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Thread: TF until today

  1. #81
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    Default Re: TF until today

    I say treat {I use OAV} and get all the VARROA off the bee's and let the hives get strong so they have a fighting chance.
    I treated with OAV last fall and no mites this year . I plan on treating a couple soon. as of 2 week's ago no mites in any of my alcohol wash's.
    Get the mite's out of the hive and off the bee's and they will bounce back once they are healthy bee's are pretty strong. then you can see what hives are what when it come's to handling mite loads and build from there.
    Just my 2cent's
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

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  3. #82
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    You should research some of the side effects of giving vaccines.
    You're a troll.

  4. #83
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    Default Re: TF until today

    More labels ...
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  5. #84
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    Keene, NH, USA
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Well, this thread has taking some interesting turns, including name calling which is one of the reasons I debated about even posting this topic. Of course, some folks just make you want to call them names. Basically, I think it has been educational and thank everyone for sharing their experiences. This is helpful and is how I learn.

    Some folks have asked me questions which I hope to answer with this post but first, here are the results 6 days post treatment.

    Hive 1:
    Pre-treat: 24 hour mite drop of 10 - 12

    6 Days post-treat with OAV: 1,100+ dead mites

    Hive 2:
    Pre-treat: 24 hour mite drop of 10 - 12

    Post-treat with powdered sugar dusting 2x 1 week apart: mite drop count remaining at 10 - 12/24 hr

    6 Days post-treat with OAV: 500+ dead mites

    Hives 3 and 4
    Hives were queenless long enough to break brood cycle in August, re-queened late August. Thinking that would nip the mite population I did not do 24 hr mite drop test prior to OAV (my bad...)

    6 Days post-treat with OAV: about 350 dead mites in hive 3. About 250 in Hive 4.

    Due to weather, I have not performed a complete inspection of the hives but have 3 anecdotal observations:
    Bee activity appears unchanged
    Looking inside top super continues to show a lot of bees
    The number of dead bees in front of the hives does not appear to have increased

    Now to the questions or comments:

    I was treatment free from the beginning. It was the beginning of my 7th season when I had these losses. Prior to that I had not used sugar dusting or any other treatment except feeding syrup after the 1 time I dusted in year 2. This exceeds the 3 years that was mentioned several times but I truly believe all beekeeping results are local.

    To BBlock:
    You asked several very good questions. I started beekeeping hoping to be able to improve the LOCAL genetics of the bees in my area by showing other local beekeepers that honeybees could be raised TF and serve as an example to other beeks who insist on bringing up packages every year. Yes, I realize the hypocrisy of this statement as I started with package bees...It did serve as an example for our club as many folks at least started thinking about when to treat rather than prophylactically treating.

    After seeing the incredible number of mites we found this spring in the frass of the dead outs as well as the large number of mites we found on the top bars of the frames in the lower supers, I decided to treat this year based on mite counts quickly rising this fall. It became very obvious to me that my approach was not working and that if I want to have bees in the spring, I needed to help them manage the mite population this fall. As many have said in this thread, it is hard to improve the species when all of your bees are dead.

    Does this mean I will automatically treat a year from now? No...I will once again look at the results of my inspections and make the decision based on findings rather than habit. That being said, if I find counts of 10 or above after a season of 0 - 1, I will not hesitate to treat. I did a lot of reading and believe OAV may be the bullet I was looking for. Minimally invasive to the hive, appears to have the least impact on the bees while having a significant impact on mites and is naturally occurring in honey. Of course, further hive inspections are required and I need to see how they come through winter. BTW, I also plan on doing another treatment tomorrow when the weather breaks as OAV is only effective on phorectic mites. If I'm going to treat I want to make sure it works.

    Thanks, all!

    John
    11 yrs, TF 6 yrs, moved to OAV in 2014, MAQS 2016. 6 hives and 5 nucs Zone 4B
    www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  6. #85
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    Default Re: TF until today

    very good post john. thanks for sharing your experiences.

    i'm around the corner time frame wise with my colonies from where you were when you lost so many.

    my unofficial number for acceptable losses is about 30% before reconsidering staying off treatments.

    treating when indicated is a very pragmatic approach, best of luck to you.

  7. #86
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Thanks, Squarepeg. Best of luck to you, as well! Being thoughtfully TF is a lot of work and I do believe it can happen giving the right set of circumstances and perseverance. My retirement plan changed reducing the amount of time I had to spend in the apiary just as the girls reached the level I had intended. Unfortunately, the lack of time caught my bees tho' taught me a valuable lesson that I was first too blind to see. Now it is my job not to let that happen again.
    11 yrs, TF 6 yrs, moved to OAV in 2014, MAQS 2016. 6 hives and 5 nucs Zone 4B
    www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  8. #87
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Quote Originally Posted by Eyeshooter View Post
    Now it is my job not to let that happen again.
    I would like to know how you plan on accomplishing this. If I understand your statement correctly you were retired and then you came out of retirement. The lack of time with your bees made them suffer and your solution is to add workload in the bee yard by treating as opposed to not treating? I don't know how that works.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #88
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Eyeshooter: I believe you did the prudent thing, and mat be a role model for others. You followed one of my favorite mottos, from Dirty Harry, "a man has got to know his limitations".

    Crazy roland

  10. #89

    Default Re: TF until today

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    my unofficial number for acceptable losses is about 30% before reconsidering staying off treatments.
    I would suggest that even if you get 70% losses you could study the remaining hives and decide after that -


    "my mama used to say, life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you gonna get", Forest Gumb

  11. #90
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    Jun 2014
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    Elkhorn Wi
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Knew my hive was loaded with mites in July. Did the powder sugar once a week for 6 weeks as suggested by a beekeeper on her website. Didn't do a lot for getting rid of the mites but did make them really pissy and during those six weeks got stung several times and chased out of my yard at far distances from the hive. Left them alone a couple weeks and they were back to being a pleasure to be around but my mite problem was still existed. Did a lot of research and read posts on this website and did OVA for the first time 2 1/2 days ago. Twenty minutes after I vaporized I stood in front of the hive to see if they were going to chase me off but it was life as usual for them and I'm one happy beekeeper. Ohhh and so far in the 2 1/2 days I have counted approximately 500 dead mites! Will do 3 more treatments 5 days apart and one after Thanksgiving. I also might add seeing all those dead mites was like having Christmas early for me! Yes, I do get attached to my bees and I love to see those mites dropping like flies. Really appreciated your thread to this post to John put a smile on my face. Happy to know I'm not the only one taking the time to count the mites.
    Last edited by suzyq; 10-05-2014 at 01:41 AM. Reason: changing month

  12. #91
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I would like to know how you plan on accomplishing this. If I understand your statement correctly you were retired and then you came out of retirement. The lack of time with your bees made them suffer and your solution is to add workload in the bee yard by treating as opposed to not treating? I don't know how that works.
    Sorry Acebird. You do not understand my statement correctly. I believe to be what I call "thoughtfully TF", meaning doing everything one can to manage their bees without chemical intervention vs those who do nothing and say they are TF, takes more beekeeper time than a lot of the folks I know who treat. Let me also add here, I do not care if you treat your bees or not. They are your bees and you make your own management decisions just as I make mine. Those who treat, regardless of hard or soft, have a big eraser they can use to rid the hive of mites. Those who do not have to do more queen capture, splitting, monitoring etc since there is no quick way to destroy the mites.

    I planned on taking early retirement but several projects caught my interest and I continue to work when I thought I would be finished and have more bee time. Instead I had international travel, not apiary time, reducing the time I had to manage the apiary. As I look at a rapidly rising mite count this fall after doing queen capture, splitting, monitoring sugar dusting etc, I have decided to take a step off the bandwagon to intervene and use a soft treatment to help my bees prep for winter otherwise I will not have bees in the spring. As to more time, having done this only once and not claiming to be proficient, my OAV treatment took less time per hive than it takes to inspect 1 hive body. With over 2,000 dead mites across 4 hives, I believe that was time well spent. Hopefully, I do not have the same issues next year and will be able to manage the mite count. If not, I think I have found a happy medium that at first glance appears to have minimal effect on the hive and takes almost no time.
    11 yrs, TF 6 yrs, moved to OAV in 2014, MAQS 2016. 6 hives and 5 nucs Zone 4B
    www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  13. #92
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Quote Originally Posted by Eyeshooter View Post
    Those who do not have to do more queen capture, splitting, monitoring etc since there is no quick way to destroy the mites.
    I believe that true TF beekeepers would argue just the opposite. Especially since monitoring isn't usually part of their regimen. Let the bees take care of themselves is the motto I am seeing. And if they can't, good, better off w/out bees that can't. Is also what I am seeing penned by TF beekeepers. If I have that incorrectly stated I am sure someone will correct me.
    Mark Berninghausen

  14. #93
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    Default Re: TF until today

    From a time perspective, as was Acebird's post and Eyeshooter's response, doesn't all that splitting (and other management) required to make up those losses takes more time than 3 OAV treatments + mite counts?



    I thought Eyeshooter summarized the situation nicely.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #94
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Mark: Probably true and I also used to believe that. My personal experience finally led me to believe that if I monitor I have a better idea when to split or queen capture to break the brood cycle to reduce a blossoming mite load (which I guess are actually treatments). Some folks don't and figure the bees will work it out or not. We all do what we think is best. I guess I was not a "true TF beekeeper" tho' I never put anything into the hive that the bees did not bring in themselves except for feeding syrup only when absolutely necessary. My 2013/14 losses made me rethink my management plan and I am happy with my decision. I absolutely believe if you can bring your hive through winter without treating, go for it.

    John
    Last edited by Eyeshooter; 10-05-2014 at 06:49 AM. Reason: spelling
    11 yrs, TF 6 yrs, moved to OAV in 2014, MAQS 2016. 6 hives and 5 nucs Zone 4B
    www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  16. #95
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    I would suggest that even if you get 70% losses you could study the remaining hives and decide after that -
    i think i could recover from a 50% loss and still get a decent (but not great) honey harvest.

    if i find that it is the 3 - 4 year colonies that consistently crash, and that correlates with mite counts above a certain threshold, then i'll likely help those out to get them through winter and split them up the next spring to start new colonies with fresh queens.

    i have one at this time in which i found an 8.9% infestation rate. chances are it will be one of my overwinter losses this year. if somehow it survives, we might learn that some bees are able to tolerate higher mite loads. if that's the case and losses remain at less than 30% it would make more sense to allow the winnowing process to play out.

  17. #96
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    Default Re: TF until today

    squarepeg>> "i think i could recover from a 50% loss and still get a decent (but not great) honey harvest."

    the honey harvest after my 50% loss a few years ago was dismal. to many resources go into rebuilding colony numbers for a good honey harvest.
    i had plenty of new bees though, and sold lots of them off as the year progressed.
    turned out to be 'make bees or honey' .

  18. #97
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    I believe that true TF beekeepers would argue just the opposite. Especially since monitoring isn't usually part of their regimen. Let the bees take care of themselves is the motto I am seeing. And if they can't, good, better off w/out bees that can't. Is also what I am seeing penned by TF beekeepers. If I have that incorrectly stated I am sure someone will correct me.
    It is the way I see it Mark.

    If not, I think I have found a happy medium that at first glance appears to have minimal effect on the hive and takes almost no time.
    Everything I have read about OAV says that one treatment is useless. You must have several, at least 3 with all the testing and inspection that goes along with it. If you are traveling abroad you are in the same boat I am in without traveling abroad. Essentially you are not available to do the necessary things on a schedule in the bee yard. It is not just having the time it is more having the time when things are critical. If you can't do that I don't suspect you will have any better luck being a "treater" than I do not being a treater. But good luck anyway.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #98
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    doesn't all that splitting (and other management) required to make up those losses takes more time than 3 OAV treatments + mite counts?
    Absolute not. And is 3 OAV treatments by THEMSELVES enough to succeed with treating a hive. You don't have to do anything else?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #99
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Ace, since you HAVEN'T made up your losses, it seems a bit odd that you think that OAV takes more time to SUCCEED than what you are currently doing.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  21. #100
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    Default Re: TF until today

    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    squarepeg>> "i think i could recover from a 50% loss and still get a decent (but not great) honey harvest."

    the honey harvest after my 50% loss a few years ago was dismal. to many resources go into rebuilding colony numbers for a good honey harvest.
    i had plenty of new bees though, and sold lots of them off as the year progressed.
    turned out to be 'make bees or honey' .
    understood clyde. a five frame nuc here started mid april will generally build up enough to draw new comb and fill a deep and two supers. one of those supers can be harvested still leaving enough honey for the bees to overwinter on. if that same nuc is given drawn comb it can produce 2 or 3 supers of harvestable honey, (usually 2 off the spring flow and 1 off of the fall flow).

    on the other hand i have gotten close to 200 lb. harvests from established colonies that were not split and responded to walt wright's checkerboarding, while very little to no harvest from colonies that swarmed and after swarmed.

    walt helped me this spring and we learned that my bees are somewhat atypical in that only about half of them were prevented from swarming. this is better than the 100% swarming i was getting, but less than walt has ever seen with other bees.

    so it turns out i may average more harvest by making artificial swarms (cut down splits) prior to our main flow, while making increase at the same time. this will be my 2015 experiment.

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