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  1. #701
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Let's look at it from the perspective of somebody with a foot in each camp.

    I used to be a commercial beekeeper, but retired. Got bored, now I have some hives, I'm a hobbyist. At todays count I have 108 hives, and 200 ish nucs. I also am in both camps re treatment free. Most of the hives get treated if needed, but I also have some treatment free, small cell hives.

    Being able to focus all my attention on just a few hives, they have done extremely well, and profitably, and now earn me a not unsubstantial sum of money. Of the treated hives, over the last 4 years I've been doing this, I have lost only 3. That's simply because I know pretty much what's going on with each individual hive, if one has something wrong, I fix it.

    Less so the treatment free hives. They went well initially, but this year were hardly productive, and losses of them are starting to mount. Goes very much against the grain for me, losing a hive. But I am toughing it out, attempting to stick faithfully to the methods promoted by the prominent treatment free beekeepers.

    Based on what I'm seeing in my own hives, I doubt I could survive commercially on the treatment free hives, in fact more accurately, I am sure I couldn't. Production is much lower, and they keep dying.

    To take another tack on the subject, The people I get my treatment free information from here on Beesource, I know a number of them started out with high ideals, and wanting to be commercial beekeepers. But they didn't achieve it, because they are treatment free. They just could not get increase hive numbers enough. Eventually they resigned themselves to keeping bees, but getting their income by means other than what their bees produce.

    Then there are the other "successful TF commercial beekeepers" mentioned. I don't know and in any case would not share their incomes, but I do know they live, shall we say, simply.

    Treatment free commercial beekeeping is a noble goal. For those who want a fair income, I would not recommend trying it. But that's now. In the future, as bees are continually bred and improved, it may be possible.

    Another thing, I keep hearing bandied around by those who wouldn't know, that your bees are just as likely to die whether you treat them or not. That is a total misrepresentation of the facts. The large outfits that from time to time have big losses, have completely different circumstances to the treatment free hobby beekeeper with 1/2 dozen stationary hives. If these large guys did not treat, given what their bees are exposed to, they would probably have 100% losses. That's why they treat. Not because they are idiots.

    I also feel rather more entitled to speak on this, than somebody who has had one hive for 2 weeks, but has done a lot of talking, getting most of his assumptions wrong. And we have been told the commercial guys who treat should not be able to comment, because they have not tried both. Wouldn't that also apply to some TF beekeepers who have not tried both? They have no point of reference to see how their bees are doing against a similarly run treated hive. Add to that, that a lot of commercial beekeepers have experimented with TF. Sqkcrk, for example, has told us he has a stationary bee yard that has never been treated. If it's got quite a lot of hives, that makes him a more experienced TF beekeeper than most here.

    My intention with this post is not to offend anyone, it's more about injecting some reality & exposing some of the dross. My own feelings on the matter are bees are getting better and better, and moving ever closer to that goal of not needing treatment, even if kept under commercial conditions. Let's hope it happens. If I didn't want that, I would not be trying to develop treatment free bees myself.

    Throughout my postings on Beesource, I have told things how I see them. Where this is in conflict with somebody elses beliefs, I have sometimes been attacked, and on occasion ridiculed. Having my share of human failings, I have sometimes responded in kind. But none of that changes what I've seen over my time of working with bees.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #702
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by mnbeekeeper View Post
    me too. me too. and maybe thats what makes us different from the rest. i have already given up so much to get where i am and will keep giving up god knows what else to get to where i want to be. thats my goal and im sticking to it. thanks every one. many great points made. if we all agreed this would be no fun at all.
    Are you willing to give up family time and sleeping in your own bed? Months away from family and friends? And other things too?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  3. #703
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Were Dee, Kirk, Chris, Michael, Tim, or Bob to attend EAS, ABF, or AHPA, wold they register as a Commercial Beekeeper and pay the registration fee commensurate w/ that designation? I saw Sam Comfort in PA this past January. I wonder if he registered Commercial?

    It matters how you identify yourself. It also matters how others identify you. Are you a member of the tribe or an outsider?

    Yes Dean, I used money inherited from my Parents to by honey and build my building. Something I would have found difficult to do had my Mother and Father not died and left something to me and my siblings. I would wager that I am more open and forthcoming w/ information and personal details than a lot of the other persons on this Forum. Perhaps I reveal too much at times. I hope others have benefited from my willingness to put my thoughts, opinions, and experiences out there for scrutiny. I know my comments are a source of entertainment for a number of my beekeeping friends who will never show up here on beesource. They wonder why I do.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  4. #704
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Oldtimer,
    I was treatment free when "CCD" hit my hives. I went from 732 colonies in May down to 100 by the next March. I had treated for mites the years before then and have since then.

    I have one apiary in SC which has one hive in it which has survived two years now w/out any mite treatment. I don't treat for AFB, so that doesn't need mentioning. This two story hive came from a really strong colony of bees which had scores of AFB scale. I shook all the bees into a box of waxed plastic frames. Before I left for NY I put another box of waxed plastic frames on top. Which apparently they drew out, filled and capped. Though when I checked it a cpl weeks ago there wasn't much honey, but there were scads of bees and brood. W/nectar coming in now, it should come along nicely, I hope.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #705
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Anderson County, Texas
    Posts
    1,254

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Michael, do you believe that someone could run 1,000 coloniesof bees for pollination, migrating to one State for the Winter and another for the Smmer to produce honey and not prop them up thru constant attention? Or treating for mites?
    Wasn't this question answered earlier by a commercial beekeeper?
    Post #281
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Baldwin View Post
    Hey I have not read all of this. And really do not know how this works but....
    I run 1800 colonies without mite treatment. Last hard chemicals 2003. Oxalic 2004 and 05.
    Some apigaurd 2007. Match my neighbors crops. Send bees to almonds. In forty years
    have NEVER bought outside bees other than breeder queens.
    All you nonbelievers - it can be done. I keep bees like I did pre-mites.
    Post #283

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Baldwin View Post
    I have not done an ether roll since 2004. When I see a mite I say "Oh, a mite". I don't care. Its genetics. When I said I keep bees like pre-mites I meant exactly that.
    And I am tired of being called crazy or a liar. I have spoken to, had supper with, drank a beer with many of the top names in bee research and never, not one has said they would like to see my operation. I guess I might endanger their job security. Bob Reiners SD State Apiarist is the only one. I think he believes. I am just one guy. I wish the whole industry would get on board and believe. And demand the queen breeders get to work on it.
    Post #319

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Baldwin View Post
    Well folks I am a busy guy and tapping this out on my phone isn't very handy. Just wanted to let you know that there is a treatment free commercial beekeeper. I run my bees like most. Honey up north in South Dakota. Winter in Texas. Bees to California. Sell nucs, brood, and cells in Texas. All queen replacement is done March and April. As to my 30% loss about half is queen failure during Summer, the other Fall collapse. Again all nucs and queens are done in Texas in the Spring.
    I learned how to raise cells forty years ago and other than breeders have not purchased 100 queens in that time. I have NEVER had to by brood or bees from outside sources to keep my numbers. I started leaving some yards untreated when I wintered bees in Nebraska. Got some to live but not thrive. Then I tried some Russians and they gave me a real leg up on resistance but (sorry, Tom Rinderer) some Russian lines were terrible. So now I am back to grafting from whatever does well for me under my style of management.(without treatment ) And progress has been slow but my bees are better each year. I am thrilled how good they look now.
    I simply quit treating, built back from survivors selecting the best. Have I taken a hit? You bet. But I believe that this is the ultimate long term answer. How much time and resources do some of you spend on mite monitoring and control? I just keep bees. True, I wonder what six months will bring but so far things keep improving.
    Sooooo.....
    Well I have work to do. Please accept I am not going to jump in here every five minutes. I would be more than happy to visit on the phone to answer specific questions. But don't know if giving out phone numbers here is cool. Go Southbeekota home page. You can find my number and more. One more thing- I really cringe when people call my bees Russians. I am quite removed from that program. What I have are bees that live and do well. Got to go.
    Kindest Regards
    Danny Unger
    Last edited by DRUR; 04-02-2013 at 05:49 PM. Reason: Highlight parts in Chris' posts
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  6. #706
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Well that's interesting I somehow missed those posts. It does look like things are moving along with resistant bees.

    Maybe one or two of you other commercial guys could pick up the challenge & buy 100 queens off him and do a load or two of hives, don't treat, & see what happens.

    Wish I had the opportunity.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #707
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Thanks Danny. My memory isn't as good as others/yours.

    I wonder why exposure to other hives while in Almonds doesn't cause Chris problems?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  8. #708
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Anderson County, Texas
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    1,254

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Thanks Danny. My memory isn't as good as others/yours.
    well maybe 707 posts. I mean those posts were only 300 posts ago. I guess Chris's posts caught my attention beings Chris answered the question of this thread: "Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?". Nuff said, maybe this thread should come to an end.

    Kindest Regards
    Danny Unger
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  9. #709
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,654

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Maybe he has trained his girls not to go to the "other side of the tracks"?


    Crazy Roland

  10. #710
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    dennison MN
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by DRUR View Post
    well maybe 707 posts. I mean those posts were only 300 posts ago. I guess Chris's posts caught my attention beings Chris answered the question of this thread: "Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?". Nuff said, maybe this thread should come to an end.

    Kindest Regards
    Danny Unger
    thanks danny. sure is nice in texas this time of year. the last 35 days away from home, family and my BED have not been fun but at least its a nice warm place to be keeping bees!! my 400 early march splits are already coming up on 3 frames of brood. very nice!!

  11. #711
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,573

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    This Just In:

    Amitraz linked to deficiencies in memory retention

    Deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  12. #712
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    That would have been funnier had it come right after Post 707. Dean, timing is everything.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  13. #713
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    That would have been funnier had it come right after Post 707. Dean, timing is everything.
    Especially if the audience can't remember something they read 3 hours ago.
    Deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  14. #714
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Three hours ago? Is that when I read Chris' Posts? Now I'm really concerned about my memory.

    I didn't take your "trust fund" comment the way Sheri and Herb did. Not when I read your Post. You weren't refering to me, were you? I didn't think so. My take was that you were taking the arguement to the rediculous extreme to make a point. Did I get that right?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  15. #715
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    I neither said nor implied anything about a trust fund. In a previous discussion, you mentioned some inheritance that helped you establish/maintain your business. That is what I was referring to.
    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  16. #716
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,312

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Check out Randy Oliver's most recent article in the ABJ on nucing to control varroa for a blueprint of pretty much exactly what we have been doing for about 5 years now. The only difference is we have chosen not to treat at the 19 day window" if mite counts are low enough. It allows you to go treatment free for an entire honey season.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  17. #717
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    5,837

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    do you still call them survivours if they have the managed advantage of being nuced ?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  18. #718
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,312

    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    do you still call them survivours if they have the managed advantage of being nuced ?
    Survivors? I like it. They have survived our operation at least.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  19. #719
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    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Be careful who you listen to Matthew. Anyone who will tell you how to make $10,000.00 w/bees may be lying to you. I'd never attempt to tell anyone how to make money w/ bees, let alone a specific amount.
    I may not have worded that correctly. Perhaps I should have said that many commercial beekeepers have shared information to the extent that it is easier to begin to understand how they make a living. I can look at local/migratory commercial operations here and understand to a extent the "flow". Of course I can't fully understand as I don't have the experience of a commercial. I don't have an example of a treatment free operation here in Florida or understand the cost of operations verse value and markets of goods produced elsewhere.

    If the value of your bees as survivor stock is directly related to the hardships they are able to withstand under a particular beekeepers care I would like to respectfully submitt that mine are very valuable indeed.

  20. #720
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    If you look at the pictures from our recent trip, you will see that they are still crazy for the camera, as Anita was there, so I could photograph a photographer.
    Were you filming this one as well?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySwNNpQPjK8

    Right around 3:25 "Third Deep", we lose conversation!
    Regards, Barry

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