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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Forrest: I agree totally, it is just lucky for those species that humans aren't micromanaging them hindering their natural abilities to adapt and respond to the rigors of life on earth. You know.... Bees doing what honey bees have done as a species on since becoming a species.
    Jason Bruns
    LetMBee.com YouTube

  2. #62
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Saltybee, I would appreciate no grandstanding on a sentence that has nothing to do with what you're saying. There's a name, and that name isn't your name, therefore the post isn't for you. If you're going to treat your bees and advocate others to the same, you're going to get some friction in the Treatment-Free Beekeeping Forum.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #63
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    I do not at all advocate treating my bees, I do confess to it. The only bee I want is a TF bee. That is just not the bees I have yet. Or the dead bees I had. It is the bee I will have before I am broke. (I hope).
    Stratling the fence as I am now is a short term solution at best. That I know.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  4. #64
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    would you agree that consistently low loss rates (lower than treated) would indicate that there isn't a problem? Is that not the best best and ultimate method of testing?
    No it's a misnomer, or at least, it's not the full picture.

    Survivability is the first, and nessecary step. But to me, speaking as someone who is in business, success cannot be claimed until a persons bees are self sustaining.

    IE, the bees should at the least pay for themselves, and far me anyway I expect them to make a decent return on investment. If you have to keep pouring money into your bees, the bees are a money pit, and are not self sustaining. You could be equally well off to keep beetles or farm ants. There's no point.

    I draw attention to this to illustrate the futility of saying that because the bees survive, mites are not a problem. A person who no longer treats can now claim to be treatment free. But if they do not test, have no idea what effect mites are having, and the bees have not been self sustaining, then logically they cannot rule out mites as a problem. To me live or die as the sole criterion for success makes no sense.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #65
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Dan, would you agree that consistently low loss rates (lower than treated) would indicate that there isn't a problem? Is that not the best best and ultimate method of testing?
    different people count losses different ways. Unless everyone counts them the same, the comparisons are irrelevant. I see "ovewrwintering losses" talked about a lot, not "total losses". If you are to compare losses you must compare yearly losses,not overwintering losses. And you have to define what a loss is. I think reality gets buried in miscommunication and comparing apples to oranges in the vast majority of these discussions.

  6. #66
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Yes that happens a lot.

    However just read my last post and didn't want to sound offensive to those among treatment free beekeepers who are good friends.

    So want to add as an adjunct to the post that I know (or at least assume), that there are treatment free beekeepers who are financially sustainable.

    The point I tried to make is that simply to say a hive survived, is not to say that mites did not have an effect on it. IE, survival alone is not the ultimate test to see if mites are still a problem.

    Really, there likely is no ultimate test as there are variables. Mite counting tells something but not everything. Running treated hives alongside non treated could also be revealing. But a definitive answer nobody would argue with would be hard to come by.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #67
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Now we're debating the definition of "loss?" Really?

    How exactly are we supposed to compare yearly losses? The reason why overwintering rate is used is because of the fluid nature of hive numbers throughout the year. Is a lost hive while I have 25 more valuable than one lost while I have 50? Do you want me to count the ones that I've sold that die too? What about mating nucs? Does it have to have a mated queen? What if the queen gets eaten by a dragon fly? What if the hive gets knocked over by a rogue trampoline?

    No, thanks.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #68
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    You may be, I'm not debating the definition of loss at all.

    The current subject is the effect of mites on bees, in other ways than just losses.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #69
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    even though your treated and untreated were not side by side oldtimer, i think it would be fair to assume that most of the variables were somewhat controlled for, i.e. same beekeeper, same weather, same forage, ect.

    you report 100% loss of the tf colonies, what about your treated ones?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #70
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    Oct 2009
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    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    I am not debating anything. Management style determines when your losses occur and how you count them. Comparing overwintering losses from different management styles is not a valid method of determining viability of one style over another.

    I would imagine a rogue tramploline is a viable loss for treatment fee. Those bees Should have been able to withstand it, or been prepared for it, or smart enough to not build next to it. They weren't, so they failed the survivor test.

    Treatment free is great, and I hope everyone eventually gets to that point, but there are a lot of dead bees between here and there, some treated, some not.

    Cheers,

  11. #71
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    you report 100% loss of the tf colonies, what about your treated ones?
    Of the treated hives losses are low, but if I speak in terms of specifics I can get accused of lying etc..

    However my main point was just that if a hive survives, that does not necessarily mean that mites are not affecting it at all. It's possible, but cannot be used as the ultimate measuring stick.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #72
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Of the treated hives losses are low, but if I speak in terms of specifics I can get accused of lying etc..

    However my main point was just that if a hive survives, that does not necessarily mean that mites are not affecting it at all. It's possible, but cannot be used as the ultimate measuring stick.
    There should be a comparison study made of the monetary value of surplus honey produced by treated vs treatment free hives. Subtract the cost of materials & labor of treatments of the treated hives. That would seem to be a good comparitive measure.

  13. #73
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    It's been done.

    But yes, it would be interesting for hives of someone like say, Solomon or Michael Bush to be run against some treated commercial hives. I suspect I already know what the result would be, but doubt it would be accepted on some grounds or another.

    But please just take that as a statement of what I think would happen. It does not mean I do not support the treatment free movement, I do.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #74
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    EDIT - somehow posted in the wrong thread.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 07-29-2013 at 10:12 PM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #75
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    It's been done.

    .
    What were the results and do you know where we could see it?

  16. #76
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    I suspect I already know what the result would be, but doubt it would be accepted on some grounds or another.

    .

    If the result would be the opposite of what you suspect, don't you think it would also not "be accepted on some grounds or another"?

  17. #77
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Adam, I think you are doing great and are exceptionally well prepared and well situated to be successful in the long term. I hope you'll find as I have that after the first few years, the work done to make up the losses will diminish rapidly. Then you can focus on refining what you have, working for every beekeeper's goal of gentle productive hives. Keep working at it, and keep doing what you're doing.
    Sol, I appreciate you taking the time to share the encouragement. It matters. Especially in these early days - it does. Thanks.

    Oldtimer said :

    "Survivability is the first, and nessecary step. But to me, speaking as someone who is in business, success cannot be claimed until a persons bees are self sustaining.

    IE, the bees should at the least pay for themselves, and far me anyway I expect them to make a decent return on investment. If you have to keep pouring money into your bees, the bees are a money pit, and are not self sustaining. You could be equally well off to keep beetles or farm ants. There's no point."


    Oldtimer, I agree wholeheartedly on this point, and have made similar statements in other threads. I haven't treated in 15 months. I went into winter with 11 hives and came out with 8. A 27% loss (I think). Not bad in the big picture, and based on "surviving", things looked good. But compared to a good friend up here who did treat with formic, his hives in the spring were night and day compared to mine. While mine were alive, his were exploding.

    Coupled with a slow spring, it meant he went from 28 to 52 colonies, sold about 20 nucs and will still harvest a good amount of honey. I dwindled to 5 or 6. I'm now at 18, all due to collecting swarms and doing cut-outs. Of the 11 I went into winter with last year, 5 made it through to now. So that's about 45% surviving over the year, and their health is good - but not great.

    By the end of the season, I'll have put in about as much work as my friend, but will have half the hives, and a fraction of the income to show for it.

    That said, I'm not giving up on my treatment free goals. But key to the equation is that treatment free bees are my central goal. I'm a designer for a living, and reaching a sustainable apiary without mite treatments is a passion. And that makes a big difference to what is "feasible".

    Adam

  18. #78
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    That said, I'm not giving up on my treatment free goals.
    Well said, and I'm not giving up on mine either.

    Heaflaw I can see what you are saying, but it's not my original point, which was that just because a hive is alive, does not mean mites are not effecting it.

    Not really sure how to put it any plainer. The other things about comparative trials etc is something I did not even want to get into as it only causes resentment while it's only being discussed in theory. The reality is a hive with no mites has an advantage over a hive with mites. To me, that's reality. Which is not to say that trying to achieve resistant bees is a bad thing.

    I don't think a person has to be put in a box that is "all in", or "all out".
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  19. #79
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Oldtimer, I agree with you. Adam just said that he accepts getting less honey and money in exchange for being treatment free and I am sure I would get more honey if I treated. Mites are effecting our hives negatively-there is no doubt about it, for most of us anyway. Our treatment free beekeeping is based on the faith and logic that beekeeeping will eventually be sustainable and profitable without treatments. We also believe that by continuing to remain treatment free that each of us will be a part of that solution.
    I think that is the basis of what people like Marla Spivak are doing: developing mite resistant strains and encouraging beekeepers to use them.

    I also completely agree that someone should not be labeled all in or all out. I think we have made it seem that way by too much arguing. In the end it all comes down to what "works" anyway.
    Last edited by heaflaw; 07-29-2013 at 10:09 PM. Reason: getting sleepy and need to proofread

  20. #80
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Well said, and I'm not giving up on mine either...

    I'm glad, as I respect your intelligence and your apparent interest in getting to "the nut-and-bolts" of things. I wonder if you have a plan for next steps in your efforts toward treatment free bees, as I am interested in what you are thinking, planning and experimenting with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    The reality is a hive with no mites has an advantage over a hive with mites. To me, that's reality...
    True - to a point. And in that I mean that we don't presently (I believe) have a ton of bees around "with no mites". The treated bees are relieved of a certain number of mites, in an effort to find a balance that allows them to perform to our standards for production. The non-treated bees are left with mites in an effort to find a balance that allows them to perform to our standards for production. The key difference is of course is that treating allows you to find a balance right now, and the not treating will likely take considerably longer. But pretty much all of the bees are living with mites.

    A hive without mites (if it existed) would have a temporary advantage, but one tied to the absence of mites. An absence which I think we can all agree would be temporary at best. So it remains dependent on the removal of them from beyond its own abilities. In that sense, that colony is at a disadvantage. It needs a crutch.

    The hive with the mites has to deal with them, that is immediately a disadvantage, as it is a challenge. But if that challenge is overcome, the colony is stronger for having done so. And once that test is passed, the natural presence of the mite could be seen as an advantage.

    This of course is the crux of the whole issue, and I know you're aware of that. It is also core to the philosophies of Kirk Webster - "mite as blessing." Clearly, a hive which has mites at a manageable level without outside assistance is truly the one with the greatest advantage.


    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    I don't think a person has to be put in a box that is "all in", or "all out".
    No, I don't think you do either. Weaver did a scaled approach and phased it in. I've been thinking about it, but I'm not ready to try it. I think if I did, I would move to a lot of drone culling and re-queening of colonies I didn't see as strong enough. My biggest concern in a partial-treatment approach is that the strongest colonies produce the most drones. If I'm artificially creating strength through treatments, then I would be working toward minimizing the genetic contributions of those treated colonies.

    Adam

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