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  1. #61
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    Let's talk about what beekeepers actually do rather than what they should do.
    Deknow
    But back to basics, what ever you are "sure" large beekeepers do, my origional statement stands. A hive dying / dead of disease, is an open invitation to robbers. It is far more likely to spread disease to the robbing hives, than a healthy one that's been fed.

    I think your agument that all commercial hives are sick, and all commercial hives get robbed if they get fed, draws attention to your complete lack of experience of what "actually happens", with all due respect, you have bought into some of the dogma that is propagated on the subject, which is based on the worst ever cases that have happened, and then embellished considerably in the imaginations of some before the retelling. The reality is not that commercial beekeepers are bumbling fools who cannot even make a living from their bees.
    Last edited by Barry; 01-07-2013 at 07:18 AM. Reason: getting personal
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #62
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by d.frizzell View Post
    Meanwhile my hives will stay at my friends place until spring and we will see if there are some survivors, you just never know.
    If your mite infestation is relatively recent, most likely you will have survivors. But if they have mites, and you could have eliminated the issue and started afresh with mite free bees, not worth it in my opinion.

    But anyway, all the best with your plans, welcome to the mite treadmill. The info on the TF forum is a lot more accurate, and less extreme, than it was a few years back. But sometimes what's NOT said is the kicker. When taking advice, check the persons experience is not with one hive, for one year. Proceed with wisdom, and caution.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #63
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by d.frizzell View Post
    I moved my hives 20 miles to avoid infecting my neighbour when I found out I had mites.
    I though NS was mite free? Is this the first out break of mites there?

  4. #64
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    I though NS was mite free? Is this the first out break of mites there?
    Nova Scotia is not mite free. Cape Breton Island (part of Nova Scotia where I live) was mite free until about 8-10 years ago. There are still a few areas on the island that do not have mites. Newfoundland does not have mites.

  5. #65
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    If your mite infestation is relatively recent, most likely you will have survivors. But if they have mites, and you could have eliminated the issue and started afresh with mite free bees, not worth it in my opinion.

    But anyway, all the best with your plans, welcome to the mite treadmill. The info on the TF forum is a lot more accurate, and less extreme, than it was a few years back. But sometimes what's NOT said is the kicker. When taking advice, check the persons experience is not with one hive, for one year. Proceed with wisdom, and caution.
    I will start fresh with mite free bees at my home apiary, if I have survivors they will stay at my friends apiary which is no longer a mite free area.

    This forum is not my only reference for treatment free. I have learned some interesting things here, but not a great deal about how to get and stay truly treatment free. Maybe I haven't been here long enough or I need to go back and read some history. I think there are things to learn from the oldtimers and the newtimers, but with each one I need to use wisdom and caution.

  6. #66
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by d.frizzell View Post
    Cape Breton Island (part of Nova Scotia where I live) was mite free until about 8-10 years ago.
    We took the kids to Cape Breton in the 90s. What a nice place. You know the tourist store at the bridge...over the deep gorge? Sayer played her violin for him and he gave her an ice cream cone. In another place they gave both kids Cape Breton pins. Nice folks there. Did you ever to go on the "Bird Island Tour" I think he was on the north corner of Nova Scotia. Took me and the kids on his boat to see seals, Puffins, Kittywakes and Bald Eagles. Old Dutchman who wore wooden shoes.

    I'll always remember the drive up the west shore of Cape Breton. Far off in the distance was a two spired church. The road followed the coast, and every so often you could see the church again...a little closer...a little bit bigger. What town is that?

  7. #67
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    We took the kids to Cape Breton in the 90s. What a nice place. You know the tourist store at the bridge...over the deep gorge? Sayer played her violin for him and he gave her an ice cream cone. In another place they gave both kids Cape Breton pins. Nice folks there. Did you ever to go on the "Bird Island Tour" I think he was on the north corner of Nova Scotia. Took me and the kids on his boat to see seals, Puffins, Kittywakes and Bald Eagles. Old Dutchman who wore wooden shoes.

    I'll always remember the drive up the west shore of Cape Breton. Far off in the distance was a two spired church. The road followed the coast, and every so often you could see the church again...a little closer...a little bit bigger. What town is that?
    Well pleased to hear you enjoyed our island Michael. Cape Breton Island was ranked #3 in the world, and #1 on the list of Top Island Destinations in the Continental U.S. and Canada – in Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2011 readers’ survey. Sounds like you did the Cabot Trail, not sure about the store - have to think about that. The Bird Island boat tour that you went on is not far from here and the village with the church was most likely Cheticamp. There are a number of beekeepers here on the island, nothing big. Hives are trucked in from the mainland to pollinate blueberry crops which is how we got mites. The one commercial beekeeper on the island is now retired. I got my bees from him and he was a great help to me when I started out. Whenever he gave advice he told me what worked for him but that I must follow my own path with the bees. Hope you can visit us again sometime.

  8. #68
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    Default Re: something to think about

    >since you don't usually feed, could it be that the robbing problem happened mostly because the colony was weak enough to require feeding in the first place, and not so much because it was being fed?

    I don't feed because they are weak. I never feed a weak hive. I steal capped stores from the strong for a weak hive. I only feed because they are going to starve if I don't.

    >a common theme for minimizing losses seems to be keeping colonies strong, and not letting them dwindle too far.

    The longer I keep bees the more I see "strong" as a matter of bee density, not size. A colony that has too much room for too few bees is what dwindles... An awful lot of beekeeping is managing space.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #69
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >since you don't usually feed, could it be that the robbing problem happened mostly because the colony was weak enough to require feeding in the first place, and not so much because it was being fed?

    I don't feed because they are weak. I never feed a weak hive. I steal capped stores from the strong for a weak hive. I only feed because they are going to starve if I don't.

    >a common theme for minimizing losses seems to be keeping colonies strong, and not letting them dwindle too far.

    The longer I keep bees the more I see "strong" as a matter of bee density, not size. A colony that has too much room for too few bees is what dwindles... An awful lot of beekeeping is managing space.

    fully understood michael, i am following you and the others who prescribe to a honey only if possible diet for my bees.

    i'll rephrase, do you feel the robbing that you see associated with giving a weak hive honey is more because the hive is weak, or more because you gave it honey, or a combination of both?

    would a strong hive given honey be as likely to succumb to robbing?

    is it better to avoid letting colonies dwindle in the first place? (per your definition of providing them with the appropriate cavity size).
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #70
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Most of my robbing problems happen when I feed...
    the one case of robbing that i had in 2012 was of a colony that wasn't being fed, but rather declined due to queenlessness, and had too much space to defend.

    it was an overwintered four frame nuc that built up nicely in the spring, swarmed, and failed to get a mated queen after the swarm.

    my novice mistake was to give it a frame of eggs from one of my best hives to make an emergency queen from, which they did successfully, and i had a beautiful laying queen one month later.

    the problem was that the population had dwindled, and i didn't remove any boxes. when that first round of brood came on what few bees were left in the hive got too busy nursing the brood, and there were not enough bees to guard the stores.

    the other hives in the yard had really grown by then, and we were also nearing the end of our spring flow. needless to say, the dwindled hive was an easy target.

    luckily, i was home that day and saw the robbing just as it was getting started. i immediately closed them up, and moved them to my out yard that only had a few smaller hives in it.(

    that didn't work, because when i got to the outyard the next day, the smaller hives there had already taken to robbing the dwindled one.

    i move them to a third yard where there were no other hives. virtually all of the honey was gone. i removed and kept the two drawn mediums of comb for use with other hives, and i put a feeder on them.

    luckily, the queen was not killed in the dwindled hive, and i sold it to a newbee with the understanding that it would have to be fed until the fall flow, which it was, and there was no further robbing.

    this colony is in great shape now, and will likely be an outstanding honey producer this year.

    as far as feeding goes, the only other colony that i had to give syrup to last year was a late swarm that needed a little help getting started. i made sure i didn't use anything scented in the syrup, added vitamin c, and it did fine in my main yard along with the other strong hives, and there was no robbing.

    i am wondering michael, if it might be better to use plain unscented syrup for emergency feeding, as opposed to honey. the smell of open honey (assuming it's in a feeder and not capped in comb) might be enough to encourage robbing whereas plain unscented syrup might not.

    any thoughts?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #71
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    A hive dying / dead of disease, is an open invitation to robbers. It is far more likely to spread disease to the robbing hives, than a healthy one that's been fed.
    ok..so we have established that a dying/dead hive has plenty of stores to invite robbing, and that fed hives are always healthy?
    I think your agument that all commercial hives are sick, and all commercial hives get robbed if they get fed,....
    That argument comes from the voices inside your head....I never said any such thing, never "meant" any such thing.
    ... you have bought into some of the dogma that is propagated on the subject, which is based on the worst ever cases that have happened, and then embellished considerably in the imaginations of some before the retelling.
    Care to be specific? I didn't think so.

    The reality is not that commercial beekeepers are bumbling fools who cannot even make a living from their bees.
    Errr, is that supposed to point out that I make my living in ways other than managing bees? Is that supposed to make me feel embarrassed? Ashamed? Inferior?

    I'm looking forward to getting back to Jim and Michael with an actual discussion when I have the chance. I don't have time to waste pointing out where my words are misrepresented....it's a time waster that accomplishes nothing.

    deknow

  12. #72
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    Default Re: something to think about

    zzzzzzzz

    let's spend all of that quality time and knowledge and willing to share it, and with that energy share actual experiences.

    beekeeping is local, and unique to each beekeeper, each of whom is free to pursue their goals, reap their harvests, and doing so with husbundry and as to not be a threat to other nearby populations of bees and other pollinators.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #73
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Well, I'm glad that we can all agree that moving 2/3 or 3/4 of the bees in this country to the almonds at the same time every year, then moving those colonies around the country to interface with kept and wild honeybees as well as other pollinators poses no "threat" to beekeepers or the environment, RIGHT?

    ...and don't misread this. Every action we take has risks and benefits. As I said before, if we want to talk about what causes robbing, the spread of disease, etc, lets have at it. ...but if the pretense is that what some people do is ok and shouldn't be examined in this context (feeding, moving bees, breeding from susceptible stock, open feeding, medication) and what some other people do isn't ok and should be examined in this context, then you are welcome to have the conversation without my input.
    There are some interesting and complex issues to discuss here, but such discussion can't be had in the environment we have here.

    deknow

  14. #74
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    Default Re: something to think about

    >i'll rephrase, do you feel the robbing that you see associated with giving a weak hive honey is more because the hive is weak, or more because you gave it honey, or a combination of both?

    A combination of both, of course. A strong hive is always better at defending itself. Honey has a very attractive odor to bees as has been documented for hundreds of years. Far more so than sugar syrup.

    >would a strong hive given honey be as likely to succumb to robbing?

    Of course not.

    >is it better to avoid letting colonies dwindle in the first place? (per your definition of providing them with the appropriate cavity size).

    Of course.

    >i am wondering michael, if it might be better to use plain unscented syrup for emergency feeding, as opposed to honey. the smell of open honey (assuming it's in a feeder and not capped in comb) might be enough to encourage robbing whereas plain unscented syrup might not.

    I never feed honey to a weak hive. I do feed unscented syrup sometimes when I don't have capped honey to give them. Open honey in a weak hive is an invitation to robbing. But so is the syrup, just less so. So capped honey is what I would prefer all the way around. That means a lot of managing bees so they don't need to be fed is a matter of always having capped stores on hives as a resource you can use rather than harvesting as much as possible.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #75
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    Default Re: something to think about

    that's kind of what i thought michael. many thanks.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #76
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Okay, clear the air. Only constructive informed discussion from here on. Fair enough??

  17. #77
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    Default Re: something to think about

    [QUOTE=deknow;881828
    Let's talk about what beekeepers actually do rather than what they should do. If drifting and disease spread is an issue, then let's discuss how to prevent them.

    Deknow[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Okay, let's.

    You know I feed thick syrup to my bees if and when they need feed. I feed with gallon cans, directly on the bees. Any drip is sucked up immediately, and doesn't run across the inner cover and out the front side of the hive. I make sure the cans don't leak and the syrup run out of the bottom entrance. Extra precautions must be taken when feeding weak colonies in a strong apiary. You know I do that, too, with all the nucs I have in production yards.

    Think about my cell building yard. 30 of the strongest colonies you ever did see..actually Dean, stronger than any colonies you've ever seen. On the other side of the yard, 60 nucleus colonies.

    During the active cell building season, I have 8 cell builders being fed thin syrup. I may have some of the nucleus colonies being fed at the same time. Allowing robbing to get started would spell disaster. How do I know? I've carelessley allowed it to happen. My fault...operator error. Once started, the bees don't forget. They're always waiting for me when I return to the yard.

    But, it's not the act of feeding that gets them robbing, it's operator error, allowing syrup feeders to leak, using hive top feeders that aren't bee tight, not reducing entrances when appropriate, spilling syrup on the ground, and/or leaving combs with nectar exposed for even a few moments. But does feeding in one apiary cause robbing in a neighboring apiary? I guess that would depend on the neighboring apiary...how close it is.

    >>If drifting and disease spread is an issue, then let's discuss how to prevent them.<<

    Okay, again, let's. I manage my apiary as best as I know how. I keep my bees strong, my entrances sized correctly. I manage my varroa load. I breed stocks to hopefully tolerate nosema...at least I don't let my bees crash and leave them open to robbing. I unite colonies that are too weak to defend themselves. I give brood from nucleus colonies to boost populations. I haven't treated with antibiotics in years, but do treat for varroa, period, as you know.

    Am I perfect? Do I have issues ocassionally? Certainly, same as anyone does. Would I let an apiary crash to the point of being robbed by the neighborhood bees of other keepers. Not if I can help it.

    So, let's do discuss how to prevent drifting and disease spread in the neighborhood. What exactly should I be doing to prevent the OTHER beekeepers' bees from crashing and being robbed by mine? 30-40 Krag? Commando Raid? Help from the State inspection service...yeah right.

    I'm on my own Dean. All I can do is keep my bees as strong and healthy as I am able. All I can do is give presentations at local clubs, and offer advice to all the new beekeepers out there. You know I do. But you tell me. How do I protect my operation from sloppy beekeepers, or those wishing to be treatment free beekeepers...when they do nothing but not treat.

    They do nothing for stock improvement. They don't know what IPM is. The continue to buy sick package bees from the same dealers...those too often on the club's boards and promoting the exclusive use of package bees...picked up at their facility.

    Now, you buy package bees from Georgia, and allow them to die for whatever reason. I know you're attempting a breeding program and a small cell and natural cell foundationless system. I'm not criticizing that. But, don't they get robbed by the neighborhood bees when they die? Isn't there a good chance that whatever parasites and pathogens that killed them would now be in your neighbor's bees?

    So, considering that I have 36 commercial apiaries to protect, counting all the production colonies and nucleus colonies the numbers are well over a thousand, what would you do.

    That's my take, what's yours?
    So that's my take on the matter. Someone care to comment? The ball is in Ya'lls court.

  18. #78
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    Default Re: something to think about

    I think we all can agree that robbing spreads disease, that sloppy beekeeping practices which run the gamut from leaving an unattended frame out to switching diseased frames between hives to failing to reduce cavity or entrance size in a small hive all the way to sloppy feeding practices can all lead to robbing. All these things are easily avoidable with prudent beekeeping practices. I consider it among the least of my problems. I am not sure there is much more I can add.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  19. #79
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    Default Re: something to think about

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    So that's my take on the matter. Someone care to comment?
    Yeah, thanks for that post, Mike.

    After a while on these discussion boards, you find that some people spend a lot of time sharing that they know a lot, while others spend a lot of time sharing a lot of what they know.

    Thanks for being the latter.

    I've been copying and pasting some of your posts into a document that I can look back on without having to search. Maybe I won't need them once your book is out.

    Adam

  20. #80
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    Default Re: something to think about

    yep.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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