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Thread: 15 year layoff

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Manchester TN,USA

    Default 15 year layoff

    Hello all,
    What I'd like to know is what all has changed with beekeeping in the last 15 years. I've basically had a 15 year layoff where I turned my back on my bees almost 100%. I somehow did manage to keep 2-5 colonies alive during this span of time.
    When I was a beekeeper of proper means I checked my bees at least monthly or more depending on the time of year. I'd treat once yearly with apistan strips and menthol which was all that I ever needed. Here where I live with decent rain fall a good honey crop was all but guaranteed.

    Now that I've decided to restart my beekeeping activities I'm curious to know what's changed with medicine, medication practices, and any different updated management programs. It would seem the biggest challenge to evolve would be SHB, as far as I've read that is.

    Are there new strains of bees that are more tolerant to all the pests that afflict honeybees? If so what are these bees and where can they be purchased?

    I welcome everyone's opinions as I'd expect there to be a wide range of ideas with a set of questions like this

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Walker, Alabama, USA

    Default Re: 15 year layoff

    Ho-boy, are you in for a ride! Lots of changes in the last 15 years! I've only been away for about 6-7 years and I am STILL reading and reading and making notes trying to catch up.

    Yes, there are finally resistant bees! I think the best place to start reading about them is probably at the Glenn Apiaries site.

    And I am sure lots of others will chime in with their favorite sites, too.

    Welcome back!

    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper and Rusty's Bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Great Falls Montana

    Default Re: 15 year layoff

    It was 26 years off for me and am on my second year back. So far I have learned to take mites very seriously and learned that Terrimyicin is no longer a cure for AFB. You have a huge education on any imaginable subject right here on this forum. Learn how to use the search feature and any concievable question has been talked to death. Since agreement is a rare commodity, you will get to select the cure you most closely agree with. If your ignored bees stayed alive, it sounds like you need to cherish those bees and have those genetics in all your new boxes too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Shoshone County, Idaho

    Default Re: 15 year layoff

    X2 with Vance G!
    Hugus Creek Honey Farm: St. Maries, ID / Lewiston, ID
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    jackson county, alabama, usa

    Default Re: 15 year layoff

    welcome to the forum cantrell, and welcome back to beekeeping.

    have to agree with vance on the mites. they are really a sleeping giant in that you really can't see them well with standard hive inpections, and they usually don't crash your colony until it's too late in the season to do anything about it.

    working toward getting bees with resistance is a good goal, but even then, having resistant bees isn't going to stop 100% of colony deaths from mites. and if one crashes, your other strong hives can rob it out, take the mites home with them, and end up dying out as well.

    i spent most of last winter reading all of the articles on, and i would recommend that as a good place to start.

    once up to speed on what you're dealing with, you'll have the challenging task of deciding how you want to approach it, based on your philosophy and what suits your needs the best.

    you'll find all kinds of approaches espoused on the forum here, with lot's of spirited debate about why each one thinks their way is better.

    in the end, you get to decide what to try with your bees and see how it works for you.

    bottom line: we are all still on a big learning curve.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Tucson, Arizona, USA

    Default Re: 15 year layoff

    No mite treatments here, ever, for more than twenty years now, here in my area, and yet, I'm still waiting for my first colony death/crash from mites. Perhaps, like many things, it's "location".

    I say this, not in an attempt to get anyone to eliminate techniques they feel are essential to their beekeeping practices, but to encourage everyone to determine which "essential" techniques are truly essential. I, myself, might even treat for mites, if I ever saw the need to do so.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 01-20-2013 at 01:07 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Palermo, Maine, USA

    Default Re: 15 year layoff

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    No mite treatments here, ever, for more than twenty years now, here in my area, and yet, I'm still waiting for my first colony death/crash from mites. Perhaps, like many things, it's "location".
    Joseph, how far are you from crops that are pollinated buy bees that are brought in from away?


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