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  1. #201
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I've wondered about that theory. I watched a video with Mel, and he seems to feel that the great effect of a brood break is that when brooding resumes, too many mites will infest each larva and they will starve before emerging. At least that was what I understood him to be saying.

    Why would you make your brood break right after the main flow? Wouldn't you get more honey if you did it during the main flow, so that you would have more foragers (not having to mind brood) until the hive requeens itself?

    That is Mels principle, and during or just after the main flow is good, as long as your main flow is not early. Mel really suggest the split be made after the summer solstice (June 21) his theory is that the queen lays better , I agree it does work better, but I believe it has more to do with the number of mite cycles rather than the virility of the queen. The principle does work to reduce mites, but thats all. then your stuck with either trying to winter nucs, or recombining hives into winter. Not all of us want to or can do either.

    I have had fair success with brood breaks. but they will not get you to a 2nd year hive surviving.

  2. #202
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Ok I've got another thought. . . What if you make them hopelessly queenless by removing the queen and few frames as you menitoned, then once they've started queen cells go through and destroy them all and wait another week. Then put in a frame of eggs and a week later when they have queen cells and capped brood on that frame take it out and freeze it at the same time as giving them a ripe cell? This may take care of that queen issue as well as capped brood that's needing to emmerge. What do you all think? It may not be good because those weeks may cause the hive to be too weak after that.

  3. #203
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    At this point, I would be happy to just get into the second year without losing them. Mine are collapsing just as they start their first winter.

  4. #204
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    delber, there are definitely methods out there as you suggested to reduce mite load, the problem is it becomes more and more labor intensive, and the timing of all these manipulations is ever critical. I realize that no method, even treating, eliminates all mites. I want to stay treatment free as long as possible and still keep the greater percentage of my hives alive and productive from season to season. I know I'm going to continue to lose hives to mites, but I can make increases with nucs to help offset those losses, like Mel Disselkoen suggests. I'm looking forward to carrying this discussion forward and hearing from more people on their ideas, and in the meantime I'm going to keep my thinking cap on.

  5. #205
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    jmgi - the only treatments I do are timed splits/breaks, a little spearmint and vinegar in the syrup, and occasionally some creosote bush smoke (a little known Mexican soft treatment). That's really all I do. My bees are basically all "survivor" bees or outright ferals. I run foundationless broodnests too, and leave at least one box of honey for them to winter on. They need about 13-14 frames of bees/brood here to make it. I have 20 hives going into winter this year, and at last check (today) they are all doing just fine. I winter my langs with a single 8 frame deep and a medium full of honey (or syrup). If they are light I give them some dry sugar too.

    My oldest hives are on their 4th season at this point. I no longer have any hives from the packages I used to buy. None of them survived the bears or anything else that came their way. My goal is self sufficiency, and I seem to have reached it. Not sure why it works, but it does for me so far. I am pretty sure my methods are not conducive to large scale operations. I have placed a 25 hive limit on myself, because I can't keep up and work my day job too (which makes me more money). I still collect bees, but am very picky about the removals I do. I run swarm traps in the surrounding national forests to catch bees with the mountain survival traits that I seek.

    As far as the splits go - I usually split in Spring and again after the main flow ends (around Summer Solstice). Sometimes I have to split again in late Summer if the bees are doing really well and get overcrowded. I tend to break up my oldest hives into splits when their production drops. I have a couple I have left running because they just haven't quit yet. I want to see how far they will go.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  6. #206
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Paul M., I used to have 80% of my hives survive for 3-4 years not that long ago, totally treatment free. Now, I can't get 20% of them to survive 1 year treatment free, so its time for another strategy.

  7. #207
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Not sure my methods would work anywhere else with different bees. I think the environment, the beekeeper, and the bees all play a part, more so than any one single influence.

    What bees are you using jmgi? Is there anything in you environment that might be a factor? There is a whole host where I live, from African DNA to natural selection to adapt to the desert environment, etc. Anything that lives around here has to be naturally hardy or they just don't make it.

    I really like the split method as Disselkoen describes, and have modeled a lot of what I do in a similar manner, with a few variations of my own. Most beekeepers in NM don't split after Midsummer, but I typically do. Those end up being my starts for next season.
    Last edited by Paul McCarty; 12-29-2013 at 07:52 PM.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  8. #208
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Paul M., I have to admit I have not done anything special as I have gone along treatment free. I use just basic Italian stock either from packages or purchased nucs, with the one exception of last year when I bought nucs that supposedly were VSH, however, 90% of them collapsed and died 6 months later in November or December after producing exceptionally good honey crops. Most of my severe losses have come from yards located in heavy agricultural areas of corn and soybeans, so yea, that could have played a part, but how do you really know for sure if it is the chemicals.

  9. #209
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    I only have one small yard located near agriculture, mostly for fear of chemicals. They are near a large alfalfa farm raising hay for racehorses. All of the others I previously placed near ag sites all had problems. I hope this one will be different, but just in case I put my riff-raff bees there.

    Every package I ever bought succumbed to various fates. I get the impression a lot of packages are what I would term "used" bees and have been through quite a bit before you get them. I never plan to purchase another. I will go out and catch African hybrids and requeen them before I buy another package. That's how strong I don't care for them at this point. I do realize that for many, they are just about the only option.

    Now a good nucleus colony of good bees, that is a different story. I don't mind getting them on occasion if they are from a local provider.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  10. #210
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    Canada BC Delta
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    one exception of last year when I bought nucs that supposedly were VSH, however, 90% of them collapsed and died 6 months later in November or December after producing exceptionally good honey crops
    jmgi, did you not give these colonies any brood breaks? In my location our main flow ends about the same time as yours. To get around the mites with any consistence I need to put my colonies through 2 brood interruptions, one in spring and then another in summer. Some colonies I only remove the queens, rather than break them down into nucs, in May and then again in July. A few times I have waited until just after harvest in Aug and have shaken a few maybe 3 pounds of bees with the queen from hives mention above into new hives. They have wintered well but I do need to feed them up in preparation for winter as there is very little out there to forage on at this time. The first mentioned usually most of the time don't need feeding.

    The times that I have not stuck with a double brood interruption usually makes it difficult for the colony. Although the later brood interruption seems to be of more benefit compared to a spring interruption when used on their own. I don't see why your thought on removing the frame of brood as a mite trap wouldn't be beneficial.

    There are many variations available with Mel's OTS system that can be adjusted to ones goals and expectations. These two things become important when working with Mel's strategy.

  11. #211
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    When brood raising resumes in the hives why does the first brood get heavily infected thus killing the mites like in Mels theory. If he is right our hives should be mostly mite free every spring.
    Dave

  12. #212
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Excellent point Dave, and in fact I think there is a lot of merrit to that answer. Yes, the number of mites is much smaller in spring on an hive, than it was in the fall. But the number is still high. and it grows that much faster. The mites grow expotentialy. so starting 3 months early gives the mites about 5 more brood cycles. (think compound interest)

  13. #213
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by whalers View Post
    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.
    I think your post here indiactes one of your main problems - you are inexperienced. As several posters have indicated, making increase as rapidly as possible from your best genetics is essential. That allows some losses without catastrophic failure, and with a little luck you can build year on year, learning as you go. You must learn to think and act as a breeder - raisning resistance traits is about having enough bees to be able to select the strongest and making increase/requeening weaker hives. Making sure you have sound selection procedures, and that you're not accidentally treating or manipulating in ways that throw your assays off.

    Unless you are very lucky with location you'll probably struggle with just a few hives. You're clearly not getting the genetics you need, so keep looking.

    If you're near treating beekeepers you'll have to work hard at this - and at keeping their genetics out. Aim to build up an apiary capable of dominating the drone space.

    Its not just a case of making a switch - you have to learn and work and plan - unless you are one of the lucky ones with thriving local survivors. Despite what you read here they do exist. But their methods are not universally applicable.

    Good luck,

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  14. #214
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    I'm playing catch-up on this thread, and trying not to return to passed discussions, but I couldn't let this one go:

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    I maintain if you set up side-by-side experiments, you will discover on any metric; caring for your bees through appropriate medication, they will be more productive, economical and sustaining than those in adherence to some half-baked Darwinian myth.
    1) 'Appropriate'.
    Who is the judge of 'appropriate' here? Is a medicating regime that tends to strongly suppress emerging resistance in nearby populations - domestic and feral - appropriate? Not in my view it isn't.

    2) 'Sustaining'
    They won't be _self_-sustaining. The business itself will obviously be more sustainable - that's precisely the attraction. But the local bees will be unable to sustain themselves, and nearby tf beekeepers will find it harder to sustain their genetics. I wish people would identify, when they use this term, just what it is that is more or less sustainable.

    3) 'productive, economic'
    Yes of course - that's why it happens. But at what cost? The cost of allowing the return of self sustaining bee populations. For everybody.

    4) half-baked Darwinian myth
    Straightforward logical breeding/adaptive arguments are no myth. They as scientifically based as it gets. Organisms adapt. Remove the pressure to adapt in a particular way and they don't adapt/adapt to the new situation. To fix the varroa problem bees need to adapt to varroa. They can't in the face of constant removal of adaptive pressure by treating. Period. Simple. Scientific.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    The myth that bees can be selected like wild mustangs and some heroic cowboy will ride a champion to the rail ignores the core facts of bee biology.
    Wild mustangs are recognised as a source of vigourous and robust stock, and used for breeding for that reason. The same goes for New Forest, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Welsh mountain ponies, heft sheep. Natural selection locates, on a competitive basis, the most robust genetic combinations. Fact. There are equivalent 'survivor' bee populations (scientific fact) and they do represent one of the best hopes for tf beekeepers (scientific fact, widely acknowledged by a great many bee breeders). No myth here.


    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    I have no idea how in a world of >6 billion people (and internet, and instant shipment) how you decentralize industrial agriculture and its discontents.
    By using fields to grow food crops only is probably the best start - between a quarter and a half the tilled acreage is presently used for energy crops.

    By reducing the amount that is wastefully fed to animals to make animal products - at about 20% efficiency in the case of larger mammals

    By reducing the amount of overeating that happens

    By reducing the amount of food waste that occurs between field and mouth - probably near half.

    By reducing the amount of wasteful transport that occurs. A true horror story

    By encouraging home and community production - very healthy on many levels

    By using well tested low carbon impact/low energy combined growing systems

    I'm not advocating a return to some bucolic ideal here - just a systematic attack on the wastefulness that has been bred into the system by failure to prevent the present monopolisitic and oligistic giants who own the means of production, set the regulatory environment, and establish the myths (we have to feed the world - and this is the only way to do it) that appear to entrance even apparently intelligent people.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    The best we may do is ethically husband our own wildlife and livestock for survival and increase.
    Ethically huh? Who establishes the 'ethical' guides and imperatives? How is genetically poisoning wild bee populations ethically husbanding wildlife? Why must we increase our livestock?

    Just who is basing their thinking on myths here?

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 01-04-2014 at 06:45 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  15. #215
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    To get around the mites with any consistence I need to put my colonies through 2 brood interruptions, one in spring and then another in summer.
    These interventions have exactly the same effect on the suppression of developing resistance as chemical treatments. Why people think they should be part of tf beats me. They are treatments.

    Unless, of course, they are part of a managment system that simultaniously, urgently and systematically seeks to raise resistance through selective propagation.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 01-04-2014 at 06:38 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  16. #216
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    These intervention have exactly the same effect on the suppression of developing resistance as chemical treatments. Why people think they should be part of tf beats me. They are treatments.
    Ok, then the AHB's are unknowingly suppressing the development of resistance by their continuous swarming and having brood breaks during the raising of new queens? They are treating themselves without human interference?

  17. #217
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Ok, then the AHB's are unknowingly suppressing the development of resistance by their continuous swarming and having brood breaks during the raising of new queens? They are treating themselves without human interference?
    Again: somebody is trying to describe using a singular term something that is vague, and with it complex.

    There are all sorts of feral hybrids in the Southern US, many of them containing elements of AHB. Some will rely on swarming and shut down (brood breaks) to manage mites, others won't.

    What that means is: you can't just talk about 'AHB's' - not at any rate outside Africa. The hybrids are all different, and things said about some won't be true of others.

    The ferals that emerge from the many complex hybrids, in the many different environments, will, in each place, be unique, and well suited to their locality. They will be those strains and lines that are best able to grab energy when it is available, store it, defend it, and use it to overwinter and build and reproduce successfully, in their unique environments. They will have emerged from a competitive process that has attuned them to do exactly that.

    Swarminess/brood breaks amount to a natural resistance mechanisms - but only one of many, and a primitive, early-response variety. By adopting brood breaks as a systematic mite control method you are, as with chemical treatment, removing the adaptive pressure that would otherwise cause the range of more sophisticated and effective mite-managment behaviours to emerge. As will be happening/have happened in the many unique naturally selecting AHB hybrid populations.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 01-04-2014 at 09:38 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  18. #218
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    question for you all. . . If say in the instance of a fungal disease, we would naturally treat to get rid of the fungus coming out of there the bees will be stronger. Would they build up natural immunity if instead of (to use a human intervention) using antibiotics that aren't natural we could use herbs, teas, oils and other types of things would they come out stronger? I know that antibiotics ruin our guts and gut floura so it makes sense to me that certain treatments would do the same to bees. What do you all think?

  19. #219
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    These interventions have exactly the same effect on the suppression of developing resistance as chemical treatments. Why people think they should be part of tf beats me. They are treatments.

    Unless, of course, they are part of a managment system that simultaniously, urgently and systematically seeks to raise resistance through selective propagation.

    Mike (UK)
    Your wrong on that Mike. 2 brood breaks is not as effective as treatment at all. not even close. and its more costly in manpower and queens as well as colony strength.

  20. #220
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Mike, after reading your response I realize I should have just thought a little more about what you previously said, now I understand more what you're talking about.

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