Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 23
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Am I doing a stupid thing?

    This year I have made up my mind to go absolutely treatment free. It is probably stupid of me to do this, but I'm tired of constantly treating my bees like a sick calf. If I have to treat my bees with so many chemicals all of the time then feed them hundreds of dollars in sugar because they weren't able to store enough nectar to survive the winter then I'm not cut out to be a beekeeper. I have 20 hives and what I come through the winter with will be what I build from next year. They will survive without treatment or die, but the bees I have, if any will be survivor bees. I do have 5 hives of feral bees and they seem much more hardy than my other bees. I have high hopes for them. I also have 4 hives that I bought as packages this spring from Wolf Creek Bees of Centerville, TN. and their bees are suppose to be treatment free. If I get through the winter with half (10 hives) my bees I'll be happy. Am I being stupid, or are there others that feel as I do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    883

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    I'm not gonna be popular, but here goes anyhow: Your 5 feral hives and your 4 Wolf Creek hives should be able to make it on their own. But I don't think it is fair to expect hives from packages that have been treated for generations to suddenly, magically be able to survive without treatments. You might as well pour gas on them and light a match right now.

    My advice would be to sell those hives now to someone who is willing to treat, and come spring, split your feral/Wolf Creek hives. Then I would raise queens from these survivors and start my treatment-free yard from them.

    Like I said, that's probably not gonna be the popular position on here, but I do think it is the decent thing to do.

    As always, JMO


    Rusty

    Edited to add: Alternately I would nurse the treated bees through yet another winter and requeen them with resistant stock in the spring. Or with your own queens from your own survivor stock. But I would definitely not just waste them by not treating.
    Last edited by Rusty Hills Farm; 09-18-2013 at 12:29 PM.
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    I probably should have added, my other hives have been requeened with 4 Russian, 2 Yugo and 5 home grown queens. I started culling out my southern raised Italian queens earlier this year.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    I think you will be pleasantly surprised how your survivor bees will do. Did you treat this year, are you going cold turkey?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    883

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill91143 View Post
    I probably should have added, my other hives have been requeened with 4 Russian, 2 Yugo and 5 home grown queens. I started culling out my southern raised Italian queens earlier this year.
    That's a different kettle of fish entirely!



    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,791

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    >Am I being stupid, or are there others that feel as I do?

    I meet people who made that same decision all the time.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Bay City, MI 48706
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    Ok if your bees are on small cell or foundationless you will be ok.

    my bees would die in the second winter with out small cell.

    My bees are know in there 5 th year no treatments no feeding.

    Also clean frams and wax.

    Thies are production colones. no planed brood break.

    if on large cell plan on regressing

    read this
    http://bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Fl
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    I would suggest a middle of the road approach. If you take too much honey from them, feed them in the fall,, they would have been fine if you hadn't robbed them.
    Don't treat them during the year, but do mite counts and treat once in the fall, where the counts suggest you should. So you feed and treat only where required, and all the work is in the fall when it's COOL.... 95 here today... I hate hot weather. Good luck, make sure you update the board come spring with your results.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    I have switched some of my hives to small cell. As I add new foundation I add small cell. John at Wolf Creek talked me into changing to small cell. I never realized it had that much to do with bee survival, but it sounds like a lot of people think so. I know John said it actually causes the bees to emerge sooner screwing up the mite's hatching time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robbin View Post
    I would suggest a middle of the road approach. If you take too much honey from them, feed them in the fall,, they would have been fine if you hadn't robbed them.
    Don't treat them during the year, but do mite counts and treat once in the fall, where the counts suggest you should. So you feed and treat only where required, and all the work is in the fall when it's COOL.... 95 here today... I hate hot weather. Good luck, make sure you update the board come spring with your results.
    I didn't rob to much as I haven't taken any honey this year. My plan is to start harvesting honey in the early spring when most of the winter is over with. That way they will have made it through most of the winter and it will be much easier to know how much to leave them to make it to spring flow. In my old age I'm starting to think differently about a lot of things.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    Note that Wolf Creek bees aren't strictly treatment free. John Seaborn advocates organic treatments including essential oils and powdered sugar for mites.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,756

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    Bill I don't think what you are talking about is stupid at all. You clearly understand the potential consequences and are prepared to deal with them. Your bees and your location are much different from mine. If you were to say "ferals" around here I'd laugh at you - but ferals in your location are probably a different bee altogether. Best wishes for successful outcomes!
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  13. #13

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    As has been pointed out, it sounds like a decision based on knowledge of the risks..
    I would encourage you to test for mites. That way, if they fail, you won’t wonder if mites were a factor. And…if they survive and thrive you’ll have a sense of what mite load they can tolerate.
    The real test will be in two to three years
    I hope you’ll report back then.
    Good luck
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    . Your bees and your location are much different from mine. If you were to say "ferals" around here I'd laugh at you - but ferals in your location are probably a different bee altogether. Best wishes for successful outcomes!
    The feral bees here probably aren't much different than anywhere else. They're just someone's domestic bees gone wild, but the ones I have, have survived at least one winter on their own, and one of my hives was in the walls of an old house for 3 years.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Platteville, WI
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    I like your decision. I too am treatment free. Will colonies be lost? Sure. Is it written in stone? Nope. I have yet to see evidence of CCD personally. Be generous to your bees by leaving them LOTS of honey. Take some, but leave LOTS. Sugar isn't honey... it isn't the same to us and it isn't the same to them.

    Treating for one bug or two bugs which are believed to cause harm will also impact the 30 other bugs in the hive that do not seem to cause harm, but no one has found benefit for... and that isn't even getting down to the micro-level. Even packages can survive if we allow them to - no help needed. I like yor choice. Stay the course.
    "Life will find a way - it always finds a way." -Jurassic Park (MOVIE/BOOK)
    USDA Zone 5a

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,317

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    Bill:

    Sustainable beekeeping is a worthwhile goal in and of itself. The same goes for organic beekeeping.

    However, I wouldn't discount the value of hives started from local ferals by way of trapouts/cutouts.

    Nor would I discount the value of ferals for making hybrids when open mating queens.

    Resistance genetics is more likely to come from feral sources IMO.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,382

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    Our ferals are definitely ferals. They have a multitude of genetic influences. I have a hive of them currently on it's 4th year with no treatments and very little feeding at all. Great bees, except they are a tad hot (but not too terribly bad - they have never stung me, just a ton of head-butters). Make a lot of honey too. They overwinter very well at 8000', which is one of my main concerns. If you were running a big commercial operation with hundreds of hives of them, I can see how they might be annoying to work with, because they do have some wild habits.

    I have no plans to requeen them and mostly use them for their survivor drones for breeding with my other hives. Raising and breeding bees in a mountain valley environment is unique, as my bees hardly leave the canyon they are placed in, so breeding influences can be controlled pretty well.

    Bill, hopefully your bees work out as well as mine have.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,005

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    Not crazy at all I made this decision before I started with one caveate I did feed this yr simply for the fact that I started with 1 package and 1 nuc after our main flow was over and split them heavily and now have 7 hives to go into winter with to increase my odds any that die out will have combs frozen and used for survivor splits next yr to give them a leg up

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,370

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill91143 View Post
    I probably should have added, my other hives have been requeened with 4 Russian, 2 Yugo and 5 home grown queens. I started culling out my southern raised Italian queens earlier this year.
    I think this is a wise hedge against total loss. I made the mistake of using all "tx free" queens from one source when I started. It was a total failure, 7/8 lost in their second winter. My plan is to take what honey I think leaves plenty for the winter, feed what I need to, and raise or replace queens that will not produce and split to make up for the losses. If you have a hive that is a dud, combine it back into another or split it into nucs for the next season. Since feral bees in my area are a rarity I have to rely on imported queens as a starting point. This time around I have a combination of 2 "resistant" queen breeders and home grown queens.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    Default Re: Am I doing a stupid thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by RiodeLobo View Post
    It was a total failure, 7/8 lost in their second winter.
    Did you split them? Any sort of increase at all?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads