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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    I'd like to share my experience. Started with 2 hives 2010 and treated them with formic and all the usual treatments and got 80lbs honey. Next year split to 4 hives treated in the spring with tactic. No other treatments. Thinking about going treatment free. Worried about losses. Only got 80 lbs honey. Spring 2012 all four hives bombers split to 8 treated all hives with formic. No other treatments. Got about 90 lbs honey. Disaster strikes lost 4 before the end of October. Lost the other four before the end of January. Decided to go treatment free. And bought 16 packages 2013 also bought old nasty used comb lots of disease likely hanging around in the comb. Fed each package 2 frames of honey and 1 frame of pollen. Also fed 2 gallons healthy bee formula to build their immune system. The rest drawn comb. In May split 4 of the packages and caught 1 swarm got 540 lbs of honey fed 2 more gallons of healthy bee formula. Home recipe using some essential oils. I don't consider this a treatment because it is only to stimulate the bees own immune system. One of the packages died after trying to supercede several times i have 16 strong hives going in to winter and four that might die. All in all i think it takes no time at all to be successful. As long as you know what to look for and how to do the shook swarm method for controlling all your different diseases i used the shook swarm method on three hives two built back up and are strong enough for winter. Planning on splitting up to 40 or so next year. I have been breaking even every year so far. I believe due to cost of increase. But i expect to be in full production with 400 hives in just 5 years from the time i went treatment free. I inspect my hives at least every 14 days.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    I'm impressed. You're doing great. Hope it continues.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    1. Do you seriously doubt the analysis of initial genetics + ongoing breeding, taking account of the feral vs treatment-maintained factor?

    2. Location is as you say important mostly - not entirely, but mostly - for those reasons.

    3. Would you think you could take a long-term treated apiary, shift it to a better place, stop treating, and see any kind of success?

    4. Lack of defence against varroa is due to lack of genes conferring defence behaviours. Period. Those genes have to be found somewhere, spread throughout the apiary, and maintained there.

    5. Tf beekeeping is about having mite-managing bees. They are mite-managers because they have mite-managing genes. That's it. What is your objection to that analysis?

    Mike (UK)
    1. Yes. I do not argue the genetics exist. I argue that they are not maintained or enhanced with current methods of reproduction in bees. Keep in mind I do not consider much of what I have read breeding. What breeding methods do exist are extremely weak on selection and any progress is immediately lost due to the need to rely on typical mating methods. I see evidence that little to no progress is being made regarding breeding of bees.

    2.

    3. No but that is not because I disagree with location. I disagree with the effectiveness of treatment free. In fact treatment free for the most part should not be expected to work at least in the beginning. Sounds very familiar. such as a new beekeeper should expect to loose bees as well. I see no difference in the losses of treatment free than I do traditional beekeepers. Those that are successful for the most part are those that are exceptional in many ways. I believe a person with the ability to be a successful beekeeper will be so regardless of the avenue they select to get there.

    4. I agree that Varroa resistance is genetic. as in response one. I do not agree that the preservation of those genetics is possible with current methods of breeding.

    I will offer a real example of breeding and the selection process necessary to see results.
    150,000 individuals produced. of those the vast majority will be rejected out of hand. This woudl translate to the production of 150,000 queens. Just to pick a number for now will say out of those 150,000 1000 are chosen for further evaluation. Those evaluations will consist of 8 days and over 100 pages of reports and tests. At that time those 100 reports will be evaluated by one person and may be one in ten will be selected for further breeding. This results in 100 out of 150,000 being selected. now that is an effective selection pressure. Current breeding methods for bees has no selection pressure to speak of. Still it only works if the selection criteria is correct.

    5. due to lack of selection pressure the traits will be lost faster than you can select for them. I agree resistant traits exist. I also agree non resistant traits exist. and it is the non resistant traits that prevail.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    1. Yes. I do not argue the genetics exist. I argue that they are not maintained or enhanced with current methods of reproduction in bees. Keep in mind I do not consider much of what I have read breeding. What breeding methods do exist are extremely weak on selection and any progress is immediately lost due to the need to rely on typical mating methods. I see evidence that little to no progress is being made regarding breeding of bees.
    I want to point out, first, how general this statement is. What you are saying is: ' at no place, under any circumstances is sufficient breeding pressure being bought to bear. You go on to out what you would consider to be sufficient breeding pressure, choosing a starting population of 150,000 individuals, and selecting at a rate 1:150.

    Have I got that right?

    It be fair for me to argue that:

    a) You are, again, arguing for the creation of a 'fixed' trait. You heard my argument before: in relation to defences against a predator, no such thing is possible. That isn't how nature works. Prey and predator are in a constant 'arms race', each evolving to try to maintain its advantages. Selective pressure must be maintained. The price of health is constant selection.

    b) Not all places are the same: in some location feral and/or tf beekeeping has already raised varroa resistant traits to a largely satisfactory degree. We hear, often from, and of, beekeepers who are succeeding by working with the grain of natural selection.

    c) Your figure '150,000' is arbitrary, conjoured out of thin air simply to try to give force to your argument. That won't work. Note that any resistant bees emerging from such a selection process would, if exposed to artificially maintained genes, still have to be continually selected for mite-management behaviours.

    d) All apiaries (all stock-rearing operations) must continually select to maintain health and productivity. In a tf apiary, this necessary process automatically selects the stronger mite managers.

    What you've done is defined 'breeding' by your own criteria as a highly intensive and controlled process, well out of reach of anyone but a huge dedicated breeding operation, and taking the view that anything less is pointless.

    That position isn't sustainable.

    Here is a position that _is_ sustainable:

    "The more undesirable traits are excluded from a breeding pool, the less they will appear in subsequent generations."

    That describes the underlying rationale for healthy stock-rearing, and, as a statement, its bulletproof. And it is incompatible with your statement. Only one can be true.

    It applies to all operations, anywhere, from the largest to the smallest. Of course in very small operations, due to open mating it will be difficult, and perhaps impossible to achieve - that will depend on the traits carried by local stock.

    You've set up a straw man - the notion that only high intensity breeding will produce worthwhile results, and then used that as the premise for your justification. It won't wash. Low level systematic selective propagation can - and must - be regarded as a breeding activity; and like all breeding will make progress according to the quality of input stock and the skill of the breeder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    5. due to lack of selection pressure the traits will be lost faster than you can select for them. I agree resistant traits exist. I also agree non resistant traits exist. and it is the non resistant traits that prevail.
    Its up to you to ensure that selective pressure is bought to bear. That's the skill part. Find a good spot and build a mating station. Inadequate resistance will only prevail only to the extent that you do your job poorly.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    Mike, First of all you say "at no place, under any circumstances is sufficient breeding pressure being bought to bear." I said "Keep in mind I do not consider much of what I have read breeding." Hardly absolute as you have chosen to interpret it.

    It is not what I consider adequate selection pressure. It is actual numbers from a proven breeding program. It results in a selection pressure of 1 out of 1,500 by the way or 0.0015.

    In you comment (b) You are very correct. Even the program I took these numbers from are highly location dependent. It has been attempted in other locations without success repeatedly.

    (c) no they are not they are actual numbers from an actual breeding program that has been under way for over 25 years repeatedly producing results that where considered impossible. You are correct that if selection pressure is not maintained regression is extremely fast. You can never stop selecting and you can never not be effective in the selection. Such a program is dependent on the skill of the individual doing the selection. It is also only one person that does that final selection. Many others do the initial thinning and collection of data.

    (d) that something is difficult to achieve does not alter what is necessary. Basically what you are claiming is that breeding will only happen effectively if it is easy enough. So what if it is not? Do we just continue to accept less than adequate breeding? So far that is what I see has been chosen.

    In all your opinion is actually the one unreliable and based on assumption and making things up out of thin air. what I have described has and still is actually happening.

    Before you start saying then provide links. let me pint out that such a request only reveals vast ignorance on the subject. such things are obviously held with great secrecy and will remain so. Learn what they learned know what they know and you will be capable of doing the same.

    I will say that the program I describe is ran by Dr. Whiting of Whiting farms. You are free to do any searching you can find. And by the way. the program is expensive to start. it is also tremendously profitable. a marriage I believe is critical unless you have government funding.

    None of this discussion has addressed the fixing of traits. So to point out that non fixed traits will deteriorate is pretty much a given. What I have described is just what is done to make progress toward a given trait. It is not a complete process to maintain or fix those traits once they are developed. That is more of an issue of cross or out breeding.

    This method produces results that could be mistaken as mutations. When in fact it is nothing more than coaxing forth genetics that have always been present but dominated by other traits. For example hygienic behavior in bees. It is also conducted on a species that is highly fluid and responsive to selection. which is also how the honeybee is described.

    The Honey bee has some unique genetics that could very well introduce difficulties.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Mike, First of all you say "at no place, under any circumstances is sufficient breeding pressure being bought to bear." I said "Keep in mind I do not consider much of what I have read breeding." Hardly absolute as you have chosen to interpret it.
    Daniel,

    You've just re-asserted your basic position, which amounts to the same thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    It is not what I consider adequate selection pressure. It is actual numbers from a proven breeding program. It results in a selection pressure of 1 out of 1,500 by the way or 0.0015.

    I will say that the program I describe is ran by Dr. Whiting of Whiting farms. You are free to do any searching you can find. And by the way. the program is expensive to start. it is also tremendously profitable. a marriage I believe is critical unless you have government funding.
    You're basing your view on a report from a single outfit? BTW the search: " "Dr. Whiting" "Whiting farms", bees " turns up nothing. Perhaps you can offer links or other details that would enable verification?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Before you start saying then provide links. let me pint out that such a request only reveals vast ignorance on the subject. such things are obviously held with great secrecy and will remain so.
    Ahh. That's why I find nothing. I'm sure I am vastly ignorant, but... Ruttner had no qualms about making his processes public. Nor did R.O.B Manley. And from what they (and many other sources) tell me, my vast ignorance is widely shared. Also, my knowledge works.

    Basic husbandry, raising desirable traits is simple and effective in honeybees. The only thing making it difficult just now is endemic treating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Learn what they learned know what they know and you will be capable of doing the same.
    I can read, and speak with others doing the same effective simple procedures - procedures that are universally known to be necessary to any animal populations. Its called 'husbandry', and simple selective breeding is its central plank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    In you comment (b) You are very correct. Even the program I took these numbers from are highly location dependent. It has been attempted in other locations without success repeatedly.

    (c) no they are not they are actual numbers from an actual breeding program that has been under way for over 25 years repeatedly producing results that where considered impossible.
    This is the top secret operation that we can have no access to?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    You are correct that if selection pressure is not maintained regression is extremely fast.
    Regressions to what is an illuminating question. Regression to a thriving, if low productivity feral state is less undesirable than regression to an utterly beekeeper-dependent state as a result of outbreeding with treated populations. Its the removal of selection pressure caused by treating that is the main obstacle. Reletive isolation and determined breeding is the counter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    You can never stop selecting and you can never not be effective in the selection. Such a program is dependent on the skill of the individual doing the selection. It is also only one person that does that final selection. Many others do the initial thinning and collection of data.
    You are talking about your vast breeding program again, while I'm talking about basic husbandry. The same principles apply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    (d) that something is difficult to achieve does not alter what is necessary. Basically what you are claiming is that breeding will only happen effectively if it is easy enough.
    I don't think that's the case. I'm saying that all selective propagation, at any scale is 'breeding' and, asssuming a reasonable level of skill, that it will always raise desirable traits above what they would have been had it not occurred. There are circumstances in which it will be largely ineffective - being overwhelmed by artificially-supported stock being the only one I can think of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    So what if it is not? Do we just continue to accept less than adequate breeding? So far that is what I see has been chosen.
    That's not 'inadequate'. Its performing its task. And nothing further would be especially helpful, because any 'superbee' resulting from your massive top-secret program will be outcrossing in every generation (so the same continuous selective breeding remains necessary - as you have agreed.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    In all your opinion is actually the one unreliable and based on assumption and making things up out of thin air. what I have described has and still is actually happening.
    My opinions are based on wide reading about the simple fundamentals of traditional husbandry - themselves a mirror a natural selection. Yours are based on evidence you can't present, and a determination to deny the efficacy of simple breeding that denies all reason.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 11-12-2013 at 02:38 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Michael Bush - Immediate success on small cell foundation.

    Actually on fully drawn small cell comb (wax dipped PermaComb). Foundation is a different matter altogether.
    Sorry I misunderstood. Do you know of anyone who has been able to reproduce that result using permacomb? It seems that there was at least one study of small cell that did not seem to result in successful treatment free - but if they just used SC foundation, then it wasn't really apples to apples was it?
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    Henry Hoffman eventually agreed to a deal with Thomas Whiting of Colorado. Tom was then finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas, and also had an M.S. degree from the University of Georgia and a B.S. degree from Colorado State University, always specializing in his particular areas of interest - poultry genetics and husbandry.

    I offer that in regard to my comment about knowing what he knows. as far as links. I got over 20 pages of hits for whiting farm. as far as I can tell most of them are relevant. I have not seen the detail of information on his program in the past three years as I did previous to that. My impression is that Dr Whiting did not believe he had to keep his methods secret because even if they where known they could not be repeated. The publishing of the details may have proven him wrong. I suspect that the detailed information has largely been removed since then. It may be that it has simply faded into the background of the vast internet as well. Most of what I find now I consider largely of a promotional hype nature. More of it is accurate than might be expected though.

    I did find this. it is not as detailed as some articles I have written in the past and much of it is not entirely accurate. As an example near the bottom of the first page it says that selection pressure is 0.2%. This would be true for female but pressure is far higher for males. Also the information is out dated. Whiting now has Utlra Platinum grade hackle and progress is much further advanced than this article indicates.

    Also Dr. Whiting's involvement in Genetic hackle predates his purchase of Hoffman farms in 1997. IT was his efforts in genetic hackle that lead to the purchase. The article indicates that Whiting had a further reaching knowledge of available blood lines at the time of that purchase. The disaster of the first year was more the result of drastic changes being made rather than mismanagement. The story that birds actually attacked each other is promoted by animal activists. The birds are kept in separate cages. They can and will damage their own feathers and Whiting himself has made comments as to the accuracy of their timing in doing so. alterations to the design of their cages where made after that first year.

    Anyway I can go on adding details to this forever and that is not my point. the point is that drastic progress has been proven to work. Notice also the comment about Mepps haphazard breeding practices producing inconsistent results. Mepps was considered king of the hill at that time with those methods. Much the way I see the leading queen producers now.

    http://cgtu.org/documents/publicatio...tic_hackle.pdf
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  9. #49

    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    How long did it take for the Beeweawer to be tf?
    Has their method been something like Bond -type?
    Even they cannot even dream of 150 000 individuals, but I agree that breeding is a "numbers game" (quote from the Whiting web site).


    quote from the Beeweawer site:
    BeeWeaver was the first commercial beekeeper to stop treating hives with chemicals to control varroa mites. We believed the mite would build up a resistance to the acaricides used by beekeepers to kill them, and we would be forced again and again to use stronger chemicals in our hives if we did not build a stronger bee instead. Beginning in 1995 we started leaving hives untreated for varroa mites and only used surviving colonies as our breeder stock. Beginning in 2001 we stopped using any kind of treatment for varroa mites in our thousands of colonies. Our chemical free hives produce booming populations and extraordinary honey crops. Commercial, sideliner, and hobbyist beekeepers have enjoyed the same results in their hives headed by BeeWeaver genetics.

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    Good question. I am surprised that someone hasn't already chimed in with something like "I had immediate success by starting with treatment free BeeWeaver queens..."

    Anyone?
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    Daniel, you have to be kidding?


    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Anyway I can go on adding details to this forever
    I think you'd better have a re-think.

    Mike
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  12. #52

    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    It seems that there was at least one study of small cell that did not seem to result in successful treatment free - but if they just used SC foundation, then it wasn't really apples to apples was it?
    There have been some of each. I believe that the Seeley study used permacomb.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    David: I don't know if you have seen Danny Weaver's videos in which he give a brief history of the going treatment free process. He says that the first year (1992) they went treatment free they used 1000 colonies in the Bond yard. Less than 100 of those colonies survived the first winter, of the survivors only 50 were productive that spring. Out of that 50 there were only 5 colonies that produced progeny that showed better tolerance to varroa than the founding generation.

    They restocked the bond yard using queens from colonies that survived and by 1995 they had sufficient numbers of colonies surviving that they started selecting for grooming, removal of infested brood and low mite populations in addition to pure surviving. During the time period 1995 to 1999 colonies that had DWV died even without having high varroa populations. They re-queened heavily infested colonies and any with DWV, this saved them and were able to restore some productivity. By 1999 most of non treated colonies survived but still had low productivity, late build up, small fall/winter adult bee populations and increased EFB.

    By 2002 the colonies were back to pre-varroa productivity. Mr. Weaver said you could use their bees in a non treatment program or any of the other VSH bees.

    10 years and the investment of a thousand colonies to develop a varroa tolerant bee is more than most beekeepers can afford, and I am sure that if there had been a faster method to achieve the goal of treatment free, the Weavers would have used it. He was also open and above board about his bees having African genes in their make up. I didn't note the amount, but I think it was about 10%.

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    I haven't seen those videos, but it sounds like great work. The question is how do they work out in customer operations in other locations?

    Anybody have them?

    Even if you had to exclusively requeen from a particular source (VSH, Minn Hygenic, B Weaver, whatever) to maintain survivability I would consider that to be OK if the resultant colonies could be reasonably productive without treatments - as long as you could source the queens to do it. It might be less than ideal, but still...

    It would also be nice if they weren't too vicious.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    All behives in the world in varroa areas are included in the selection of resistans, more or less. Treatment is a weapon which will work until some old or new pest finds a way to get back. TF, ecept for selecting bees whith resistans, would also select for less damaging varroa. Nature selects for survival of the species. Dead hives in the winter also means a genetic dead end for varroa in that hive.( and unfortunatly maybe financial death of the beekeeper..). Less agressive varroa, less lethal virus can also be a thought . It will be decades until we are good again ( and a new threat comes?)
    Treat to save the bees and the beekeeping bussiness but dont treat to much with shortsighted bottom figure only( even if its hard-for me too- im no Bill Gates..). Kirk webster, mike palmer, keyfuss, mel dissekoen, mikel bush and others diffrent ways and levels must be a part of our planning for survival as beekeepers. Big or small.
    GMO, pestices, herbicides , whatevercides must also be reduced .
    Its global hard work. We need to keep going. Marla Spivaks talk at TED is for our custumers. They must be a part of the solution. More important than politicans.

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    Welcome to Beesource, and thanks for your input.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    good thread david. i'm also interested in how weaver's queens performed in other locations, hopefully we'll get some reports from those who have used them.

    because of the demands of the day job along with the weather not cooperating on my free days i did not get a chance to get mite counts on my tf colonies this fall. what i can say is that their numbers and hive weights are looking good at this point, and i have eight apparently healthy nucs in reserve for 'spares'.

    welcome to beesource bjorn!
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    I believe SteveG uses one of the Weaver's queen lines as the basis of his TF bees. I stood near his hives, and was not attacked, but did not work any of his hives. My argument with him has been that it is more profitable to breed TF bees from a productive stock, than it is to breed productive bees from a TF stock. Production makes money while the TF genes build.


    Crazy Roland

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    David: I don't know if you have seen Danny Weaver's videos in which he give a brief history of the going treatment free process.
    Its worth noting; in 1992 there had probably no movement toward resistance in any feral populations - they were almost wiped out and the survivors badly hobbled and getting through only by frequent swarming. And Weavers were, as far as I know, working entiurely with treated stock. They were starting from nothing, and learning as they went.

    The situation is very different now. Both bred and feral resistant material is available. You don't have to reinvent the wheel.

    To address the original question, as Roland has just pointed out (sort of) there is a difference between raising resistance in already productive stock and raising productivity in already resistant stock; and the path taken will impact on the time it takes to reach productive tf. Bought bred productive resistant stock are one way to cheat that problem, but then you might benefit from taking local acclimatisation and attunement into account, especially in more extreme locations.

    Whatever the case, unless you want keep buying queens (assuming they relocate well), it will be necessary to keep on breeding to maintain resistance and productivity. That needs a reasonable number of hives, and good methodology. Since I can't buy resistant queens of any kind that's the bit that interests me.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Treatment Free - How long does it take?

    BeeWeaver open mates Italian/Buckfast queens with the 'Hybrid Swarm' found in Texas.

    So, they're taking advantage of Hybrid Vigor.

    However, after 20 years, I believe that that are a significant number of resistant feral colonies here in the U.S. .

    So, there is a free source of resistant bees, and you have a good chance of obtaining resistant stock ASAP.

    I don't believe that it's a matter of productivity, but more of domestication.

    They're 'runny' for example, but not difficult to manage.

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