squarepeg 2015-2020 treatment free experience - Page 103
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  1. #2041
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    ya'll are awesome.

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  3. #2042

    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
    I've been off the forum for a while but i always enjoyed this thread.

    Sorry to hear about this turn of events for you. If anyone deserves to be successful it's you, sp.
    You work hard with your bees, keep careful records and you.have always been impeccable in your courtesy and grace dealing with posters here.

    Take care, brother and best of luck to you. I hope the bees turn it around next year.
    +1
    I have always appreciated your calm and thoughtfull writings, which tell me of a person with great wisdom. As someone already said, Im sure you will have survivors. As long as there is one left, there is hope. Been there, done that...

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    no more antibiotics for me as my success rate was poor with it and there remains the issue of the bacteria lingering in the honey and beebread, as well as the problem of having a contagious colony around.
    That is a good decission. Personally I would not be burning boxes, or frames.

  4. #2043
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    Juhani
    Personally I would not be burning boxes, or frames.
    I have to admit that I would only burn for afb and would probably try to bull through everything else but have not lost half of my hives yet. I believe that will come someday and I will put it to the test though.

    I also say that since I am not facing it, the above is what I believe now but might be different when facing the pain. I don't think so but am not sure.

    I do like your saying, paraphrased by me: "I'm just a hard headed bee keeper that decided to quit treating".
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  5. #2044
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post

    if the efb continues to show up i'll just keep burning and likely decrease my footprint to just a few colonies for personal use and enjoyment. i am too risk averse to invest again the time and money to be a sideliner when all it takes is a stray bacteria to clean me out.
    Hi squarepeg re: "when all it takes is a stray bacteria to clean me out" Or a Bear (wiped out by bear 2 times) or a really nasty winter (2 weeks of -15 or colder, bees could not reach the feed) Or Mites. I have burned it all 1 time. I understand the feeling,,, just resist it, with bees sometime you get dealt a bad hand. For me I have been to zero hives come spring 4 or 5 times. Trust me once you know "how to make increase" the recovery is faster each time. A burn down is also a great time to consider different equipment/ways. If you like the keeping Just roll with it. I now have bees in 4 places, At times 1 place can be down to Zero but catch a swarm , pull a couple splits from another Apairy and you are back in the Saddle. If you are the type that a stray Bacteria can sideline, I guess I may have misjudged you. This is a learning opportunity, and equipment change opportunity. If I get wiped out 2 or 3 more times , I will still have bees. It is in the blood for me. I'll be rooting for your speedy recovery.

    GG

  6. #2045
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    many thanks russ, i really do appreciate the sentiment.

    no way to be sure in the one that was broodless, as you point out nothing to sample. i lean toward queen failure because i would expect to find at least a little spotty capped brood if it was efb.

    yes to the burning the frames, especially those containing dead brood and bee bread.

    i will attempt to disinfect empty super comb with bleach as previously described, not knowing for sure if this is going to work or not, it's just that there is so much of it.

    if efb shows up next year in a hive that has been given any of this disinfected comb everything gets destroyed and not given a second chance. no more antibiotics for me as my success rate was poor with it and there remains the issue of the bacteria lingering in the honey and beebread, as well as the problem of having a contagious colony around.

    we'll see if i have anything to rebuild with come next spring. luckily i have access to splits from multi-winter treatment free stock from about 4 other beekeepers if i need it, plus i have the opportunity to place swarm traps in relatively isolated spots where only feral wild types live.

    if the efb continues to show up i'll just keep burning and likely decrease my footprint to just a few colonies for personal use and enjoyment. i am too risk averse to invest again the time and money to be a sideliner when all it takes is a stray bacteria to clean me out.
    Hi Square,

    As you know I am not treatment free. However, 2 winters ago I lost every hive - still not sure what the problem was. That was after a previous disastrous winter. My solution was to burn everything and start with fresh equipment. Last winter I had 100% survival. So, whatever was killing them is hopefully gone. Anyway, I think burn everything from infected hives is the solution. JMO

  7. #2046
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    juhani, gg, and cam - many thanks for the replies.

    the strain of efb that ended up in my apiaries is extremely contagious and highly virulent. it spread very quickly and collapsed what were strong colonies in just a brood cycle or two. shook swarming and/or oxytet didn't do much to faze it.

    that the bacteria can persist for long periods of time on the frames even after the colony is gone presents a risk not worth taking. i don't have access to irradiation so destruction by burning is the only thing that really makes sense.

  8. #2047
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    it's looking like my bees may get included in a new study being put together by researchers in switzerland who are taking a careful look at proven mite resistant populations.
    as it turns out the swiss researchers are coordinating this with an entomology professor at auburn university. this professor and his team are personally responsible for collecting the samples. for this reason there will only be samples taken from a handful of apiaries here in alabama.

    i wasn't aware of this when i first learned about the request for samples and posted about it here. my apologies for the confusion to those of you who sent pm's expressing a willingness to provide samples.

  9. #2048
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    I burned my frames as a precaution, melted comb from plasticell (plastic is quite toxic to burn) and gave the wax to someone making furniture polish just to be sure. Sorry for your losses
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  10. #2049
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    What temperature kills it?
    Have you thought about hot wax dipping your equipment or a Kiln that can be turned down
    I read here somewhere that hot wax dipping was hot enough (250-350 F) to kill AFB so it may also kill EFB.
    Started April Fools Day 2017

  11. #2050
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    Quote Originally Posted by R_V View Post
    What temperature kills it?
    Have you thought about hot wax dipping your equipment or a Kiln that can be turned down
    I read here somewhere that hot wax dipping was hot enough (250-350 F) to kill AFB so it may also kill EFB.
    It would be wonderful if there were a dependable method (short of radiation) that would dependably kill 100% of the infective bacteria on comb. The hive bodies, top and bottom boards, excluders etc, can be reused after a thorough scraping and scorching with hand held propane torch. The big obstacle to recovery is lack of drawn comb.

    I used a lot of partial foundations and crosswired foundationless for quicker drawing and needing plenty of drones for mating splits. I have 5 complete double deep colonies stored for another year before I dare risk repopulating them.

    What say SquarePeg; would you risk reusing them? Ever?
    Frank

  12. #2051
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    What say SquarePeg; would you risk reusing them? Ever?
    to be determined frank.

    i've actually got a very strong caught swarm in a double deep right now with 17 of the 20 frames having come out of efb infected hives and then disinfected with bleach.

    i'll be moving that hive to another yard soon and once moved it will get a thorough inspection looking carefully for any sign of efb.

    most of the comb i have saved (and disinfected) is drawn on medium frames and for use in honey supers. i'll likely give those another spray of bleach before trying them out next spring and seeing what happens.

  13. #2052
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    I think you should be good to go with those frames as honey supers. If the bacteria survive that degree of sanitation and still infect, it is a mean enemy indeed. I m

    I think I will stick with my down sized half a dozen colonies; I wouldn't be up to suffering the kind of loss you have been dealing with.

    Best!
    Frank

  14. #2053
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    it's been awhile since updating the thread, mostly because there hasn't been anything noteworthy to share.

    today was once of those warm (mid-sixties) days we see here just before the passing of a strong cold front along with it's associated storms and big drop in temps on the backside.

    the three (of 12) remaining colonies at the home yard were bringing mostly a chocolate brown pollen with the occasional bright yellow. i've no clue what plants are producing those.

    the outyard has 0 of 9 colonies remaining, the overflow yard has 2 of 3 remaining, and i have a single colonies placed one each at two new locations.

    this puts me at a total of 7 survivors at this point (down from a hive count of 28) with all of winter still to go, along with the promise of receiving one of fusion_power's spares.

    it is interesting to note that the strongest of the colonies at present is a caught swarm that was given almost 2 deep supers worth of drawn comb that was washed and bleached after being recovered from efb infected hives.

    the plan is to see what is left if anything coming out of winter, destroy any colonies and equipment in which efb shows up, and split agressively in an attempt fill up all the empty boxes taking up space in my garage and carport.

    i'll likely ramp up the swarm trapping next spring as well. i'd like to end up with 10 - 15 strong colonies (20 would be nice) spread out between 4 - 5 yards to take into next winter. i'm not expecting much of a honey crop for 2020.

  15. #2054
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    Good to hear from you sp. Glad your bees are still trucking along.
    This spring due to "excessive" work I missed several swarms out of production colonies, which I thought amounted to my honey crop. I went along with my plan for the year to split a lot. So I had loads of nucs and no production colonies by July. Then during our July / August dearth we had a flow instead. So the earlier splits that were starting to get big made a crop anyway.
    So here is to hoping you have some good, healthy colonies to split from in the spring, catch some nice local swarms, and get a surprise honey crop as well. "You never know with bees"
    P.S. 60s? We did not get above freezing today and it looks like winter is coming. Some predictions for tomorrow are a foot of snow. Have a good winter everyone!

  16. #2055
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    Sorry to hear your numbers are so low. Hopefully this spring will be bountiful and we will both be splitting like madmen.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  17. #2056
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    Good update, SP. I was glad to see your post. Dealing with the same weather front here.

    When you have the time and interest, I would be interested to know what the 'new normal' will look like for you going forward?

    I assume based on some previous responses that you may have lower colony numbers per yard but more yards?

    Any other structural changes you are contemplating as a result of your experience with EFB?

    I am glad you are planning on gearing back up and best of success to you in the rebuilding effort.

    I sincerely hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  18. #2057
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    many thanks for the replies and continued interest everyone.

    russ, my plan is to carry on as described above with guarded expectations as to what the outcome will be. the 'new normal' will be determined by whatever success or lack thereof i have at propagating the survivors and obtaining resistant stock via swarms caught from the nearby woods.

    time will tell how it all plays out. i'm prepared to accept the outcome either way. it will be 100% no treatments going forward with a strict destruction policy on any foulbrood should it rebloom.

  19. #2058
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    Sp, Did you already write about what made you decide not to use treatments for efb if you get reblooms and do you know a post number? I have not seen it in mine yet but assume I will get hit and plan to have a plan. Input from a tf perspective, esp one with experience with the more virulent strains of efb that seem to be becoming the new normal, seem to be lacking in wider lit, besides this post.... Best,

  20. #2059
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Amibusiness View Post
    Sp, Did you already write about what made you decide not to use treatments for efb if you get reblooms...
    i'm sorry ab, but i can't remember if or where i may have already posted about it. mostly i wasn't impressed with the effectiveness of the oxytet as most of the colonies i treated went on to collapse despite treatment.

    that, and after seeing how quickly and easily the infection spread to neighboring hives i've decided that it's not worth the risk of further spreading while waiting for the treatments to kick in.

    not to mention that the bacteria can remain viable in the honey and beebread for a long time, leading to the need for subsequent prophylactic treatments which we are supposed to be phasing out.

    plus i like being able to tell my honey customers that no chemicals of any kind have been introduced into the hives.

    combining oxytet with shook swarming and isolation from other colonies might be an option if it wasn't so much trouble. it's more palatable for me to follow the successful swiss model and just burn everything.

  21. #2060
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    Default Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

    a copy of the letter i sent to the swiss research team today:

    "Hello *****,

    Here is some background about the bees from Northeast Alabama USA that ***** obtained samples from in early November 2019.

    These bees are best described as locally hybridized survivors that appear to be exhibiting tolerance and/or resistance to varroa. This apparent tolerance/resistance manifests itself in anecdotal observations of bee colonies both managed (by beekeepers) and unmanaged (feral wild types in trees and other structures) that are able to thrive year after year despite being untreated for varroa.

    Environmental factors that are likely helping to make this possible include:

    Geographical Location: This area includes the southern most extent of the Appalachian Mountain Range. Biodiversity here ranks among the greatest on the planet in terms of numbers and quantities of species. This results in high quality forage almost year round. There are still very large tracts of land that are wooded here providing ample nesting opportunities to support a wild type feral population.

    Weather: The climate here is described as humid subtropical. We do have distinct seasons and get below freezing at times in the winter, but our average mid-winter temperature is about 40 F. It is rare to go more than 2 or 3 weeks through the winter without an opportunity for a cleansing flight, yet it is cold enough that brood rearing will usually shut down for 1 - 2 months. We also will usually get a shorter break in brood rearing during our summer dearth period.

    Lack of Large Commercial Beekeeping Operations: Unlike some of the other states located in the southern United States, the state of Alabama does not allow large commercial migratory beekeeping operations to move their colonies into our borders. This may help to buffer our local population to some degree against genetic dilution and the introduction of novel pathogens and pests. We do receive a large influx of package bees each year that are imported from other states.

    My experience with these bees started in 2010. I purchased nucleus colonies from a nearby beekeeper who had been propagating queens and colonies sans treatments since about 1996. Over the years I propagated more colonies from these and was enjoying low winter losses and good honey production. Last year however an epidemic of European Foul Brood found its way into my apiaries and resulted in the loss of all but a handful of my colonies.
    Because of this I was not able to provide samples for your study. Instead, the samples ***** collected from here came from ***** and ******. Both of these beekeepers started with splits and/or caught swarms that came from my apiaries. In addition, both beekeepers collected additional swarms and/or removed unmanaged colonies from structures near by.

    Here at some details regarding the individual samples that ***** collected:

    From ***** (Started beekeeping in 2017)

    D2 - Swarm caught in 2018, origin unknown, survived one winter, may have issued a very small swarm in 2019.
    D1 - Swarm caught in 2017, parent colony obtained from *****, survived 2 winters so far.
    A3 - Swarm caught in 2017 and requeened with Wolf Creek Apiaries queen, survived 2 winters so far.

    From ***** (Started beekeeping in 2014)

    J-1 Entering 4th winter. Split out of the first cut-out we did as new bee keepers. Been a very good honey producer. 300 bees/ 51 mites

    J-3 Entering 2nd winter. Caught swarm from a swampy, wooded area, where we have caught 11 swarms in the past 5 years. Average honey producers. 300 bees/ 41 mites

    J-7 Entering 3rd winter, cut out from between floor joists of a split level home. Biggest colony I’ve ever seen, much less caught. Have remained very strong with huge numbers during honey season, and big honey producers. 300 bees/ 27 mites

    J-8 Entering 2nd winter. Caught swarm from the same spot as J-3. Big propolis makers and quite fiery when we harvest or spend extra time inside the hive. Also good honey producer. 300 bees/ 18 mites


    As you can see the mite counts are relatively high and above what most beekeepers would experience as economic threshold. These mite counts are consistent with what I have found when taking samples over the years. Perhaps this is suggesting more tolerance than resistance? Perhaps it suggests that the vectored viruses are less virulent? Would it be possible for you to run virology studies on these samples? Could it be that the favorable weather and the presence of pollen almost year round is allowing the bees to maintain greater fat body mass, thereby mitigating the issue of mites depleting those fat bodies?

    I hope this information is helpful ***** and if there is anything else we can provide please let us know.


    Best regards,

    *****"
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 12-01-2019 at 01:16 PM. Reason: Remove personal identifier

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