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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
    Posts
    532

    Default resistant bees or management techniques

    With all the talk on whether treatment free beekeeping is a reality and with all the threads I've read on the TF forum I have one question/observation.

    I think there is a big difference between being treatment free and attributing any success to resistant bees as opposed to it being from management practices, primarily splitting colonies.

    I believe that it's quite feasible to be TF as long as I split like crazy to keep mite numbers down and make up losses.

    I believe its a different story if I don't split my bees heavily and rely on resistant genetics to be the saviour of the day.

    I would like to know how many TF beekeepers don't split heavily? by this I mean in a usual season if we had to split a hive we would split it once so a double brood chamber hive becomes two single brood chamber hives.

    Many hives don't get split at all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,211

    Default Re: resistant bees or management techniques

    I have used no treatments at all since 2005. My bees are healthy and productive. I tried small cell and did not see a significant difference. I tried resistant genetics and I saw a world of difference. If you get genetically resistant bees, you can totally ignore varroa because they are no longer a problem. The only way to find varroa in my colonies is to search drone brood in late summer and even then, it will be one or at most two, never a reproducing population. This is best explained by varroa drifting into my colonies from other beekeepers in the area who treat their bees.

    I continue to use small cell foundation and frames because I see other advantages in the hive. I have narrow frames with 11 frames to a deep brood chamber. The combination of narrow frames and small cell foundation gives a colony the potential to develop incredibly fast in early spring.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,271

    Default Re: resistant bees or management techniques

    Frazzledfozzle; I don't believe that even the best of genetics can over ride the lack of management by the beekeeper, the two must go together to be successful.

    When I actively manage my bees winter losses are nil, when I have done no summer/fall work the losses are 40%. When no colonies are split they usually swarm after the varroa build to the point where the colony has over a 20-30 natural mite fall in 24 hours. Nature is doing the beekeepers work for him, usually with the loss of the swarm. Now most of my colonies are dropping 50+, I am having swarms, and an increase in hive beetles, which usually follows the varroa increase. Splitting off nucs and requeening now is the thing I should do but my health is such right now that it will not be done.

    The colonies I have now are establised colonies entering their 3rd fall/winter with no teatments, but I am not sure what the outcome will be next spring unless they are treated. I can treat and will have 3 or 4% loss or I can do nothing and take a chance on 40% loss. It is easier for me to treat, I will have bees that will survive the winter in good condition, and next year I can requeen with young hygienic queens. Then I can start another cycle of reduced/no treatments, being a hobby beekeeper I am able to play with my bees, I don't have to make a living with them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: resistant bees or management techniques

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    I would like to know how many TF beekeepers don't split heavily? by this I mean in a usual season if we had to split a hive we would split it once so a double brood chamber hive becomes two single brood chamber hives.
    By the definition you have here, I have not done that in years.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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