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  1. #21

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    Does that make it wash?
    What?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Anderson County, Texas
    Posts
    1,254

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Africanized bees tend to handle varroa.
    Only because they are survivors like most other treatment free bees. Africanized bees invaded a bee yard at the Weslaco Research Center [South Texas close to Mexico border], and took about 20 colonies [early 90's time frame]. All died of mites, but with larger sample, some being survivor then the survivors would survive and spread ther genetics.

    I have 2 colonies right now that are what I call Hyper Hygenic. They pull maybe 70% of the brood. I considered requeening but am hesitant to destroy their drone pool.

    That being said, I will say that my nastiest bees handle the beetles best.

    Also, I am small cell totally treatment free [except for screened bottoms] and no winter losses ever [3 winters now], except if you consider one that still has good population but no queen a loss. I did drop a frame of larva and eggs a couple of weeks back and there are now 2 queen cells with the bottoms cut out but no eggs yet.

    Good friend that is large cell treatment free [except for essential oils] has 20-25% winter losses. Our genetics are from the same sources. But you might also check out my post #21 here: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...f-honey/page2&
    with regard to my migratory efforts.

    Kindest Regards
    Danny Unger
    Last edited by DRUR; 03-08-2013 at 05:37 PM. Reason: add comment about friend being large cell
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    861

    Cool Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I've been treatment free for over 10 years now. I know the way I do it doesn't count, but it sure keeps the package producers in business.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,437

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    and sugar producers!
    Regards, Barry

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,697

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Beemandan wrote:

    I’ve recently read a number of posts from experienced, commercial beekeepers lamenting the fact that flowering plants no longer seem to produce the same amounts of honey. Yards that were once high yielding that no longer seem productive. How much of these losses could actually be attributed to varroa parasitization?

    Guilty as charged. I have tested your theory, and do not believe it is true for me. Our bees still make honey, but not when and where they did in the past. Plants that never provided a flow in the past, have done so recently. Sweet clovers that never failed, have failed. If it was across the board, I would have to agree.

    As for mites, the last inspector could not find any , but he did not look REAL hard. We strike drone brood, and see very little DWV or other tell tale signs.

    The key to treatment free beekeeping will be a higher value to treatment free honey.

    Crazy Roland

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,088

    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 #youmatter

  7. #27

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    Guilty as charged. I have tested your theory, and do not believe it is true for me.
    Would you agree that the more heavily parasitized, the less vigor and the less vigor, the less honey produced regardless of the forage?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  8. #28
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
    Posts
    2,993

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Would you agree that the more heavily parasitized, the less vigor and the less vigor, the less honey produced regardless of the forage?
    I think we can agree with that. The problem is when I have a very poor producing area or a big producing area I can nearly always come up with the reason why and it usually has to do with Botany.... not always, but nearly always.

    Treatment Free honey yield VS Treatment honey yield, I would imagine that experiment has been done. Out in the field and on an appropriate scale I think it would be hard to carry out.
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by hpm08161947 View Post
    Treatment Free honey yield VS Treatment honey yield, I would imagine that experiment has been done.
    I would imagine it hasn't. But I could be wrong. Deknow can provide the details, I'm certain.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,372

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I have a warehouse full of honey that tests as clean as any "treatment free" honey. I have yet to find a buyer interested in those quantities that is willing to offer me a penny a pound more. So again, where is the incentive? What is the point?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #31
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
    Posts
    2,993

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I would imagine it hasn't. But I could be wrong. Deknow can provide the details, I'm certain.
    No... on second thought I am sure you are correct - at least I would think it has never been done on the scale that it would take to convince me of it's accurateness. The trouble of assembling that large a number of TF and T hives from the same genetics and placing them in similar environments probably preclude the scientific method....
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  12. #32
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
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    2,993

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    I have a warehouse full of honey that tests as clean as any "treatment free" honey. I have yet to find a buyer interested in those quantities that is willing to offer me a penny a pound more. So again, where is the incentive? What is the point?
    How much do you spend on battling mites? And perhaps the labor to carry out that battle. Guess you could trash fumigillan too.....; Pretty big risks for small gains....
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,372

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by hpm08161947 View Post
    How much do you spend on battling mites? And perhaps the labor to carry out that battle. Guess you could trash fumigillan too.....; Pretty big risks for small gains....
    I havent used fumagillan in years. I spend about $1.25 per hive per year for a thymomite strip and a few cents for an oxalic dribble. However if you factor in the labor of a brood break via requeening all your bees.......
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #34

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by hpm08161947 View Post
    The problem is when I have a very poor producing area or a big producing area I can nearly always come up with the reason why and it usually has to do with Botany.... not always, but nearly always.
    I'm not discounting weather, climate or even botany. Those are all factors. I'm only saying that, everything else being equal, heavily varroa infested colonies will likely produce less honey than those less parasitized. And, as a commercial beekeeper that and other additional losses of production should be taken into account above and beyond the survival numbers alone. This was my only point. The treatment/treatment free discussions tend to focus solely on relative survival rates....and I'm simply saying that it is more than that alone.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    i was wondering jim, when you finish pollination and get into the requeening phase, i'm guessing you double or more your number of colonies.

    do you just keep increasing, combine them later for pollination, sell bees...?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #36

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    I have yet to find a buyer interested in those quantities that is willing to offer me a penny a pound more.
    And if you were treatment free and could get ten cents a pound more (just making up numbers) but your hives produced 20 percent less (again made up number) because of it ...and ignoring any other differences...you'd still be in the hole.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,372

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Using your hypothetical yes I agree. That gets me back, though, to my basic point which is that if you can have good bees and honey that tests free of residues then what do I gain with the "mythical" title of being treatment free.
    Let me be clear. I send lots of samples out to lots of buyers with an accompanying letter telling them what we do and asking that they feel free to test the samples for proof. They appreciate that, they tell me they love my honey and they bid pretty much exactly what they bid to everyone else.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,299

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Jim, I agree that for the commercial beekeeper, treatment free honey has no economic value over honey that comes from treated hives. The commercial beek is going to treat responsibly to avoid contaminating his honey and thus destroying his market if detected. My hypothesis is that the economic advantage that accrues to the commercial beekeeper is less cost involved in treatment free bees. No chemicals to buy, no additional equipment, no time and labor spent in treating.

    Having kept bees as a hobbiest in the 1970's and '80s, and for the last 8 years, I see no difference in honey production between my Starline hybrids back then, and my B. Weaver or Purvis bees now. In fact, apples to apples (similar pasture, similar colony strength, my bees today seem to have a slight edge on the ones back then. Now the caveat, I do not do any intentional brood breaks. I do let the colonies requeen themselves if something happens to the queen.

    My (limited) experience has been that the forage is not as good or widely available today compared to 30 years ago, and that has more impact on honey production than does my use of treatment free bees.

    I appreciate the replies from the various commercial folks here. My purpose in the initial question was to see where the commercials were, and to faciltiate sharing of information, either success or failure.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,372

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    We fill up the equipment we have and just keep making them bigger and bigger. If the bees come back from California as strong as I think they will I am not sure what we will do this year. Keep an eye on the for sale forum.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,299

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    It seems to me the key to going treatment free, especially for the commercial beekeeper, is not to reinvent the wheel, as it were. That could be very expensive and disastrous. The cheapest and easiest way to go treatment free is to requeen with treatment free queens in your regular requeening schedule, or use treatment free package bees when you replace losses with package bees.

    So what bees are treatment free:
    Minnesota Hygenic bees - I have tried them, and found them lacking. They did not produce acceptable honey surpluses, nor did they survive.
    Russians - did not produce acceptable surpluses.
    Purvis bees - I split from these, they survived well, and produced good surpluses. By splitting, I mean when I sought to expand my operation by splits, I did walk-away splits to increase colony numbers. Sometimes I would introduce a new queen to the split.
    B. Weaver bees - I split from these also, they survived well, and produced good surpluses.
    Feral swarms - I haven't had much luck from these, though I've not caught many.

    When I have done my walk away splits, I have found that even third and fourth generation queens and their colonies still exhibit the same traits of honey production and survivability as the original queen.

    There are others who advertise "treatment free" bees, but I've not used them. And the only "treatment" I use is a screened bottom board. That's it. Otherwise, I manage my colonies just as I did 30 years ago.

    I may be crazy, but I still think some commercial beek is going to try one of these bees sooner or later in one of his yards, to see if it makes economic sense. We all know beekeeping is all about risk, and trying to balance the risk with the anticipated rewards.
    Kindest regards,
    Steven
    Last edited by JohnK and Sheri; 03-09-2013 at 09:20 AM.
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

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