Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 56
  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
    1,440

    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
    6,560

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    I suggest that you start with more than one package.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bell County, KY, USA
    Posts
    413

    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,065

    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).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    701

    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    988

    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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    280

    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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,553

    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,747

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    itbG, welcome to beekeeping and to beesource.

    just my .02:

    whether or not your bees will survive and/or thrive under your stewardship depends on many factors above and beyond whether or not you pursue the treatment free route.

    it looks like you are doing your homework and that is great. hopefully you will be able to connect with other beekeepers in your area who will be willing to share their their successes and failures with you. you will hear it said that beekeeping is 'local', and it's true that different approaches are better suited for some areas and not others.

    unlike you, i did not have the luxury of planning out and deciding in advance how i was going to approach beekeeping. i 'inherited' the task after the passing away of the elderly beekeeper had located a few hives on my property. needless to say, i got the 'crash course'.

    as far as following any route, i'll have to say that i don't prescribe to any certain approach, but rather i am trying to fashion my own approach based on a combination of researching and trying things out.

    if you have been doing some reading here on beesource, you have undoubtedly discovered a number of first year beekeepers that took the treatment free route, ended up losing their bees, and have decided to take a different route.

    most colonies that collapse these days do so from varroa mite infestation. i have been lucky so far, in that i have not treated for mites, and have only lost one colony in three years from them. the reason i have been lucky is that i haven't been checking for mites, because i didn't know i should have been.

    i believe i can continue to avoid mite treatments by identifying the colonies that get dangerously infested before they collapse, killing their queen, dusting as many mites as i can off of the remaining bees, and using the remaining bees to make up new starter colonies with a new queen.

    keeping bees treatment free is an admirable goal, and i agree with most of what the very reputable treatment free contributors here on beesource recommend. if you choose that route, you should decide in advance what you will do if you end up with a colony that is perishing from mite infestation.

    and this is where i deviate from what is recommended, and that is just letting the colony die. the rationale is that bees that die are not genetically worthy to be propagated and it is better to let them go.

    to me, it seems a waste of good resources, not to mention the cost and the effort involved in getting a colony of bees established. the other problem i have with letting a colony die is that it becomes a source for the spread of the problem to any nearby colonies that will go into that hive and rob it out.

    the one thing i wish i would have done differently is to have learned how to do a proper mite count from the beginning.

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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    486

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    do you know of any local beeks to get a hive or nucs from

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Hey thank you everyone!

    I am buying an active bee hive from a local beek and starting with a 3lbs package. The local beek however treats his, so, I was wondering if I can slowly wean the bees to treatment free, by intermingling foundationless frames between the already drawn comb.

    Also for the package bees, should I feed the bees syrup and pollen subs, at the beginning to give them a running start you know to acclimate them a little and just leave them honey in the fall?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,747

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    you are welcome, and you will find a lot of great folks here who are willing to help, even though they may not agree on everything. in the end, you will have to try things and see what happens.

    if the active hive has been treated preventively with terramycin and/or tylosin for american foul brood i would not buy it. i started out with some active hives that were treated this way and when i didn't treat them the afb showed up in one, and it had to be burned.

    if the active hive has only been treated for mites, it would be good to know if it was treated with synthetic miticides that build up in the wax vs. organic acids that do dont build up in the wax. i would not want to buy a hive that had been treated with the synthetic miticides. i'm not sure that adding foundationless frames would wean them.

    i suggest learning how to do an alchohol wash for mites. the most important time to check them is in the summer, after you harvest the spring honey. at this point in the season you have time to take action if needed or let them be if no action is needed.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,065

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    You'll need to feed the package if there is not enough nectar being collected at the time, as they will have no stores. Since you are also getting bees from a local beekeeper, he will have local knowledge and know if feeding is needed. But usually with a package, you feed, they can starve very quickly.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    I suggest buying at least one nuc of Russian bees from as close to your area as possible. They're extremely hygienic and resistant to mites. Another option would be buying a nuc of bees with hygienic behavior from close to where you live, so that they're more adapted to your environment than someplace far away, and/or a local nuc from a treatment-free beekeeper. Find a mentor you trust. They're invaluable. Join your local bee club and attend a Bee School if they have one in your area. Every little bit helps, and this forum is really valuable, too!

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

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Hey Tom, are Russian bees more aggressive compare to other bees? My local bee keeping association beeks are rude people, they didn't response to any of my emails and I emailed all their people! Plus, they're all about treatments! "If you want bees you better treat!" was what my friend told me when she went to bee school. So I think I will stay away from them.

    Here is my thought on beekeeping! If I can provide the bees with a clean and productive environment they will be fine. It's the same when I started keeping poultry, the majority of the people wants the medicated feed! Why? Because they have very bad condition, overcrowding, unclean water, etc. And most of the time medicated feed was all our feed store provided. Well, I never had a problem with chicks dying or getting sick chickens and I didn't use medicated feed! I think the same principle apply here! Wouldn't you agree? Thoughts?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Quote Originally Posted by InTheBeginning View Post
    Hey Tom, are Russian bees more aggressive compare to other bees?
    Not at all, in my experience. Just the same as Italians as far as I can tell. Someone may have a different experience. But if you tick off the bees, they'll make you pay. If you're kind and gentle they will be, too, has been my experience. Take it nice and slow, don't oversmoke, and enjoy the bees.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,747

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Quote Originally Posted by InTheBeginning View Post
    Here is my thought on beekeeping! If I can provide the bees with a clean and productive environment they will be fine. Wouldn't you agree? Thoughts?
    just a novice here, but my answer would be a definite 'maybe'. (with the varroa mite being the sleeping giant. the mite actually fares better in strong colonies, and it is a unusual parasite in that it kills its host)

    there are certainly well seasoned beekeepers who have been successful and have minimal losses off treatments, as well as treatment free beginners who have been surprised, frustrated and disappointed when their investment of time and money is lost.

    no one can say what your outcome will be, there are too many variables. i think a good understanding of the risks and the benefits, learning all you can, and knowing what's going on inside your hives as the season progresses are the best ways to not end up surprised. the point is to try and fun!

    ps: i think the response and lack of response that you got from the others is shameful, but that doesn't mean that some of the methods they use are.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,461

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Quote Originally Posted by InTheBeginning View Post
    If I can provide the bees with a clean and productive environment they will be fine.
    Prepare for disappointment, but hope for the best. I have done that, most of my hives are on natural comb, or on plastic (small cell). Only one hive had old comb (from nucs), and it will be culled out this spring when I rebuild. I took a loss of 5 of 8 so far this winter, on supposedly resistant stock. I am trying new genetics this spring and will aggressively make nucs for overwintering next year.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: What must I do or not do?

    Quote Originally Posted by InTheBeginning View Post
    If I can provide the bees with a clean and productive environment they will be fine. ... I think the same principle apply here! Wouldn't you agree? Thoughts?
    I think a clean and productive environment is a great place to start. But this is an agricultural sort of endeavor, and a lot of it is up to Mother Nature. One of my mentors told me in my first year, "You must decide what kind of beekeeper you want to be." I didn't understand that at first. Slowly it dawned on me especially when I read Michael Bush's chapter on "Lazy Beekeeping" and the rest of his book. Do yourself a favor and get a copy. I have my doubts sometimes (and this forum really helps), but the more I learn the more I'm committed to letting things work rather than trying to make them work. Seems we humans do too much of the latter. The quote from Bruce Lee to "hack away at the unessential" speaks volumes.

    I'd suggest on not giving up on mentors and your local association, even if they are rude. It takes all kinds. One of my mentors, a "defensive" type who is a treater, said, "Boy, you've really have drunk the Kool-Aid." Yes, I have. And it tastes darn fine! But I've also learned a ton from her aside from the issue of treating vs. not treating. Enjoy the debate and sharing your own experiences. Look at your group as a potentially testy hive, go slow and don't over-smoke, so to speak. Best of luck!

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads