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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    eolia, lincoln county, mo.
    Posts
    42

    Default New beekeeper seeking some info on treatment free

    have just started looking into treatment free. my understanding so far is that we want the bees to develop their own natural defenses againt disease and perisite. am I oon track sp far? If my hives would develop a varroa infestation just let it work itself out? any input is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,382

    Default Re: New beekeeper seeking some info on treatment free

    I will try to answer this for you. Basically you are correct, you want to have bees that will tolerate, and produce, with disease and pests. However you are unlikely to find tolerant bees in the general population. I would start by trying to find treatment free genetics that are locally adapted, but that can be difficult or impossible. You can always try to capture swarms or do bee removals, but it is a gamble that you will get survivor bees since it is possible or likely that they are straight out of someone else's hive. As a second option I would find treatment free bees from a climate that is as close to yours as possible.

    Once you find the bees you want, start with multiple hives and I would say the more the better. I would suggest going small cell or foundationless, I do not know if it helps, but I doubt it hurts and may help. Prepare for failure, I have lost 7/8 this winter (my third), but perhaps you will be more fortunate. Raising your own queens is likely to be very beneficial as is unitizing over winter nucs to make up for losses.

    This is in addition to a base of solid beekeeping knowledge, experiences and practices. I hope that helps.
    Dan
    Last edited by RiodeLobo; 04-03-2013 at 01:28 PM. Reason: Last line's intention was unclear.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    eolia, lincoln county, mo.
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: New beekeeper seeking some info on treatment free

    Thanks Dan appreciate the time and expertise. My bees will be in Sat. will have 2 hives. They are Minn. hygenics. Will continue to read and probably will be back for more guidance. Also have noted some feral bees (black in color) and may try to find their hive. Thanks again Jeff

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    903

    Default Re: New beekeeper seeking some info on treatment free

    If my hives would develop a varroa infestation just let it work itself out? any input is appreciated.
    What we discovered when varroa first hit is that our standard strains had absolutely no resistance against them. Here in Alabama we went from a high of 19000 to below 8000 and are currently at about 9000 hives. So if you do nothing to help nonresistant strains, you get a lot of dead bees. USDA has introduced several resistant strains since then and beeks have looked for and found survivors from the original disaster, and now we are building stronger colonies from these strains. So take advantage of all the work that has already been done plus save yourself a lot of time and grief by starting with known resistance. If you haven't already done so, do read Michael Bush's website (and books) at www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm for a lot of good information.

    HTH

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    eolia, lincoln county, mo.
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: New beekeeper seeking some info on treatment free

    Rusty thanks for your help. I'm sure it won't be easy but I want to try and improve on the health of the bees. Jeff

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Red bluff, CA USA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: New beekeeper seeking some info on treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffnmo View Post
    I'm sure it won't be easy but I want to try and improve on the health of the bees. Jeff
    me too! I'm getting my first nuc on monday and have decided to try treatment free, all natural, and foundationless. I too am worried about the mite problem, but I have been looking into companion planting for my bees. what I have found so far is that mites don't like Mint, Thyme, Lavendar and Rosemary. I'm going out to the bee yard tomorrow to build an "herb mound" with the bee's water source on top about 25 ft from the hive! mt thinking is that the bees will love their garden and have to go throughit for water, and the mites will hate having to do this!! I hope it works, although i'm getting Carnies that are already mite resistant, I am still taking prcautions. I also read that the Trachea mite doesn't like having to breath mentol which naturally occures in mint, so my hope is that it will reduce my chances of those little suckers as well!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    eolia, lincoln county, mo.
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: New beekeeper seeking some info on treatment free

    thanks for the food for thought Moonfire. Be interesting to see if any of the experienced folks have tried this or a similar method. Good luck to you. think i may give it a try.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Missouri USA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: New beekeeper seeking some info on treatment free

    Definitely seek out treatment free genetics. You need a good foundation to build on, otherwise your efforts will likely be fruitless. The key is in genetic based behaviors, not foundation less, or small cell foundation. Both will not effectively control mite populations. Small cell foundation will be a passing fad. Foundationless is cheaper, and perfect for uncontaminated cut comb honey. I don't like them for brood boxes though. Not enough support for rigorous inspections, grafting, or centrifugal force extraction.
    Last edited by Whitetail; 04-07-2013 at 10:30 AM. Reason: Correction

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