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  1. #1

    Default 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Had a lady introduce herself at the farmer’s market yesterday. I am ….well was….a beekeeper. I started six hives last year and they all failed this year. I don’t know what happened to ‘em.
    Mites? asks I.
    Nope she says. They all started from bees I got from a fellow who only keeps ferals…so they were resistant.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    They all started from bees I got from a fellow who only keeps ferals…so they were resistant.
    Well I don't think there are VARROA resistant bees I think you have bees that can keep the mites in check but not a lot.
    The only honey bees I ever saw where I live are mine. I think most the problems with bees on my level {hobbist} is VARROA and ya have to learn how to deal with them. Wonder if she will buy more bee off the same fellow I would but I would never think they don't have mites have to watch your mite loads or you will be buying bees every year. Well got to head to my bee yards and do my 2nd treatment with oxalic acid vaporizing my bees are not resistant but maybe one day.
    But they are healthy and happy and I got honey.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    "...Nope she says. They all started from bees I got from a fellow who only keeps ferals…so they were resistant...."

    I find that anyone who is that dead certain about anything concerning bees is in for a rude awaking ...
    If they persist long enough and through enough failures.
    I find many with that attitude would rather give up beekeeping than admit just how little they know....and usually find some excuse like not enough time or too many farmers with sprayers.
    This goes double for those with the superior attitude about "their " particular strain of bees.
    It seems that beekeeping is particularly attractive to a certain mindset that are sure with a "fresh " look they can be better beekeepers than you or I and "fix" the decline of bees.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  4. #4

    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    People do a cutout or collect a swarm hanging from a tree limb and automatically assume it is mite resistant. Without having the faintest idea of its origins. Was that cutout colony a result last year’s managed bee swarm? That tree limb swarm from this year’s? How long have they been ‘treatment free’?
    Then the swarm/cutout collector refuses to test them for actual mite ‘resistance’…as that somehow goes against their philosophy. But they have no reluctance to sell them to a new (and sometimes embarrassingly experienced) beekeeper with the claim of resistance.
    The seller weaves a desireable story…they’ve discovered the holy grail of beekeeping…bees needing no mite treatments….and what beekeeper, new or old, wouldn’t want to believe it?
    And how many new beekeepers fall by the wayside after buying a bottle of that snake oil?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  5. #5

    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Quote Originally Posted by mike haney View Post
    attractive to a certain mindset that are sure with a "fresh " look they can be better beekeepers than you or I and "fix" the decline of bees.
    Heaven knows we see plenty of that here on Beesource. First year...or second year...beekeepers proclaiming to have all the answers to the challenges that beekeepers have been facing for decades.
    Another form of snake oil, I suppose. They've read the preachings of some and concluded, totally on faith, that those sermons are absolute gospel. I guess we often embrace that which we find desirable...regardless of reality.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Resistant!! I can not believe Resistant maybe able to tolerate mites better than average. I have gathered feral colonies that consistently have lower mite counts, but never mite free.

    I can recall a time when almost anyone who had a mind to could keep bees successfully. It really took little in the way of management, a lot of hobbyists never even worried about swarm management. In the 70s and 80 life was pretty good for a Beekeeper.
    But Those days are long gone. although tracheal mites are not the problem they once where. the Varroa and associated viruses still plague our bees! Management of the mite load is paramount. Weather you consider yourself a natural Beekeeper, Treatment free, or what ever Every Beekeeper must agree that Varroa mites are one problem that bears close scrutiny in every hive. regardless or where they come from

  7. #7

    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    Treatment free, or what ever Every Beekeeper must agree that Varroa mites are one problem that bears close scrutiny in every hive. regardless or where they come from
    While I agree....sadly, let me assure you that this opinion is not universal.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    Every Beekeeper must agree that Varroa mites are one problem that bears close scrutiny
    Well said TB.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    I would say the real problem are not the guillible backyard keepers, but the "guru's" who have turned their pet theories into a marketing scheme. A constant round of lectures and presentations like some revival ministry.

    I think those are folks that should be sued for mal-practice.

    They tend to whine about academics not taking them seriously, but science is evidence-based and not a religious movement.

  10. #10
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    brownwood, TX, USA
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    "I guess we often embrace that which we find desirable...regardless of reality."

    My observations have led me to believe the above statement is mostly true. I think beekeepers as a majority, tend to band together with like minded beekeepers. We have among us the harsh chemical people that think bombing them is the immediate answer, then there is the soft chemical (using natures own chemicals) to kill them, then there is the change the queen out more often, the answer is small cells, no it's let them make their own cells. no it's ....................

    Tending bees is like selecting a doctor. You just shop around until you find someone that has an idea that YOU think sounds better.

    In the end, the bees will prevail and so will we.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Sustainable permaculture is a mainstream movement in the real world.

    It's not surprising that it is being applied to beekeeping.

    Nor am I surprised that it's advocates are being characterized as being part of 'The Medicine Show'.

    However, as more resistant feral colonies are returning to the environment, it is becoming more and more apparent that sustainable beekeeping isn't snake oil, but is in fact happening today.

    I think we were fortunate to have 'Gurus' who were advocating for this type of beekeeping because they've already laid down the groundwork for a new type of beekeeping that may one day soon become the norm.

  12. #12

    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    "guru's" who have turned their pet theories into a marketing scheme. A constant round of lectures and presentations like some revival ministry.
    Sometimes the same one's who'll lambast any scientific study and accuse the researchers of dishonesty.....exclaiming 'follow the money'. At the same time promoting their own books or paid speaking.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  13. #13

    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Quote Originally Posted by lazy shooter View Post
    You just shop around until you find someone that has an idea that YOU think sounds better.
    Or worse yet...choosing one whose bedside manner you like...ignoring every other red flag that might be waving.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    There's plenty of science demonstrating that there are in fact Varroa resistant Honeybees being used by beekeepers.

    75% VSH and EHB/AHB hybrids in Brazil, for example.

    There are also numerous groups of beekeepers who are successfully using resistant stocks of Honeybees.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    I am so glad that when I started keeping bees, I was just wingin' it! I lived in a rural area, so all the books at the library were from the 50s and 60s , with none of this doom and gloom or self righteous stuff. Of course it promoted TF, before there was such a thing, simply because they didn't have the problems we have nowadays.

    I guess I was lucky to have to early success that I did, considering my naiveté... but it also allowed me to develop my ideas based on observations and not what other people were saying.

    It's important for people to have gurus but so much of beekeeping is about timing, observation and seasonal locality that there is only so much satellite advice you can take seriously. I think it is also very instrumental in your first few years of beekeeping to not pay for anything, it helps you except losses without feeling like you were really put out.

  16. #16

    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    with none of this doom and gloom or self righteous stuff.
    I’d like to think that I don’t preach gloom and doom….so I assume you aren’t referring to me. My objection is to those who preach a Pollyanna view to new beekeepers.
    You refer to accepting losses. The lady I spoke to at the farmer’s market had been sold a false ‘bill of goods’…and therefore was unprepared to accept any losses. And I find that frustrating as I regularly hear the fallout from such.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    That's a 'Buyer Beware' issue.

    No, all swarms most certainly aren't feral or resistant.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    I’d like to think that I don’t preach gloom and doom….so I assume you aren’t referring to me. My objection is to those who preach a Pollyanna view to new beekeepers.
    Oh no, I'm not referring to anything going on in here, but some of the pervasive tones around beekeeping. It seems like it's either, 'put em' in a box and they'll live forever'... or 'lions and tigers and mites, Oh My! Don't even consider TF!' HAHA

  19. #19
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    Jul 2013
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    Surrey, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Had a lady introduce herself at the farmer’s market yesterday. I am ….well was….a beekeeper. I started six hives last year and they all failed this year. I don’t know what happened to ‘em.
    Mites? asks I.
    Nope she says. They all started from bees I got from a fellow who only keeps ferals…so they were resistant.
    So what is the point of this post ?

    Are you saying the woman is an idiot ?

    The seller was a crook ?

    "Mite resistant" does not mean "mite proof".

    Do you know for a fact it was mites ?

    What can we learn from this post ?

    Inquiring minds need to know.

  20. #20
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    May 2013
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    Default Re: 21st century beekeeping snake oil

    Take the middle road and be open to your experiences...

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