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  1. #81
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    Jul 2013
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    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    792

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McCarty View Post
    Making increase is IMPERATIVE with TF styles. That is how it works. You must always have some in reserve for the next season.
    This is core advice, thank you. For my climate this means: your apiary is divided in (rough) thirds -- one-third making honey, one-third are the source colonies for increase (and make no honey after April), and one-third are young-of-the-year nucs that make no honey either. (I am jealous of those with a climate that permits a fall crop off young hives).

    I insist any new beekeeper start with 3 hives (to correspond the division in thirds). You need an outyard as well (core to isolating nucs from drift and robbing). Queening packages is not a trivial task for new keeps (viz. the nearly constant round of questions on this practice on these forums in May-July), and splitting hives is an order of magnitude more difficult than installing packages.

    The "backyard, natural beekeeping" texts ignore the minimum size, rotating purpose constraint on colonies, minimum skill set for requeening, and pre-requisite out-yard. The implication is always that a "garden ornament" is as viable as a working apiary; it is not. The need to dedicate colonies to sustaining the yard, the nursery period of young hives, and purchased queens mean the minimum investment in viable hobby apiary is much greater >$500 and there is a continuing need for new cash input. The unit production is less than 50% of the ideal "established" colony. (one full crop and one half crop among a set of three hives).

    The cost of purchased nucs (or packages) is quickly prohibitive except for most spend-thrift hobbyist, so the default assumption is the group of hives will run on the requeened split model.

  2. #82
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    1,385

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    I agree with everything JWChestnut has stated. I am not strictly TF, since I use some traditional treatments such as Creosote Bush smoke, but I tend to fit this category. I have my hives divided in thirds as he speks. Out of my 25 hives, only about 1/3rd are actually making honey. The rest are raising next year's bees, queens, etc. It really can't be done with just a hive or two.

    I would be out of business, were I to purchase packages and queens, so I am constantly chasing bees that have the traits I want, through removals, swarms, etc. It is a lot of work. More than most commercial operations would be willing to tolerate, but on a medium, "organic" scale, it can be done easily. I am not sure what the break-over point would be, as to how many hives you can run like this without working yourself to death.

    Also, I would like to add, it appears to me that you need at least 12 hives as a minimum to get a system like this running smoothly, and that would be pushing it. It would work best with 30-50 in my opinion.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  3. #83
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    1,256

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McCarty View Post
    Making increase is IMPERATIVE with TF styles. That is how it works. You must always have some in reserve for the next season. Any test that does not incorporate this is not a truly scientific test of this method.

    Now, ultimately, this method is not very well suited to large operations, since it takes more manipulations and hive time - so comparisons really are not fair for either..
    It would appear that making increase is imperative with any operation. If the reports from the industry can be trusted, many large-scale operations have experienced high losses.

  4. #84
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    792

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Rhaldridge,
    No one is disputing that migratory beekeeping to the Almonds from South Dakota via Florida is lethal on bees. In some ways, it would be cheaper to sulfur the bugs and start over each year--much like the medieval skep to heathland model, except for the fact that Almonds bloom at an entirely awkward month.

    The rationalization "We, TF naturalists, do no worse than the dregs of industrial agriculture." isn't really convincing. And the statistics are suspect: I observe loss at >>75%. Stationary hives with attention to conditions, and appropriate intervention, survive far better than truckloads of boxes thrown hither and yon. The unspoken assessment of some (and apologies in advance to the others) participating in the Almond circus: "These bugs are expendable and we'll treat them as such, we can't afford to be sentimental about the insects." One extreme example would be the gypsy's that bring in wild-trapped Arizona AHB, and actually want them to disappear ('cause who wants to work an AHB colony --after it has filled its second deep and is feeling their oats).

    The bespoke, sideline, or backyard keeper should be able to keep his charges healthier. 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. 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.

    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. The Jeffersonian agrarian ideal is long past, the Maoist self-sufficiency campaign was a tragedy of starvation, the beekeeper of the famous "New Alchemists" community is now one of the most caustic skeptics of the "dreamkeepers". The best we may do is ethically husband our own wildlife and livestock for survival and increase.

  5. #85
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    1,120

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    "The best we may do is ethically husband our own wildlife and livestock for survival and increase."

    And on that I think I hear agreement. How that is accomplished is the catch.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  6. #86
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,987

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Maybe not the most diplomatic way to put it, but it meshes perfectly with my more limited experience and observation. Use of even the softest of soft treatments at just the right times reduces hive loss dramatically. And gives beginners a chance to gain some experience.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  7. #87
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,887

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    >Beginners who don't use treatments usually lose all of their bees and give up beekeeping

    According to the BeeInformed survey, the ones treating are losing just as many bees as the ones not treating. Reality is beginners lose hives. So do experienced beekeepers although probably at a lower rate. The ones treating lose hives. The ones not treating lose hives. Some of those people get frustrated and quit.

    There are plenty of beekeepers not treating and succeeding.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #88
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,540

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post

    According to the BeeInformed survey, the ones treating are losing just as many bees as the ones not treating.
    I haven't looked closely at the data, but that statement is contridictory to what Dennis vanEngelsdorp told beekeepers at the VA State meeting in the spring of 2013. Actually he made an impassioned plea to treat your bees. His whole presentation was about the BeeInformed survey and what were the current trends.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  9. #89
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    333

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    I haven't looked closely at the data, but that statement is contridictory to what Dennis vanEngelsdorp told beekeepers at the VA State meeting in the spring of 2013. Actually he made an impassioned plea to treat your bees. His whole presentation was about the BeeInformed survey and what were the current trends.
    I heard him say the same thing at this year's EAS convention.

  10. #90
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
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    4,317

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    I recall that in the MDA splitter method, you need two operations. One set of hives is for production, and the other set (nucs/splits) is for next year's production. I think that some of the numbers being used are a bit too high. A 1/2 dozen hives should do it.

    http://www.mdasplitter.com/docs/OTS.pdf

    However, if you have actual resistant Honeybees, it's a moot point.

    I do remember a study by DvE where they found that 75% VSH was enough to keep mites below the 5% level so that treatments weren't necessary.

    So, if that's the case with whatever resistant stock you have, treatments aren't really needed.
    Last edited by WLC; 11-19-2013 at 06:59 PM.

  11. #91
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Mr. Disselkonen (MDA Splitter) was a big influence on me. Hope I spelled his name right. My numbers may be a bit high, but that is because those are the numbers I would really like to be at.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  12. #92
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
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    4,317

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Perhaps that's more of a sustainability number in terms of capacity or income?

    30-50 you say?

    That would seem reasonable.

  13. #93
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    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    1,256

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    I haven't looked closely at the data, but that statement is contridictory to what Dennis vanEngelsdorp told beekeepers at the VA State meeting in the spring of 2013. Actually he made an impassioned plea to treat your bees. His whole presentation was about the BeeInformed survey and what were the current trends.
    Difficult to understand. If you look at the survey, an impassioned plea to treat makes little sense. In 2012-2013, total loss of colonies was 31% among respondents. Average loss per beekeeper was 45%. The difference is because most of the colonies belong to commercial operations, but most of the beekeepers are amateur, backyard beekeepers. The total loss more clearly reflects the losses of commercial beekeepers, the average loss the losses of amateurs. If treatment is the great panacea some would have us believe, why are these losses so high?

    It is a little difficult to tease information out from the BeeInformed survey. But the data is fascinating to anyone who does not come to the question with his mind already made up.

    For example, the direct comparison between varroa treatment and non-treatment is not as stark a difference as the prophets of doom would have us believe. In the Varroa Control: National Management Survey 2011-2012, the difference overall was between a 20 % winter loss for those who treat, against a 26% loss for those who do not treat.

    One of the more interesting factoids in that analysis was this:

    There was no significant difference among southern beekeepers who used or did not use a known varroa mite control product.
    To me, this is a perfect illustration of the way we have been talked into acting against our own best interests. Some of those who are marching most dogmatically behind the treatment bandwagon are southern beekeepers, who, according to the survey, derive no benefit from varroa treatment.

    Other things jump out of the data. For example, the best improvement in winter survival was from formic acid use. But there have been well-documented negative consequences to the use of formic as well as other miticides. Queen and drone infertility is a real concern. There is research available, if anyone really believes these substances to be harmless:

    http://www.google.com/url?q=http://s...g_LdhxCTfoYB5g

    I guess we all would prefer to think that these situations can be resolved in a simple manner, but unfortunately, beekeeping, like many other pursuits involving the randomness of Nature, is complicated, and all the wishful thinking in the world can't change that.

  14. #94
    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.

  15. #95
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,898

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Yes like all statistics, it's all about how they are massaged. People who have an opinion and don't want it messed up by reality, massage statistics by choosing a particular study from a particular year that best fits their views, or focussing on a particular group that best fits their views rather than the whole group. Southern beekeepers for example.

    The truth, is that even going by the survey, treatment free beekeepers are losing 30% more hives than beekeepers who treat. Factor in that most of the treatment free beekeepers run just a few hives in a permanent location, which is far more ideal for the bees than the stresses they are put under in a commercial migratory operation, it is amazing that these hives still outperform the treatment free hives by a large margin, despite the abuses they suffer as commercial hives. Put some hobby treatment free hives in this situation and see what would happen!!

    I have been seeing this process going on in some threads over the last months or maybe a year, people trying to present the statistics in a way that is deceptive, and eventually convincing a lot of people that everybody is losing around 30% of their hives treatment free or not. The truth is far from that, and we have been subjected to dishonesty. I have not drawn attention to this as I saw it happening because I always seem to be taking a stand treatment free beekeepers don't want to hear, so just watched and let it go. But since the subject has been raised, based on the survey, a bees survival odds are way worse if it is not treated, that's the facts.

    Not what a lot of folks want to hear, but hey, if it wasn't the case, why would anyone treat if there was no advantage? Treatment free folks need not be discouraged about this, you are trying to achieve something against the odds, and do not have to make a living out of it. You should be encouraged to persevere.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  16. #96
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Jasper, Texas, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Yes. TF is totally fine. Do as you see fit. Absolutely. I hope I didn't imply otherwise. I'm just saying a survey is not a scientific test of treatment vs TF.

  17. #97
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,776

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Did no one not tell you that this happens being treatment free? It always seems that people trying treatment free are surprised to have hives succumb to mites and it's not so simple to just re-stock high losses every year starting out. That being said, you're going to lose hives every year no matter what, it is a part of nature whether or not you're treatment free or treating. I'm all for doing what you want to do in this regard, I don't have any notions of finding the miracle bee as a hobbyist, especially in my area. There are things you can do if you don't want put chemicals in the hive, mainly brood breaks and sugar dusting with proper monitoring to ensure good mite drop. I used to be on the fence about sugar dusting, it doesn't work for everyone but I think if you can dust and get good mite drops, it's effective, you just need to do it constantly during heavy brooding and make sure you're getting good mite drops from it.

  18. #98
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    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. #99
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,209

    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 - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  20. #100
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,898

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    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.
    Is what you say true?

    Perhaps I read a different part of Beesource.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    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.

    Imagine my annoyance.
    Scientific method would require more than 6 hives for a statistically relevant test, you are correct that your proposed experiment would be unreliable.

    It is not true nobody would risk their bees to do a TF vs non TF experiment, it's been done. But also, larger beekeepers do not have to set up & do an actual experiment, they work with enough bees to see the effect of treatment, and the effect on non treatment, on a day to day basis as they go about their work.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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