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  1. #521
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post

    Most of the alarmist drivel I read comes from new age writers, film makers, or politicians of some kind, whose hands on knowledge of bees is almost zilch.
    In which of these categories do you classify the Adees, Bill Dahle, and Jeff Pettis, research leader at Beltsville, Md? They all seem to be fairly alarmed.

  2. #522
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    The Adees lost 55 percent of their hives. Bill Dahl lost almost 80 percent. If these numbers were reported by treatment free beekeepers, the scorn in here would have been thick enough to shovel.
    I saw one treatment free beekeeper report 100% losses with no scorn at all. Perhaps you are being unduly negative.



    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Maybe beekeepers who want to be treatment free must accept some limitations on the expansion of their businesses. What do you think?
    Look how many beekeepers are trying to be treatment free, and would like to do it full time. Then take a look how many succeed. That will give you your answer.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #523
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I'm not commercial, I started winter with 5 hives, ended with 4 plus one full of stores (queen took off with her entourage just as a norther came in, I couldn't catch her..) If I manage not to mess up the split I'm trying, I'll enter honey season with 5 hives. I'm not in an agricultural area and no large operations near me. If that will benefit anyone's research. I found one mite in all of 5 hives when the inspector and I went through in September. And I'm treatment free. ducking back into my corner now.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  4. #524
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Now how did I know you would say something stupid like that. They are the ones I listen too. Obviously.

    As a professional writer, you should be able to read what I say, accurately. I would have thought.

    It's the know it all neophytes with an opinion and an attitude I get tired of. To put it plainly, for you.
    I don't get it. You attribute alarmist rhetoric to a whole crop of silly strawmen, none of whom made any appearance in the NY Times article. Then when I point out that beekeepers who run more hives than you ever will are also alarmed and suffering serious losses, you don't want to hear about it. Which is pretty funny, since you say that they are the ones you listen to.

    I'm claiming no personal experience of beekeeping whatsoever, nor have I ever. If I have offered an opinion-- and I don't believe I have--I should not have done so, since, once again, I have no experience.

    But I do have a functioning brain, so I am worried when I hear prominent and well-respected beekeepers talking about serious and possibly unsustainable losses. If you don't like what these beekeepers (who run bigger outfits than you ever will) have to say about colonies dying in unprecedented numbers, then have the courage to argue with them about it, instead of whining at me.

    Let me make a suggestion. If you don't like my attitude, don't read my posts. I'd really appreciate it, and I'll certainly return the favor.

    Ray

  5. #525
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    You attribute alarmist rhetoric to a whole crop of silly strawmen, none of whom made any appearance in the NY Times article. Then when I point out that beekeepers who run more hives than you ever will are also alarmed and suffering serious losses, you don't want to hear about it.
    I don't want to hear about it? Sorry but you assumed wrong there I certainly didn't say that. And the NY Times article, where does that come into what I said, I never mentioned it. I don't like you attributing things to me, that never happened.
    Also, you seem to be taking all this incredibly personally. Why? The only time I addressed you was to answer a question you directed at me, other than that you were not in my thoughts at all. Chill some.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    In any case, I won't be asking you any more questions. Ray
    But you still are.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I don't get it.
    You got that right.

    Not sure why you are so wound up. Maybe you didn't like me saying that commercial beekeepers are adaptable and intelligent? Cos that's not what your book said?

    Seriously, let all this go, it's getting silly. If reading something I said gets you so wound up, take your own advice and use the block button.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 03-30-2013 at 01:37 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #526
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Mark, what would you say is the difference between you and the big outfits that are complaining of disastrous losses?

    Is it a difference in scale? I remember you saying (I think in this thread) that you saw every brood frame you own, every year. Obviously this is not possible for the leaders of outfits like the Adees'. It sort of makes me wonder if in beekeeping, the trend of agribusiness to get bigger and bigger might be suffering its first major reverse. Maybe there's something about bees that make close personal attention more important than scale. Certainly it seems as if most of the treatment-free beekeepers mentioned in this thread are not huge operations. In my reading of the thread, the commercial beekeepers who have commented have said fairly consistently that they believe the approaches used by the treatment-free beekeepers would not work at the larger scale they operate on.

    The Adees lost 55 percent of their hives. Bill Dahl lost almost 80 percent. If these numbers were reported by treatment free beekeepers, the scorn in here would have been thick enough to shovel.

    Maybe beekeepers who want to be treatment free must accept some limitations on the expansion of their businesses. What do you think?
    Size may have something to do w/ it. But I know a sizeable outfit that has figured out how to handle things. I don't know all the things they do, but they don't seem to have the losses that others do. The owner is a very hands on guy and works his bees literaly almost every day.

    Mostly, I don't know.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  7. #527

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    The Adees lost 55 percent of their hives. Bill Dahl lost almost 80 percent. If these numbers were reported by treatment free beekeepers, the scorn in here would have been thick enough to shovel.
    Actually they do. Dee Lusby has reported huge losses periodically. As has Kirk Webster. And even Chris Baldwin.
    The only scorn I’ve seen is when a group of small scale, non commercial, treatment free beekeepers try to push their contradictory methods on people who must actually earn a living from their bees.
    Sun is rising....those bees won't split themselves....there's work to be done.
    Last edited by beemandan; 03-30-2013 at 06:43 AM.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  8. #528
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I asked how well the majority of commercial beekeepers (who treat) are doing. Apparently no one here cares to discuss it, which isn't exactly reassuring.
    .......and I said my bees are doing quite well. Feel better now?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  9. #529
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    What about the majority of commercial beekeepers though Jim?
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  10. #530
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I can only speak for a few and they run the whole gamut. Honestly it is hard for any one person to see the whole picture but certainly the California situation this year suggests that it has been a tough winter overall. One thing about commercial beekeepers is that they are resilient. I know the Adees are well on their way to getting their hives restocked and I would assume the same from any others wanting to remain in the business. This is really nothing new to the industry it's just one of those years and I wouldn't expect the NY Times to fully comprehend that, that wouldnt make as good a story.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #531
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    If it bleeds it leads. Don't believe everything you read.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  12. #532
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    YOu know watching all the banter back and forth here, The main point of the thread is are there some commercial guys without treatments. the answer is yes, and they all have various methods. some like Ron, have gone to replacing bees, some have bred to hardier bees and taken the losses to get there. Others have just figured out how to manage a 30% loss every year...... so the real answer is so far no perfect magic bullet is there, but most are coping well thru various methods.

  13. #533
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    how many hives did Adees run before their loss?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  14. #534
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Size may have something to do w/ it. But I know a sizeable outfit that has figured out how to handle things. I don't know all the things they do, but they don't seem to have the losses that others do. The owner is a very hands on guy and works his bees literaly almost every day.

    Mostly, I don't know.
    Maybe that' s it. I do know that farmers who are in the field every day get better results than absentee farmers.

  15. #535
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    how many hives did Adees run before their loss?
    80,000 Colonies..... must have some hired help....
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  16. #536
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Actually they do. Dee Lusby has reported huge losses periodically. As has Kirk Webster. And even Chris Baldwin.
    I think the difference is that the beekeepers you mention were willing and able to accept high losses on the road to achieving much lower losses. But now they don't have those high losses. Think about it as a two trendlines: The successful treatment free beekeepers' losses are declining, if you believe what they say. But according to the research head at Beltsville, this will be the roughest year yet for bee losses among commercial beekeepers.

  17. #537
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Dee Lusby has reported huge losses periodically.
    Where are these huge periodic losses reported?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  18. #538
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    > Where are these huge periodic losses reported?

    Here's a link to one instance:
    http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...-ed-dee-lusby/

    600 colonies down to 250, as printed in BeeCulture and re-posted at Beesource.
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  19. #539
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Okay, we've established the huge, where's the periodic?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  20. #540
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    .......and I said my bees are doing quite well. Feel better now?
    I'm glad for you, but no, not really. Would you be willing to hazard a guess as to the difference in your beekeeping approach and the Adee's? Is it just bad luck, do you think, that they had such large losses? Do you think those kind of losses will be sustainable, year after year, or will some beekeepers, maybe the ones who are marginally capitalized, be driven out of the business? Do you think this is an acceptable situation, or should beekeepers be trying different paths in hopes of finding one that works better?

    I've gotten the impression that you're an honest no-nonsense kind of guy, so let me ask you what seems to me the crucial question here: is commercial beekeeping as it is presently conducted a healthy and growing industry, or is it an industry declining under the pressures of stuff like Varroa mites, CCD, and cheap Chinese honey? I guess what I'm asking is this: can the industry go on successfully without any major changes in philosophy?

    Now, I have no idea whether or not treatment-free beekeeping is an answer or not, though I find those who write about the decline of microflora in treated colonies to be fairly persuasive. I'm just a hobbyist whose life will go on pretty much unchanged if my bees die. But I am aware, as any thinking person should be, that if too many bees die, everyone's life will change, and not for the better.

    This has been a fascinating thread to me, as a student of the stranger aspects of human nature, because it started from the assumption that there were no such animals as commercial treatment free beekeepers. After this was disproven, which took a lot longer than it should have, when even a newbie like me has heard of and read Kirk Webster, then the emphasis shifted to all the reasons that it wouldn't work for the majority of beekeepers. From there it devolved into silly season nonsense about how the only people concerned about the longterm prospects for the industry are new age book writers, movie people, and politicians, even after I posted quotes from Bret Adee and Bill Dahle about their disastrous winter. Unless you think that the NY Times deliberately misquoted them, they seem to be a whole lot more concerned than many of the beekeepers here.

    I just can't believe that you get to run as many hives as those guys do by being bad beekeepers. I read an interesting book recently, The Beekeeper's Lament, a sort of snapshot of John Miller's operation written by a John McPhee wannabe (she's not there yet.) Miller's attitude when CCD first started hitting was that it was due to PPD-- Piss Poor Beekeeping. That was before he got hit badly. After that, he got a lot more humble.

    My impression of commercial beekeepers is that they are intelligent, hardworking, persistent, and able to succeed in an extremely tough and volatile business. But judging by this thread, a couple of them could use a little humility, and a willingness to learn from those who are trying a different path.

    I'm not getting paid to write about this, so I'll let it go. But I'll give you a quote form the end of that NY Times piece, since it appears not too many people actually looked at it:

    Eric Mussen, an apiculturist at the University of California, Davis, said analysts had documented about 150 chemical residues in pollen and wax gathered from beehives.

    “Where do you start?” Dr. Mussen said. “When you have all these chemicals at a sublethal level, how do they react with each other? What are the consequences?”

    Experts say nobody knows. But Mr. Adee, who said he had long scorned environmentalists’ hand-wringing about such issues, said he was starting to wonder whether they had a point.

    Of the “environmentalist” label, Mr. Adee said: “I would have been insulted if you had called me that a few years ago. But what you would have called extreme — a light comes on, and you think, ‘These guys really have something. Maybe they were just ahead of the bell curve.’”

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