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  1. #1
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    Default Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Different beekeepers are trying to achieve different objectives, and while some principles remain the same, the routes are different.

    For example, some here will be trying to turn around a treatment-dependent apiary, while others like myself are starting from scratch with bees we calculate may be capable of being treatment free from the start. (My best bet are ferals, as in the UK no bred resistant bees are available)

    For the first group, a driving strategic aim will be to try to locate the most resistant, and requeen the worst, thus maintaining numbers.

    For the second group the strategy will include building numbers first - to be able to lose bees without having to start over, to be able to start to raise the resistant drone population, and to have bees to make bees. This thread is addressed to the mostly to the needs of this second group.

    We'll want to quickly form a view of best goers, and have them raise lots of drones. One of the dangers it appears to me is that in our rush to build numbers we make splits, and that doing so both obscures the resistant qualities of the mother hives and perhaps inhibits drone raising in them too. Both these things could lead to unnecessary failure in the breeding process.

    If -if - mother hives are protected from mites through the act of splitting, we might mistake less or unresistant hives for resistant ones - and graft and split more from them. Or build them, and have them put drones in the air, only to find them overloaded with mites in the autumn.

    If - if - mother hives _are_ resistant, then splitting might reduce drone numbers - and they are as important as good mothers.

    Both these things could lead to rapid loss of apiary resistance.

    That's why, while I appreciate the need to build numbers fast, I'm cautious about splitting as a way of getting there. It could easily lead to failure by inducing false readings as to real mite resistance qualities and resistant drone numbers.

    And that's why I'm going with dedicated brood/bee raising hives, and dedicated drone hives.

    Preserving true readings (of mite-management capacity), and acting upon them, is everything. Anything that interferes with that essential assay process threatens to undermine the whole effort to raise bees that can cope with mites themselves.

    I think routine splitting for increase (whether building numbers or sales) is a dangerous road to go down. There is a more professional way. Manley speaks of queenright cell building colonies (of a kind he specifies) as rearing 'lots of choice drones'[1]. An integrated methods that needs all the needs of queen raising, drone raising, brood raising and providing true readings is possible. Maybe others in the same position would like to talk more about this here?

    Mike (UK)

    [1] Honey Farming, p106 - available as an ebook
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    So how to you plan to outgrow the losses without splitting?

    My best bet would be, keep them the way you want them to keep and see what survives. Don't be surprised too much, though, if a complete loss of all your bees does happen regularily.

    As a side discussion: Do you think the same about humans: "Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness"? It is difficult for me to establish a world view based on this paradigma. Or do you think humans are different from the rest of nature? Two ethics, one for nature one for humans?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Mike,
    Complete the project you have dreamed up. Then report the results. There is too much "armchair" and not enough reality.

    I anticipate a few issues: Queen rearing is professional because if follows a full-time (to the hour) calendar. It is also an industry of scale, mostly incompatible with a back-yard operation. You have indicated that bee's are 1/3 of your income, but you are going to be neglecting the other activity during the queen raising campaign.
    You will want cell-builders colonies -- and those are unstable, and generated from multiple feeder colonies. Do you have the size to sacrifice multiple colonies into cell builders.
    You will want mating nucs -- and those are harvested from home colonies. What is the effect of pulling off mating nucs from you home colonies -- a split by any name.
    Are these mating nucs then being turned to production colonies, or are you harvesting queens to populate 4 or 5 frame nucs, where is the nuc population coming from. Will you be replacing the mating nucs,or is this queen effort a one-shot deal.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    So how to you plan to outgrow the losses without splitting?
    My experience is not one of losses. Making increase has been easy.

    The idea is to some have large hives dedicated to raising bees and brood - I'm planning to go with long hives and a good working height to make life easier. Frames can be spread, brood/stores can be taken out and replaced with (usually) starter strip frames, bees can be shaken (or young bees collected at the entrance with a separator).

    Additionally I'll use dedicated cell-builder hives to supply queen cells. I'll mostly use small mating nucs, then transfer to 6-frame nucs. I'm currently favouring the idea of growing colonies using the queen's own offspring as much as possible from the start. This will avoid false starts and false readings due to borrowed bees.

    However I'm going to re-read Manley on queenright cell builders, and may try that too. I want to be sure of getting the drones going - bulding that in from the start seems like a good plan.

    I'll probably make splits opportunistically too - no sense in letting good swarm cells go to waste...

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    My best bet would be, keep them the way you want them to keep and see what survives.
    I think problems can occur that way. It might work, but your bees may end up being dependent on you - and thus damage ferals - and I think ferals are hugely important. I'm taking the sticky seriously - I want bees that can cope on their own.

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Don't be surprised too much, though, if a complete loss of all your bees does happen regularily.
    I'll be surprised when the pessimists stop offering this prognosis. My experience thus far has been extremely encouraging, and I'm very encouraged by those here who make similar reports.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-26-2014 at 12:31 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Queen rearing is professional because if follows a full-time (to the hour) calendar.
    Thats just plain nonsense. Queen rearing has always gone on - one way or another - in all but the most half-hearted apiaries.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    It is also an industry of scale, mostly incompatible with a back-yard operation.
    The above remarks apply equally.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    You will want cell-builders colonies -- and those are unstable, and generated from multiple feeder colonies. Do you have the size to sacrifice multiple colonies into cell builders.
    Yes. It isn't rocket science and it isn't nearly so demanding as you make out. I'm not trying to raise thousands of queens - maybe 50 per month, including collected swarm cells. All I'm planning to do is triple my stocks (30 to 100 in round numbers). So 50/month is more than ample, and allows for mating failures and further winnowing.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    You will want mating nucs -- and those are harvested from home colonies.
    They only need a cupful of bees, and you only have to make them once. They'll come from the long hives. Not a problem

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    What is the effect of pulling off mating nucs from you home colonies -- a split by any name.
    I'm not understanding. My large dedicated bee and brood raising colonies will supply plenty of brood and bees without my needing to touch production/colonies under evaluation.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Are these mating nucs then being turned to production colonies, or are you harvesting queens to populate 4 or 5 frame nucs, where is the nuc population coming from.
    Your question isn't clear; but in all events see my reply to Bernhard above. From mating nucs to small nucs furnished with little more than sufficient brood and bees to build satisfactorily. Given comb and fed if necessary, my experience is they build quite fast enough to overwinter in a 10-11 frame national brood box - if they're good 'uns. And that's largely all I want of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Will you be replacing the mating nucs, or is this queen effort a one-shot deal.
    Bit of both probably. The over-riding method though is having large bee/brood raising/comb-building colonies. They do the grunt work of building comb and supply the modest numbers of bees and brood, and stores, to allow the young queens to establish.

    Doubtless I'll make changes, and experiment as I go. But this is the current plan, designed to bring to the surface as quickly and as reliably as possible, sound data concerning relative resistance capabilities and vigour in the context of hands-off beekeeping, aiming at self-sufficient bees.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-26-2014 at 12:38 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Yes. It isn't rocket science and it isn't nearly so demanding as you make out. I'm not trying to raise thousands of queens - maybe 50 per month, including collected swarm cells. All I'm planning to do is triple my stocks (30 to 100 in round numbers). So 50/month is more than ample, and allows for mating failures and further winnowing.....

    They only need a cupful of bees, and you only have to make them once. They'll come from the long hives. Not a problem

    Mike (UK)
    Of course you will not believe me but I see a very fast learning curve coming up.

    You will understand, afterwards.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7

    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    I see a very fast learning curve coming up.
    Strange, strange, very strange - I can see it, too!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Mike, save you trouble, don't put them all at stake. Divide apiaries into increase units and breeding/survivor units. Make splits from the increase stock using the survivor queen's daughters as queens for the splits. You be better off doing so. Rebuilding from zero is a pain. Especially with the number of hives you already keep.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Mike, save you trouble, don't put them all at stake. Divide apiaries into increase units and breeding/survivor units. Make splits from the increase stock using the survivor queen's daughters as queens for the splits. You be better off doing so. Rebuilding from zero is a pain. Especially with the number of hives you already keep.
    What you call a hat-trick of irredeemable cassandras?

    Bernhard, I might let you off that charge. That's pretty much what my plan is! I think you must be positioning yourself to claim I succeeded because I followed your advice!

    Why not let us have more detail and rationale so that we can see what it is we actually disagree upon?

    BTW I won't be letting any collapse. If they're showing signs of runaway mite infection I'll dig out any drone brood, treat and requeen. Or treat then break up and queen. They'll go to the back of the assay system - and be regarded as year 1 colonies with everything to prove for selection purposes.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-27-2014 at 04:16 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    If they're showing signs of runaway mite infection I'll dig out any drone brood, treat and requeen.

    Mike (UK)
    What???

    So you've spent the last year or so bashing me on the head, calling me names, thinking up conspiracy theories about me, etc etc... just cos I'll treat if need be, then, now, you say that if need be - you will treat.

    A total reversal of your former position and rhetoric, Mike, you are one out of the box.

    Let me ask. I can only think that you are just now saying you might treat, because you have discovered a need. Have you treated any already?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Show us where I've said you must never treat and requeen. Seriously, find the post. Then make your charge.

    I've always said that (in a determined resistance raising context) treating can only occur when its followed quickly by requeening.

    In a more gradual approach, light treating followed by assay followed by requeening is the 'soft bond' method. I've never had a problem with that.

    But that method is suited to pre-existing treated apiaries. I'm building a resistant apiary from the off. Its easier for me because I don't get all the false readings assocated with treated bees.

    What I'll be doing isn't just 'treating' in the normal, damaging ongoing sense. Its 'cleaning up' spare worker bees so they can be used again to raise a new colony (or several new colonies).

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Let me ask. I can only think that you are just now saying you might treat, because you have discovered a need.
    Not yet. I'm anticipating a benefit to this plan. No wasted worker bees = more throws of my (properly loaded) dice. And I don't want my new queens damaged by high mite levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Have you treated any already?
    No.

    The important thing is that individuals are selected effectively and used systematically to raise resistance in the apiary and the locality.

    Everything else - all management - is subservient to that process. You can do whatever you like - as long as... individuals are selected effectively and used systematically to raise resistance...

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-27-2014 at 04:37 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    OK well it seems to me that you have now had bees long enough for a bit of reality to dawn, you don't want to lose your bees, and are now advocating treating if need be but breeding from the best.

    Which is exactly what I do.

    Oh and drone culling. Isn't that a manipulation?

    Weird how you've been attacking me all this time, but I always knew that reality would for you eventually trump theory, I see it happen to nuubs all the time.

    What kind of treatments are you considering using? Even an old reprobate like myself is very careful about what I put in my hives.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 03-27-2014 at 04:43 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    No offense Barry, but if you haven't got it by now I don't think you're going to.

    BTW is there a public list of sponsers of Beesource anyplace that would allow us to evaluate the likelihood of pressure there might be to maintain confusion among non-buyers of treatment products?

    Mike (UK)
    OK I've figured out what's going on. Mike you are secretly taking money from Bayer and are in league with Barry to cunningly subvert the non treaters and make them think it is OK to spend money on treatment. It's obvious now. Bashing me was just a front.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    OK well it seems to me that you have now had bees long enough for a bit of reality to dawn, you don't want to lose your bees, and are now advocating treating if need be but breeding from the best.
    You haven't found me saying 'don't treat even if requeening' anyplace, but you're going to continue as if your charge has been substantiated, right?

    Think what you like. It seems to me that you've developed an assumption that because I don't like treating as a method of 'husbandry' I'm against its use in all circumstances. Your assumption is wrong.

    In general I've opposed you histrically for being rude and for being wrong - in lots of ways, but mostly for assuming - and preaching - that because you, in NZ, with no bred resistant bees and no ferals, can't make tf work, nobody, anywhere, can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Which is exactly what I do.
    Which is sort of what you do. You have masses of treatment-dependent bees: I don't. You have masses of treatment-dependent drones: I don't. You don't have resistant ferals: I do. You struggle to assay for resistance effectively; I don't. You treat lightly and systematically (or according to need?). I don't treat except to clean bees for re-use (and I haven't done that yet).

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Weird [...] I always knew that reality would for you eventually trump theory
    Wierd how when people eventually realize they're on the wrong side they eventually start to say, 'yeah we knew that all along.' And 'We taught it to him'!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    What kind of treatments are you considering using? Even an old reprobate like myself is very careful about what I put in my hives.
    I haven't looked ito it yet, and I won't until I find a need. Then I'll ask local experts what works well around here.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Your assumption has always been wrong. In general I've attacked you for being rude and for being wrong - in assuming that because you, in NZ, with no bred resisntat bees and no ferals can't make NT work, nobody can.
    But I've never said that and I do not assume that. You are making things up yet again.

    Surely admitting your attacks on myself and others have been wrong must be hard, but let's at least try to be honest.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    But I've never said that.
    You've written determinedly as if that were the case. It seems to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    ... let's at least try to be honest.
    Pot, kettle, black... Again.

    Let's get back on topic. The purpose of this forum is discussion of ways to raise bees that can cope with problems themselves. That's what I'm trying to do with this thread. As usual, you're getting in the way in a manner that makes it very easy for us to suppose you are trying deliberately to derail the discussion and generally undermine the purpose of the forum.

    And bear in mind: as I've outlined above: your situation and mine are very different. I realize you struggle to imagine yourself in a position of having lots of lovely ferals, and it must be hard to accept that the horrid Englishman has them. But it is, it seems thus far, a fact.

    You'll surely agree that if I stick with my system this year, I'll find out quite a bit more about the resistance qualities of my bees?

    What's your plan for the year in terms of overcoming the problems associated with false resistance readings in your 320 hive operation? (Or is the soft bond operation a more modest affair?)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-27-2014 at 05:18 AM.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    I realize you struggle to imagine yourself in a position of having lots of lovely ferals, and it must be hard to accept that the horrid Englishman has them.
    What you think you have realised about what I "struggle to imagine" is not the reality, you are making things up yet again.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    You've written determinedly as if that were the case. It seems to me.
    No, you are wrong completely.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 03-27-2014 at 05:27 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    No, you are wrong completely.
    OK. So you now agree (in fact you've always agreed) that those with access to resistant ferals and/or bred resistant bees stand a good chance of becoming treatment free as long as they can get their selective propagation going? That success will be dependent on that that?

    That to that end distance from systematically treating apiaries is useful-to-critical?

    That to that end a sound system of evaluating resistance qualities will be essential?

    That somebody like myself, has, given that my bees are indeed at least somewhat resistant, a chance of succeeding?

    I'm not trying to trap you here. I'm not going to trawl around for evidence that you haven't always said or supported these things. I just want to see if we're on the same page in terms of how-to-do-it now, and if not, where the differences lie.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    Same page? Mike I do not consider you, and myself, same page.

    However if trawling around makes you happy please do so. You are not trying to trap me, yeah right LOL you would love to do that, dream on But sadly for you, through all the time you have been arguing with me about these things you will not find me saying that mite tolerance is impossible, that is not my belief. This and your other crazy ideas about me are just in your head.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    I realize you struggle to imagine yourself in a position of having lots of lovely ferals, and it must be hard to accept that the horrid Englishman has them. But it is, it seems thus far, a fact.
    Why then has the horrid Englishman deemed it necessary to mention he might have to treat them?
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 03-27-2014 at 06:01 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance

    It's ok ..... I remember how much I dreamed when I got my FIRST hive too
    I also heavily agree....there will be a learning...I can see it as well. I'd like to know the reports throughout ur seasons though. Could be ones to take note of. But as for me, I'll take the advice of 40 plus year beeks and try new things myself.

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