TF concepts
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Thread: TF concepts

  1. #1
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    Default TF concepts

    I am writing this as basic concepts to TF beekeeping to avoid some pitfalls.

    Rule #1. Use stock that can survive your winter!!! If it can't survive your winter there is no point in going any farther. This goes for the treatment folks too. Establish stocks and put them to test for wintering, don't assume. Nature is unforgiving with all the pressures from disease and parasites heavy losses will likely occur if you cheat this step. At least give them a winter to establish use IPM, acids, or something that doesn't contaminate wax.

    #2 Initial stock selection. Obtain TF bees if possible. Keep rule number one in mind! I suggest a 2 pronged approach. A. Work with feral bees as much as possible. Place 10-40 swarm traps out to get results.
    B. Work with quality commercial stock that have some degree of selection. VSH, hygienic, allogrooming.


    #3 Small cell vs Large cell. Read Lusby's work for full details. I personally think there are some benefits to small cell. This is an optional choice. All I would suggest is that cell size be contained to 5.2 top limit if you reject small cell. I am convinced that after 16 yrs of looking as cell size that 5.4 is not a natural cell size for honeybees. Even then I'm not saying that TF can't be done on 5.4.

    #4 Use natural feed as much as possible. Avoid GMO feeds. I would recommend cane sugar and not corn syrup. Corn is a heavily abuse crop in the US as far as GMO and pesticides go. No broodnest striping! Obviously dead bees are......well dead. So feed if you need too.

    #5 Propolis- we need more work done here. I suspect that are ultra low to no propolis bees makes for a more unhealthy bee. Bees that have a moderate amount of propolis may have an advantage to combating viruses and general sicknesses. As I said this needs further investigation.

    #6 Queen rearing. Learn it!

    I'll continue when I have more time.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    #2 Many TF beekeeping leads back to feral survivors, either as starting stock or open mating queens many generation gaining survivor stock genes.

    #4 I don't think it makes much of a difference, sugar is sugar. Read somewhere here you can't tell the difference even in a lab. Most will agree best to feed only for survival and leave honey for them.

    #5 I have 50 feral survivor hives some propolis more than others, no noticeable difference other than it's harder to inspect glued frames.

    Forgot one; your local area; In an areas of high beek the spread of inferior "domesticated mite bombs" and their genes may make it impossible for some to go TF.
    Last edited by FlowerPlanter; 02-24-2016 at 10:52 AM.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Grow and maintain adult size hives, i.e. 3+ deeps

  5. #4
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Here is a link to Dee Lusby's work "The Way Back to Biological Beekeeping"

    https://static.secure.website/wscfus...beekeeping.pdf

  6. #5
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Grow and maintain adult size hives, i.e. 3+ deeps
    I'm in favor of 3 deep setup. However not everyone wants this configuration and I see no reason to impose it. Simple maintain strong hives would be my suggestion.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Learn to make increase. Create backup to replace losses. Make queens from long lived hives. When transitioning to tf or starting out, take measures to reduce transfer of mites from failing hives to thriving ones.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    #7 Learn to have back up. Use 2 nucs per production colony as back up. I recommend using Palmer/ Webster nucleolus colony methods. Look them up on you tube. Maybe someone could provide a link to save me some time.

    #8 Mr. Parkers Expansion Model Beekeeping: http://parkerfarms.biz/expansionmodelbeekeeping.html

  9. #8
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Split your own strong hives to make new hives and refrain from buying queens. Don't fight a hive that is trying to die- help it along a little bit, and if they don't make it, they don't make it - survival of the fittest. You will not work my hives without a bee suit - I know folks that can work their hives like they are feeding guppies in an aquarium. My bees are not African killer bees, but they can have a little attitude - especially when not worked in a while or on really hot days. I think that helps them fight the mites - they are tougher compared to the bees that everyone coddles. I have more hive failure in the summer than the winter - so winter kill is not the only consideration.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton Huestis View Post
    I am writing this as basic concepts to TF beekeeping to avoid some pitfalls.
    I leave enough honey so I don't have to feed. Feeding can disrupt brood breaks that stress varroa and reduce their numbers. I regard each hive as a biosphere where parasites, diseases, and conditions that can reduce varroa numbers may thrive. I use solid bottom boards to promote the varied life in the bottom of the hive. Miticides, fungicides, and antibiotics may be harmful to enemies, pests, and diseases of varroa. I don't use them. Likewise, soil treatments like diatomaceous earth may interfere with varroa's potential natural enemies. I use eight frame medium brood boxes with tall brood nests. The hives are made of cedar which may not be as attractive to mites as other materials. I use large cell and small cell plastic foundation and foundationless frames. These are, for the most part, untested approaches that may help identify potential approaches to be studied.
    Last edited by Riverderwent; 03-07-2016 at 10:41 PM.
    David
    "Performance speaks louder than math." Michael Palmer

  11. #10
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Quote Originally Posted by Riverderwent View Post
    I leave enough honey so I don't have to feed. Feeding can disrupt brood breaks that stress varroa and reduce their numbers. I regard each hive as a biosphere where parasites, diseases, and conditions that can reduce varroa numbers may thrive. I use solid bottom boards to promote the varied life in the bottom of the hive. Miticides, fungicides, and antibiotics may be harmful to enemies, pests, and diseases of varroa. I don't use them. Likewise, soil treatments like diatomaceous earth may interfere with varroa's potential natural enemies. I use eight frame medium brood boxes with tall brood nests. The hives are made of cedar which may not be as attractive to mites as other materials. I use large cell and small cell plastic foundation and foundationless frames. These are, for the most part, untested approaches that may help identify potential approaches to be studied.

    What are varroa's natural enemies?
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  12. #11
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    FP writes:

    #5 I have 50 feral survivor hives some propolis more than others, no noticeable difference other than it's harder to inspect glued frames.
    Randy Oliver wrote:

    8. Dr. Spivak suggests that our breeding for bees that use less propolis may have backfired against us, since propolis may be the bees’ first line of defense against diseases, and possibly mites.
    The scope of this thread is for being TF and is not limited to talking about varroa. If you have tested higher propolis use and its affects on brood diseases I would love to see the results? If you have tested the same vs. viruses I would like to see that too? Then again you weren't very clear what propolis didn't/ did do....

  13. #12
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Clayton, will you accept a #9? Promote broodbreaks as a positive intervention for hive health.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    will you accept a #9? Promote broodbreaks as a positive intervention for hive health.
    It is a useful manipulation. You can use it on colonies that have good traits but aren't quite ready to be TF cold turkey so to speak.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Quoted from Randy Oliver:

    Other potential varroa resistance/tolerance mechanisms

    Here are some more observed or potential varroa-fighting tools likely to be found in the bees’ genetic toolbox (in rough order of likelihood):

    1. Other hygiene-related behaviors (Dr. Marla Spivak is studying these). Apis cerana is so effective at VSH that Varroa jacobsoni generally won’t even try to reproduce on worker brood, even if transferred to worker brood of the European honey bee. (Boot, et al. 2004).

    2. Grooming behaviors—there may be several genes involved:

    a. Better autogrooming behavior to dislodge mites—especially useful with screened bottoms,

    b. Allogrooming (nestmates grooming each other) behavior, and

    c. Signaling or communicating the need to be groomed to nestmates,

    d. Crushing of mites in the mandibles—Apis cerana and the Africans do this.

    3. Resistance to various viruses and better immune system. It’s very important for the bees to keep the mite population in check, but it’s usually not the mites that cause colony collapse—it’s viral infection (notably deformed wing virus) vectored or initiated by mite feeding. Miaoqing, et al. (2005) state: “parasitization by varroa suppresses the immunity of honey bees, leading to activation of persistent, latent viral infection.” Surprisingly, the Honey Bee Genome Project (Evans 2006) found that compared to flies, honey bees possess only a third as many immunity genes. We should screen for bees naturally resistant to various viruses and other diseases.

    4. Post-capping duration: Varroa is not well adapted to EHB worker brood—only 38% of the second female eggs are able to develop to maturity, and only 13% of the third. Theoretically, if the developmental period of the worker were shortened by one day, no third daughters would mature; by two days, very few second daughters (Figure 2). This has not yet been demonstrated by experiment, although it is often cited as a possible mechanism used by the African honey bee. Dee Lusby demonstrated that by selective breeding, one could knock up to 4 days off EHB queen development time (DeGrandi-Hoffman, et al. 1989), implying that worker development time could also be curtailed. Steve Taber suggested a selection method in the November 2006 ABJ.

    5. Minimal drone production, since most mite reproductive success takes place in drone brood.

    6. Biochemical—mites incorporate some bee proteins unaltered into their eggs without digestion (Tewarson and Engles 1982). Bees might evolve proteins that are deleterious to the mite; or the bee could modify essential proteins that varroa require for reproduction or metabolism.

    7. Alteration of bee larval or pupal pheromones/volatiles that initiate mite reproduction or feeding (Denis Anderson in Australia, Yves Leconte, and Peter Teal are all working on this). It is necessary for the mite to “read” the pheromonal signal of a pupa to tell it to ovulate. Our problem mite—the Korean haplotype of Varroa destructor—mutated to be able to ovulate in response to worker, as opposed to drone, pheromones. We could breed bees that don’t give this signal, and would thus suppress mite reproduction in worker brood.

    8. Dr. Spivak suggests that our breeding for bees that use less propolis may have backfired against us, since propolis may be the bees’ first line of defense against diseases, and possibly mites.

    9. Thickened drone brood cappings to trap mites with multiple-infested drones, as in A. cerana.

    10. The aforementioned mechanisms are only those that come to my mind. There are likely more—my guess is that we’ve only scratched the surface. A bibliography of research on varroa resistance can be found at: www.glenn-apiaries.com/bibliog.html

    11. We must also continue to breed for the usual traits of vigorous broodrearing, honey production, and gentleness, and resistance to tracheal mite and other diseases.

    12. Add to the above list that we may wish to screen for virus-free queen lines (as with strawberries and horses). Viruses may lie latent in queens, and be passed on to eggs (Chen, et al. 2006). Furthermore, the manner in which queens are raised may be important. The new science of epigenetics (Watters 2006) has found that nutrition and stress events affect not only the individual, but also the behavior and disease resistance of its offspring, sometimes for several generations. In other words, if a queen is reared under stress or perforated by a mite, she may pass effects on to her offspring.
    Keep all the above in mind when breeding queens. Our best breeders out there have mostly made efforts in maybe one or two traits from the above. I think we need to see more from 4. and d.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Quote Originally Posted by Nabber86 View Post
    What are varroa's natural enemies?
    Really. There are no known or even possible unknown bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, predator mites, insects, pseudo scorpions, or animal vectored diseases or toxin sources that may infect, prey upon, parasitize, or otherwise harm the health, growth or reproduction of varroa. They are a remarkable and amazing creature without any potential disease or natural enemy but mankind. Your question is actually one of the most important but least asked questions I know.
    David
    "Performance speaks louder than math." Michael Palmer

  17. #16

    Default Re: TF concepts

    Josef Koller in Germany has outlined a concept for the transition period to TF beekeeping. He calls it "Zucht Project Roots", Roots Breeding Project. The main principles are: Start with one yard. Move there your best candidates to become varroa resistant bees. Every normal, good enough hive is divided every summer and the new nuc (or half) makes its own queen. All hives are allowed to make drones as much as they want. Better hives make more viable drones. When enough time has passed, and enough resistance is present, the first yard becomes crowded. Make second yard somewhere in flying distance of drones. Continue to split all hives. Make all the coming yards in a circle around the first yard.

    Doing this way a zone for varroa resistant drones is created, pretty much the same way Fusion_Power has made it. I have started to follow this plan in Ruovesi. In the future these little dots become larger and fill up whole districts and states.
    TF since 2008, max 1 nuc/hive, no swarm collecting, www.buckfast.fi, YouTube juhanilunden

  18. #17
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Leave as much burr comb as possible. It will help microfauna.

    Keep an eye on drone rearing. If you have a small amount of drone brood on every comb throughout the year, most mites will enter drone brood, not worker brood. And you will have some drones for mating in stress situations.

    If you make splits all the time to establish your apiary, leave the bees the decision to supersede an old queen.

    Develop your own strategy because everybody works under different conditions. Keep an eye on your flow, your foragers must find enough food.

    Try to avoid sprayed surroundings.
    zone 8a, sc, dadant square, wax comb, tf, 4 years beekeeping
    www.vivabiene.de

  19. #18
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Transition from the treated bees to the tf operation:
    1. Make splits every Spring time.
    2. Oav the splits to established the young queen.
    3. Obtain the resistant stocks if you don't have any locally.
    4. Time your splits to the mated queen.
    5. Feed when they are hungry.
    6. Nuc the after the solstice queens to overwinter.
    7. Graft from the most mite free colony.
    8. Send the good stock drones to the local DCAs.
    9. Give brood break to keep the mite population low.
    10. Only keep the prolific and gentle queens to expand.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  20. #19
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    There are times your treatment free bees, even the resistant ones, will be jeopardized by your neighbour`s bees, if you are not isolated (bees with mites drifting, drones), so what can you do?
    If you don`t want to have a setback using treatments.

    - You split and force a brood break ( like it`mentioned here) , but you have no honey harvest, except maybe from the queenless part
    - high mite infestation: you take out all capped brood twice with 9 days in between, you can do it as long as they breed no winter bees
    - leave them more honey. They will live longer and have more bees and time to fight mites
    - combine weak colonies, hopefully the best queen will survive or use the better one..suddenly they may survive

    Some treat with thymol those hives with the highest infestation so they spread no mites in their own apiary.

    Nice thread to learn the different approaches.
    Last edited by SiWolKe; 07-02-2016 at 06:51 AM. Reason: spelling
    zone 8a, sc, dadant square, wax comb, tf, 4 years beekeeping
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  21. #20
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    Default Re: TF concepts

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    If you don`t want to have a setback using treatments...
    it seems that the drifting of mites into the hives has been and will continue to be an issue that all colonies will have to contend with, along with the robbing out of colonies suffering collapse from varroasis. it is likely that these scenarios play out in natural settings as well as where managed colonies are kept.

    i suppose if the overriding goal is to not put any chemicals into the hives then your suggestions above make sense. however if one is trying to advance the development of mite resistant stock while at the same time interested in keeping bees for the sake of producing a honey crop i believe those suggestions may be counterproductive.

    as you mentioned the perpetual splitting of colonies to force brood breaks will slow mite reproduction down but will also compromise the honey crop. killing all of the capped brood 9 days apart would rid a colony of a lot of mites, but also tend to to set the colony back to the point of not being as productive. then, if we are going to leave honey for the bees so as not have to feed syrup, (which is what i do), with these manipulations it's hard to see how there would be any honey left for harvest.

    i believe that helping the bees deal with mites by frequently splitting and/or killing mites trapped in capped brood isn't going to help advance your stock to becoming mite resistant and treatment free. i believe that these things are also 'setbacks', some would say 'treatments'. also i don't think that these methods are going to allow the beekeeper looking to get a return on investment of time and money to see a profit.

    i'm not trying to be critical sibylle, and i've no problem with each and every beekeeper keeping bees in whatever fashion that promotes their desires and goals, so long as they don't put neighboring colonies at risk. i only raise these points because treatment free beekeeping is sometimes criticized for being nonproductive and nonprofitable, and my opinion is that the suggestions in your last post would tend to support those criticisms.

    that said i realize that there are no cut and dry paths to developing treatment free stock when nonresistant bees are predominant around you. i'm afraid i don't have any sage advice to give you in that regard, but i wish you luck and i wish you well.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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