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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    OK, so I've been treatment free for a while and its becoming apparent that something needs to change. Most of my hives get through the first year, but in the second year they die out. Example - I had six hives this year. Two of them were survivors from last year and four of them are new this year. This fall the two year old hives collapsed. One week they are full of bees and looking healthy a week or two later they are gone, with very few dead in the hive. (This happened in late October in Oregon where the temps have been freezing at night)

    Both of the two year old hives were from "survivor" stock. One was a nuk purchased at Old Sol and the other was a split from a local hive that has been around for a number of years. I simply cannot get a hive into year three, no matter how what I do. The hives had excellent stores and I even fed pollen patties (from Mann Lake) just to help out. (first time I have done that)

    I have no doubt the bees are leaving because of high mite loads but since I don't treat with chemicals I'm not sure what I can do. My hives are made up of a mixture of small cell boards and foundationless frames.

    Open to suggestions as I'm very near going back to treating my bees with a miticide.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,018

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    NO!! Don't do that. Who's gonna buy nucs or packages.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,018

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    What would you charge to apply it for me?
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    I tried to delete my post and it wont allow me. I know your being constructive but I thought I would find a little more help from serious beekeepers. My mistake.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    2,360

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by whalers View Post
    I tried to delete my post and it wont allow me. I know your being constructive but I thought I would find a little more help from serious beekeepers. My mistake.
    I'm sorry you feel that way, if you re-read my post on OA treatment, it was a constructive post..........
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the Varrox OA Vaporizer,
    "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    snl, my comment was not directed at you. The part that states "I know your being constructive" was directed specifically at you. I would enjoy knowing more about Oxalic acid as I'm weighing my options about how to treat my bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    2,360

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by whalers View Post
    I would enjoy knowing more about Oxalic acid as I'm weighing my options about how to treat my bees.
    As reported in this thread, look at Randy Oliver's site scientificbeeking.com. You'll find lots of good information on OA there.
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the Varrox OA Vaporizer,
    "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ashe, N.C. USA
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    I too tried to post and it wouldn't print, so again I will just offer this tid bit....have you tried HopGuard treatment? It is made from the hops plant, and so far so good the times I have used it. There are several threads to read up on it the pro and cons. It is chemical free from what I have read. Good luck!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,018

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by whalers View Post
    I tried to delete my post and it wont allow me. I know your being constructive but I thought I would find a little more help from serious beekeepers. My mistake.
    Okay, since you probably don't want to treat, you can raise queens from the ones that survive and split the strong colony(ies) using those queens. When they all die, which they might, do what you did to get the ones you have and start over again.

    Maybe someone who doesn't treat will have a better idea for you. Best wishes.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    You sound like you are at the crossroad that Oldtimer and many others (including me) find themselve at. No loss in the desire to be TF but realising the direct aproach is not going to get it done. The purist may believe that 1 or 2 treatments a year makes no progress towards a bee that can survive TF in a specific location. Maybe true, but a dead bee makes no progress either.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Most of my hives get through the first year, but in the second year they die out.
    It seems you could have the answer already. Why not rejuvenate your colonies after the 1st of July so that you're not fighting the second year syndrome.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Treatment Free suffers from the "survivor testament" effect.

    In human cancer there have been a succession of miraculous quackery promoted through the breathless "testaments" of [temporarily] surviving patients. Unfortunately, those patients that succumb cannot promote their experience, leaving only those experiencing spontaneous remission (for whatever reason) to report success.

    TF Beekeeping is parallel -- hundreds of wishful beekeepers attempt this cure, and most experience the very same symptom you report - dead-out in the second year. Discouraged, they under-report their failure. Novices move on to another hobby and are never heard from again. This constant winnowing means only the "successes" are reported, and completely skews the perception of efficacy.

    To my knowledge, there are no "treatment free" advocates that have set up side-by-side controlled experiments of whatever design to test their various (contradictory) theories. I am no TF advocate, but I have endeavored to develop as controlled a side-by-side test apiary as possible. My results, over a decade, show that TF in coastal California is not viable. I use the wild swarm>isolated small apiary model.

    The various academic studies which have attempted to include a TF protocol have the same result -- virtual complete extinction of the TF cohort. The advocates complain of design flaws in these studies, but have attempted none of their own.

    Anecdote is not Evidence. Serious researchers of cancer have had to cope with this source of false information for decades, and beekeepers should exercise the same skepticism.

    It appears from their self-testments that successful TF keepers exist using various methods in various regions of the country. I read their various accounts with an eye to detecting commonalities (which are often at odds with their own self-description).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,747

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    whalers,

    sorry to hear about your bees. i haven't been at this very long but i'm starting to see that being able to keep bees successfully off treatments varies by location. i believe that quality of forage and presence of mite tolerant feral colonies may be the most important factors.

    it could be that if you keep at it you might end up with mite tolerant bees. you'll have to make the call whether or not your commitment to not using chemicals is more important that suffering losses along the way.

    i have been lucky so far in that my colonies are surviving and producing well off treatments. this is not by design as i didn't know anything about mites when i first started, and i did not deliberately set out to be treatment free. that i ended up not using treatments is from a combination of ignorance and/or laziness.

    during my first winter with bees, i read everything i could get my hands on about beekeeping. in my opinion the best information out there on the subject is put out by randy oliver. what he has to say about using an integrated pest management approach makes a lot of sense, and may be a way for you to get to where you are trying to go without spending too much time and resources.

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/

    good luck.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,140

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Are you making yearly increase to try to compensate for losses and to improve your genetics? Six hives may (probably) not be enough to be easily sustainable. Are you trying to bring in new improved or complementary genetics?

    Furthermore what do you hope to achieve?
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Are you making yearly increase to try to compensate for losses and to improve your genetics? Six hives may (probably) not be enough to be easily sustainable. Are you trying to bring in new improved or complementary genetics?

    Furthermore what do you hope to achieve?
    Yes I have been bringing in improved/complementary genetics. Its what led to my frustration this year. One hive that made it through last year was from "survivor" bee stock. After making it through a heavy mite year last year I thought I had something. Now they are gone. Also a split from a local beeks hive that has been around for years did not make it. Just some examples. Bottom line, I'm NOT making yearly increases. I do not know how to raise queens and am just getting to the point of being comfortable (kind of) of trying to take a split. Whats the best way to take a split? What ever hives make it through the winter I am going to want to split this spring. Just not sure of how to do it. Thanks for your help.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,018

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    Don't need your money now........... collecting SS! Besides, are you not using OA in a dribble as CK?
    No. Am not up to speed.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Jasper, Texas, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Studies are a messy bunch of data. Sometimes(always) comparing apples to oranges. You can not tease out head-to-head comparison data from a survey that didn't do a head-to-head trial. It's just not there.

    Here is your proof

    Divide a yard in 1/2. Work the hives the same except....treat one side when the mites get high. Don't ever treat the other half for mites.

    It's simple, easy, and cheap. No skill involved. Definite results. Local relevance.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by ryan View Post
    Studies are a messy bunch of data. Sometimes(always) comparing apples to oranges. You can not tease out head-to-head comparison data from a survey that didn't do a head-to-head trial. It's just not there.

    Here is your proof

    Divide a yard in 1/2. Work the hives the same except....treat one side when the mites get high. Don't ever treat the other half for mites.

    It's simple, easy, and cheap. No skill involved. Definite results. Local relevance.
    I think this might be a good trial for those who believe in the efficacy of mite treatment, as well as those who don't, but I don't see many of those who have faith in treatments risking half their bees just to prove they're right. Same would probably be true for most who have succeeded without treatment.

    Actually, I don't think it would be as simple and clear as that. In my yard, there are 6 different lines of bees. How would I pick which ones to treat, and which to leave untreated? Talk about apples and oranges. Plus, in a small yard, so many other factors come into play-- supercedure, swarming, nectar management-- apart from the variation in genetics that you'd get from even two hives, unless each queen was artificially inseminated and genetically identical.

    The survey collected data from southern beekeepers who treated, and from those who did not, and found no significant difference in winter survival rates between the two management practices. I'm just not seeing the apples and oranges here.

    I'm trying to put this in context. I've been warned hundreds of times in the last year here on BeeSource, that if I don't treat, all my bees will die. If I don't treat, I'm a naive fool, a self-deluded hipster, a fuzzy-minded follower of moronic mythology. I've read articles in respected bee journals that told me that if I did not treat, I was a bee abuser, and did not deserve to keep bees.

    And then I read a survey of hundreds of beekeepers that informs me that it didn't make any difference, at least for southern beekeepers.

    Imagine my annoyance.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,224

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Here is your proof

    Divide a yard in 1/2. Work the hives the same except....treat one side when the mites get high. Don't ever treat the other half for mites.

    It's simple, easy, and cheap. No skill involved. Definite results. Local relevance.
    This would not work. When one group of colonies becomes overwhelmed with mites, they will dwindle, then the healthy bees will rob out the dying colonies and in the process bring huge loads of mites home. The end result is a whole yard dead. If you want to do this, you will have to separate the bees far enough to avoid robbing.
    DarJones - 45 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,140

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    This would not work. When one group of colonies becomes overwhelmed with mites, they will dwindle, then the healthy bees will rob out the dying colonies and in the process bring huge loads of mites home. The end result is a whole yard dead. If you want to do this, you will have to separate the bees far enough to avoid robbing.
    It could work if you monitored fastidiously and treated any hive that became excessively infested before it was too weakened - and of course moving them into the treatment group at least until they were requeened with TF genetics. Using robber screens on all hives would also help. And you would want to use TF genetics in all hives as well I think.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

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