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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    11

    Default What must I do or not do?

    Hi All,

    I am new to beekeeping, and wanting to start keeping bees! If I start with package bees, purchase from Walter T. Kelley, and wanting to go the treatment free route, what must I do or not do?

    Surely these bees will be coming from a bee yard that treat! What will be my success rate of keeping them healthy and alive?

    Thank you for your help and looking forward for your reply!

    Thai

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,253

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Quote Originally Posted by InTheBeginningGod View Post
    Hi All,

    I am new to beekeeping, and wanting to start keeping bees! If I start with package bees, purchase from Walter T. Kelley, and wanting to go the treatment free route, what must I do or not do?

    Surely these bees will be coming from a bee yard that treat! What will be my success rate of keeping them healthy and alive?

    Thank you for your help and looking forward for your reply!

    Thai

    Wow.

    Not sure if the whole of the internet contains the storage space needed to hold all the answers you seek new beek.

    The answer is long, complicated, and varies from day to day in the beekeeping world.

    First thing you need to do is make sure your vision of success is in tune with the realities of beekeeping today. If you can do that you will be on the right track for your first step.

    Secondly, Read here and elsewhere voraciously. Cross check the advice, apply, and revise. Repeat as needed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,694

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    I suggest that you start with more than one package.
    Graham
    --- Victor Hugo - "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    914

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    I suggest that you start with more than one package.
    +1 on the above response. You could also consider one package and maybe one nuc. Also, consider joining a club and/or finding a mentor.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    279

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    1) start with more than one hive, three would increase your chances of success greatly.
    2) join your local bee guild/group if possible and go to their meetings, ask questions, make friends, eat cookies.
    3) put your name on a local swarm capture list if available and start with free swarms instead of $ packages.
    4) if you have time, skills, inclination, free wood, tolerance for frustration, build your own hives.

    just my 2 cents.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,408

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    If you're looking for information on keeping bees without treatments:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

    If you want the same in the form of a book it's available from the typical online sellers, but it's all free on the website. If you want a good beginner's book on treatment free beekeeping, it's hard to beat "The Complete Idiots Guide to Beekeeping". If you want more in depth online reading:

    http://www.beesource.com/point-of-view/ed-dee-lusby/

    Plus you can read all the old posts on the treatment free forum here on beesource.

    That should keep you busy for a while...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bell County, KY, USA
    Posts
    369

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Quote Originally Posted by InTheBeginningGod View Post
    If I start with package bees, purchase from Walter T. Kelley, and wanting to go the treatment free route, what must I do or not do?
    Welcome,
    I started last year with a package from WTK and I am not treating.
    They have survived so far.
    I will be getting another package from them this year and will be doing the same.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,725

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    As I've read it on this forum, the majority of hives that get started from packages and not treated, end up succumbing to mites.

    Can't give you the full answer on what to do because nobody knows what that is. But here's a few pointers. Some bees have been bred towards mite tolerance, and some have not. If you don't want to treat you will need bees bred for that, not a breed susceptable to mites. So at some point after your package is in the hive and up and running, find somewhere to buy a queen that has been bred for mite resistance and requeen your hive with it.

    Secondly, treatment residue in a hive is thought to aggravate mite infestation. Most comb foundation contains the residue of old treatments. So to avoid having old treatment residue in your hive right from the git go, you need to either source treatment free wax that has been made into comb foundation, or just block treatment free wax to paint onto plastic foundation, or don't use foundation and allow the bees to build their own comb without any foundation. To do that, you need to research "natural comb", to find out how to get the bees to build the comb where you want it, ie, in the frames.

    Those two things, the bee breed, and a treatment residue free hive, to my mind would be the basic starting points for someone wanting to be treatment free.

    Realise that no matter what you do, your hive may just get bigger and bigger mite numbers till it gets wiped out so a treatment free beekeeper must be prepared for the possibility of dissapointment. That, after all, is why most people treat, if they didn't have to, they wouldn't.

    You may decide to use manipulations that are not supposed to be treatments, such as for example removing drone brood from the hive and destroying it. This helps because the mites are especially attracted to drone brood so you can get a lot of mites out of the hive by doing that, without using any chemicals.

    Just get started, and keep reading. One thing I've found though, is what one person finds works for them, may not work for someone else. There is no way or nothing you can do, to guarantee you will be able to keep treatment free bees alive for the long haul.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Thats a good explanation Oldtimer..
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    LaGrange; Oldham County; Kentucky
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Quote Originally Posted by scorpionmain View Post
    Welcome,
    I started last year with a package from WTK and I am not treating.
    They have survived so far.
    I will be getting another package from them this year and will be doing the same.
    Hi from Oldham County, KY!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Richardson, TX, USA
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Plan on buying more bees. I'm serious.

    You need to treat.

    Quote Originally Posted by InTheBeginning View Post
    Hi All,

    I am new to beekeeping, and wanting to start keeping bees! If I start with package bees, purchase from Walter T. Kelley, and wanting to go the treatment free route, what must I do or not do?

    Surely these bees will be coming from a bee yard that treat! What will be my success rate of keeping them healthy and alive?

    Thank you for your help and looking forward for your reply!

    Thai

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    joel, funny you should mention the old dark german bees. their genetics are mixed in with the ferals here too, and their phenotype shows up to lesser and greater extents in all of my colonies. i assume from the feral drone contribution to my yard's genetics.

    my neighbor remembers when they were more prominent around here, and he remembers them being a little hot. that trait seems to have waned as they have mixed with all of the other strains over the years, but they are still really black.

    check out this feral queen that tried to usurp one of my colonies last fall:


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

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    >This past year was a wash as I got sick early and was not able to work my bees at all this season.

    sorry to hear that beeman. do you mean that you lost more hives this year because you could not work them?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    LaGrange; Oldham County; Kentucky
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Just wanted to say hi, I'm in LaGrange! Best of luck! You are welcome to come to the Oldham County beekeepers meetings, I believe it's the second Friday of the month, 7:30 pm. Also, check out Fleur de Bee beekeeping, she is in Louisville as well.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    well thai, looks like you have received advice from one extreme to the other....

    all the way from 'thou must treat' to 'thou must not treat'.

    welcome to beekeeping.

    again, i suggest proceeding with eyes and mind wide open, learning as you go, and most of all have fun!
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Well guys, I think I'll try and walk the narrow way of treatment free, since you have shown me it's possible. However, if things get ugly I might have to turn to natural treatment. Thank you so much for your advice! I will keep an update on my progress. I got my hive built and bees ordered. Now it's just a waiting game.

    I went to a natural food store and saw some organic bee pollen today. How would I go about feeding them pollen, just lay it on top of the frames? Or do I have to make patties out of them?
    Can I just feed them honey from the store just for give them a kick start? How? And how much would I need when installing a 3lbs bee package?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    way to go thai!

    i've never used organic bee pollen, and i'm no expert on it, but someone who is cautioned about using honey or pollen from bees that you cannot know the source. the risk is spreading viruses and other pathogens that would be there from the source bees. 'organic' has nothing to do the microbiota in bee products. proceed with caution there.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    I see! What if we harvest pollen and honey from our bees, and feed it back to them in the spring to give them a boost?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Quote Originally Posted by MelanieWoosley View Post
    Just wanted to say hi, I'm in LaGrange! Best of luck! You are welcome to come to the Oldham County beekeepers meetings, I believe it's the second Friday of the month, 7:30 pm. Also, check out Fleur de Bee beekeeping, she is in Louisville as well.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Melanie thank you! We were looking at Oldham County beeks meeting two nights ago. You are right its every second Friday @ 7:30. Where is the meeting held exactly?

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