survival of individual colonies - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    I'm confused by something in post #5 where it cites the study saying, "The colonies were started as package bees or nuclei and initially treated against V. destructor, ensuring uniform starting conditions in terms of strength and infestation level of all colonies within each location"

    What does it mean when it says they were treated? If they were treated with an insecticide how is it a valid study of TF beekeeping?

    I know things are different for people in different regions. For instance in post #16 there's mention of the greatest losses occuring due to heat. I don't think mite treatments would help, so would treating vs not-treating matter for heat related deaths?

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    What does it mean when it says they were treated? If they were treated with an insecticide how is it a valid study of TF beekeeping?
    In a valid study, you need to have a reasonable base line. All hives were treated for mites at the start and then allowed to go treatment free for almost three years. The effect of most mite treatments is very short term, especially the organic acids.

    You have to have a starting point. For example, if you were to do an endurance test with people climbing a hill, you couldn't have some people carrying 90 pound packs and others with no packs at all. The same is true with mite loads, they have to be close to equal at the start.

    Anyone can find flaws with any study, the point is: these people did the work. You may compare it to other studies, but you can't compare it to the study that you didn't do, or some speculation on what if.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Sure this was a serious question. If I requeen all of my hives (or near so) on a yearly basis, that means a 100 % loss if a colony is defined as a certain queen. If a colony is just a box of bees and that hive swarms every year, doubling the number of hives and loosing half of the hives a little later - does this really mean zero losses? It is difficult to define, what the hive is. For a queen breeder it is the queen. For a honey producer all that matters is that there are enough bees in that box. If it comes to longevity...what is it, that really matters? How do you measure it?
    A queen with no bees cannot survive. So she alone cannot qualify as a colony. bees without a queen cannot survive so they also cannot be considered a colony on their own. Only at the point a colony has a complete sustainable unit can it be considered a colony. This would require a mated queen with the bees to support all function of a complete colony. Foraging, housekeeping, nursing rearing brood, wax making comb building, and making winter stores.

    Once a colony has attained colon status it remains a colony. even in the event it where to loose one or more of the components of a complete colony. it is capable of restoring that component. most commonly the loss of the queen. it is capable or rearing a new queen and continuing to survive.

    I have 30 nucs with mated queens. as of yesterday I found 5 of them had lost their queens most likely due to robbing. I consider all of them a lost colony although they where never larger than 3 frames of bees. We also made 6 other nucs queenless. I do not consider these lost colonies because they have the ability although slim to rear new queens.
    Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)

  5. #24
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    The survival graph is consistent (even optimistic) with the experience reported on this forum by Bush. He reports an approximately 20% winter loss, and makes increase by mid-summer splits. He says he had to consume several years rebuilding after being away, so he appears to be at the upper limit of effective splitting.

    I've illustrated the demography chart with a idealized version of the Bush colony trajectory --- 20% winter loss, rebuilding by summer splits to the apiary limit.


    As forum reader's may be aware, I have conducted a long-term experiment on an isolated TF yard populated with trapped bees. I don't have the granularity of data in the European study, but if I scale my results to the a seasonal May start (my swarm month), the data is nearly identical. (My hives "graduate" from TF when DWV becomes severe).
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 06-11-2014 at 12:01 PM.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    20% winter loss, rebuilding by summer splits to the apiary limit.
    Of course, but the thread is about individual colonies. The average life span of an untreated colony is less than three years, that's the point. The constant splitting and/or buying bees masks this fact

  7. #26

    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    Of course, but the thread is about individual colonies. The average life span of an untreated colony is less than three years, that's the point. The constant splitting and/or buying bees masks this fact
    Do you think spitting alone is what is needed to be TF? Why are there not more TF beekeepers, if splitting is enough to make it work? 20% losses are sometimes very normal for treating beekeepers.

  8. #27
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Do you think spitting alone is what is needed to be TF?
    Maybe. I am not opposed to buying queens. The queens I bought were from treatment free hives so I suppose that's OK. Although I have no way of knowing if they really are ; )

    PS. I am talking about treatment as a technique, not a dogma.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    Of course, but the thread is about individual colonies. The average life span of an untreated colony is less than three years ....
    Peter, I am not disagreeing. I am placing the data in context with the (scantily) reported experience of Bush. His apiary has a ~~20% winter replacement rate from halving summer colonies. This implies something greater than 50% of the apiary is not yielding honey (donor split, new split, summer loss). This is consistent with the Google Earth images that show a majority of the hives are small summer stacks.

    The apiary is non-competitive with different management models; but since the economics are subsidiary to the proof-of-concept, this is not critical. The problems with the prescription come into focus when others try to adopt it on a commercial scale, as has transpired in my county.

    The study is not "flawed", as the loss rate reported is better than that experienced by Bush, the preeminent TF practitioner.

  10. #29

    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    Maybe. .
    If varroa increases 10 fold in a year (someone say it is much more) doesn´t that mean that you have to split each hive each year in 10 nucs to stop rising varroa infestation levels?

  11. #30
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Peter, I am not disagreeing.
    I realize that. I think we are having an interesting conversation. My tone comes across as adversarial at times, but that's not really how I am. I just don't have a lot of time to type out more elegant prose. Anyway, I deeply mistrust the unsubstantiated, undocumented claims of the true believers. I don't think they sufficiently understand what it means to analyze. It's all "don't worry, be happy" beekeeping. We all want that, but some are at work trying to figure stuff out. Hope you get some rain there in Morro Bay! We have been getting tons...

  12. #31
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    This is with no treatments except drone brood removal and resistant stock.
    Perhaps you could try leaving the drones, since removal doesn't work. Also, if they're dying in such numbers, I'd say you don't have resistant stock, whatever that means.


    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    TF seem disingenuous about the losses and the cost of replacement.
    I have been completely transparent with my losses and cost of replacement, even though I have not replaced anything by buying bees in five or so years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik View Post
    What does it mean when it says they were treated? If they were treated with an insecticide how is it a valid study of TF beekeeping?
    No doubt, especially if there is any sort of residual effect (which we know there is).


    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    The constant splitting and/or buying bees masks this fact
    And? I had a colony survive treatment-free for ten and a half years. But so what? That's not how beekeeping is done. That's not how TF is done. That's not how agriculture as a whole is done. Every cow goes to the hamburger factory eventually.


    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    Do you think spitting alone is what is needed to be TF?
    That's what I do. You also need to be a good beekeeper, which I have been told I must be since I've been doing this for 11 years.


    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    Why are there not more TF beekeepers, if splitting is enough to make it work?
    Most that I've seen simply won't follow a successful model. I can't explain it better than that. They try to cheat, they justify, they leave out things. I did this by following a successful model, Dee Lusby's. I did everything she did even if the individual parts didn't make sense. And I'm not saying all of them do. But I found a successful model, followed it, succeeded, then created my own model. It's public information in case anyone is interested, website in my signature.


    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    20% losses are sometimes very normal for treating beekeepers.
    Yes, yes they are. And with no splitting, the best treating beekeeper will end up with 0 bees before long.



    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    If varroa increases 10 fold in a year (someone say it is much more) doesn´t that mean that you have to split each hive each year in 10 nucs to stop rising varroa infestation levels?
    Splitting in this way is another way to combat the mites on the human end rather than letting the bees deal with them in a natural, permanent, and sustainable way. If you leave your bees alone and they die wholesale, you haven't succeeded. That's my view.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    No doubt, especially if there is any sort of residual effect (which we know there is).
    I disagree. No residue of formic acid, oxalic acid, etc. These occur naturally in honey, BTW. If I buy a treated package, any "treated bees" are all dead in six weeks anyway. Try to loosen up a little. People want to avoid treatments but not have it be like a religion. It isn't like AA where you can be off alcohol for 30 years and you still have to call yourself an alcoholic.

  14. #33
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    ...across as adversarial at times.....Hope you get some rain there in Morro Bay!
    Even my jokes are interpreted as 'grumpy'. There is a cultural divide between those that are part of the academic milieu where unsupported statements are challenged for citation, and the forum world where citation is something you get for running a red light, and asking for one is considered impolite or downright crazy.

    As for rain, Morro Bay has NO rain from April to October. It remarkable that there are any summer flowers at all.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    People want to avoid treatments but not have it be like a religion.
    Those people are not TF. I'm not a fan of religion, but there's something to be said for dogma sometimes. I keep trying to tell people how to be successful at this, and they just won't do it. I can't help that.

  16. #35
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    If varroa increases 10 fold in a year (someone say it is much more) doesn´t that mean that you have to split each hive each year in 10 nucs to stop rising varroa infestation levels?
    That's not how splitting reduces varroa, as the "per capita" varroa level is what is important, and if all splitting did were to spread it out, it wouldn't be effective in the slightest. The artificial brood break is what reduces varroa levels in a split.

  17. #36
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Something weird and troubling in the data is the coordinated nature of the mortality events. The curves at independent apiaries everywhere in Europe exhibit identical "mortality steps". This is not how mortality in even closely situated apiaries occurs for me. Why would apiaries scattered the length of Europe all decide to have a 2% mortality event the 2nd week of May, and then all simultaneously return to a similar lower rate. The data as presented is unrealistically identical.


  18. #37
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Perhaps you could try leaving the drones, since removal doesn't work. Also, if they're dying in such numbers, I'd say you don't have resistant stock, whatever that means.
    I already learned the hard way that cutting out drones won't prevent re-infestation late in summer. The numbers here go way up in August. When I say resistant, I mean mite resistant. The bees didn't die from mites. They may not be "winter resistant."

  19. #38
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Wouldn't say I'm religious about Tf because I could care less how anybody else chooses to keep bees, but I will say that following Dee and Michael's model has worked well enough for me. I don't hardly every do a split, but do catch some swarms and do some removals to make up my yearly losses. I have about 40 hives, 5 of which have survived for 4 years now (by Peter's definition) and have never bought a bee.


    Don

  20. #39
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Why would apiaries scattered the length of Europe all decide to have a 2% mortality event the 2nd week of May, and then all simultaneously return to a similar lower rate. The data as presented is unrealistically identical.
    One of the mortality events mentioned earlier was 'failed to requeen after swarm'. I would expect that one to be strongly biased to the May timeframe, and virtually non-existant for the rest of the year. It's a logical explanation of what you are questioning.

  21. #40
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    Default Re: survival of individual colonies

    5 of which have survived for 4 years now (by Peter's definition)
    5 out of how many? That might be impressive unless it is 5 out of 100 acquired. Also, did you ever add brood to them or some other remedial action?

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