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  1. #481
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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?

    I keep going back and forth on this subject.... but one question that I really would like answered.

    What would Deknow give me for a barrel of TF honey. This of course being honey that he knows is TF.

    This little piece of info would be important to me....
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  2. #482
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    There seem to be a lot of requests for information that seems rather personal in the course of these discussions. I'm not sure I understand the motivation.
    I dont know what personal information is being asked, being a commercial beekeeping forum, the comments on maintaining a solvent operation is a real thing.
    I dont think these commercial treatment free operators are all succeeding in the same way, Dee uses small cell and breeding of her local stock, I suspect Chris to use a lot of nucing,.? and Russian stock, during his yearly work. I believe I read Kirk accepts heavy losses on a cyclical basis,

    very interesting digging into these operations,
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  3. #483
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    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,757

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I don't do Dee's books and I am making no specific claims on numbers but she has sold 20 barrels at a time on several occasions that I know of and I'm certain she makes at least that in a bad year. But you also have to understand she has managed those hives in such a way that she can take care of them with no hired help and she is no spring chicken. It's not how many pounds of honey per hive, it's how many pounds of honey for the hours of work.
    Also, there is no input of feed. It is difficult to asses anyone's productivity without knowing what the inputs are into the system. No employees, no fancy trucks (Dee has a great truck, but it is _not_ fancy), no feeding.

    Many of you think you are taking less risk by treating for all of these diseases and pests. I think the evidence has accumulated over the last few years to prove you are taking more risk by treating for Nosema and AFB and that there are many downsides to treating for Varroa.
    Not sure this is a fair (or complete) assessment. One has to look at short term vs. long term. If the short term puts one out of business, the long term (at least from the perspective of an individual business) is somewhat irrelevant. If you are already treating for nosema and AFB, and the spores are endemic in your operation, the short term losses are likely to be significant.

    deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  4. #484
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    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,757

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by hpm08161947 View Post
    I keep going back and forth on this subject.... but one question that I really would like answered.

    What would Deknow give me for a barrel of TF honey. This of course being honey that he knows is TF.

    This little piece of info would be important to me....
    When you have a barrel (or even a few buckets) of treatment free honey to sell, we can talk about a price...in private. I'm not going to state what we are paying, just as package bee resellers don't state what they pay the producer, and beekeepers don't state what they are paying for bought in honey.

    deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  5. #485
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    1,256

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    This has been a fascinating thread to read.

    Maybe this is an impertinent question, but how rosy is the future for commercial beekeepers who treat? I keep reading all sorts of alarmist journalism, seeing films, seeing stats, and so on, all telling me that commercial beekeepers are in trouble. For example, I recently read a book called The Beekeeper's Lament and the author was taking the position that bigtime beekeepers are like the last of the cowboys, a dying breed. From the book I got the impression that the big outfits are trapped on a treadmill, and can't get off, because it would mean immediate financial disaster. The author implies that as the bigtime beekeepers are aging out of their businesses, there are not enough young would-be beekeepers to replace them. And so on...

    Is there any truth to these rumors of decline? I really want to learn that this is all nonsense, that beekeeping as a profession is still something a young person might consider as a rewarding career with a reasonable chance of success.

    I'll never be a professional. I'm too old, and have too many other things that I want to do. But bees are so crucial to a good way of life that I find it depressing to think that it might be coming to an end, at least for the kind of beekeeping you folks are discussing here.

  6. #486
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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 deknow View Post
    When you have a barrel (or even a few buckets) of treatment free honey to sell, we can talk about a price...in private. I'm not going to state what we are paying, just as package bee resellers don't state what they pay the producer, and beekeepers don't state what they are paying for bought in honey.

    deknow
    Gee.. this is a mysterious subject. Is there a figure out there for TF "mark up"....... I have always known what the general going price was for a bucket of honey, so perhaps somewhere there is a general price for a bucket of TF honey. I can always get $150 for one of my buckets.... could I expect $175 for a bucket of TF?

    Actually Dean is the only one I have heard that buys TF honey with a premium.... at least that is what I have read into the inuendos.... are there others?
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  7. #487
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    >>I'll never be a professional. I'm too old, and have too many other things that I want to do. But bees are so crucial to a good way of life that I find it depressing to think that it might be coming to an end, at least for the kind of beekeeping you folks are discussing here.

    the way I see it, as agriculture leans more and more on pesticides to farm, and as farmers take the land and turn it into something extremely specialized to its purpose, it forces beekeepers to adjust their management practices to be able to exist along side agriculture. How that is? Likely less chemical dependency as out side chemical exposure makes our treatments toxic and a more focused attempt to maintain proper colony nutrition. Not one answer to the equation, as all our beekeeping environments are different
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  8. #488
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    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,757

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    There is nothing mysterious about it. If you want to buy/sell a commodity, you will find a varieity of somewhat accurate published going prices. If you want to sell something more rare, there is no "standard" published price.

    WRT who pays what for treatment free honey, it would be hard to imagine that anything accurate would come from someone who wasn't either actually buying or selling treatment free honey.

    deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  9. #489
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    the way I see it, as agriculture leans more and more on pesticides to farm, and as farmers take the land and turn it into something extremely specialized to its purpose, it forces beekeepers to adjust their management practices to be able to exist along side agriculture. How that is? Likely less chemical dependency as out side chemical exposure makes our treatments toxic and a more focused attempt to maintain proper colony nutrition. Not one answer to the equation, as all our beekeeping environments are different
    I think the opposite. The more pesticides, fungicides, antibioitics, probiotics, etc, the less well the resident microbes (soil, root, hive, bee gut, etc) are able to survive and perform the functions that are required to produce and assimilate nutrition and fight diseases. The more these systems are compromised, the more inputs will be required to keep healthy bees.

    deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  10. #490
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I think a lot of the losses seen this year was due to mal nutrition, but killed off by the other compounding factors
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  11. #491
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    makes me wonder how can I manage my operation in a more "natural" sense when the environment around me (and everyone else ) is changing to such an un natural setting,
    to me, more management is going to be required to adjust to our surroundings
    more management doesnt mean more chemicals
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  12. #492
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    For instance (and it is difficult to pick one isolated thing out like this), 24 metheline cholesterol is a sterol that bees need to raise brood. This is the stuff the colony runs out of after about 3 brood cycles with pollen sub only....they can't raise more brood without the stuff, or with sub that has some real pollen in it.

    There is some of this in raw pollen (I think...it is hard to know because some of the research is done on trapped pollen that has already started to ferment, but since it is collected outside the hive, it is sometimes considered fresh, unfermented pollen). There is much more of this in pollen that has fermented properly (I think this stuff is formed during the first few/12 hours of fermentation post collection from the flower).

    If fungicides are being used, and the fungus that produces this stuff is inhibited, there may not be enough for proper nutrition. Where is it going to come from? It will have to be added to the equation somehow.

    deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  13. #493
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    ya, that is exactly it. IF the bees cant get it from the surrounding environment , how do we get it to them?
    Last edited by Ian; 03-29-2013 at 12:38 PM.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  14. #494
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    A fellow from close to here had started up a Russian breeding program in his op. He quit using them pretty much completely because he couldnt keep them from the trees. More often I am hearing this is how the bees want to manage the mites, but how useful is that strategy in terms of beekeeping?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  15. #495
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    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    There are certainly bigger questions to ask. Chief among them (at least in my mind) is whether or not we can replace the microbial systems that are at the foundation of larger life forms and processes with engineered chemical solutions.

    I don't think we can in the long run, and I expect it will be a painful lesson for humanity.

    deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  16. #496
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    A fellow from close to here had started up a Russian breeding program in his op. He quit using them pretty much completely because he couldnt keep them from the trees. More often I am hearing this is how the bees want to manage the mites, but how useful is that strategy in terms of beekeeping?
    Well, you can take a single example of a concept that doesn't/didn't work, and try to draw a conclusion that it doesn't or can't work.....but that is a logical fallacy.

    We have examples in Kirk and in Chris of beekeepers that have incorporated some of the Russian traits into their operations and management successfully. We have Bob, who is using actual Russian breeder association stock successfully.

    Seems pretty useful.

    deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  17. #497
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    6,146

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Maybe this is an impertinent question, but how rosy is the future for commercial beekeepers who treat? I keep reading all sorts of alarmist journalism, seeing films, seeing stats, and so on, all telling me that commercial beekeepers are in trouble.
    Yes we've been reading that stuff for a while, it's not exactly new.

    In my country, when varroa made it's presence felt in year 2000, there were 350,000 managed hives, and an estimated 4 million wild ones. Now, the wild ones number close to zero, other than escaped swarms which last one season. But despite the books and doomsday scenarios, managed hives have increased to 450,000 now.

    However here we are not faced with all the same problems as US beekeepers. I have huge respect for US commercial beekeepers. They are nothing if not adaptable. Wiley, intelligent people who stare adversity and new threats in the face, and somehow make yet another profit, each year.

    It must be galling for them to hear their doom constantly being predicted by alarmist new age book writers, movie makers & similar, who are beekeeping neophytes, if they even have any bees.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  18. #498
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,287

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    If you are already treating for nosema and AFB, and the spores are endemic in your operation, the short term losses are likely to be significant.

    deknow
    Whereas I have lost 600 colonies out of 700 thru not treating for varroa, I have seen no indication that high nosema counts or 4 cases of AFB per 400 or 600 colonies warrants the expense (treatment costs and labor) of treating for Nosema or AFB.

    I have friends who routinely treat w/ fumidil and TM, but they have thousands of colonies and they have employees, so they don't see every brood frame each year as I do. For whatever that's worth.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  19. #499
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by hpm08161947 View Post
    Gee.. this is a mysterious subject. Is there a figure out there for TF "mark up"....... I have always known what the general going price was for a bucket of honey, so perhaps somewhere there is a general price for a bucket of TF honey. I can always get $150 for one of my buckets.... could I expect $175 for a bucket of TF?

    Actually Dean is the only one I have heard that buys TF honey with a premium.... at least that is what I have read into the inuendos.... are there others?
    Send him a PM.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  20. #500
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Whereas I have lost 600 colonies out of 700 thru not treating for varroa, I have seen no indication that high nosema counts or 4 cases of AFB per 400 or 600 colonies warrants the expense (treatment costs and labor) of treating for Nosema or AFB.
    Those are good numbers Mark. I don't mean that the number you lost was good, I mean providing numbers is good.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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