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  1. #41
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    As and where there is no vector, there is no virus problem.
    There will always be a vector, even the "mite resistant" Bees here have mites and mite borne diseases, they just have a manageable amount. My prediction is that at some point the MBVs will mutate so that a smaller viral load can impact a colony, then we have to breed more resistant bees.... and so on and so on.


    How would you characterise the difference between treatment-dependent and health self-sufficient stocks?
    I spent several years in the Appalachian mountain range capturing ferals and my conclusion became that for many of those bees, their ability to survive is in their isolation. I had many, that as soon as they were put into a managed apiaries, they became over run with mites and died. The key to their survival was that they were existing as isolated populations and just hadn't met varroa yet. Unless you have been to the areas I speak of that is hard to understand..

    Unlike wild bees these stocks need human help to survive. Randy is right: that has to be viewed as a significant step toward domestication - for those stocks.
    I disagree; any experienced TF beekeeper can take a package of bees from a commercial operation and successfully switch them to TF. And any inexperience beekeeper can take a treatment free hive from a successful TF beekeeper and have them die. There are commercial operations here who went from chemical dependent to treatment free without changing out their stock. The way you describe it that would not be possible. They simply weaned their hives off of chemicals over several years and now are treatment free.


    Mike (UK)[/QUOTE]
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  2. #42
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    There will always be a vector, even the "mite resistant" Bees here have mites and mite borne diseases, they just have a manageable amount.
    There hasn't always been; there is now, and that is the problem. But yes, you're right, smaller mite loads are better than overwhelming ones.

    At the outset of the varroa outbreak almost all bees lacked any defence, and were quickly overwhelmed by numbers of mites, as well as weakened by viruses, and probably bacterial and fungal infections too. Constant skin punctures tend to have that effect. In many places resistance to both mites and, presumably viruses and fungal infections has come about, due largely to natural selection for the fittest strains, which has raised natural behavioural defences in the wild/feral populations and possibly other kinds of natural defences.

    This process would ordinarily be expected to continue, so that mites pass from a calamity to a nuisnace to, eventually, a mere irritant. The process is however undermined by treatments (both the chemical sort, and the manipulations which some people regard as non-treatments)

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    My prediction is that at some point the MBVs will mutate so that a smaller viral load can impact a colony, then we have to breed more resistant bees.... and so on and so on.
    Yes, that's predictable, its how nature works, and why husbandry must always involve propagation only from the strongest. If it doesn't the predators are winning the perpetual 'arms race'.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    I spent several years in the Appalachian mountain range capturing ferals and my conclusion became that for many of those bees, their ability to survive is in their isolation. I had many, that as soon as they were put into a managed apiaries, they became over run with mites and died.
    Populations adapt to their circumstances. In the your wild where perhaps most colonies had varroa largely under control, and mites were largely less fecund strains, individuals will thrive. Move them into managed apiaries with raging mite strains and concentrated viral loads, sure, they won't thrive.

    However: you can change the environment - the apiary - to a less bee-hostile place. Then your ferals would likely be happy there too.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    The key to their survival was that they were existing as isolated populations and just hadn't met varroa yet.
    That's one theory. Round here its the other way around. Feral bees interact with apiary bees constantly, and only those with a little distance and a good measure of tolerance thrive.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    I disagree; any experienced TF beekeeper can take a package of bees from a commercial operation and successfully switch them to TF.
    That's quite a claim. How would you go about it?


    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    There are commercial operations here who went from chemical dependent to treatment free without changing out their stock.
    Again, how did they go about it?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    The way you describe it that would not be possible.
    Its my understanding that mite tolerance is supplied by genetics. Period. Bees lacking the genetic basis for mite-defensive behaviours cannot be genetically altered, nor 'taught'. They're duffers.

    Of course if you bash them down onto small cell, organise artificial brood breaks, dig out drone larvae, they'll thrive. But I don't call that 'treatment free'. And none of it helps the populations adapt - which is the thing that is needed. So its an unhelpful approach if what you want is a sustainable sort of beekeeping, in which apiary bees don't kill off local feral populations, which in turn strengthen apiary populations.

    That's how things happened most places until varroa arrived, and the great experiment of systematic treatments began.

    Mike (UK)
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  3. #43
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post

    That's quite a claim. How would you go about it?
    It can be done many ways... I do it by stacking the number in my favor... Hives get split in late summer and a % of them make it through the winter, the next year the process is repeated.

    Again, how did they go about it?
    http://www.beeweaver.com/welcome

    In the USA the common theory is that resistance is in genetics, but then when you look at our genetic pool it is pretty narrow...... All told our entire bee industry is descendant from less then 50 queens... some experts put the number in the 20s.. We do have some influx from Canada and of course AHB in the south, but predominantly pretty narrow. Basically when the mite made it to our shores, before any chemical treatments were approved, all the bees without some level of resistance died off. Everything we have left is capable to at some level to tolerate mites.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    It can be done many ways... I do it by stacking the number in my favor... Hives get split in late summer and a % of them make it through the winter, the next year the process is repeated.
    Well yes, simply constantly splitting, (creating artificial brood breaks) is a well known method - but should it really be described as 'treatment free'?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    My understanding was that that Beeweaver bred hard, and have thus been able to create truly treatment free bees. That's something very different.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    In the USA the common theory is that resistance is in genetics, but then when you look at our genetic pool it is pretty narrow......
    Its not just a theory. Resistance - like all other traits and qualities in heritable in all organisms. Bees are no exception.

    Your 'narrow' is a little meaningless in this context. Its lower that Europe, sure, but like everywhere in Europe you had inputs of genetic material from all over for hundreds of years.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    All told our entire bee industry is descendant from less then 50 queens... some experts put the number in the 20s..
    Where do those numbers come from???

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Basically when the mite made it to our shores, before any chemical treatments were approved, all the bees without some level of resistance died off. Everything we have left is capable to at some level to tolerate mites.
    That simply isn't so. For one thing you get millions of queens imported from Australia - which afaik doesn't even have varroa! Further, your industry has been propped up from the first by treatments, and in most cases any nascent rise resistance has been snuffed out by their systematic.

    That isn't to say there's none - but it varies a great deal, and is most obvious in feral populations where natural selection has raised levels, and where deliberate selective propagation has achieved the same thing by artificial means.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-11-2014 at 09:26 AM.
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  5. #45
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    > Basically when the mite made it to our shores, before any chemical treatments were approved, all the bees without some level of resistance died off. Everything we have left is capable to at some level to tolerate mites.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    That simply isn't so. For one thing you get millions of queens imported from Australia - which afaik doesn't even have varroa!
    Not True!

    Import of live bees into the USA has been restricted in some form since 1922.

    You can read more about that issue here:
    http://www.beesource.com/resources/u...d-regulations/


    Australian queens are not imported into the US except possibly for research purposes by legally authorized institutions.
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  6. #46
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    >Australian queens are not imported into the US except possibly for research purposes by legally authorized institutions.

    Maybe not at present but not very far in the past they were. We were getting bees from New Zealand, Australia and Canada from 2005 to 2009. It was stopped in 2010.

    http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2007/071119.htm
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/australi...united-states/

    Foreign queens are also coming into Canada, of course they are careful never to swarm across the border... Canada gets queens from: New Zealand, Australia and Chile

    (Also California and Hawaii. Not sure why California, where there are AHB and not nothern states where there are not...)

    http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/apiculture/..._importing.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #47
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Importation in Canada doesnt make a whole lot of sense. Its the Prairie beekeepers that want "cheap" packages. Australian/NZ bees dont have varroa resistance and they sure as hell dont winter too well. On that note have a fellow beek up here who is pretty sure he got an AHB queen from California, and sent it in for genetic testing which should be back in June/July (sadly they died out during the winter). We can import queens from the states but its a mountain of paperwork that none of the US guys want to wade through (understandably). I dont think opening to packages is the way to go (you can keep your AHB, and SHB). However I will happily trade queens for any of your stocks, specifically if you have TF varroa resistant bees; you can have mine just incase you guys get swamped with another nasty winter!

    We have lots of guys up here doing the TF thing, but sadly I just dont think our genetics are there --yet.
    Last edited by honeydrunkapiaries; 03-11-2014 at 11:06 AM. Reason: Add
    TF - Year Two, Eight Colonies
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  8. #48
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Your 'narrow' is a little meaningless in this context. Its lower tha(n) Europe, sure, but like everywhere in Europe you had inputs of genetic material from all over for hundreds of years.
    Yes we did, and all that is gone... The nice thing about honey bees is that the drones are genetic copies of the queen, so you can test Mitochondrial DNA and see all genetic lineages. Where as in humans when you test Mitochondrial DNA it is only 50% of the picture; if a drone mates with a queen and their offspring are mitotyped, the drone and the queens lineage will show up... if that lineage no longer exists, it doesn't show up.

    Those numbers come from Mitochondrial DNA studies... I have seen research that has put the number at 27 lineages, there is a more recent one that was recently posted in another thread that showed 30 lineages.

    Queen breeders here select from relatively few queens. Usually they buy one or two "Breeder Queens" and they rear 1000s of queens off of them. A package producer might raise and sell 20 K package queens off of 5-6 queens total.

    Yes we have had some influx; AHB is included in the 30 or so lineages though, Primorski were brought here by the USDA in the late 90s, but were not released to breeders until 2001 and only three lineages at that time were released. (orange, purple and yellow)... so again a limited gene pool.

    Search genetic diversity of honey bees usa and you will find plenty to read... here is one for you: http://comp.uark.edu/~aszalan/magnus_esa_2008.jpg

    The US can only get queens from Canada currently, otherwise the border is closed to live bees. With the exception of Ferguson Apiaries I do not believe any Canadian queen breeders are importing here. Australia oroginally got their honey bees from North America, their lines do not offer us any genetic diversity, at least none that would last very long.
    Last edited by bluegrass; 03-11-2014 at 02:38 PM.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  9. #49
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Yes we did, and all that is gone... The nice thing about honey bees is that the drones are genetic copies of the queen, so you can test Mitochondrial DNA and see all genetic lineages. [...] if a drone mates with a queen and their offspring are mitotyped, the drone and the queens lineage will show up... if that lineage no longer exists, it doesn't show up.

    Those numbers come from Mitochondrial DNA studies... I have seen research that has put the number at 27 lineages, there is a more recent one that was recently posted in another thread that showed 30 lineages.
    Interesting, thanks. But this speaks of 'lineages', and says nothing about the genetic variation within lineages.

    In the same way its understood that all humans stem from a single female, way back when. I know, there's been a long time for mutations to occur, and for natural selection to work on developing local adaptations; but the same will have happened - and remain - in the US bee popluation. Not all bees of a particular lineage are identical - far from it. And the diversity has been expressed as locally adapted populations all over the place.

    This quote is at line 9 (the abstract) of your document:

    "Finding representatives of all 4 (A. mellifera) lineages, and documenting genetic diversity within all 4 lineages demonstrates that there is a large amount of genetic variation within honey bees in South Central United States. "

    This is, in case anyone could miss it, in direct opposition to the conclusions you draw.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Search genetic diversity of honey bees usa and you will find plenty to read... here is one for you: http://comp.uark.edu/~aszalan/magnus_esa_2008.jpg
    Understanding the documents, and their implications, and the important lessons to be drawn, is clearly something else...

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Queen breeders here select from relatively few queens. Usually they buy one or two "Breeder Queens" and they rear 1000s of queens off of them. A package producer might raise and sell 20 K package queens off of 5-6 queens total.
    I agree, this is a real issue. Its one of the best arguments for local approaches to raising resistance to the outstanding problem - mites - since the present orthodox methods tend to reduce diversity not only through the mechanism you outline, but by undermining pockets of feral bees - which hold not only the precious diversity, but actual functional combinations of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    The US can only get queens from Canada currently, otherwise the border is closed to live bees.
    I did a bit of quick research yesterday and found a federal document that seems to indicate NZ and Aus bees are also permitted. I did check and the effective date is March 10th 2014:

    http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx...#7:5.1.1.1.7.2

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-12-2014 at 02:31 AM.
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  10. #50
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    They open and close the border so often it is hard to keep up.

    If you read the "discussion" section you will see this:
    Samples were biased towards feral Colonies so their is a greater proportion of a lineages bees then one would find in bees maintained by beekeepers....

    Feral populations of O and M may represent a source of genetic diversity which could be used to increase the genetic diversity of bees maintained by beekeepers.
    Mitochondrial Eve has had 200 000 years worth of genetic mutation... US bees have not... And there are more then one "Adam" Not all of us received our Y chromosome from a single male. Remember what I said about drones and 50% of the picture earlier?
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  11. #51
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    I'm guessing to call yourself treatment free, you must have a definition in mind as to what that is. It seems that TF folks cannot among themselves agree what it is. If you sugar dust, are you still TF? If you use FGMO, are you still TF?

    What is treatment free?

    Can you put in writing, that you will compensate all financial losses for me to use anything in my hives other than what the bees put there themselves?

  12. #52
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    There was a research project going on this year in Canada, where in order to find out the genetic diversity of honeybees in Canada we sent in samples from 6-7 of our hives. They have since finished up genome mapping of honeybees in Asia, Middle-East, etc. Results for Canada should be in sometime this summer. You can check their website @ http://zayedlab.apps01.yorku.ca/wordpress/
    TF - Year Two, Eight Colonies
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  13. #53
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    They open and close the border so often it is hard to keep up.

    If you read the "discussion" section you will see this:


    Mitochondrial Eve has had 200 000 years worth of genetic mutation... US bees have not... And there are more then one "Adam" Not all of us received our Y chromosome from a single male. Remember what I said about drones and 50% of the picture earlier?
    Are you talking about bees or humans? Bees don't have a Y chromosome, and thus no Y-chromosome Adam. As for humans, by definition, there can only be one. If you can trace back the origins to a few, then you haven't gone far back enough to find their common ancestor. I didn't look it up, maybe they haven't figured out where and when he was yet, and maybe he wasn't even a homo sapiens, but by definition there can only be one.
    www.apisrustica.com (French-only website) Bee Breeding: Canadian nuclei & queens / northern hygienic bees

  14. #54
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Yes we did, and all that is gone... The nice thing about honey bees is that the drones are genetic copies of the queen, so you can test Mitochondrial DNA and see all genetic lineages. Where as in humans when you test Mitochondrial DNA it is only 50% of the picture; if a drone mates with a queen and their offspring are mitotyped, the drone and the queens lineage will show up... if that lineage no longer exists, it doesn't show up.

    Those numbers come from Mitochondrial DNA studies... I have seen research that has put the number at 27 lineages, there is a more recent one that was recently posted in another thread that showed 30 lineages.

    Queen breeders here select from relatively few queens. Usually they buy one or two "Breeder Queens" and they rear 1000s of queens off of them. A package producer might raise and sell 20 K package queens off of 5-6 queens total.

    Yes we have had some influx; AHB is included in the 30 or so lineages though, Primorski were brought here by the USDA in the late 90s, but were not released to breeders until 2001 and only three lineages at that time were released. (orange, purple and yellow)... so again a limited gene pool.

    Search genetic diversity of honey bees usa and you will find plenty to read... here is one for you: http://comp.uark.edu/~aszalan/magnus_esa_2008.jpg

    The US can only get queens from Canada currently, otherwise the border is closed to live bees. With the exception of Ferguson Apiaries I do not believe any Canadian queen breeders are importing here. Australia oroginally got their honey bees from North America, their lines do not offer us any genetic diversity, at least none that would last very long.
    Hold on there, 30 mitochondrial lines does not mean that all of our bees come from the same 30 queens! If you want to argue that, you may as well argue that all bees in the world come from the same ancestor queen. This can be said of any species, and is not a measure of genetic diversity! Especially not with species like bees that have haplodiploidy! If you made a sperm bank where you uniformely mixed the semen of all of the drones of the world, and used that in a breeding program, you'd still end up with no more mitochondrial lines than you started with. Even with the WSU is importing races we haven't had in a while, like A.m. caucasica, that still won't add any mitochondrial lines because they are only importing germplasm.
    www.apisrustica.com (French-only website) Bee Breeding: Canadian nuclei & queens / northern hygienic bees

  15. #55
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post

    If you read the "discussion" section you will see this:

    "Samples were biased towards feral Colonies so their is a greater proportion of a lineages bees then one would find in bees maintained by beekeepers....

    Feral populations of O and M may represent a source of genetic diversity which could be used to increase the genetic diversity of bees maintained by beekeepers."
    Its rather depresssing that you haven't acknowledged the gross error in your interpretation of the facts that I pointed out. There is, according to your paper, plenty of genetic diversity in US bees - albeit in the feral rather than the commercial population. These are the bees that you claimed had been killed of by varroa, resulting in a lack of diversity.

    An honest correspondent acknowledges errors, and moves with his fellows toward an understanding of the realities. He doesn't carry on as if nothing happened. Or try to plaster over the cracks with out of context extracts.

    We know commercial bees are a horrible mess, and that is the fault of commercial breeders who raise far too many queens from far too narrow a genetic base, and without any attempt to promote longevity or self sufficiency. We've known that for donkey's years. Its one of the grotty features of modern commercial beekeeping that (used to) drive people toward tf beekeeping - in the hope of finding a sustainable path.

    What's interesting is (as this paper reveals yet again) feral bees are very much part of the answer. They're diverse, and locally adapted, and have overcome varroa on their own. They are what apiary bees would have been if beekeepers hadn't forgotten how to do husbandry.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-14-2014 at 12:41 PM.
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  16. #56
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    What's interesting is (as this paper reveals yet again) feral bees are very much part of the answer. They're diverse, and locally adapted, and have overcome varroa on their own. They are what apiary bees would have been if beekeepers hadn't forgotten how to do husbandry.
    Mike (UK)
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  17. #57
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Its rather depresssing that you haven't acknowledged the gross error in your interpretation of the facts that I pointed out. There is, according to your paper, plenty of genetic diversity in US bees - albeit in the feral rather than the commercial population. These are the bees that you claimed had been killed of by varroa, resulting in a lack of diversity.
    Excuse me?

    Magnus's Hypothesis was that there was plenty of "Diversity", hence her conclusion that finding 4 Mitochondrial lines and 36 Haplotypes in a sample of 239 hives across 4 states was plenty of diversity... If another researcher had done the same research and came up with the same data, but their Hypothesis was that "genetic diversity was limited" these same numbers would have just as easily proved that point.

    To put this in a better perspective for you: She would have had to sample 59 hives before she even found the second Mitochondrial line. And in that same sample she would have only found 9 haplotypes.

    And haplotypes have to be passed in pairs or they are useless. So using her sample as a guide; a breeder would need to be selecting from >60 hives in order to start improving diversity... preferably 60 hives not from their immediate area. If that breeder is not using 60 feral hives their diversity is even worse off... as this study was done on feral derived populations.

    My hypothesis stands.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  18. #58
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Excuse me?

    My hypothesis stands.
    ... In direct opposition to the statement provided in the abstract of the document you reference.

    Mike (UK)
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  19. #59
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    Most of my bees have came from feral swarms. I have bought some packages and even bought a breeder queen. A high dollar one. And the bees that I raise myself that are not treated with anything are better bees in my area. All the bees Ive ever boughten to try and improve my stock never works out. The mites get them or they cant survive on their own. after getting established. I raised some queens off that breeder queen i had. Ive got one hive left from them that actually survived on its own. And them bees were supposed to be the new hottest thing in Mite control and they very well probably are good in that aspect. But they just required constant feeding when there was a dearth and even through the winter. They built up super fast though. Like i was saying I dont treat with nothing. And ive had some good bees die because they could not handle the mites but hives on either side of them never even be affected by the mites at all. Ive lost 6 or 7 hives during the winter in 4 years Ive got around 25 hives all the time. Hopefully this year going up to 50. Some of my bees are way too hot for most peoples liking and some of them swarm like to swarm alot. Ive got hives that were feral that the mites have not touched and they have not swarmed in 4 years and make a ton of honey. Only drawback on them is they are a little hot. In winter beeks all around me loose a way larger percentage of their bees than i do. Some even treat their bees and still lose more than i do. Last fall I didnt even feed my bees up for the winter, and this winter was bad. Lost a few hives but the ones I lost were smaller hives. I even had a 5 frame nuc make it through this winter. All the bees that I have bought somewhere were not as good as what I can raise myself. And every year my bees are getting better Less likely to swarm and getting more honey and losing less to the mites all the time. I dont even use screened bottom boards. The guys that I know who do use them lose more than twice the hives I do. i think there is something wrong with the queens that are sold commercially. Im not sure what it is, but alot of times they will get superceeded or they are not good layers. Or they will do good for a little while then fizzle out or the mites will get them. if i had to keep a commercial operation running off of Queens like Ive boughten or the guys I know have bought. I would be in trouble I dont see how they can even keep going. I think there is more to getting a really good queen than what modern scientists know. One question i have is this? A queen knows she is laying a drone egg or a worker egg why isnt it possible that in a swarm cell she is actually laying a queen egg? Why cant that be possible. I really dont think emergency queens are as good as swarm queens they are likely to get superceded. Kinda just like the queens you buy wich the queens that come from grafts are basically emergency queens. Now I dont know for sure if this is the way it is. Its just a Theory I have.

  20. #60
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    Default Re: For Treatment Free Beeks only

    You may find Jay Smith's book "Better Queens" interesting. He was a queen breeder back in the early to mid 20th century. He has many thoughts about the quality of queens. If he's right, most commercial queens are poorly fed and indifferently mated.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

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