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.
Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.
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.
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.
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.
Mostly, I don't know.
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.
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards
What about the majority of commercial beekeepers though Jim?
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
If it bleeds it leads. Don't believe everything you read.
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.
how many hives did Adees run before their loss?
Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
> Where are these huge periodic losses reported?
Here's a link to one instance:
600 colonies down to 250, as printed in BeeCulture and re-posted at Beesource.
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft
Okay, we've established the huge, where's the periodic?
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.’”