Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink - Page 4
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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Ross - You only match those in the Marin data group with 15 years experience TF using the same breed of bees and who raise the same bloodline(s), except that you're in Texas, they are in Kaliphornya. Maybe there's a difference?

    Some TF beeks also tell me they DO NOT FEED bees (), and I wonder if they have higher or lower survival rates...also against those who feed cane sugar + Mega-Bee or Ultra-Bee vs. beet sugar vs. HFCS?

    I would have to enlist as at least 2 people - half Treatment-Free but artificially fed, half IPM managed, with multiple bloodlines, 6 years experience but with close mentors of 41 years, 32 years, 30 years, 18 years, and 12 years, plus 2 local clubs, and a great uncle who did it for a long time. Not your average newbie (wearing out my second bee jacket), but not a seasoned veteran. I'd skew the curve for the inexperienced guys.

    JWC - I really appreciate the post. Good to see what an active club can do. I just met the first commercial beek to come to our local club, now in it's 3rd year. San Diego also has a great club. Your conclusions aren't too far off the data. Thank you.

    Bison - Thank you for chiming in. I'll PM you for the rest of the data. Great post!

    Shinbone - maybe we need to say Tbeek7/25 for a 7-year Treatment beekeeper with 25 hives, or IPMbeek10/450 for an IPM 10-year beekeeper with 450 hives, or TF beek1/2 for a Treatment-Free beekeeper with a year under his belt and 2 hives? Or perhaps (average # of hives) x years? Variable definitions of imprecise words like "beekeeper" is like trying to hit a good knuckleball.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 12-14-2014 at 09:09 PM.

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  3. #62
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    Shinbone - maybe we need to say Tbeek7/25 for a 7-year Treatment beekeeper with 25 hives, or IPMbeek10/450 for an IPM 10-year beekeeper with 450 hives, or TF beek1/2 for a Treatment-Free beekeeper with a year under his belt and 2 hives? Or perhaps (average # of hives) x years? Variable definitions of imprecise words like "beekeeper" is like trying to hit a good knuckleball.
    Good point about just how to define "Treatment Free Beekeeper" ("TFB")? It won't work if it is too complicated. And, we can't expect mathematical precision in a word.

    Maybe draw the line between "non-treater" and "Treatment Free Beekeeper" (TFB) as someone who has at least one hive survive 4 or more years with no treatments and usually harvests something (honey, wax, splits, queens, etc.) from that hive.

    The beekeeping community openly acknowledging a difference between "non-treater" and TFB would save a lot of anguish for the starry-eyed newbies who want to be a TFB from day one. It being known there is a difference between non-treater and TFB, newbies choosing to attempt to go down the TFB path would at least be able to identify an appropriate TFB mentor, and, further, be aware of the high potential for failure. In other words, knowing what questions to ask is the first step in solving a problem. That would be a huge step forward, and would substantially reduce the new-beekeeper attrition rate.

    I should add that "non-treater" shouldn't be a pejorative term, because a non-treater could be someone who is well on their way to being a TFB, but they just need another few seasons before it is demonstrably clear their treatment-free methods do indeed work and they are in fact a treatment free beekeeper.

    I suspect that distinguishing between non-treater and TFB will be met with resistance because of those who are emotionally invested in their self-image as a TFB, but who are, in reality, simply non-treaters.





    .
    Last edited by shinbone; 12-15-2014 at 10:59 AM.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  4. #63
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    I was a "successful" non-treater and treatment free beekeeper for about ten years between bouts of treatments. My production did not suffer, in fact it increased. But would anyone call me a success? Half of my hives died next to the half that lived, and I spent a huge amount of time making increase.

    I think the only definition of a "successful" treatment free beekeeper is one whose loss rate returns to that of the pre-mite era. I remember that as well below 10%. Do we have that data?

  5. #64
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryVanderpool View Post
    Add to that, the current irrational beekeeping practices that are currently the fad.
    We are going to see an increase of new beekeepers falling out of the practice.
    The Fad Factor has a lot to do with. Not just TF, but hobby beekeeping in general.

    I don't have graphs to back it up, but in my opinion, most TF beekeepers = somebody who buys one or two hives, gets on the internet and talks a lot about it, is successful for a couple years, colonies die, and the beekeeping hobby ends. I am not saying that TF cannot be done with a lot of work and a lot of hive to work with, but a newby with a couple of hives spells disaster. I was treatment free myself for exactly 2 years, with a single hive. I just about gave up, but decided to keep pushing on.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  6. #65
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    I think the only definition of a "successful" treatment free beekeeper is one whose loss rate returns to that of the pre-mite era. I remember that as well below 10%. Do we have that data?
    That is a pretty high bar. I think only a small number of beekeepers would qualify.
    Last edited by shinbone; 12-15-2014 at 10:25 AM.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  7. #66
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Quote Originally Posted by Eduardo Gomes View Post
    Maybe out of topic but I put these two questions :
    - what is the average production per hive/year in the US?
    - 30 % of lost hives per year in the US is the correct average?
    I found the answers to my two questions here:
    http://www.honey.com/newsroom/press-...industry-facts
    http://beeinformed.org/2014/05/colony-loss-2013-2014/

  8. #67
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    A graph of over-winter colony loss by year as reported by the Bee Informed Survey. It also includes what most beekeepers find to be an acceptable loss rate. Maybe this could form the foundation for a definition of "successful treatment free beekeeper," in that a TFB must usually at least be at the national average loss rate, plus typically harvest a hive product. Perhaps using the local region loss rate would be a better measure, if such data was available.


    Figure 1: Summary of the total overwinter colony loss (October 1 – April 1) of managed honey bee colonies in the US across the 8 annual national surveys (red bars). The acceptable range (blue bars) is the average percentage of acceptable loss declared by the survey participants in each of the 8 years of the survey.
    Last edited by shinbone; 12-15-2014 at 11:02 AM.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  9. #68
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Thanks shinbone for posting the chart (I still do not know to do it) .
    I agree that can be a base, but in my opinion to evaluate the success of all beekeepers (not only those who practice a TF) , and only with respect to this: lost colonies. Just my opinion.

  10. #69
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    I noticed they only included winter losses in the graph. I ran out of bottled honey in July and was "lucky" enough to fine four dead colonies with about 100 pound crop getting robbed long before I was ready to harvest. These middle/end of the summer losses harken back to the first few years the mites arrived....dead colonies at the end of summer with the crop still on. Too bad the graph does not cover annual losses.

  11. #70
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    I noticed they only included winter losses in the graph. . . . . Too bad the graph does not cover annual losses.
    Such information may be available in the Survey. I didn't spend much time digging.

    But the point is; maybe a comparison to some sort of average national loss rate could form the basis of a definition of a TFB?
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  12. #71
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    I think the only definition of a "successful" treatment free beekeeper is one whose loss rate returns to that of the pre-mite era. I remember that as well below 10%. Do we have that data?
    Wouldn't success be someone that doesn't treat and they have a similar loss rate to those that do treat in their area over time? That and having hives for long enough to have meaningful data. I would think five years minimum.

    But just keeping the bees alive may not be the only marker of success. If you keep them alive, but you get no crop (crop could be honey, wax, more hives, etc) then you are only treading water.

  13. #72
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Quote Originally Posted by shinbone View Post
    But the point is; maybe a comparison to some sort of average national loss rate could form the basis of a definition of a TFB?
    Sure, if TF beekeeping can equal treatment beekeeping in losses ratios, they have achieved the best we can expect at this time. My goal of pre-mite loss levels is a pipe dream at this point until the miracle cure comes along. And I don't think we have seen that from either crowd.

  14. #73
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    Wouldn't success be someone that doesn't treat and they have a similar loss rate to those that do treat in their area over time? That and having hives for long enough to have meaningful data. I would think five years minimum.

    But just keeping the bees alive may not be the only marker of success. If you keep them alive, but you get no crop (crop could be honey, wax, more hives, etc) then you are only treading water.
    Sounds reasonable, and I agree with the last statement 100%. I think the last point is (intentionally or unintentionally) overlooked by many non-treaters, making them just masquerading as TFBs, as previously pointed out by a few posters.
    Last edited by shinbone; 12-15-2014 at 11:44 AM.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  15. #74
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    michael palmer's sound advice to incorporate making increase (i.e. overwintering nucs) as a way to make up for winter losses applies to all beekeepers on or off treatments.

    i found it to be an enjoyable and rewarding adjunct to the endeavor.

    my 21% loss last winter was easily overcome by an 89% gain over the season. most of those ended up as surplus and sold.

    the idea is to identify say your 20% least productive or otherwise undesirable colonies and split them up into nucs receiving queens made from your best colonies (while keeping those strong colonies dedicated to honey production).

    this approach makes losses in the +/- 30% range pretty much a non-issue. the husbandry involved takes the beekeeper to the next level, and the effort should over time result in improved stock.

    i assume that this is what a lot of experienced beekeepers are doing and why the 'acceptable' losses declared in the survey are so high.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #75
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    the idea is to identify say your 20% least productive or otherwise undesirable colonies and split them up into nucs receiving queens made from your best colonies (while keeping those strong colonies dedicated to honey production.
    What time of the year are these splits made, say, relative to swarm season or the honey harves?
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  17. #76
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    it was spread out a bit for me this year shinbone from a couple of weeks after drones appeared (which came late this year because of weather) up until about the first week in june.

    there are likely many individual variations on michael's theme.

    my first splits are taken after drones start flying and involve taking out the queen and a few frames of bees from my best colonies. the strong donor colonies are allowed to requeen themselves. the cut down splits are used to replace my winter losses and to graft from.

    then if i have colonies that swarmed too much and/or didn't make much honey last season i'll bust them up into mating nucs with two or three frames of bees and give them grafts.

    so some of this is started just before swarm season but it continues through and possibly past it as well.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #77
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    jwc, nice photo!

    will this be their first brood cycle?
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #78
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Thanks for the info! I am hoping to raise queens for the first time this coming year. What you describe sounds like it would be perfect for me.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  20. #79
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    I noticed they only included winter losses in the graph. […]Too bad the graph does not cover annual losses.
    "
    Preliminary results for the 2013/14 survey indicate that 20.0% of all colonies managed between April 1 2013 and Oct 1 2013 died. Responding beekeepers who managed bees over the entire April 2013 – April 2014 survey period reported losing 34.2% of the 670,568 colonies managed over this period. The annual loss differs from the sum of summer and winter losses reported above because the respondent pool differed as only respondents who reported for both the summer and winter period are included in the annual loss rate calculation.

    The 2012/13 survey expanded beyond only winter mortality estimates to improve our understanding of colony losses by also reporting on summer and annual colony mortality rates. Results from the 2012/13 survey indicated that that summer colony losses (between April 1 2012 and Oct 1 2012) were 25.3%. Loss estimate for the 12-month period (between April 1, 2012 and March 30, 2013) was 45.2%." in http://beeinformed.org/2014/05/colony-loss-2013-2014/

  21. #80
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    Default Re: Marin Bee Survey: Hobby keepers - a net population sink

    Quote Originally Posted by shinbone View Post
    Thanks for the info! I am hoping to raise queens for the first time this coming year. What you describe sounds like it would be perfect for me.
    you'll have fun shinbone. a donor colony making it's own queen is checked a month after splitting for eggs. nucs receiving ripe queen cells are checked three weeks after the cell is placed. be prepared to requeen or combine the few that are unsuccessful at getting a mated queen.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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