dept. of agriculture so they make you do it my way.

    We're a hard headed stubborn lot.

  11. #131
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    Aug 2012
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    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by nada View Post
    are you making a plug for Monsanto?
    No just trying to point out the fallacy in emphasing a single trait.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  12. #132
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    Nov 2012
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    waynesboro va USA
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    Default Re: something to think about

    ...nvm...
    Last edited by nada; 01-11-2013 at 08:27 PM.

  13. #133
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    Oct 2011
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    Coopersville, Michigan
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    Default Re: something to think about

    hmm obviously selected for one trait only to the exclusion of others is a bad idea, but most of the examples you see of this are most pronounced in show animals, where the primary concern is looks. I believe breeders do this fairly often to good effect over a short period in order to cement a valuable trait into the population that might otherwise get lost in random breeding. I got caught oversimplifying a few posts back when talking about distinct traits. Yes there is an overall interaction of many different traits that leads to varroa resistance/tolerance or any other characteristics. But if you recognize that there are some measureable traits that contribute to this overall fitness, then these individual traits can be selected for and added to a population to improve that stocks resistance. If you are still measuring ovrall fitness of the bees and outcrossing for diversity when needed you should be able to do so without losing the other traits that also are important. That's not any different from selecting for low swarming tendancy or honey production etc. If I wanted bees that were straight up ferals with no modification I would not likely ever get much in the way of honey since the ferals goal should be to store up enough to last the winter then swarm (which doesn't leave extra for the hungy beeker). That does not mean that there are not good genetics out there in the feral population, but I'm selfish and want productive bees and am willing to sacrifice some other traits to get that.

  14. #134
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    Apr 2005
    Location
    havana fl
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    1,357

    Default Re: something to think about

    So if all your bees are being treated for mites and nosema and anything else, and the person next door doesn’t treat and their bees crash, if your treating why should it matter. And then if your bees crash why is it their fault? You’re treating???
    Im really not that serious

  15. #135
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: something to think about

    mac, i don't want to treat, but i will do what it takes to keep my colonies healthy, and i will take responsible measures to keep my colonies from collapsing, getting robbed, and spreading disease.

    very few contributors on this forum think it's a good idea to expose their bees to as much pressure as possible with hopes of ending up with superbees.

    i also have a concern for feral colonies, and wouldn't want them unnecessarly exposed.

    the reason hive registration and removable frames are required in most if not all localities is because beekeepers are held responsible for keeping their bees healthy, and are supposed to eliminate problems that can threaten other bees.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #136
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    Oct 2011
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    Coopersville, Michigan
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by mac View Post
    So if all your bees are being treated for mites and nosema and anything else, and the person next door doesn’t treat and their bees crash, if your treating why should it matter. And then if your bees crash why is it their fault? You’re treating???

    Treating doesn't wipe out every mite, disease, or whatever. If you have bees that are properly treated next to crashing hives that are dying of mites, they will get robbed out and transfer those mites to the treated colonies after the treatment is over reinfesting them to a level that can kill the colony. Even if it is caught in time additional treatment would then be necessary which can have deliterious effects on the bees and lead to quicker resistance etc.

    Essentially that argument analogous to yard work in the suburbs. If you clean up all the leaves in your yard and I live next door and don't it shouldn't matter that my leaves blow into my yard because you already cleaned all of your leaves. In reality you have the choice of putting up a fence or cleaning up leaves every week till the snow flies if you want a clean yard (only in this case cleaning the leaves costs you not only time, but money also and may kill your grass if you don't spend it).

  17. #137
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    Mar 2005
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    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    3,361

    Default Re: something to think about

    Beekeeping is animal husbandry just like dairy farming is. If we are keeping more than one or two hives in a yard we are overpopulating nature and the natural result is control through disease, starvation or parasite. In 1992 beekeeping was as easy as checking your hives in march and feeding (treatment for starvation), putting supers on in May and pulling honey in September. Since then we saw varroa( (1996 in our area, a new issue,) devestate hives all over the world to the tune of millions upon millions of hives lost, then it was a foul brood outbreak in the early part of the millenium in upstate new york with thousand of hives burned, Hive beetles, trachael mites, deformed wing virus, Israeli Virus and the list goes on. These are not sypmtoms of beekeepers who treat, they are symptoms of overpoulation and travel by bees in areas which would not be normal in nature that allow disease and pests to spread quickly. We have worked for 20 years on breeding, better bees, refreshing our stocks with the best queens through testing queens from from 15 or more suppliers and then only buying from 3 or 4, using ever developing integrated pest management and testing more natural treatments. Nothing I do or see in our operation makes me believe I will overcome millions of years of natural population controls if I'm keeping any stock in a population larger than would normally be seen in nature.

    I hope, especially newbees, consider treatment free as a goal to be achieved at levels that should start with reaching chemical free and with the knowledge it requires a great deal of self education, a dedication to time with your bees and the acceptance that that road will mean more losses.

    As to non-treating neighbors - the unfortunate truth is when we start out and too often as hobbyist in a busy life or with little education we don't recognize a problem like American Foulbrood until a hive is collapsing and studies show extensively (new zealand study AFB) that within as little as 3 weeks of being exposed to one hive with a minimal outbreak we have infected every hive in our yard and likely in an area. How many cells of AFB are present before you recognize it, do you look for scale when you inspect, do you know what K-wing means, do you inspect for Trachael mites, what type of varroa inspection do you use and how often to you do indepth inpsection? When are you as my neighbor qualifed to keep treatment free bees that won't infect my hives. We all have a responsibility to be a good stewards as beekeepers as bees are facing ever increasing pressures and their place in agriculture is unreplaceable at this time.
    Last edited by Joel; 01-13-2013 at 03:24 AM.

  18. #138
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    When are you as my neighbor qualifed to keep treatment free bees that won't infect my hives.
    Your hives by the very nature of beekeeping in this country are already infected. There is no 'yours' and 'mine' in that sense. Bees travel where they will. Maybe they come back to their own hive, maybe they don't. You can either treat your bees to temporarily get rid of whatever it is you don't like in there, or you can keep bees who do it themselves. This forum is about bees who do it themselves.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  19. #139
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    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by mac View Post
    So if all your bees are being treated for mites and nosema and anything else, and the person next door doesn’t treat and their bees crash, if your treating why should it matter. And then if your bees crash why is it their fault? You’re treating???
    Exactly, there are many here who have this paranoia about the treatment free person's bees being contagious to the bees that are treated, I don't think it can be proven that it was the treatment free bees next door that caused your treated bees to crash, you just become an easy target for blame that's all. Lets be realistic in all honesty. John

  20. #140
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: something to think about

    >there are many here who have this paranoia about the treatment free person's bees being contagious to the bees that are treated....

    not paranoid here.

    but there can be no disputing the fact that a dying hive can be a reservoir of diseases and pests, and unless responsible measures are taken to prevent robbing, that hive poses a risk to other colonies whether they be in the same yard, a nearby yard, or nearby ferals.

    i'm not sure why this always gets turned around to treatment vs. treatment free. it's more about preventing the unecessary spreading of a problem.

    i'm lucky to have bees that have a fourteen year history of surviving mites without any treatments. i really don't want to have to do anything to save a colony from mite collapse. but before i let a hive crash and become a threat to my other hives, my neighbor's hives, or nearby ferals i will do what it takes.

    my bees have proven natural mite resistance, but that is no guarentee that they might rob out another hive and bring in a boat load of mites all at once. even the most mite resistant bees must have some upper limit on what they can handle.

    there's not much i can do if a feral hive near me crashes and my bees rob it. but i can do my best to make sure my bees don't become a source for someone else's problems. fortunately, the other beekeepers near me feel the same way.

    i'll say it again, i don't care if you treat or don't treat, but i do care if you let your hives crash and get robbed out. unless of course you keep bees that can do 'that' for themselves.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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