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Thread: Critical Mass?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Critical Mass?

    So, not 6 months ago, I was posting here in this forum with the "new TF Beekeeper blues". (Available soon on Atlantic records). I had been to a bee club where a UGA researcher spat (literally, as in "spraying mouth liquid") and raved about how all TF beekeepers were killing not only their bees but all the bees around, and who bragged that he would sneak into his neighbor's yard and treat his bees whenever the neighbor was away at work, and was tacitly cheered by the crowd (to be fair, I think a few more were horrified like I was, but the crowd was mostly with spitting dawg). This was the dude with the A-bomb slide in his powerpoint deck. (Subtlety not being a subject the grad students at UGA are taught, apparently).

    So, comes a new Spring and a new American Bee Journal, and Randy Oliver and Tom Seeley are talking about a revolution? Well.. you know. We all want to change the world....

    And I've been hearing a lot about Marla Spivak recently. And it seems like the last ABJ was about genetics and breeding for tolerance. And suddenly, the flavor of the month is "small time bee owners developing the genetics to save us all". Or maybe I'm selectively picking the media I read and that isn't true.... epistemic closure....

    So, is this the inflection point where we become like South Africa (bee-wise, and not in any other way)? Is this the start of the 2 years of Hell to get to a point where most bees are tolerant?

    Or maybe not... I probably just imagined all that. Maybe spitting dude is coming back to my bee club this Summer? I'll be sure to sit in row 4. Or 7.

    I'm not trying to start a fight. I'm just wondering if we are at that inflection point? Where Randy Oliver and Tom Seeley and Marla Spivak all join the lonely prophets like Mike Bush and Sam Comfort, and suddenly TF is cool?

    Well... not that, clearly. TF will not be cool until at least another year or two.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    TF has been cool for 10 years or more. Very few queen breeders have made the effort to go completely treatment free. Commercial beekeepers don't have the financial resources to lose a large part of their operation on the way to treatment free. This sets up a vicious circle where the queen breeders continue to raise susceptible queens because the commercial beekeepers can't afford to get off the treadmill.

    This is very similar to the situation with trachea mites in the early 1990's. The difference is that tracheamite resistance was available in the U.S. via Buckfast bees and other strains and races rapidly developed resistance. Nobody today worries about Acarine. Varroa mites are a tougher nut to crack, but they have been cracked and now the momentum is building for breeding mite resistant bees with all the traits commercial beekeepers need.
    NW Alabama, 47 years, 22 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    FP is the Barbara Mandrell of treatment free beekeeping. He was treatment free, when treatment free wasn't cool.
    Season 4. TF.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    Up in the north we have a differant problem. We can bring in all the treatment free bees we want from down south but can they survive the long winter and mites. I've come to the conclusion that queens from breeders down south won't survive. We will have to breed our own queens and for the hobby beekeeper that's just about impossible. So a few of us small beekeeper have started our own little club all of us together have around 50 hives total. My plan is to start with beeweaver queens I'm going to have to treat to get them through the winter then bring in VSH breeder queens to start our little plan. Now I see some here say they have bees that survive maybe being small and local is the future.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    I was a little overly cute last night, and buried my point I think.

    By "cool" I meant "broadly accepted wisdom". I've only been subscribing to the bee journals for a year, but notice a dramatic change over that year (especially at ABJ). A year ago it was "how to treat" "when to treat" "what chemicals to use" "how to schedule them". There was a big "dribble versus vapor" debate, and anger that antibiotics might require a prescription. The last two issues have been "how to ween yourself off" and "it is ok for some bees to die". After me wondering for 6 months what "bond method" meant, this month there is a poster of Roger Moore holding a gun right there in my bee magazine. So, now everyone knows.

    I'm seeing more and more YouTube videos of speakers at bee meetings saying the same things. I don't know if this is pure marketing (we abhor chemicals because it sells more magazines) or if represents the beginning of an awakening... Seems like an awakening to me.

    All that being said, FP is indeed cooler than Barbara Mandrell, by a long shot! He's up in Buddy Holly territory at least.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2015
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    TF has been around for as long as bees and their problems have been around. I dont have any proverbial dog in this fight, but I am not sure calling them "lone prophet" is fair. I met Sam Comfort and he is really down to earth and puts his money where his mouth is. In addition, most of these guys / gals sell their Queens / Bees in the same price range compare to other commercial Queens.

    I look at these things as "Fashion", old is new and new is old. Reason is, learning and evolution is circular. We may use chemicals while the investigation of genetics, food etc is better understood, and use TF to some extent while better treatments are being worked on.

    Folks like Randy Oliver, Tom Seeley publish / report what they see, without much partiality to one side or the other. And thats what I LOVE about those guys.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan the bee guy View Post
    I've come to the conclusion that queens from breeders down south won't survive. .
    I have commercial queens raised in Georgia and Louisiana that survive NE Ohio winters with no problem at all. They would make it TF with the usual losses expected in a TF operation. I have never lost a hive simply due to cold in the winter. I have lost them due to mites, probable viruses, and eating themselves into a corner when it was below zero and too cold to move two or three frames sideways to get on honey. None of those things have anything to do with where the queen was reared. For the record I do treat with apivar which goes on about March 15. That is the only treatment my bees get. Winter hive deaths are about 10% over the last three winters from a total of about 60 hives. I also feed nucs when needed but not production hives. Not bad for southern bees in my opinion. Do your local mutts do that well?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Germany, BW
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan the bee guy View Post
    Up in the north we have a differant problem. We can bring in all the treatment free bees we want from down south but can they survive the long winter and mites. I've come to the conclusion that queens from breeders down south won't survive. We will have to breed our own queens and for the hobby beekeeper that's just about impossible. So a few of us small beekeeper have started our own little club all of us together have around 50 hives total. My plan is to start with beeweaver queens I'm going to have to treat to get them through the winter then bring in VSH breeder queens to start our little plan. Now I see some here say they have bees that survive maybe being small and local is the future.
    I love this post.Thanks.
    Listen to good advice, then.... make your own decision. fusion_power
    www.vivabiene.de

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan the bee guy View Post
    Up in the north we have a differant problem. We can bring in all the treatment free bees we want from down south but can they survive the long winter and mites. I've come to the conclusion that queens from breeders down south won't survive. We will have to breed our own queens and for the hobby beekeeper that's just about impossible. So a few of us small beekeeper have started our own little club all of us together have around 50 hives total. My plan is to start with beeweaver queens I'm going to have to treat to get them through the winter then bring in VSH breeder queens to start our little plan. Now I see some here say they have bees that survive maybe being small and local is the future.
    Saskatraz queens are Saskatchewan based. They may have some useful bees for you.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarDad View Post
    who bragged that he would sneak into his neighbor's yard and treat his bees whenever the neighbor was away at work.
    Wow that guy sounds like a piece of work I would NOT want him for my neighbor. With him going around telling crowds what he does i wonder if word will ever get back to his neighbor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan the bee guy View Post
    My plan is to start with beeweaver queens I'm going to have to treat to get them through the winter then bring in VSH breeder queens to start our little plan.
    Just wondering if this is the right approach. You are planning to treat the beeweaver bees but word is they do not need treatment, but on the other hand, due to the african component they can winter very poorly in a cold climate, but you are planning to winter them. Also Beeweavers themselves do not use small cells, and have actually scoffed at the idea.
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  11. #11
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    Vestavia Hills, Al. USA
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan the bee guy View Post
    Up in the north we have a differant problem. We can bring in all the treatment free bees we want from down south but can they survive the long winter and mites. I've come to the conclusion that queens from breeders down south won't survive. We will have to breed our own queens and for the hobby beekeeper that's just about impossible. So a few of us small beekeeper have started our own little club all of us together have around 50 hives total. My plan is to start with beeweaver queens I'm going to have to treat to get them through the winter then bring in VSH breeder queens to start our little plan. Now I see some here say they have bees that survive maybe being small and local is the future.
    for wintering.. from the thread this morning http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ters-Available

    these guys http://www.mountainstatequeens.com think they're onto something
    Starting spring 2017. The plan, to be TF and foundationless.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cryberg View Post
    I have commercial queens raised in Georgia and Louisiana that survive NE Ohio winters with no problem at all. They would make it TF with the usual losses expected in a TF operation. I have never lost a hive simply due to cold in the winter. I have lost them due to mites, probable viruses, and eating themselves into a corner when it was below zero and too cold to move two or three frames sideways to get on honey. None of those things have anything to do with where the queen was reared. For the record I do treat with apivar which goes on about March 15. That is the only treatment my bees get. Winter hive deaths are about 10% over the last three winters from a total of about 60 hives. I also feed nucs when needed but not production hives. Not bad for southern bees in my opinion. Do your local mutts do that well?
    I should of said treatment free bees from down south won't make it. Ohio is a bit milder than where I am there are a lot of people here saying their bees are bringing I pollen I won't see that for two months.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post

    Just wondering if this is the right approach. You are planning to treat the beeweaver bees but word is they do not need treatment, but on the other hand, due to the african component they can winter very poorly in a cold climate, but you are planning to winter them. Also Beeweavers themselves do not use small cells, and have actually scoffed at the idea.
    Got to start somewhere and beeweaver bees make excellent small cell I don't use it for mite controls I use it for a more compact brood nest in my 8 frame box. I will always be looking for and testing bees for survivability and mite resistance.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    Quote Originally Posted by R_V View Post
    for wintering.. from the thread this morning http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ters-Available

    these guys http://www.mountainstatequeens.com think they're onto something
    Just what I'm looking for Thanks

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarDad View Post
    I was a little overly cute last night, and buried my point I think.
    I dont think so. What I do think is that if there is an awakening, its already occurred. As far as converting the medicators, it is only going highlight a deeper more ingrained behavioral problem. (With the keepers, not the bees) Even if as practitioners of treatment intensive management we were magically provided with 10,000 mite resistant queens, we would only medicate them too.

    It's probably easier just to spit back and start a fight.

    ys WW

  16. #16
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    "Definition of pejorative:

    a word or phrase that has negative connotations or that is intended to disparage or belittle."

    from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pejorative

    here in the treatment free subforum members are specifically admonished in the 'unique forum rules' from making perjorative comments with respect to treatment free beekeeping.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ue-Forum-Rules

    these rules were set up before my time here, but my understanding is they became necessary because thread after thread devolved into a spitting contest between folks strongly aligning themselves on one side of the approach or the other.

    none of the other subforums have such an expressed etiquette requirement, although civility is expected and required at all times everywhere on this site.

    in my opinion, if those discussing the treatment free approach in this subforum are 'protected' from disparaging comments from those who may not agree with our methods, the least we can do is reciprocate by not casting dispersion in the other direction.

    yours is an interesting story wetwilly and i'm glad you are here to share it with us. it's not the first time we've heard about keepers buying commercially produced package bees that come with a history of treatments only to find they don't survive when those treatments are withheld, so no surprises there.

    i'm looking forward to hearing how you do with your new strategy, and i am sure there are others out there in the same boat who can benefit from your sharing of that experience as well.

    i believe you will find there are a number of contributors here who don't necessarily fit neatly into this group or that one, square pegs if you will, which in my opinion is why we should all avoid painting with too broad a brush.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Critical Mass?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post

    i believe you will find there are a number of contributors here who don't necessarily fit neatly into this group or that one, square pegs if you will, which in my opinion is why we should all avoid painting with too broad a brush.
    squarepeg,

    Thank you for posting to this thread. It was in desperate need of the comments you shared.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

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