Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com
Yup, I tried overwintering single hive body nucs last year with middling success. This year I grafted queens and now I'm up to my eyeballs in nucs! Wouldn't bother me if a few didn't make it as I'm not sure how I'm going to have enough hardware for spring... not a bad problem to have, as bee problems go. Good luck with yours!
I guess I was wondering how old the nucs were that cam lost to mites?
Wake me up! I'm on page 2 and nobodies yelling.
4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.
I will tell you this, and this is from my experience and from the experience of persons I know personally. Starting treatment-free from packages is very difficult, especially if you're starting with packages not from your climate. That's the reality. I don't want to hide this from you or anyone else. I'm speaking from experience, treatment-free is much more difficult with bees not acclimatized to your area.
My big problem was/is self inflicted. Trying to do a Tbh and two Langs. I tried to many things the first year. TB, foundation variations, constant inspections, switching out of the TB, Screened Bottom Boards, Bug traps, feeding without knowing when/why, grease patties, making fondant. Get the picture. Everybody preaches, well almost everybody, work! and you can fly! Well M. Bush is right on at least one thing IMO, "Everything works if you will let it". Anyway,I will try a little neglect this year.
Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.
Also, Solomon, don't get too angry with me, I only brought you up because you are one of the beekeeping community I listen to. Your website was wonderfully informative on your philosophy for beginning. However, it is my opinion that you had made a bit a mean remark regarding Randy but I'm not going to dredge up history and turn this into a silly argument match. Its never nice for the newbeeks like myself when the Beekeeping parents fight.
Also thanks for everyone else posting
Last edited by Gus979; 09-02-2013 at 04:45 PM.
Gus I thought I was the only one with that color of GREEN!!!!
PS- purity boxes!
It's like this. I don't use the words "I think." I just say whatever it is that's on my mind, no equivocation and no name calling. My friends appreciate that, the few that I have. They know I'll never lie to them. They know I won't tell them everything's gonna be okay when it's not. Maybe that doesn't work well in text and feelings get hurt. I'm the one here telling people thinking about treatment-free beekeeping to expect it to fail and plan accordingly. That's the realism in treatment-free beekeeping. It's the real I seek to promote.
I share directly from my experience. If you want it, I am always available. If you don't, then pleasant travails to you.
Here's the reality as I see it Gus. You're off to a good start, but you need more bees. I realize your plight. I feel for you. Michael Bush was in decades as a beekeeper before he did the modern treatment-free thing. So with all due respect, he hasn't really been there. I started in 2003. There weren't any fancy "resistant" bees available to me then. It is for people like you that I have done the work I have, the website, the blog, the Facebook page, it's for the beginners. I've seen my friends bees fail right in front of me when they didn't take my advice and throw their hands up and forget the whole thing. I don't want to see any more of that.
So I want to know what you think you're being sold that isn't true, because that's not the sort of thing I sell.
Mr. Parker, I'm going to jump in here because Gus and I have two things in common. He has green painted hives and were both new!
I don't think that you are trying to sell me something that isn't true (I suspect Gus feels the same way). But to us new beekeeper's (from my point of view) the beekeeping community or beekeepers in general live in some other dimensional reality that have so many versions of truth that we just get lost!
I'm pretty lucky I'm old enough that this ain't my first rodeo. A lifetime ago I listened all the cattle farmers went to the auction and bought 12 drop calves. Two weeks later I had two left. Half a lifetime ago we raised hogs with an average birth weight of 2 pounds. This time it only took me three years to get the average birth weight the 5 pounds and premier sire all other breeds.
What I'm trying to get to is not a single one of us invented bees! I'll appreciate every little bit of knowledge I can get from you or anyone else. I may not show my appreciation the way you expect to see it, but I truly am thankful even if I forget to tell you so sometimes.
I for one am going to try to encourage someone like Gus. Like you I'm not going to try to sell him something that isn't true. If nothing else the guy has some pretty bee boxes. If you don't believe me just look at the link he posted. https://www.dropbox.com/s/48cxkutyw6...902_173903.jpg
and to both you and Gus who cares who Randy is? IMHO
Last edited by Barry; 09-03-2013 at 06:49 AM. Reason: language
very cold with lots of ice and snow. Not many flying days and small clusters didn't make it.
They are pretty.
That's why I pick the car, my wife picks the color. We have teamwork like that.
I like the mediums.
>When you have a winter like I did and all your hives die, you'll start treating I bet.
Between emails and bee conferences I meet and talk with a lot of beekeepers. The ones who treated and all their bees died, have mostly quit treating. The ones who did not treat and all their bees died, now treat religiously even thought they continue to die. The golden age of beekeeping is over. Back in the 70s I could put a package of bees in a hive and the only real challenge was keeping them from swarming. That is no longer true.
The comparison to finding a doctor was brought up in another thread. This is actually a very good one. Reality is that you need to find a doctor who shares your world view if you are going to come up with acceptable solutions for your own health.
Most of this issue isn't just whether it works or not. In reality you'll find most people, if they are paying attention and tweaking things, can make a system work. The problem is if they are not paying attention or have no faith in the solution, they can also allow that same system to fail. So a lot of making something work is your attitude and actions because of those attitudes. Helplessness is not a productive attitude. Sometimes, of course, colonies die no matter what you do or don't do. That's just life. But in the long run you need to find a system that works for you. A lot of it working for you is whether it fits your view of the world. If it fits your view of the world you can figure out how, using your world view, to tweak things. If it does not then the conflict of your world view (which shapes how you think) with the system you are attempting to use, will probably frustrate you and you will have problems figuring out how to adjust.
A lot of beekeeping is an art. You have to adjust things to this year, to this flow, to your climate, to the current state of this hive. It's not just do x on this date and y on this date. Most things in beekeeping are judgement calls. It takes experience to develop that judgement.
I am certainly not against feedback to see if what you are doing is working. Counting mites and tracking their ups and downs is helpful in understanding what is going on in your hives. I counted religiously when I first discovered Varroa and continued until had trouble finding any to count. But certainly if you have doubts about the state of your hive, there is nothing wrong with measurements.
>Michael Bush was in decades as a beekeeper before he did the modern treatment-free thing.
I'm not sure I understand this statement. But to clarify here is my complete history of treating:
1974 used Terramycin because the books scared me into thinking they would die without.
1975-1999 no treatments whatsoever but lost them all in 1998 and 1999 to Varroa
2000-2001 used Apistan for Varroa. In 2001 they all died from Varroa anyway
2002-2003 used Oxalic acid on some of them, FGMO on some, wintergreen oil on some and nothing on some of them also started regressed to small cell.
2004-present no treatments whatsoever
So the only 3 years ALL of my bees were treated for anything were 1974, 2000, 2001.
The only 5 years ANY of my bees were treated for anything would add years 2002, 2003
The 35 years that NONE of my bees were treated for ANYTHING were: 1975,1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
It would have been a lot simpler to explain if I had simply never treated for anything... but I got desperate and it didn't help anyway...
Michael Bush - thanks for that. The simple anecdote that someone did/didn't treat and then their bees died simply is not enough information to draw a conclusion from. If you use the wrong treatment in the wrong way at the wrong time - your bees will almost surely die. Same thing goes for bad husbandry without treating. Everyone needs to learn and understand the system that they choose to use - whatever it may be.
Well, if you want 'realism' in treatment free beekeeping...
I find that the best information is coming out of the South Western U.S. .
The information out of New Mexico and Texas has the best support for resistant stock that I can find in the scientific literature.
For all intents and purposes, they actually have resistant feral Honeybees out there.