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  1. #81
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    24,462

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    European Honeybees are Livestock. Livestock brought here along w/ other animals and plants not readily found here in North America in the 17th Century. So, it is proper for us to treat our bees as others treat their cattle and pigs and rabbits and horses, as livestock. As livestock, it is our responsibilty to care for them as best we can for mutual benefit. As far as keeping of bees on a Commercial Level is concerned.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  2. #82
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I agree
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  3. #83
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    We market honey from treatment free operations....we make no claims about "natural". Given that I am the only "buyer of treatment free honey" being discussed here, and that we don't "throw around the term natural" in our online writings, on our website, in our presentations, in our marketing literature, or in our book...this can hardly apply to us.
    thats great
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  4. #84
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,459

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Deknow, you where not the buyer I had in mind.

    Crazy Roland

  5. #85
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I don't know about you, but I think this has been/is a good discussion!

    As they say, all beekeeping is local, and perhaps that's one reason why the migratory beekeeper has such difficulty - they're not really "local." They must be able to cope with several different localities, each with it's attendant opportunities and difficulties.

    Most of us understand that the mites are vectors for disease. Personally one of the things I look for when examining a hive, and esp. the entrance, is deformed wings. To me that is indicative something serious is going on inside my hive. My other concern is the build-up of chemicals inside the hive.

    I suspected commercial beekeepers were trying many different routes to mite control, in addition to chemicals. Some (many?) of you are using mechanical means, instead of or in addition to chemicals. A couple of you have referenced the "o p" and "treatment free", but I don't care if you want to take this off in a tangent dealing with other issues related to mite control, and how to best do it successfully.

    The thread has revealed at least one (Specialkayme, but I don't know if he's commercial or sideliner) has experimented with TF bees/queens, without success. (I really hope the B. Weaver trial works for you this year! - keep us posted?).
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  6. #86
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,715

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    The thread has revealed at least one (Specialkayme, but I don't know if he's commercial or sideliner) has experimented with TF bees/queens, without success. (I really hope the B. Weaver trial works for you this year! - keep us posted?).
    I can't claim to be either.

    I got up to 29 TF hives in 2011, and was getting ready to cross that line into sideliner. They were TF for 5 years. Not all the same genetics, obviously. Not all in the same location either. Then I suffered a 100% loss. I started spring of 2012 with zero hives. Bought some hives, bought some nucs, split HEAVILY, caught some swarms, was at 15 at the peak of last summer, but had a rough fall/winter. Still heading toward that sideliner goal, but not able to do it without the assistance of treatments.

    Sorry if I misled. Just interested in a lively discussion

  7. #87
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    5,478

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    Most of us understand that the mites are vectors for disease. Personally one of the things I look for when examining a hive, and esp. the entrance, is deformed wings.
    That is probably the biggest issue with varroa right now, the viruses un predictability really throws a wrench into our assessments
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  8. #88
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
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    2,771

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    I don't know about you, but I think this has been/is a good discussion!

    Steven
    Yes, I would agree. The thread is one of the better ones I have read in my time on Beesource. It may need to be preserved.
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  9. #89
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    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Here's another question to toss into the treatment free mix:
    And I'm asking, because I'm seeking to learn.

    If the end result of any anti-mite program is to enable the bees to survive the mites and thrive, producing surplus honey, etc... why would "treatment free" colonies in close proximity to "treated" bees increase the danger or risk to either?

    I understand that mites "migrate" sometimes hitching a ride on bees to flowers, and catching a ride to another colony on a different bee. Perhaps by flying? Also by robbing I'm guessing. So isn't there also a risk among treated hives in close proximity?
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  10. #90

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    Most of us understand that the mites are vectors for disease.
    To my thinking the vectored diseases are part of the equation. Another biggie, in my opinion, is the new mites feeding on pupating bees. By the time the bee emerges it has already been heavily parasitized resulting in a shorter lifespan, less vigor and increased susceptibility to every other disease and parasite. Add to that the parasitism by phoretic mites, further sapping the life from the colony. Mites are the major enemy for so many reasons.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  11. #91

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    . why would "treatment free" colonies in close proximity to "treated" bees increase the danger or risk to either?
    The menace is varroa infested, failing hives. Once they reach a certain point, every other colony in the neighborhood will have robbers collecting honey and varroa from the collapsing one. It depends on which side of the fence you are on. The tf folks probably think they are at greater risk and the conventional folks feel the same. The reality, I suppose, is whichever is most likely to have varroa infested, failing hives is adding risk to the other..
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  12. #92
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    5,478

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    Here's another question to toss into the treatment free mix:


    I understand that mites "migrate" sometimes hitching a ride on bees to flowers, and catching a ride to another colony on a different bee. Perhaps by flying? Also by robbing I'm guessing. So isn't there also a risk among treated hives in close proximity?
    Regards,
    Steven
    Not so much that way Steven, its when the hive crashes due to the mites where bees from out lying areas seek out that hive and rob it of its resources. That is where the mite transfer is done,
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  13. #93
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    May 2009
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    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    If we go onto a Blueberry farm that we are the only pollinators, we come out smelling good. If we go onto a Blueberry farm with multiple pollinators we come out smelling bad. I doubt TF bees are any worse than the others, they are just different and most likely have antigens that my bees do not have antibodies for...... or at least that is the latest theory I have concocted.
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  14. #94
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
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    2,538

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by hpm08161947 View Post
    If we go onto a Blueberry farm that we are the only pollinators, we come out smelling good. If we go onto a Blueberry farm with multiple pollinators we come out smelling bad.
    Do you have any control over this, maybe at negotiations?
    Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?

  15. #95
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    May 2009
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    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by cg3 View Post
    Do you have any control over this, maybe at negotiations?

    To a degree. Many farms are too large for us to cover all of it - or even get close and quite a few blue berry farmers like to have multiple beekeepers since the feel one may be weak and another strong.... I doubt there is much to this thinking but it is quite common. Plus the farms are generally so close together....
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  16. #96
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,044

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    Here's another question to toss into the treatment free mix:
    And I'm asking, because I'm seeking to learn.

    If the end result of any anti-mite program is to enable the bees to survive the mites and thrive, producing surplus honey, etc... why would "treatment free" colonies in close proximity to "treated" bees increase the danger or risk to either?

    I understand that mites "migrate" sometimes hitching a ride on bees to flowers, and catching a ride to another colony on a different bee. Perhaps by flying? Also by robbing I'm guessing. So isn't there also a risk among treated hives in close proximity?
    Regards,
    Steven
    Glad others have found this thread enlightening.
    I presume the primary method of spread is via robbing only because it seems to make sense. Here is one thing I do know for sure. When varroa first impacted us in the early 90's it impacted all other beekeepers around us within a year. It seemed to hit so hard and so fast that we didn't really know what had happened or how to diagnose it. I assumed it would be something a bit more subtle and manageable like trachael mites. At that time we were still wintering most of our bees and so the almost instantaneous spread seems like it could only bee a result of robbing by nearby yards.
    One more point that I would like to make is that if there were a way to run just a yard treatment free I might well do that as I would be curious to see the results myself. The problem in a migratory operation, though, is that no group of bees really stays segregated. They are all hauled into holding yards, transported, and relocated into much larger winter holding yards and.....well you get the picture. I could mark select untreated hives but then that wouldn't really be a fair test either with all of the commingling nor would leaving some up north be a fair test. So I really just wouldn't know how to go about it.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  17. #97
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    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Excellent points, Beemandan and Ian. I do recall reading about that kind of robbing transfer, as hinted at in my last post.
    And based on reports "from the field" we know that both treated, and treatment free hives, succum to the mites. So then is the problem more in the skill and ability (and luck??) of the beekeeper, and less in treated or treatment free bees?

    The reason why I mention this is that a few of us TF beeks, myself included, have lost minimal (under 20%) hives each year. In my case, the losses were due to starvation, queen failure, or absconding. The one hive I had with a serious case of dwv pulled out of it, and survived to thrive. I understand that mites could have weakened the colonies, but still, my losses have been very low, generally 6-15%.

    From the postings on this page, it seems rather obvious that migrator beekeeping/pollination services places serious stresses and pressures on the bees, that does not occur with stationary beekeeping.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  18. #98
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    2,267

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Jim, that's kinda my point... What if we assume that a "treatment free" bee deals with varroa and survives, and a treated hive survives, why can't one assume (yes, I know about assumptions ) that each is equally able to handle the pressures of exposure in holding yards or areas to be pollinated? Assuming the treated and treatment free hive each leaves their home base healthy. I'm just thinking out loud...

    In fact, after I move, and make some money this summer from honey sales, I might be tempted to offer to buy 5 or 6 tf queens for a commercial migratory beek to try in his operation, just to see. But then, my cost of the queen doesn't fairly compare to his cost in lost production if the hive crashes... sigh...
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  19. #99
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Steven, look at www.saskatraz.com
    this breeding project runs much along the lines of what you were originally asking about

    It does not follow "treatment free" management. But I do know they manage their yards without any varroa control of any kind
    Last edited by Ian; 03-12-2013 at 06:25 PM. Reason: grammer
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  20. #100

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    The reason why I mention this is that a few of us TF beeks, myself included, have lost minimal (under 20%) hives each year.
    I believe that I've stated in the past that, in my opinion, survival is only one measure of success.
    When I read peoples’ posts who state:

    1. I don’t test for varroa
    2. I don’t treat for varroa
    3. Varroa aren’t a problem in my bees.

    I then believe that they aren’t objective enough for me to engage in a dialog comparing tf/conventional beekeeping. Do these three statements apply to you? If so, I apologize but I don't think we can have a meaningful dialog on the subject.
    Regards
    Dan Harris
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

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