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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    986

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Best reason to implement a treatment-free strategy on a single apiary is to have a personal side-by-side test ground of the various "systems". One can compare survival, yield and fecundity in nearly-controlled matches.

    This allows you to fully discount all the trash-talk by armchair experts who have not actually conducted any side-by-side trials.

    Second best reason is to be able to avoid endless, tactless lectures by 20-something hipsters from big city beekeeping cults who harangue you with their miracle "systems" by giving a curt, "oh I'm already trying that".

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,317

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    I wanted something that was in line with sustainable/subsistence beekeeping.

    I absolutely do not want to handle hazardous chemicals/pesticides to keep bees.

    I wanted to have access to the pests, parasites, and pathogens affecting bees.

    Finally, it seemed to me to be the only method of beekeeping that was worthwhile.

    I really do like the idea of having resistant Honeybees as a goal of beekeeping.

    If only it was as easy to do as it is to describe.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,900

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    wlc, your previously held view was that treatment free colonies tend to be more 'clinical' and pose an increased threat to native pollinators, has your opinion changed?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Best reason to implement a treatment-free strategy on a single apiary is to have a personal side-by-side test ground of the various "systems". One can compare survival, yield and fecundity in nearly-controlled matches.

    This allows you to fully discount all the trash-talk by armchair experts who have not actually conducted any side-by-side trials.

    Second best reason is to be able to avoid endless, tactless lectures by 20-something hipsters from big city beekeeping cults who harangue you with their miracle "systems" by giving a curt, "oh I'm already trying that".
    That's true. As we all know, an important thing in any endeavor is to make sure that we can look down on others.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,317

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    wlc, your previously held view was that treatment free colonies tend to be more 'clinical' and pose an increased threat to native pollinators, has your opinion changed?
    There's always the risk to native pollinators, like Bombus impatiens.

    If your TF hives are showing signs of DWV, you need a plan.

    I haven't seen anything like the signs of DWV in my BeeWeavers that I've seen with my other bees.

    However, if they do start showing overt symptoms, I'll likely have to start splitting or using artificial brood breaks to deal with it.

    Remember, we didn't know that DWV could replicate in the common eastern bumblebee before this past year.

    It's a new wrinkle.

    http://www.researchgate.net/publicat...d209ec8764.pdf
    Last edited by WLC; 12-12-2013 at 06:13 PM.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bell County, KY, USA
    Posts
    425

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    That's true. As we all know, an important thing in any endeavor is to make sure that we can look down on others.
    Here, Here!!!

    :Oh wait, was that sarcasm?:

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    That's true. As we all know, an important thing in any endeavor is to make sure that we can look down on others.
    Yes, I thought that post was particularly cynical and pointless and had nothing to do with the question asked.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #28
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Canterbry, UK
    Posts
    1,793

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    I don't treat and actively promote non-treatment for several reasons, some of which might be viewed as morally based. I think its wrong, and I think its wrong headed.

    Its wrong because it tends to destroy the native population (here in the UK we have remnants of a native population) and that can never be right. Do I need to explain why? Its not right on its own terms - animal populations have an inherent right to continue to exist; nor is it fair on the wider ecology which is in some measure dependent on honeybees. Nor is it fair for future human generations, who will be deprived of the benefits of a healthy and vital ecology.

    Much of that is I suppose rooted in the general belief that Creation isn't ours to rape, loot, and destroy as if we owned it. Anyone who doesn't get that bit won't see the application of that general position to honeybees.

    Its wrongheaded because it simply perpetuates the problem. Since when has that been a good plan?

    To me marketing treatments is on a level with selling cigarettes to children in developing countries. Its legal but shameful doesn't begin to cover it. That is heavily ameliorated by ignorance. Many treatment purveyors think they're actually doing a good thing.

    There are arguments that say that commercial beekeepers have to treat or go to the wall. Maybe that's true. But I'm not sure its a defence. Fishermen say the same thing when their fishing grounds are nearing exhaustion. It isn't really their fault - but the situation is the sooner some go to wall the better for everybody.

    The real problem is the failure of regulators to press toward something other than laissez-faire do-what-you-want agriculture - the market knows best. Its a recipe for a race to the bottom.

    So we have a bee health problem that is perpetuated by both systematic treatments - pushed heavily by the 'beekeeper support industry' - and unrestricted imports of queens that have had zero exposure to the disease environment, and we wonder why we have to endlessly throw chemicals at bees to make a living. Its because that way of working is screwed up. That way of thinking is destructive, and a one-way ticket to worse to come. We've ended up with something very close to the precise opposite of what husbandry has been since mankind first started farming.

    I'm really just throwing out thoughts here. It would take a while to lay out a proper moral case against chemical beekeeping, but I think it could be done.

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

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    portland, dorset, UK
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Its wrong because it tends to destroy the native population (here in the UK we have remnants of a native population) and that can never be right.
    Hi Mike, how so?

    Also (although slightly off your actual point) in the interests of balance it should, perhaps, be mentioned that by far the bulk of the 'native' population is maintained by beekeepers in managed beehives. Unless of course you know of a great reserve of wild amm in mainland Britain. For what it's worth I don't believe that such a population exists and doubt that anyone can present evidence to the contrary.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Canterbry, UK
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    1,793

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolande View Post
    Hi Mike, how so?

    Also (although slightly off your actual point) in the interests of balance it should, perhaps, be mentioned that by far the bulk of the 'native' population is maintained by beekeepers in managed beehives. Unless of course you know of a great reserve of wild amm in mainland Britain. For what it's worth I don't believe that such a population exists and doubt that anyone can present evidence to the contrary.
    Yes, you're right to quibble Roland. Its my opinon that some genes from the native Amm remain in the wild/feral population - much as they do in the US. It is that feral population that is my focus.

    As to the how so: the maintenance of unresistant stocks tends to kill off nearby wild/feral populations as any resistance to varroa is replaced by vulnerability via artificially maintained drones.

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

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    portland, dorset, UK
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Yes, you're right to quibble Roland. Its my opinon that some genes from the native Amm remain in the wild/feral population - much as they do in the US. It is that feral population that is my focus.
    Hardly quibbling Mike, just attempting to clarify what we're talking about. One thing for sure, mongrelized feral populations do not equal 'native' stock however we look at it so it's something of a redundant (but potentially polarizing) argument to suggest that treatments are destroying the native bee.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    As to the how so: the maintenance of unresistant stocks tends to kill off nearby wild/feral populations as any resistance to varroa is replaced by vulnerability via artificially maintained drones.

    Mike (UK)
    I've read this argument many times so I suppose that it must be correct... maybe.

    I'd certainly be interested in reading a balanced review of the claim. However based on my own personal observation of feral colonies in the areas where I've lived and kept bees I'm dubious of any claims of long standing feral colonies (as distinct from nest sites) continuing to exist in the UK although I do accept that there is some research being carried out to try and establish an answer to this very question.

    Of course, you may be referring to feral lines which have somehow managed to survive outside of re-capture for multiple generations rather than individual colonies but that's something for you to clarify...

  12. #32
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Canterbry, UK
    Posts
    1,793

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolande View Post
    One thing for sure, mongrelized feral populations do not equal 'native' stock however we look at it so it's something of a redundant (but potentially polarizing) argument to suggest that treatments are destroying the native bee.
    Accepted. How should we describe the likelihood, or possibility, that genetic material from the native bee might remain in some UK bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolande View Post
    However based on my own personal observation of feral colonies in the areas where I've lived and kept bees I'm dubious of any claims of long standing feral colonies (as distinct from nest sites) continuing to exist in the UK although I do accept that there is some research being carried out to try and establish an answer to this very question.
    I suppose I work partly with the argument that since treating definately undermines adaptation, the best hope we have for well adapted bees must lie in feral survivors. And, it will pay to have a feral population, since that will represent a source of strong genetic material. Further, since most beekeepers I know are constantly buying queens from heaven knows where, any locally adapted strains are both valuable and the only likely source of native genetic material. For all those reasons I think they should be protected.

    I just don't think we have the right to undermine what might be an essential part of the local native ecology. And I think that treating and importing do that. I don't see how anyone could think otherwise - or think they have the right to mess with it.

    Thanks for the heads up to research on UK wild/feral bees (with or without fragments of native Amm) at Leeds University. It'll be interesting to see the results.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 12-13-2013 at 03:06 PM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    397

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Thanks for the feedback from the UK guys. Very interesting. It is too bad that AMM bees are all but gone in the U.S. Probably some slight amount of genes in some feral mixes but not much I am afraid.

    Hearing you all tell of your feral bee situation it brings to my mind that no matter where we keep bees we have the ability to hurt or help the feral and "domestic" honeybee industry. It is shame that more bigger beekeepers won't work together on developing profitable treatment free bees.

    Also that beekeepers can't do that across nations.

    I understand not wanting to spread diseases and what not, but we have the ability to send drone semen and raise queens that will contain new diverse genes to help create a more genetically complex bee to address a complex problem.

    We have a few treatment free guys who run over 1000 hives and make good money. We all need more big guys to do the same and get the pharmacy out of our beehives so the bees, consumers, and the beekeepers all win again.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,488

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamon Reynolds View Post
    It is too bad that AMM bees are all but gone in the U.S. Probably some slight amount of genes in some feral mixes but not much I am afraid.
    That begs the question, when and why did it disappear? My understanding is that it was due to the arrival of mites in the population. I doubt that mite treatments had any effect in the population due to the lag time between introduction of the mites, use of treatments and the effects on the gene pool.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  15. #35
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    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    397

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    I think it had more to do with it being out competed by Italian and other standard breeds. They kept getting bred by the drones until they just weren't AMM anymore. That dying out and other stressors.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    From what I understand, they still exist in isolated pockets. I also understand that the primary reasons they fell from popularity was their inferiority to the current breeds on a number of levels.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,231

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    I think it had more to do with it being out competed by Italian and other standard breeds. They kept getting bred by the drones until they just weren't AMM anymore. That dying out and other stressors.
    They still exist but as a heterogenous mixed population. AMM genetics show up in my area, easy to tell by the stinging behavior, honey produced, and spring buildup. There are no standard breeds that can out-compete AMM in an adapted range. That includes most of the Eastern U.S. Varroa brought AMM down because there was very little to no tolerance. AMM readily cross with drones from managed colonies which dilutes the genetics, but if isolated from managed colonies, the AMM genetics re-assert because they are better adapted to the climate. We had this discussion a few years ago with a couple of beekeepers saying there was no way AMM is still in my area, then when I told one of them where I live, he had an epiphany moment and realized he had recently seen a feral AMM colony less than 15 miles from here.

    AMM in this area exhibit excessive swarming, a tendency to collect the blackest honey imaginable, extreme pollen collection with storing pollen in honey supers, and incredible spring buildup. I have had a single frame of AMM bees build up a March 20th split into a 2 story colony that produced 3 shallow supers of honey on the spring flow that ended 6 weeks later. No Italian or Carniolan I've ever seen could have done the same.
    DarJones - 45 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,488

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Fusion,
    Do you know of any where that one could get some queens with the AMM genetics, I would love to try a couple out.

    Thanks,
    Dan
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,231

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    Rio, The negative traits of AMM are overwhelming. They swarm worse than Russians, sting almost as bad as Africans, and make really bad flavored honey. I really don't like the trait of storing random cells of pollen all through the honey supers.
    DarJones - 45 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    397

    Default Re: Why Treatment Free.

    While that is true of feral AMM's proper breeding techniques over periods of time can change that producing a valuable bee.

    The Europeans have proved that they can make AMM a very gentle and productive bee.

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