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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Nomadland, NY, USA
    Posts
    157

    Default CCD? Try heavy feeding and a mite treatment.

    I see arguments between beekeepers who shouldn't bee arguing.

    Number one. If you don't take care of mites the bees will succumb, some sooner some later. Good enough.

    But now we have this strange situation where experienced beekeepers are saying pesticides are killing their hives and others are responding with, "I feed heavy and got no problems," as if the later disproves the former.

    If anything the later adds credence to the former. Basic biology. Bees are going to store that nice clean feed in their bodies by raising brood and in ther combs, both of which would dilute or replace the toxins. Basic biology.

    IMO. No commercial beekeeper worth his salt will say that pesticides have no impact on bee health. If you listen you're more likely to hear something like, "..sure pesticides might be impacting our bees but we had great hives in almonds. The difference? We keep mites down and feed 8 pounds of sub and 5 gallons of syrup a hive." But I read somewhere that even Mr. Jarrett "drives right past" pollination opportunities post almonds to go to nice clean bee pasture farther north.

    If you find a beekeeper who wants to throw out the pesticide discussion altogether you're probably looking at somebody who a.) sells bee food and doesnt care why it works so long as it makes them money b.) doesn't understand the biology of how feeding mitigates losses to pesticides or c.) is here to muddy the waters for more insidious reasons (read, "paid poster")

    As for those in group A. Well done. You have helped a lot of beekeepers. But realize that your sub does more than provide missing nutrients, it replaces toxic food as well. Don't worry, if you'll tell the whole truth beekeepers are still going buy your sub, heck, more of us will probably use it..
    As for those in group B. Now that you have a new frame of reference please reconsider railing against your fellow beekeepers whose losses to pesticides are quite real. It reminds me of the old story, "we played for you but you wouldn't dance".
    I'm going to ignore group c for now as I am quite sure they will speak for themselves.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,104

    Default Re: CCD? Try heavy feeding and a mite treatment.

    Interesting read. Well thought out and written.

    I don't know what the guys who are experiencing these losse3s are doing differently from those who are not. But, how much does it have to do w/ location and how the bees are used?

    I pollinate two different crops, blueberries in NC and Apples in NY, and then my bees go into their Summer locations until it is time to ready them for their trip back south to SC in the Fall. I haven't experienced what others in NY have. I also believe that some folks use the same hives to pollinate more and different crops in NY. Perhaps that is too much for the colonies to take. Cultivated crops as their primary pollen source and numerous moves. We all know that trucking bees has detrimental effects to a greater or lesser degree.

    One beekeeper I know concentrates on the things he can address. Mites, nosema, disease and starvation. Run strong, well fed colonies and keep the varroa knocked down and things should be fine.

    Unless you get sprayed I guess. Which should be documentable and prosecutable. But, I understand it isn't oft times.
    Last edited by sqkcrk; 05-05-2013 at 07:31 AM.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,374

    Default Re: CCD? Try heavy feeding and a mite treatment.

    Your quite correct, no beekeeper worth his salt would dismiss the pesticide issue. We have battled them for years. The 70's were hell for our operation with lots and lots of pesticide kills. I'm sure not here to muddy the water, we keep thousands of hives in areas dominated by row crops and up to this point haven't seen the losses others have suffered. Interestingly enough I fed no sub last year (and I count Keith as a friend and very successful beekeeper) nor have I put any other chemicals in my hives for years with the notable exceptions of thymol and oxalic late in the summer post honey harvest. I am not sure what category that puts me in but I think my experiences are at least as valuable as the next guys.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: CCD? Try heavy feeding and a mite treatment.

    Speaking strictly as a PhD Biologist and not as an experienced beekeeper, I'd say that the extensive bee loses people are experiencing are a complex problem. Trucking bees is probably quite disrupting, almond pollen is KNOWN to be nutritionally inadequate as is blueberry pollen, and the amounts of pesticide known to accumulate in beehives is going to have an impact on bee health. It's not going to be easy to tease out the exact cause (or more likely, combination of causes) for massive bee loss, particularly when some operators have problems and others don't.

    My personal evaluation of the information I have (limited, of course, and without extensive beekeeping experience) is that the health of the bees is a significant factor, probably only second in importance to mite levels. If the bees don't have adequate amounts and quality of protein in the fall when winter bees are being raised, the hives will be much more likely to die out over the winter, irreguardless of other conditions. Poor development, weak bees, inadequate protein stores, or inadequate numbers due to mite predation will result in small clusters with excessive bee death in late fall and early winter, hence deadouts later.

    In adequate fall feeding on colonies stripped of honey will also cause trouble, and HCFS just isn't the same as honey -- all you gotta do is taste it to tell that. I suspect the lack of essential oils and other substances from plants and the low processing requirements of HFCS or sugar syrup result in "honey" that isn't as good for the bees as honey they have processed themselves. Far better than no food in the hive when it's cold, but honey is better, and the information I've acquired is that beeks that leave honey tend to have better survival than beeks that feed HFCS. Very hard to tell, this is an intuitive judgement, not a rigorous scientific determination and would be somewhat difficult to test adequately.

    My last comment is about breeding and genetics. The commercial beekeeper in my area (about 2 miles away) no longer buys queens except from an old beekeeper a few miles away who raises local queens. He has come to the conclusion that too many commercial queen breeders are breeding for high brood production for migratory beekeepers who always do multiple splits in the spring and need large bee numbers for pollination services. Those queens work great for that, always raise large amounts of brood, but they are both being fed up in spring and fall, and don't shut down brood raising anywhere near fast enough for this area. I suspect this is what happened to my first hive -- the queen kept laying in a serious dearth and they ate all their winter stores before mid September and I didn't realize how much I needed to feed to get them into proper shape. No protein left for winter brood either, and while they actually made it to spring, there weren't enough bees to do more than stuff the hive with spring pollen and raise a marvelous batch of wax moths.

    On the other hand, I cannot tell you how many people I know who have tried beekeeping and then quit because the dumped a package into a hive an left them to fend for themselves, then were disappointed when there was no honey in the fall and no bees in the spring. Inadequate attention to the bees will often result in dead hives, they aren't magical creatures who will prosper no matter what happens! I wonder if some of those large operations that have extensive losses are hiring untrained low wage workers who "manage" the hives by rote?

    Peter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,374

    Default Re: CCD? Try heavy feeding and a mite treatment.

    Nice post Peter. We raise all our own queens as do many other (But certainly not all) large operators. I consider it a crucial element in being a successful beekeeper.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Nomadland, NY, USA
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: CCD? Try heavy feeding and a mite treatment.

    Hey Jim,

    You wrote this morning in the "rethinking nutrition" thread, "Well I do a lot of feeding and I, in fact, have quite a few hives that have derived as much as 90% of their carbohydrates from corn syrup since last fall."

    You mentioned above that you didn't feed sub but did not mention the syrup. Yum.

    So IMO this year you fed em heavy, which is fine, and probably helped your stocks overcome and dilute any pesticides they picked-up.

    I can only think of two reasons to feed that heavy, and again both are going to support the original post. Either:

    a.) You harvested most of the honey in the fall (read removed toxic food) in order to feed back "clean" feed. Or b.) You're making a ton of nucs for sale or increase which would also remove, dilute and disperse the effects of pesticide exposure through the subsequent selling, splitting and heavy feeding you'd be doing to keep them alive and growing.

    I'm fine with both of these things.

    What I don't get is how beekeepers can even argue about whether or not these new insecticides are killing insects?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,176

    Default Re: CCD? Try heavy feeding and a mite treatment.

    Quote Originally Posted by sylus p View Post
    What I don't get is how beekeepers.......?
    Ah, hang in there mate, you will get use to it.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Nomadland, NY, USA
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: CCD? Try heavy feeding and a mite treatment.

    bump

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Fertile, MN
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: CCD? Try heavy feeding and a mite treatment.

    resources, young queen, and no mites = almonds = strong hive = healthy
    Tanner Christianson - Woodside Honey LLC

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