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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Default Confused

    So, as a new beekeeper trying to find my way...
    Treatment free means NO treatment right? Or does it include powdered sugar shakes and essential oils and such?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    Default Re: Confused

    While you need to decide for yourself what treatment free means for you, this forum has settled on a definition of treatment free. Under the forum rules powdered sugar shakes and essential oils are treatments.

    "The users of this forum have decided to agree on a single definition for "Treatment-Free Beekeeping" for the sake of context in posts and threads in this forum.

    Treatment: A substance introduced by the beekeeper into the hive with the intent of killing, repelling, or inhibiting a pest or disease afflicting the bees."

    No one is holding a gun to your head to follow this definition. But you should read the sticky post to see what the special forum rules are. http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...nique-Forum-Ru
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Default Re: Confused

    Agreed, that is the definition here, but decide for yourself what your management philosophy will be. If you want to be treatment free, be prepared for colonies to fail. It is not as simple as not treating bees, and collecting honey.

    I think this is a great thread to read.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...nt-Free-step-1
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  4. #4
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Confused

    As mentioned, the forum definition is for the forum. It is not a national standard or a law or rule or anything. It is for here. If I say I keep bees treatment-free, that means I do not use any of the things listed in the Unique Forum Rules. Many people do dip in to the softer treatments. I on the other hand go the other way. I don't use any of the manipulation or management methods either. That's my definition. It fits the forum definition perfectly but goes beyond it as well.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Confused

    Quote Originally Posted by RiodeLobo View Post
    If you want to be treatment free, be prepared for colonies to fail. I think this is a great thread to read.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...nt-Free-step-1
    I really find statements like this frustrating. Replace "treatment free" with "a beekeeper" and this statement is also true. The options aren't:

    1) treat and all of your colonies will survive

    or

    2) don't treat and all of your colonies will die

    It would be fair to say that nearly all of the members of my local beekeeping club treat. The club averaged ~50% losses by the April meeting.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Confused

    National surveys show that using known varroa control products results only 7 fewer colony losses per 100.

    All beekeepers have colonies that fail. The data shows that TF beekeepers lose a few more, but the differences are surprisingly small.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Montpelier, VT
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    Default Re: Confused

    Thanks everyone - wish I had read the rules for the forum first which would have answered my question - but the wisdom of you all is much better anyway .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Confused

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    I really find statements like this frustrating. Replace "treatment free" with "a beekeeper" and this statement is also true. The options aren't:

    1) treat and all of your colonies will survive

    or

    2) don't treat and all of your colonies will die

    It would be fair to say that nearly all of the members of my local beekeeping club treat. The club averaged ~50% losses by the April meeting.
    This is a classic example of a false dichotomy. In my local club, everyone treats. They still had high losses-- some folks lost most of their hives. And that's here in subtropical Florida, where it didn't even freeze this winter.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Confused

    It would be much better stated and accurate by removing the word "all".

    The idea very commonly passed around is that by treating, you remove the possibility of bees dying of disease. And if you don't treat, your bees will die. The data shows that if you treat, some of your bees will die. If you don't treat, some of your bees will die. If you have a small number of hives, you risk a greater probability that all or most of your bees will die in any single winter.

    If you have good genetics, good conditions, and a good beekeeper, chances are very few of your colonies will die.

    If you have bad genetics, poor conditions, and a novice beekeeper, the probability increases correspondingly that you will lose hives in substantial proportions. It is for these reasons why I suggest catching local swarms and buying local nucs to start down the good genetics path. Set up your hives and manage in ways that do not frustrate the bees to help with conditions. And I humbly offer my advice and apiaries to anyone who would ask or visit to learn, to help beekeepers get practiced and mature in their skills.

    There is no such thing as luck. There is chance and skill. Chance is what happens to you that is out of your control. Skill is how you've prepared and what you do with it.

    In my college days, I said it this way: Chance is the questions on the exam. Skill is the number of answers you have.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Baker Oregon
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    Default Re: Confused

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    I really find statements like this frustrating. Replace "treatment free" with "a beekeeper" and this statement is also true. The options aren't:

    1) treat and all of your colonies will survive

    or

    2) don't treat and all of your colonies will die

    It would be fair to say that nearly all of the members of my local beekeeping club treat. The club averaged ~50% losses by the April meeting.
    Ok, than be frustrated, but your interpretation was not what I intended. I did not say that all of the colonies would fail. I did say that there will be failures. It is common to hear so and so say they have been TX free for X number of years and have lost no colonies. It was certainly the impression I got when first starting out. While that may happen, I think it is the minority.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Confused

    Quote Originally Posted by RiodeLobo View Post
    Ok, than be frustrated, but your interpretation was not what I intended. I did not say that all of the colonies would fail. I did say that there will be failures. It is common to hear so and so say they have been TX free for X number of years and have lost no colonies. It was certainly the impression I got when first starting out. While that may happen, I think it is the minority.
    I hear you, but I only see this discouraging sentiment expressed towards people intending to go tx free. It is not expressed in the same way towards other beginners. All beekeepers lose colonies for many reasons.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: Confused

    Quote Originally Posted by RiodeLobo View Post
    Ok, than be frustrated, but your interpretation was not what I intended. I did not say that all of the colonies would fail. I did say that there will be failures. It is common to hear so and so say they have been TX free for X number of years and have lost no colonies. It was certainly the impression I got when first starting out. While that may happen, I think it is the minority.
    I got an entirely different impression from my reading, but I did a whole lot it. I learned that if I went treatment free, I would very likely lose my initial colonies, especially if my colonies had poor genetics (non-local, treated packages, etc.) If I want to have bees next year, I have to plan for and expect these losses.

    I'm planning to make a nuc from my stronger hive soon, and hope to make another from the other before the summer is out. Of course, none of that is a guarantee that I'll have bees next year, but the brood break should help.

    There is some unrealistic promotion of treatment free beekeeping, but I suppose there's even more promotion of the idea that if you just follow all the treatment regimens that conventional beekeepers prescribe, your colonies will survive.

    The way I think about it is this: how long can we go on trying to treat the symptoms of unhealthy bees successfully? The treatment free route is not easy, but I see little evidence that the other path is truly sustainable.

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