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  1. #1
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    Default Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    A few years ago Ted K and I entered into a wager, that within 15 years even commercial beekeepers would be treatment free. In light of some comments made on the "unwritten rules..." thread about the impact of treatments on queens, I was wondering:

    Are any commercial beekeepers experimenting with an apiary or so the possibilities of going treatment free? I realize it is an economic impossibility to risk your whole operation, but is anyone testing the possibilities with a small portion of your operation?
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  2. #2
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    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    It is an interesting question. I have never heard of any. Off the top of my head I would doubt that a commercial operation would last very long on TF..... too much mixing in with the other guy.... just to name one thing.
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    The key might be defining commercial... I know lots of guys makeing a liveing on "treatment free" MB probably fits that... I know Dve burns and some others also... But large scale migratory or honey operations are different....

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Off the top of my head....Dee lusby, Kirk Webster, Bob Brachmann, les crowder....Chris Baldwin is darn close (no varroa treatments). Sam comfort would probably qualify, but I'm not sure he would want to be considered a commercial anything.

    Deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I know we have been through this conversation before and if we look at all who make money from bees we can name several operations. As I read the OP... it sounded as if he was referring to operations like TK.... migratory, these are the kind that would really put TF beekeeping to the test. I -- myself -- was thinking of putting up a TF yard, but I could never get Solomon to donate the bees...
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  6. #6
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I earned the name "Crazy" because I predicted that ONLY commercial people would be treatment free in 20 years. My reasoning being because of the large capitol expense of building chambers to decontaminate the equipment on a yearly basis to prevent the spread of CCD. The small hobbiest will get tired of having their bees die every year, whether they treat or not, once they get CCD.

    It is alot easier to pull off treatment free in a sedentary commercial operation than a migratory, although the critical point then becomes overwintering success.

    We are risking the whole operation treatment free, but we are on the small end of commercial and have some resources not available to the average beekeeper(translation: good support equipment such as metal and wood working equipment, and methods from long ago).

    Crazy Roland
    Last edited by JohnK and Sheri; 03-08-2013 at 10:33 AM.

  7. #7
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    The key might be defining commercial... I know lots of guys makeing a liveing on "treatment free" MB probably fits that... I know Dve burns and some others also... But large scale migratory or honey operations are different....
    Sorry, but, sideliner maybe, but not a commercial beekeeper from what I can see. But, you are correct. Depends on the definition.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    It is important to point out that if you want to truly get bees that have some level of resistance to mites the breeder needs to get actual mite counts by pulling pupae and doing systematic counts. That takes some degree of patience and pain staking work. Good nreeders do that. We recently screened 80 of our own hives as potential breeders via ether rolls. 77 were negative. Do those hives have mites? Heck yes they do but with so much open brood it's really hard to get a handle on what the true mite numbers are. Any claims by beekeepers that mites aren't a problem for them need to be asked how and when are you testing.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I don't think this thread should be about why Mr Bush lost bees. What I respectfully asked was a simple question. "Do you think a spring visual inspection is a true indication of whether you might have varroa related failures later in the year".
    As I said yesterday I checked 80 hives via ether roll this spring and 77 of the samples were negative and I know how little even that means 4 months from now. Spring is the reverse of fall. its a time when there is far more open brood than there are mites. It's a target rich environment for a phoretic mite. That's just a simple fact.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    If it's a simple fact, why ask?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    If anyone reading this believes that a spring visual inspection of a sampling of your hives is proof that you don't have a varroa problem now is the time to state your case.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Who is making a case based solely on spring visual inspections?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I am just interpreting the links he offered us, are you aware of any other documentation?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Are you choosing to disregard the man's word as well?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  15. #15
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    At what point in this 10 page thread did we switch from a peaceful discussion of whether a Commercial Operator can, or is, treatment free, to a discussion over what Sol's losses were from? Or whether they were statistically significant? Or whether anyone "credits" his "findings" like they "should" with someone who has 10 years of experience? Just asking so if I go back and decide to re-read this thread for it's valuable information I can skip the p***ing contest in the middle.

    A shame that this "Commercial" thread has turned the typical route of just about any thread in the "Treatment Free" section.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I would be happy if treatment-free methodologies and adherents were not constantly derided and criticized.

    Are there any treatment-free commercials? No. And therefore none to comment. End of discussion.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Solomon, what do you think it would take to allow a commercial op, lets say 800 honey producing hives, to sustain itself treatment free?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  18. #18

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Removed voluntarily by poster.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Re read my posts and don't trivialize this or accuse me of something I haven't said Sol.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I would agree with Sol on this point. What Mr. Bush does appear to do though is
    offer up these links as prima facie evidence that mites are not a problem with his bees and that is where I have an issue. I am not accusing him of lying or anything of the sort. If he wants to present further evidence (nothing formal just the results of his own methods would suffice) of his mite levels as the season progressed I would be interested in hearing about it. He will correct me if I am in error but the only statements he has posted, that I am aware of, indicate that he really dosent monitor mite levels because varroa are no longer a problem for his bees.
    Last edited by jim lyon; 03-15-2013 at 06:28 PM. Reason: Clarification

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