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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    There are a lot of misconceptions that beginning beekeepers pick up. Some of them involve treatment free or "natural" methods...most do not.

    For years, our state association president would tell everyone, "if you don't use fumidill, your bees will die". ...that isn't true.

    Many (if not most) new beekeepers with enough instruction/reading to identify a queen cell think they should destroy them...which often leaves new beekeepers with a hopelessly queenless hive after the swarm leaves.

    ...this is just a couple of examples from beekeeping....let's not forget the number of self aware humans that think they are going to get rich buying scratch tickets.

    If you think someone is giving bad advice, it would be helpful to be specific about the advice given and who is giving it....complaining that some (generally inexperienced) beekeepers and wanaabeeks want to believe that everything is easy, want to put bees in a box and pull jars of honey out isn't very productive.

    Such attitudes aren't surprising, they are similar to the attitudes of people in other areas...how many buy an electric guitar and never learn to play it? How many buy seedlings that die before they fruit/flower? How many books are on shelves unread?

    Is it advice you are concerned about? If so, you should be able to cite the bad advice...specifically.

    If you are concerned that people want things to be easy...well, good luck with that. People always want an easy way out.

    But for some reason a common take away from the treatment free internet community is that all you have to do is not treat and all your dreams will come true.
    I don't think the "treatment free internet community" has much to do with it. Some people just want things to be easy.

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

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Let me tell you what caused me to start this thread.

    I got a call from a member of my local association today. This person started last year with a nuc of carnis - which came from an unknown source more or less. So after the hive swarmed a day or two ago, they did their first inspection of the season (a good month late I think) and found that it contained many swarm cells. They called me to ask if they should cut them all down or not. In the course of the conversation they mentioned some dead bees and aborted brood that they had noticed on the landing board, and I asked off hand if they had treated for varroa, or checked for mites at any point. No - they are going treatment free. With one hive. And no inspections. The backup plan is to buy more bees. And they thought this was just a dandy course of action. Because they read on the internet that if you don't treat then your bees will be healthy and you won't need to treat. This person is not stupid by the way.

    This is not the first conversation like this that I have had. Not even close. People ask me for advice about bee keeping all the time because I am active in our club. I don't EVER tell people that they should not go treatment free. I tell them that there is more to it than that and they MUST educate themselves and learn to be skillful beekeepers to keep their bees alive.

    Laziness for not making the effort to learn is on them.

    All I am saying is that if you want new bee keepers to be successful and treatment free it needs to be clearly, unavoidably, painfully clear that there is more to it than that. That is on the people who promote treatment free bee keeping. Otherwise, what is the point?

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by R Dewhurst View Post
    What I think is that all this discussion coming from someone who does not go treatment free I like a door greeter at wal mart trying to give advise to a person on selling cars....
    Really? Just curious - How long have you been treatment free? Do you make any money from bee keeping? How many times have you had to buy bees to stay in bee keeping?

    I'm not treatment free - But I've treated no more than once a year for varroa using organic acids when needed + occasional use of essential oils which are of admittedly questionable value.

    This is my 5th year, and I started making a profit in my 3rd year. I started with one package. I've bought a few queens along the line in the interest of genetic diversity but mostly I've made my own increase and never bought any additional bees. Until this spring - turns out I didn't need them - it was kind of an impulse purchase. They are doing great on small cell foundation by the way.

    If I ever do find myself proudly supporting myself by greeting people at Wal-Mart I'll be happy to talk bees with you - just come on by.

    Unless you have something against Wal-Mart greeters? Which it sounds like you do. What's up with that?
    Last edited by David LaFerney; 04-28-2013 at 05:28 PM.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I won't. Since I don't intend to treat for varroa, I can't see the point. If I lose a hive due to mites, I'll be able to tell, no doubt. If I do, I'll have comb for next year, and the nucs I plan to make in the next couple of weeks will, I hope, provide replacement bees.

    Here's something I found interesting. In the week after installed the local nuc, I found 2 bees with DWV crawling around in front of the hive. Once the hive began to build up, I saw no more of these bees. Other folks had assured me that this is a precursor to disaster, and I was quite worried. But the hive is booming; I can't see how it could be doing any better. Out of curiosity, I've been looking at some of the dead bees hauled out of the hive under a little handheld microscope, and haven't seen any mites yet, though I'm sure they're present.
    understood rh, and most in the tf community here on beesource have the same approach.

    you wouldn't expect to see mites on the dead bees being hauled out, they just jump off of those back onto a live one. and they are hard to see on the live ones too. the easiet way is to uncap a drone cell or two, the reddish-brown mites are very easy to see against the white larva/pupa.

    i've only done one mite count so far. it was on a dwindled hive last fall that probably had been in trouble for some time. i found about a handful of bees with their queen and just a little capped honey in the hive. you can read about it here if you want to.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ghlight=shaker

    luckily this hive was so weak that it didn't have any stores and wasn't robbed, so the mites weren't spread to it's neighbors.

    i agree with not treating, and replacing your losses with hopefully more resistant bees, but i'll do what i can to avoid letting mine completely crash and getting robbed out by other bees.

    i want to use mite counts this year to help identify the colonies that can naturally keep the mites down. i'll use this info in part to help me decide which queens i want to graft from. the ones that have extremely high counts will be moved to an outyard, dequeened, and split up into nucs with new queens for overwintering.

    it will be interesting to contrast mite levels with other observations such as spring build up and honey production.

    i have one hive that has been expelling dead dwv pupae all spring. i won't be too surprised if this one ends up with a high count. i'm giving it a chance until after the spring harvest, which is when i'll be checking the levels in all of the hives.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    I asked off hand if they had treated for varroa, or checked for mites at any point. No - they are going treatment free. With one hive. And no inspections. The backup plan is to buy more bees. And they thought this was just a dandy course of action. Because they read on the internet that if you don't treat then your bees will be healthy and you won't need to treat. This person is not stupid by the way.
    Maybe not, but that's pretty lazy or arrogant. There are many sources of information on treatment free beekeeping, from Michael Bush's encyclopedic work to Dean and Ramona's book, and a multitude of web sites, as well as forums like this. I think a failure to do any research before trying a new endeavor is completely on the person who didn't try to find out what to do.

    Personally, I can't think of any instance in which an experienced beekeeper here recommended treatment free beekeeping and gave the impression that nothing need be done to succeed.

    Do you know of any examples of that happening?

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i want to use mite counts this year to help identify the colonies that can naturally keep the mites down. i'll use this info in part to help me decide which queens i want to graft from. the ones that have extremely high counts will be moved to an outyard, dequeened, and split up into nucs with new queens for overwintering.
    Makes sense to me.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Do you know of any examples of that happening?
    i don't. but here on beesource this past fall and winter there were many examples of first year tf beekeepers with dead hives asking why this happened.

    david raises a valid concern. you have obviously done your homework rh, but i think it is as dean suggests and i eluded to that some find it 'convenient', and others 'want things to be easy'.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    All I am saying is that if you want new bee keepers to be successful and treatment free it needs to be clearly, unavoidably, painfully clear that there is more to it than that.
    Many of us spend a great deal of time and energy doing exactly that.
    I'm not really sure how anyone can make anything "clear" under these circumstances. What you've told us is that a person read something on the internet that made them think that:
    - they are going treatment free. With one hive. And no inspections.
    ...what did they read? Did they read it accurately? Did they read it in context? Was it a reliable source?
    I'm not being defensive...this is important.
    How does the "internet treatment-free community" have the ability or "power" to make sure someone that wants to skim a bit on the internet understands everything that we think is important? Does the responsibility of the new beekeeper to learn stop after reading one post online? Are we all responsible as a "teacher" with every comment we make?
    Some have tried to provide a more comprehensive picture of treatment free beekeeping. Dee's writings are hosted here on Beesource. Kirk Webster's stuff in on his website (kirkwebster.com), Michael Bush has been maintaining his website and answering questions for years...and has it in book form. We wrote a book. I'm not sure how any of us can (or can be expected to) provide the complete picture to people that want to read a few things "on the internet". This is why we write books, articles, teach classes, give talks, etc...because these are the ways we can convey a complete picture.
    Your caller may well not have been stupid, but he/she didn't take any initiative to learn what they were doing....beyond reading something on the internet.

    That is on the people who promote treatment free bee keeping.
    Sorry, that's like saying that history teachers are responsible for Holocaust deniers posting online.
    If there is a specific source you think isn't being responsible, let's talk about it.

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

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    I'm not being defensive...this is important.
    How does the "internet treatment-free community" have the ability or "power" to make sure someone that wants to skim a bit on the internet understands everything that we think is important? Does the responsibility of the new beekeeper to learn stop after reading one post online? Are we all responsible as a "teacher" with every comment we make?
    Kind of yes. Mostly because people DO have this tendency to hear what they want to hear. In all fairness in most threads on here about TF hive losses people do chime in with "That's just part of it." So effort is being made. Real effort. Good job. Really. But make sure it isn't hidden in the fine print on the second page. Consider changing your tag lines to something like - "Treatment free involves losing hives - deal with it!" Ok, something slicker than that, but you get the point. You guys are evangelists. You have a message. It IS important. You have to make it uber clear to be successful.

  10. #30
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    Shelbyville,Indiana,USA
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Really? Just curious - How long have you been treatment free? Do you make any money from bee keeping? How many times have you had to buy bees to stay in bee keeping?

    I'm not treatment free - But I've treated no more than once a year for varroa using organic acids when needed + occasional use of essential oils which are of admittedly questionable value.

    This is my 5th year, and I started making a profit in my 3rd year. I started with one package. I've bought a few queens along the line in the interest of genetic diversity but mostly I've made my own increase and never bought any additional bees. Until this spring - turns out I didn't need them - it was kind of an impulse purchase. They are doing great on small cell foundation by the way.

    If I ever do find myself proudly supporting myself by greeting people at Wal-Mart I'll be happy to talk bees with you - just come on by.

    Unless you have something against Wal-Mart greeters? Which it sounds like you do. What's up with that?
    nice red herring there, but If one is into bees for only money, is that the right reason. but you have no real argument about anything else mentioned in my posts when it comes to treatments. More like avoid discussing how it could be the problem. I am looking for solutions. Some are set in their ways. Oh and went into winter last year with 5 hives, all came out just fine this year and are booming. When the bottom boards were cleaned this spring, the mites were dead on there. From the looks under magnification some were chewed up. And these hives were NEVER treated, ever. They do it on their own. I am not into bees to make it an income, I do it for the passion. If income does come, ok, if not, ok. I added on this year so I try new genetics. I get my thoughts and works from my experience. Try to be open minded more.

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Conventional beekeeping doesn't involve losing hives?
    I'm assuming your new tagline will be "real beekeepers don't lose hives"?

    Speaking for myself...I'm _not_ an evangelist....and I take full responsibility for everything I say.

    But make sure it isn't hidden in the fine print on the second page.
    How about pointing out where you think its hidden in the fine print on the second page? You are asking for a problem to be fixed without providing a single example of where that problem exists.

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

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Fine DeKnow - if you don't see that anything is broken, then there is no need to acknowledge that anything should be fixed. And you are probably right - people just really need to invest a little more effort to begin with. I have no problem with that. If you tattooed it on their foreheads some people would still ignore it.

    And of course all bee keepers lose hives. And my last tagline was deleted because it was "too political for Beesource" Sorry Barry. I guess it really was.

    No problems. Carry on as usual.

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by R Dewhurst View Post
    Try to be open minded more.
    I already said that I might (probably) would try treatment free in the future. Try it Again actually - by the way. I also said that I have used minimal treatments only when needed - clearly influenced by treatment free if not a complete commitment. I also mentioned that I am dabbling in small cell. Actually I have some hives that are both small cell and treatment free, just not all hives. I also breed my own queens from my best performers - is that good for anything? I didn't mention that I have also done a good bit of foundationless - but I have. I also said that I don't ever tell people NOT to go treatment free when it comes up - only to educate themselves about it. One of my goals IS to make a profit - so hang me. Other than becoming your disciple how much more open minded can I be? Seriously, you may be taking this too personally. No hard feelings here.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    i took david's original post to mean that 'step 1' is aquiring solid general beekeeping skills.

    i would wager that the greateast risk to a first year beekeeper's bees is the beekeeper.

    i agree that sustaining an apiary off treatments is doable, but it is more the end result of aquiring the skill and knowledge required to do so rather than the making of a proclamation.

    nothing wrong with rh's approach of 'if they die i'll just get more', but i wonder if a typical beginner is willing to risk their time, money, and emotional capital that way.

    without expert mentoring, i think the odds are against the beginner. having a back up plan in place to salvage a collapsing colony makes sense to me. you can always introduce new genetics and make other changes as you refine your skills. even mike bush suggested that one may have to use an organic acid while regressing to small cell.

    hey it's been awhile since we gave this a good thrashing. my hope is that it will give any first year beeks who might be reading this some food for thought.

    good thread david, political?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    good thread david, political?
    Yeah.... I don't think I'm at liberty to discuss it. But thanks for your positive input. Very much.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    no worries mate, btw was that swarm you caught the other day from one of yours?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    I already said that I might (probably) would try treatment free in the future. Try it Again actually - by the way. I also said that I have used minimal treatments only when needed - clearly influenced by treatment free if not a complete commitment. I also mentioned that I am dabbling in small cell. Actually I have some hives that are both small cell and treatment free, just not all hives. I also breed my own queens from my best performers - is that good for anything? I didn't mention that I have also done a good bit of foundationless - but I have. I also said that I don't ever tell people NOT to go treatment free when it comes up - only to educate themselves about it. One of my goals IS to make a profit - so hang me. Other than becoming your disciple how much more open minded can I be? Seriously, you may be taking this too personally. No hard feelings here.
    hey, no hard feelings here, just beating both sides of the horse. Surely there will be a way to bring balance to bees and mites again. I just feel more direction through pics of proof, and examples of how one does these things is needed.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    No it was from an unknown source - nice swarm though. Checked on them today, and they seem good, although I didn't spot the queen, but I was trying to be non-invasive. Just getting them squared away. Pretty sure they are queenright by the way they act.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    man, I would hate to see where we could take the small cell topic....

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Going Treatment Free - step 1

    Quote Originally Posted by R Dewhurst View Post
    hey, no hard feelings here, just beating both sides of the horse.
    Cool. Thanks.

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