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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Boise, Idaho USA
    Posts
    6

    Default What Needs To Be Done?

    Considering all of the problems that bees face today, I want to know, as beekeepers, what you would do to solve these problems? I know you have thought about it, and I know you have figured out what you would do. So, if you had the time, the money, and the resources you needed to do it, please tell me, WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TODAY?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,935

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    welcome to beesource hank. obviously you have been reading some threads here.

    good question. it would be easier to answer if you listed all the problems specifically.

    what of all the problems you mentioned would you consider the worst?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Boise, Idaho USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    I want to know which problem you think is worse, and what you would do to challenge it, and beat it. I am not qualified to make that call. That is why I come to you, the professionals on BeeSource. What would you do, tomorrow morning, if saving the bees was your one and only quest in life, and you had everything you need to attack?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,935

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    very cool hank, glad you asked.

    the answer is that i would be doing exactly the same thing i'm doing now.

    and it's pretty much the same thing that folks who are intrigued be bees have been doing for centuries, and that's trying to figure it out.

    the challenge is, as is often with a lot of things in life, by the time you get it figured out the rules change......

    do you have bees, or just thinking about it?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Bryant, AL
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    Though I will probably get blasted for this answer (since I usually hang out in "treatment free"), Im going to answer kinda like Squarepeg - what Im doing right now. I kinda live by Michael Bush's motto "Everything works if you let it." For my part, I do everything possible to let the bees take care of themselves.

    Ensure a wide variety of genes. Starting out I looked for feral, survivor, hygenic, and other "non-factory" raised queens from various sources to create a good base for the gene pool. Not only will their daughters lay from many gene pools, this will promote swarms that will be able to survive in the wild and adapt - hopefully providing a source for more survivor swarms.

    Feed - Im not talking about sugar (though there is a time and place for that). Though my bees are in an area with acres of maple, pine, privet, wildflowers, and blackberries, I also have about a 2 acre orchard, 35 acres of clover, sunflowers, and non-sprayed row crops and I rotate plantings of buckwheat in the "dry spells". Put your bees in an area where they can thrive.

    Inspect and manipulate regularly. Provide equipment when needed and remove when its not. Stagger frames to discourage swarming. vent when its hot, wrap when its too cold.

    Basically the bees know what they are doing and we only weaken their survivability when we do so many treatments - they come to rely on them and do not adapt defences. "Everything works if you let it."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Boise, Idaho USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    That sounds like a very intelligent approach. Thank you.
    Last edited by Barry; 01-22-2013 at 09:34 PM. Reason: excessive quotes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland. U.S.A.
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    IMHO one of the larger problems with managed colonies is poor shelter. I am going to try a version of this for 2013:

    http://www.naturalbeekeeping.com.au/...%27%20hive.pdf

    Cheers,
    Drew
    "Nature does nothing uselessly." Aristotle

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    I would formulate a death ray tuned to the precise bio-frequency of the varroa mite, set the radius of action to include all of planet Earth, and press Activate.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Keene, NH
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    BAN Neonicotinoids.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Boise, Idaho USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    Luterra,
    I didn't say you have unlimited government check writing privileges!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    Humor aside, I consider the varroa mite to be the #1 bane of modern beekeeping. (Granted, I don't have SHB here.) In addition to causing direct mortality, mites vector numerous viruses and generally weaken bees making them more likely to succumb to stress or disease. All current treatments have drawbacks in that they must be optimally timed and repeated to be effective, and they are also hard on bees, potentially causing brood kill, queen loss, and/or general disruption of the colony.

    I like the philosophy of the treatment-free folks and support efforts to speed the evolution of the bee to adapt to the mite, but there is a difference between bees surviving without treatment and bees truly thriving in the presence of mites. VSH is good, but VSH also means the bees are exerting energy removing their own brood, brood which required considerable resources to raise. We may get to a point where the arms race is a bit more even (i.e. most bees can survive without treatment), but a better solution, if it could be created, would be a treatment that kills 100% of mites in the hive, has no toxicity to humans or bees, and does not allow mites to become resistant.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Bryant, AL
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    Well said - every beeks dream.

    Wonder if tests have been done to heating the hive to the threshold of what the bees can take? I understand Varroa and SHB both are far more sensitive to heat than the bees. hmmmmmmmmm
    Last edited by Barry; 01-22-2013 at 09:35 PM. Reason: quotes

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    Sonny, tests on heat treatment have been done. Heating brood frames (without adhering bees) for 4 hours at 44C will kill 100% of the mites.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    Ive read a few articals about the hygienic's of hives. Differences in how active various hives were in cleaning and maintaining the hives.

    I think there lies a possible key in helping bees deal with the various pest's of today if we were able to breed a ultra-hygenic (although perhaps not as docile) bee.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    My thinking has been along the lines of a massive cross breeding program. where the best of the best from breeders everywhere are brought together and crossed to each other. This coupled with extremely high selection pressure. Basically it is the opposite of inbreeding while still selecting for desirable traits. Build a massive population of colonies that are all highly selected.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    Mites are of course a huge concern. Equally troubling to me is loss of habitat and diverse forage opportunities. What we do to improve our own apiaries in this regard also helps native pollinators which is as far as I am concerned is a good thing.

    To answer your rather specific question - not using anything but composted manure, kitchen waste, straw and wood ashes on my garden.

    Pruning my 5-7 acres of wild blueberries by mowing (and perhaps burning this spring) but without the use of herbicides.

    Using only dormant oil on my apple trees.

    Using "soft" treatments where testing shows they are needed for control of Varroa in my bee hives.

    I've stopped regular treatments of Fumadil. And I do not prophetically treat for AFB but recent reports of AFB somewhat close to me may have me reconsider this.

    Enhancing the windrow around the blueberry field. (Gather rose hips as I come across them and toss them in to the windrow)

    Leaving a few dead trees standing. Likewise leaving some exposed clay in the blueberry field uncovered to encourage ground dwelling native pollinators.

    Planting trees - thus far antique apples, linden and tulip poplar.
    Last edited by Andrew Dewey; 01-23-2013 at 07:22 AM.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maryland Beekeeper View Post
    IMHO one of the larger problems with managed colonies is poor shelter. I am going to try a version of this for 2013:

    http://www.naturalbeekeeping.com.au/...%27%20hive.pdf

    Cheers,
    Drew
    I was thinking about building one of the stable climate hives, the problem is I am no good with metrics. Do you know a way to transfer over from metric to standard measurements, thanks?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    something like this DC
    http://mg-jewelry.com/mmtoinches.html
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    this gives you a decimal fraction rather than the 1/16 sort of thing. Btu to know what 1/16 is in decimal you simply do the math. 1/16 is really saying 1 divided by 16. So whip out a calculator or get some 6th grader to do the math for you. It comes out to 0.0625. You can do the same with any fraction. 1/4 is 1 divided by 4 or 0.25.

    10 mm is 0.3937 inches. 3/8 is 0.375. about 2/100 of a difference.

    YOu can simply make yourself a cheat sheet based upon 1/16th increments if you want.

    1/16= 0.0625
    1/8= 0.125
    3/16= 0.1875
    etc.

    You can also remember that 1/16th of an inch is 1.5875 round it up to 1.6 or just a bit over one and a half mm per 16th of an inch. this woudl then say that 1 inch equals 25.6 mm when in actuality it is 25.4 or two tenths of an inch off. In reality that difference is not going to matter.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,587

    Default Re: What Needs To Be Done?

    What needs to be done now?

    You all need to learn how to raise your own bees...by wintering nucleus colonies. These will replace your weak and dead colonies and give you the back up bees you need.

    You need to participate in a breeding program by either raising good queens from your best colonies, or buying queens from a local producer who does.

    You need to get those queens into your wintering nuclei, and get those nuclei into the apiaries of the people in your state/neighborhood.

    You need to educate the people on how to make and winter their own nucs with these locally produced queens.

    You need to end your dependence on the package bee industry, and the endless treadmill you're all on.

    Trying to raise the silver bullet queen that will solve all our beekeeping issues isn't going to happen. This is a long term solution with two steps forward and one step back.

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