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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Auburntown, TN USA
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Here in middle Tennessee, 5 of 5 are still alive so far. All are nucs made up in late July. This is my third winter, and I have never used any type of treatment. I have only bought 1 hive and 4 queens. The queens were survivor types from Purvis. Unfortunately, only 2 of those took, and 1 of those turned drone layer.I'm set to get 2 nucs in March, and these are supposed to be survivor bees. Looking forward to a great new season.

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    I see a number of people buying queens and nucs rather than making new ones. I'm wondering why you wouldn't choose rather to make increases from your own stock.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #63
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    438

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Maybe some people aren't interested in learning to raise queens or make splits. Maybe they want to try different genetics?
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we can now do anything with nothing

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Leominster, MA USA
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    It's hard to resist the "queen is always greener" but if you have multi-year survivors that are treatment-free and you like them, they will produce "greener" queens for other beekeepers.

    Raising queens isn't that hard. Perpetuating your own survival genetics and being able to share them with others in your área is, in my opinion, a very important aspect to treatment-free beekeeping.

    You can work towards improving your área in general by making sure other beekeepers have good genetics to contribute to the drone pool.

    Ramona

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Auburntown, TN USA
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    I am attempting to produce my own stock. Tried grafting last year with some success. I bought some new queens hoping to broaden my genetic base. If I could figure out how to deal with shb, I would be in much better shape numbers wise. Last year, most of my increase fell victim to the nasty beggars.

    I ordered 2 nucs for this spring as a hedge against winter losses. Plus, at $50 apiece, they were hard to pass up. We'll have to see how they work out. Hopefully better than last summer's queen purchase.

    I'm currently building bottom boards with oil pan traps to help with shb control. In hive traps helped, but didn't quite get the job done. I think I might have gotten a late start and the infestation was too great, especially when I was continually weakening hives by splitting them.

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Leominster, MA USA
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    We were at a beekeeping conference in Florida last August and saw an excellent presentation by Dr. Peter Teal of the ARS on SHB control. Here is a link to a recording:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G__D8rlqdoU

    The audio is a bit rough...maybe better with headphones? I have notes somewhere that I will try and find. The gist (as I remember) was that SHB are extremely attracted to very ripe cantaloupe (even more than pollen or beebread). They were originally not a pest of the honeybee but have adapted to the bees in the absence of certain rotting fruit that they prefer.

    What I came away from the talk with was that a reasonable solution for a SHB problem in a small apiary close to a location you frequent regularly (such as your house) would be to use very ripe cantaloupe as bait near the hives and to remove and replace every three days. I would put the cantaloupe in a cage to keep predators from taking it and after three days, freeze and replace. You may be able to rotate the frozen/laid up samples a couple of times. The idea is to get the adult SHB attracted to and doing their thing on the cantaloupe, away from the bees.

    There is another fruit the SHB like better than very ripe cantaloupe (key apple?) but that fruit is not readily available.

    Dr. Teal's discussion of SHB biology and behavior and the research that he and his lab are doing was fascinating.

    I'm surprised that in all the SHB discussions that more people don't know about him and his research.

    Ramona

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,922

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    bummed. after three winters of zero losses and treatment free (by my defintion), in this fourth winter i have 6 losses out 18 colonies that all looked perfect on their fall inspections.

    by perfect i mean queenright, healthy brood, excellent stores. all have been on a honey only diet.

    more posts to follow, perhaps in other threads, but 5 out of 6 dead outs were queenless.

    the sixth loss was a fall 'dead out' that still had the queen with about 150 bees and a 150% (by alcohol wash) mite infestation. i shook them out and froze the comb.

    three of the five queenless hives had no bees, minimal stores, very little mite feces, very few if any mites on the bottom board. only one of these three showed sign of getting robbed out.

    the other two had laying workers, decent cluster sizes, and were foraging and raising nice patches of drones.

    the mystery wrapped in an enigma is what happened to those queens.

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

  8. #68
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    438

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    No idea on what happened to your queens, although, sorry to hear about your losses. Always a bummer opening up a deadout and knowing as soon as you look at the top bars that nothing inside is stirring =p
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we can now do anything with nothing

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by gunter62 View Post
    at $50 apiece, they were hard to pass up.
    That is a pretty good deal. I was just wondering. I have found it extremely advantagious to make as many of my own queens and nucs as possible. I have made great leaps forward in a few short years.


    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    5 out of 6 dead outs were queenless.
    I have experienced missing queens in the fall. Many of my historical losses have been of this category. The "experts" here diagnosed the problem as mites. At any rate, those genetics are no longer muddying up my gene pool and the problem rarely occurred in the last several years.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,922

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    many thanks sol. all of the queens that died came from a 15 year treatment free supplier directly, or were from splits and swarms that came from his queens.

    three winters no losses then 33% gone this year, and in this case genetics wasn't the only thing in play.

    i'm not sad to see the nonsurvivors go, and i'll restock from the best of the leftovers. i'm wondering if mating was hampered in some way for these. or maybe they didn't handle a virus as well, but why the queens.........?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Who were they from, if you don't mind my asking? Perhaps we are talking about the same supplier.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,922

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    do you mean same supplier as gunter? my guy is just north of ft. payne, and his nucs sell for more than $50.

    i haven't had time to examine my journals yet, but i'm thinking some if not all of these may have been emergency queens and/or swarms.

    i have a problem with birds catching my queens when mating. a couple of my colonies that issued swarms failed to get a mated queen. maybe supercedure has been plagued with the same problem.

    i also worry about bottlenecked genetics since most of my stock comes from the same operation.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    creek county oklahoma
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    13 of 13 alive so far. Last treatment was thymol in the fall of 2009, so I can't really consider them long-term treatment free yet. All the queens were raised here in NW OK, with the exception of one queen I bought from Solomon last summer.

    I have 3 lines, not counting Sol's queen: Russian from Velbert Williams in 2009, Russian/VSH from Velbert in 2010, and one of undetermined parentage that I bought locally in the fall of 2009. The Russian/VSH are good producers but tend to be a little on the hot side. The ones descended from the Russians are just all-around good. The best one, gentle and productive, was from the unknown line; interestingly it was from a package the guy had bought that spring, then he had to move, and the bees kind of fended for themselves all summer till I bought them. Unusual for a package to be that good. He can't remember where he bought the package.

    I was impressed that when I went out to Sol's apiary with him to catch the queen I bought, he went out in shorts and flip-flops. I wanted local survivor genetics, but the gentleness will be a real bonus. I hope to raise some queens from that line this summer.

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    That was the one where I tore that nuc apart like three times looking for the queen then finally took one out of another nuc only to find that the queen in the first one was hiding on the wall of the hive, correct? I had forgotten about that. Maybe that was someone else, I don't remember exactly.

    I hope she's still serving you well?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,490

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    After losing 7/8 this winter I have a plan for the up coming season. I have 3 queens from Olympic wilderness apiaries ordered, 6 packages from a general supplier, and 3 nucs reserved from old sol. The plan is to let everything build up through the main flow, and then make winter nucs and requeen the production hives with the old sol and OWA genetics. thoughts?
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  16. #76
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by RiodeLobo View Post
    I have 3 queens from Olympic wilderness apiaries ordered, 6 packages from a general supplier, and 3 nucs reserved from old sol. The plan is to let everything build up through the main flow, and then make winter nucs and requeen the production hives with the old sol and OWA genetics. thoughts?
    I would suggest you requeen those packages early to get the genetics changed. We've had bad luck with packages, even when requeened. You might also consider keeping the packages in a different yard from Old Sols nucs so you don't end up with drifting between them. It may not guarantee success, but it might make some difference.

  17. #77
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,490

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Not a bad idea, but I cannot get them as soon I would like to. OWA does not ship until July. I can get the Old Sol nucs is in mid-late May. The packages arrive in early April.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  18. #78
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    I'm in Richmond, VA and I can second your concerns on losses over the winter. I've lost at least 50% of my hives out of eighteen hives that appeared to be strong going into winter. These hives ranged from first year Langs and TBHs, to fourth year TBHs. From swarms caught last spring to hives started from local nucs to splits from my own hives. No treatments. Many other beekeepers in VA are also reporting large losses. The State Apiarist, Keith Tignor, reports that he has talked with many beekeepers in the state with large losses. Keith will be doing the March 12th program for East Richmond Beekeepers Assoc. on what he is finding as the causes of these high losses this winter: http://www.eastrichmondbees.org/ Briefly, summer and fall drought, hardly any nectar sources after June and low quality pollen from drought stressed plants. Queens did not produce enough "winter bees" to get hives through until spring, extremely high Varroa counts along with the stress of SHB. Majority of my deadouts had plenty of capped honey & pollen near the cluster. Just a small handful of dead bees with a queen (usually) in the cluster, some with small patches of new capped worker brood. Just not enough bees to keep up the warmth. Hives dwindled away to almost nothing and froze. Now it's time to start over and see what the year brings.

    David
    david@davidstover.com

  19. #79
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartley View Post
    I'm in Richmond, VA and I can second your concerns on losses over the winter. I've lost at least 50% of my hives out of eighteen hives that appeared to be strong going into winter. These hives ranged from first year Langs and TBHs, to fourth year TBHs. From swarms caught last spring to hives started from local nucs to splits from my own hives. No treatments. Many other beekeepers in VA are also reporting large losses. Briefly, summer and fall drought, hardly any nectar sources after June and low quality pollen from drought stressed plants. Queens did not produce enough "winter bees" to get hives through until spring, extremely high Varroa counts along with the stress of SHB. Majority of my deadouts had plenty of capped honey & pollen near the cluster. Just a small handful of dead bees with a queen (usually) in the cluster, some with small patches of new capped worker brood. Just not enough bees to keep up the warmth. Hives dwindled away to almost nothing and froze. Now it's time to start over and see what the year brings.

    David
    david@davidstover.com
    Advantage....mites. We are seeing the same just west of you, though we did have some nectar and pollen in the fall, and SHB is more a minor inconvenience. My losses this winter are twice what they normally are.

  20. #80
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    723

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Lost 2 tf hives to starve outs, did my first inspection of the year and my other 8 tf hives have probably 5 pounds of bees in each hive. It was in the high 50s today with sub-freezing temps for a week on the way. All hives have at least 20 pounds of honey and are bringing in pollen like I've never seen them bring in pollen. All had nice big brood patterns which shocked me, must be the semi-mild winter we've had.
    Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
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