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  1. #221
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by delber View Post
    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?
    I think your wrong. Yes some antibiotics can wipe out good bacteria FOR A FEW DAYS.. not forever. Herbal stuff for the most part has proven to be nothing more than time to allow things to run their course. (not all by any means)

    What your doing is making a reason to follow your idea, not looking at the reality. Lets take cancer (a lot like Varro cause it will kill you) do you ignore it? do you try to breed out of it? do you drink herbal teas?? for most the answers are easy. use the science that will extend your useful life.

  2. #222
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    use the science that will extend your useful life.
    My science is pretty simple. I let my bees handle mites on their own since 2005. They are alive, thriving, and making honey. But just so newbies won't think this can be done by anyone, please remember that I took steps to get highly resistant stock before jumping off the treatment bandwagon.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  3. #223
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by delber View Post
    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?
    Stop thinking about individuals and short term effects, and think instead about living populations, where, generation after generation offspring inherit the qualities passed down by their parents. That is what husbandry is about. Bees are livestock, not pets, and are to be bred for the future just as much as for the present.

    Now ask yourself what the effect of propping up a sick individual has on the next generation - and on generations to follow.

    Once you can see the sense in looking at things that way, questions about what sort of medicine or other treatment are best become irrelevant. The thing you are doing by using _any of them_ is cutting your own throat in the longer term.

    You are in the Treatment Free forum. These things are basic to thinking about bee health here. No treatments - breeding toward health in the time-tested fashion only.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 01-04-2014 at 10:00 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  4. #224
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    What your doing is making a reason to follow your idea, not looking at the reality. Lets take cancer (a lot like Varro cause it will kill you) do you ignore it? do you try to breed out of it? do you drink herbal teas?? for most the answers are easy. use the science that will extend your useful life.
    There's a danger you're talking about people, and pets, and the veterinary model of 'husbandry' that is possible in closed mating populations.

    None of those things apply to openly mating bees. Helping the individual is, unless measure are taken to prevent it, undermining future health in offspring. Period.

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

  5. #225
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    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.
    To the extent that anything is effective as a treatment, it will undermine the health of future generations, unless effective steps are taken to exclude from the breeding pool.

    Simple, inarguable.

    My bees seem to go in for long summer shutdowns. How much that helps I don't know. They're still alive anyway.

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

  6. #226
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    I think your wrong. Yes some antibiotics can wipe out good bacteria FOR A FEW DAYS.. not forever. Herbal stuff for the most part has proven to be nothing more than time to allow things to run their course. (not all by any means)
    I'm not trying to get into an argument here, but in the past 2 years my family and I have gone through some very serious changes in the medical arena. Why is it that doctors so often say "well that could be this, or that, but here take this and that should take care of it". We have been looking into and going down some alternative medical lines and have gotten some great results. My daughter would be on the autistic spectrum I think now if we hadn't changed where we were going. I also just talked with one of my doctors this past week and were talking about the body's PH and he mentioned that our PH is varried throughout the body. One thing he did say that I want to mention was that the problem with antibiotics is that it kills the good floura in the gut and it's very hard to get it back in there. It gets in there first off from your infancy (mothers' milk) and if it's killed after that you need to get some serious acidophilus (spelling?) or you will have digestion and gut issues for a long time. I know that it took me over 2 months after I was on an antibiotic to "get regular".
    Now bees aren't my daughter or any other in my family that is clear, but in thinking of the principles. . . We have been sick, but handling it more "naturally" and allowing the body to build up immunity properly then our bodies can fight properly. So in thinking of bees. . . If we can figure out how to help them build up properly (IE nutrition, vitamins, minerals, etc) I think there's something to consider there. I want to know how / what / when to implement this, but that is one of my projects for this year. Would this be considered treatment? Considering diet suppliment? Would a pollen patty be considered a treatment or an assistant?

  7. #227
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    whether we are talking about bees or humans, there are always the potential costs, risks, and benefits to treatments. weighing them is sometimes straightforward and sometimes more conflicted. the relative merits and drawbacks are made by the decision maker(s), and this is generally guided by the importance of the goal or outcome that is being sought. it's not surprising that we have many different choices represented on this forum as we have differences of opinion in how to weigh those merits and drawbacks, as well as differences in our goals and desired outcomes.

    after joining beesource i became a classic keyboard beekeeper who was very outspoken against the 'hard' bond method. my primary criticism of was that it set the stage for the robbing and spreading of mites and pathogens and that amounted to irresponsible beekeeping.

    i also maintained that it was easy enough to stop poor genetics in their tracks by simply pinching the queen of a nonresistant colony and replacing her with a queen from proven genetics, (rather than let a colony die out).

    after a few seasons under my belt, my position has evolved on these matters. i still maintain that it is irresponsible to let a colony collapse and allow it to get robbed out, but i have found that i am able to monitor my bees well enough so that robbing after collapse has been prevented in all but one instance, and that one could have been prevented if i had been keeping a better watch on my small outyard.

    regarding requeening, i found that most of my colonies that collapse do so at the time in the season when i don't have any spare queens, nor are any that i would want available. so while good on paper, the approach isn't practical. it could be practical, if a tf beekeeper was diligent in taking mite counts and was able to determine what level infestation was a sure predictor that the colony wouldn't survive winter. i had planned to do just that, but due to time constraints have not got it done.

    so here i am pretty much what could be labeled a hard bond beekeeper. losses are low enough and well below what is possible to make up with increase. my apiary is more than sustaining itself, honey production has doubled each year, and i am to the point where there will surplus bees this year.

    i still consider myself a novice, especially compared to many of you veterans out there. i realize that past performance is no guarantee of future results. i am not stuck on treatment free for treatment free's sake, and i would implement an ipm approach before i would allow losses to threaten sustainability. but for now it seems to be working.
    Last edited by squarepeg; 01-04-2014 at 12:08 PM. Reason: spelling
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  8. #228
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i still consider myself a novice, especially compared to many of you veterans out there. i realize that past performance is no guarantee of future results. i am not stuck on treatment free for treatment free's sake, and i would implement an ipm approach before i would allow losses to threaten sustainability. but for now it seems to be working.
    Sometimes being a novice isn't so bad, there are novices out there who are having success keeping the majority of their bees alive and healthy year after year, regardless of whether they are TF or treating. With all my years of experience I'm still having trouble keeping the majority of my bees alive for more than 1-2 years, I am TF as of now, but I am opening up to other ways out of necessity to stop the losses.

  9. #229
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    ... i became a classic keyboard beekeeper who was very outspoken against the 'hard' bond method. my primary criticism of was that it set the stage for the robbing and spreading of mites and pathogens and that amounted to irresponsible beekeeping.
    I don't think it does. Protecting bees from exposure to pathogens only results in their bloodlines developing dependency on such protection. Bees always have and always will rob out weaker colonies. The spread of potential infections that causes will take out the weaker, thus strengthening the next generation. Mollycoddling the population and mollycoddling the individual are, with bees, the same thing - and both fatal to health in the longer run.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    regarding requeening, i found that most of my colonies that collapse do so at the time in the season when i don't have any spare queens, nor are any that i would want available. so while good on paper, the approach isn't practical.
    As you note, having a few spare nucs solves the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    it could be practical, if a tf beekeeper was diligent in taking mite counts and was able to determine what level infestation was a sure predictor that the colony wouldn't survive winter. i had planned to do just that, but due to time constraints have not get it done.
    Your way is better - don't get involved, just have spares. Trying to keep each individual alive and thriving by health micromanagement is madness. Remove the weak and replace them with strong by routine, permanant selective propagation with a good margin of excess. This fixes everything (except an overwhelming presence of treaters, and/or genetically inadequate starting stock.) As long as you can make some progress year on year things are on track to proper adaptive health.

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

  10. #230
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i still consider myself a novice, especially compared to many of you veterans out there. i realize that past performance is no guarantee of future results. i am not stuck on treatment free for treatment free's sake, and i would implement an ipm approach before i would allow losses to threaten sustainability. but for now it seems to be working.
    As usual, you've made one of the most rational and sensible posts on this thread.

    I always get annoyed when anyone advocating TF is immediately assumed to be some sort of wild-eyed hippy-dippy True Believer. It's no more fair or accurate than labeling those who treat as evil bee-murdering corporate stooges.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  11. #231
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    The spread of potential infections that [robbing sic] causes will take out the weaker, thus strengthening the next generation.
    there was excellent discussion about this in an older thread. the consensus among this forum's community was that preventing robbing was the responsible thing to do.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ighlight=risks

    the idea being that regardless of what your belief about spreading disease is, the majority of beekeepers within robbing distance of your colonies would prefer that you take measures against it, and the majority of those contributing to that thread believed that all beekeepers should be respectful of that.

    in terms of mite evolution, and if there are genetic differences between 'colony collapsing' mites and less virulent mites, allowing more virulent mites to die with the bees and not get transferred via robbing would seem like good husbandry toward helping the host/parasite equilibrium along. i'm not sure that's even possible, but i did place a dwindled colony full of mites in the freezer before all of the bees were dead this year in order to kill off those mites and keep them from ending up in another colony.

    i do understand your point mike, but it's similar to your disdain for the nearby treaters and their drones affecting your mating goals. for most of us beekeeping is not done in a bubble. my guess is that you won't likely find very many beekeepers who would feel like you are doing them a big favor by allowing one of your collapsing colonies to get robbed out by their bees.

    herein lies the basis for some of the tension among competing methodologies at their extremes, but there does appear to be a degree of trending toward a happy medium.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  12. #232
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    many thanks ray.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  13. #233
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Mike, make no mistake I don't equate my bees to humans. and to a point I agree were propping up bad genetics. A small point. I don't think our problem is a genetic one. (Ignoring FP cause if hes half as good as he says he is he would be rich selling queens.) no one else so far has been able to genetically fix the issue. I think were trying to breed gazelles that outrun leopards.
    There are some pockets and claims of successes, but so far anecdotal at best. Don't get me wrong I wish it were so. but the brood breaks and sugar rolls are NOT resistant bees. there a bit more tolerant. nothing more. We like to fool ourselves into thinking we solved it. and we haven't

    As for mite counts,,, been there done it... 2 brood breaks a year keeps them manageable.. nothing more. Good treatments knocks them so far back it it takes a full year to get back to pre treatment levels. I am really getting tired of moving queens around, and buying this and that "perfect queens" Its easy with a small yard and 30-40 hives. Brood breaks to manage 300 is a whole other story.

  14. #234
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i do understand your point mike, but it's similar to your disdain for the nearby treaters and their drones affecting your mating goals. for most of us beekeeping is not done in a bubble. my guess is that you won't likely find very many beekeepers who would feel like you are doing them a big favor by allowing one of your collapsing colonies to get robbed out by their bees.

    herein lies the basis for some of the tension among competing methodologies at their extremes, but there does appear to be a degree of trending toward a happy medium.
    Since I haven't had a collapsing colony yet, its a bit moot; but in terms of fairness I'll be happy to do what I can to prevent robbing as and when my neighbours are happy to do something to prevent their hopelessly unadapted drones mating with my queens. Is that what you meant?

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

  15. #235
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    Mike, make no mistake I don't equate my bees to humans. and to a point I agree were propping up bad genetics. A small point. I don't think our problem is a genetic one. (Ignoring FP cause if hes half as good as he says he is he would be rich selling queens.) no one else so far has been able to genetically fix the issue. I think were trying to breed gazelles that outrun leopards. There are some pockets and claims of successes, but so far anecdotal at best.
    Why do you say that? Many many beekeepers have fixed the problem. You hear from some of them here, and about others.

    Is it because you think a permanant genetic 'fix' is possible - one in which all descendents would be varroa proof? Surely you know better than that?

    The 'fix' is the adoption of proper population husbandry (having first secured bees with a healthy measure of resistance).

    Is it because you think of the 'fix' as something that's either there or isn't? Surely you know that resistance is something that is present to a degree - it might be no degree, an insufficient degree, a useful degree, a healthy and sufficient degree....

    The aim is to continue to raise and maintain a sufficient level of resistance. Not to somehow magically switch it from 'off' to 'on'.

    Some people may think its possible to raise resistance to the point where current intensive practices can function. I doubt it somehow - though dialling back the intensiveness might allow it. It would be an improvement on creating millions and millions of utterly unresistant bees for sure. But I wouldn't call that the arbitor of the 'fix'. The will always be pressure to improve margins that will always drive such operations to act in ways that harm the rest of us - until there are laws to prevent it.

    Is that it? There's no magic fix for people like you? No-one can sell you queens that can hold their own in your apiary, and you can't get it together to raise your own (someplace else)?

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    Don't get me wrong I wish it were so. but the brood breaks and sugar rolls are NOT resistant bees. there a bit more tolerant. nothing more. We like to fool ourselves into thinking we solved it. and we haven't
    That's _my_ point! I doubt there's any resistance building at all going on under that sort of managment, any more than there is under chemical treatments. That's why it shouldn't be regarded as tf beekeeping.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    As for mite counts,,, been there done it... 2 brood breaks a year keeps them manageable.. nothing more. Good treatments knocks them so far back it it takes a full year to get back to pre treatment levels. I am really getting tired of moving queens around, and buying this and that "perfect queens" Its easy with a small yard and 30-40 hives. Brood breaks to manage 300 is a whole other story.
    So what else to you do to try to raise resistance/speed co-evolution in your bees Charlie?

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 01-05-2014 at 04:52 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  16. #236
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Since I haven't had a collapsing colony yet, its a bit moot; but in terms of fairness I'll be happy to do what I can to prevent robbing as and when my neighbours are happy to do something to prevent their hopelessly unadapted drones mating with my queens. Is that what you meant?

    Mike (UK)
    yes mike, and while i am happy to hear that you have not experienced the collapse of a colony, it appears that your offer to prevent robbing is moot as well, although it would be more in line with accepted beekeeping practices to prevent robbing than it would be to discourage drones from mating. indeed, in the u.s. we are generally required by law to take action to prevent our managed colonies from becoming a source for the spread of disease.

    i have thought of a way that you might appease your neighbors and comply with any laws that may apply in your district while yet accomplishing your objective of good husbandry. in the event that you do find one of your colonies dwindling in population, with heavy varroa infestation, dwv, sick brood, clearly on it's way to dying out...

    consider taking this sick colony and combining it with your strongest and healthiest colony. if i understand your rationale correctly, challenging the healthy colony may help advance the development of resistance and if so, you will be practicing good husbandry. if the healthy colony fails the challenge and collapses as well then combine it with the next healthiest one, and so on.

    on the other hand, if you are not willing to expose your healthy bees to these hypothetically sick and dying ones, then i would say that you and your neighbors may have some common ground. i have been cynical here to make a point, i truly hope your bees stay healthy mike, but give this robbing thing a second thought if you will.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  17. #237
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions



    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  18. #238
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Think BA new this all along.

    Genetic 'remix' Key to

    Evolution of Bee Behavior.

    http://phys.org/news/2012-10-genetic...ution-bee.html

  19. #239
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Mike from what I see your just flat wrong on resistant bees. Your entitled to your thoughts, But here success are so rare and spotty to be almost impossible to believe.
    I strongly think whats happening is a lot of TF people think brood breaks and requeening and splitting is success. IT IS NOT its hiding the problem. I can split like crazy and mask and then tout my success and sell TF queens. Thats what I am seeing. then they make all kinds of excuses when they fail......

    TF would be 2-3 years, no breaks no extreme manipulations and hives still alive. Not seeing it. I hear and read a lot of claims, but even when it sounds great, it seems nothing is transferable.

    When its found, if its found.. your looking at 200 a pop queens... and darn few would balk..... I have bought several 200 queens... and so far no joy.

    As for what I am doing to raise Resistance, not much so far.. why?? because I have not found that Resistance yet. I had a cpl good hives in the last few years that showed promise. and they have all either perished, or don't produce honey. no point in working hard on what doesn't work.....

  20. #240
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    ... it would be more in line with accepted beekeeping practices to prevent robbing than it would be to discourage drones from mating.
    I think is is a fundamental point of departure. I don't care what is 'accepted'. In fact I positively disapprove of it. I'm willing to defend my positions. 'Accepted' beekeeping produces sick bees, because it places short term individual benefit above long term community benefit.


    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i have thought of a way that you might appease your neighbors and comply with any laws that may apply in your district while yet accomplishing your objective of good husbandry. in the event that you do find one of your colonies dwindling in population, with heavy varroa infestation, dwv, sick brood, clearly on it's way to dying out...

    consider taking this sick colony and combining it with your strongest and healthiest colony. if i understand your rationale correctly, challenging the healthy colony may help advance the development of resistance and if so, you will be practicing good husbandry. if the healthy colony fails the challenge and collapses as well then combine it with the next healthiest one, and so on.
    That would be interfering, and shows you're missing the point. Working with Nature entails allowing natural events to play out, in the belief that Nature is the best judge.

    My best bees are exposed, every time they go a-robbin', to pathogens in weaker hives, be they mine, feral, or beekeepers. Those individuals that take that chance subject themselves to the potential costs - and also reap the benefits.

    Beekeepers are ill-adept at maintaining the health of bees. Nature isn't. My working approach is to move back as far as I can toward Nature. In that way I'll tend to get bees that can deal with diseases, with robber bees and wasps, with variable climatic/forage conditions.

    Everything I do that interferes with Nature obstructs that process. Its my task to achieve my ends whilst interfering with natural processes as little as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    on the other hand, if you are not willing to expose your healthy bees to these hypothetically sick and dying ones, then i would say that you and your neighbors may have some common ground. i have been cynical here to make a point, i truly hope your bees stay healthy mike, but give this robbing thing a second thought if you will.
    Robbing is a different topic. Its my view that robbing goes on an awful lot more than is commonly recognised. Bees are wild animals, and wild animals pinch each-other's energy, any way they can, without any qualms. Bigger animals bully smaller ones to get their energy, as the norm. I think that protecting youngsters is legitimate - if I make them at the wrong time of year, and I want to build my numbers, I have to do that. But any form of protection after that just builds in weakness.

    Bear in mind too: all my bees are kept in small yards of 6 or more hives, as far from other beekeepers as I can get them. If any are going to up sticks to another hive, the chance is overwhelmingly that it will be one of mine. However, as far as I know CCD isn't something we suffer from in the UK. It doesn't come up. If it did maybe I'd think again.

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

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