No treatment hives
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Gilbert, Az
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    154

    Default No treatment hives

    I drove 30 miles to buy some wax from a local guy in Phoenix. He was nice enough to let me dialog about bees for 1/2 an hour. The more I talk about a concept the more it sticks. He has kept 40 hives on a farm on the north west side of Phoenix for many years and was knowledgeable. I told him I had a single hive of Italians and he said something surprising to me. He said, "you have to treat them for Varroa".

    The surprise wasn't the need to treat but the subjective nature of his comment. I probed and found out why. His hives have Africanized genes; All of his hives. As we continue to discuss the subject I found that he has never treated for Varroa. He also told me that many of them are not too aggressive; another subjective phrase as he never works without a full suit. He added that he often has protection under his suit as well. Each year he generally loses 1 hive over winter.

    I found something he said to be interesting. He believes that the most gentle bees to be the victims of Varroa. It must be possible to train a trait of gentleness into bees by selective breading. I wonder this trait would weaken them...

    Although i have no plans to ever bring any scutellata around the family that lets me use their 3.5 acres of land, I have read through our forums enough to find the predominate feeling is that if you don't treat they die. Apparently this man's bees want to kill him just enough that they wont allow any little bee tick to impact their survival instincts.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
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    1,820

    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Each to their own,
    For me; I'll stick to the nice, gentle, productive Italian and carnies.
    Controlling mites is very easy.
    Or it should be after 30 years!
    Unless we are REALLY SLOW learners!
    I have exactly ONE more hive than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    13,203

    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Quote Originally Posted by gruntworker View Post
    He believes that the most gentle bees to be the victims of Varroa.
    I don't believe that at all. I think there is a trait for hygiene and a trait for aggressiveness. AHB genetics may have both more often than Italians do but they are separate traits.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Lincolnshire, UK
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    124

    Default Re: No treatment hives

    There was an experiment called the 'Bond-Project' which started in 1999 with 150 Varroa infested colonies that were kept on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea without any treatment for 10 years. After a dramatic decline within the first 3 years, a small honey bee population became established which continued to survive without treatment.

    It appears that those honey bees had reverted to their wild state: with much smaller colonies, and were notably more aggressive. Generally speaking, they were no longer suitable for modern beekeeping.

    LJ

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Fl
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    When I had treatment free hives and was buying treatment free queens, my hives steadily got meaner. I really hadn't notice the difference, because it was pretty much across my yard and I always dress for combat anyway, as I don't like to get stung, EVER. Then a friend offered a swarm of his at the beginning of this year. I was shocked at the difference. I forgot how gentle bees could be. I stopped trying to go TF and started requeening. Now I can go out and stand between my hives and just watch again. Or take the top off without being head butted... I think there is some truth in the belief that varroa resistant bees being more aggressive.
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 5 Nucs / 6th Year / T {OAV & MMK}

  7. #6
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Robbin View Post
    I think there is some truth in the belief that varroa resistant bees being more aggressive.
    Did you allow your hives to requeen themselves? Looking at your area could it be that they became more AHB?
    Last edited by Acebird; 09-30-2015 at 02:16 PM. Reason: AFB changed to AHB
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Laurel Hill, Fl
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Did you allow your hives to requeen themselves? Looking at your area could it be that they became more AFB?
    AFB is possible in my area, but my hives rarely requeen, I lose well over half of my queens on mating flights. Something close to 75%, So I buy a lot of queens. I'm learning to graft, and hope that next year i can bank 3 or 4 mated queens out of ever batch that I graft. I usually only end up with 3 mated queens out of 10 capped cells. I think that percentage improved in my last attempt with mating nucs well away from my apiary, so I'll try that again next year. I really do want to stop buying queens. But even at my mating nucs I've got a lot of dragon flies and Bald Faced hornets. The hornets are really aggressive, They hunt my nucs every day. I've killed a bunch on the landing boards with bees in their jaws.
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 5 Nucs / 6th Year / T {OAV & MMK}

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    4,265

    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    could it be that they became more AFB?


    Did you intend to type AHB?
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  10. #9
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    May 2013
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    Laurel Hill, Fl
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post


    Did you intend to type AHB?
    Yep, I meant AHB, I work on an AFB. :-)
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 5 Nucs / 6th Year / T {OAV & MMK}

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Graft in early spring before the dragonflies are so numerous in our area. Success rates in the spring are much moe successful than later in the year.

  12. #11
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    Feb 2014
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    Clinton, Iowa
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Robbin View Post
    Yep, I meant AHB, I work on an AFB. :-)
    BFD.


  13. #12
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    May 2013
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    Graft in early spring before the dragonflies are so numerous in our area. Success rates in the spring are much moe successful than later in the year.
    I will try that this coming year. I hadn't really thought about trying to beat the boom in the predator population. I know by the height of swarm season, it's too late, as that's when so many of my hives go queenless.
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 5 Nucs / 6th Year / T {OAV & MMK}

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Clinton, Michigan, USA
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    455

    Default Re: No treatment hives

    years back dad went to a visit to an africanized bee yard managed by usda. ive heard nothing about them that makes me want to work them everyday. and i've had plenty of time to work exceptionally aggressive commercial hives that have essentially mixed that into their makeup and they are not pleasant to work. i suspect each of us has a limit to how much aggression we can tolerate. i can put up with alot of mean stinging with good colonies that have other desirable traits. but there comes a point when the aggressive behavior just is too much for me.

    the real varroa impact with africanized is due to the constant movement, swarming that breaks the brood cycle. and im thinking ive read that they have the grooming traits that can impact varroa as well. have never heard how hygenic they really are in brood diseases though

  15. #14
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    Feb 2014
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlackBirds View Post
    have never heard how hygenic they really are in brood diseases though
    Probably not around long enough to worry about brood disease too much?

  16. #15
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    Jan 2011
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    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    I guess I am fond of creamed cinnamon honey on my toast and mead and making my bread with honey. I use a bucket personally every year. Most of these TF people haven't seen a bucket of honey after the treated bees they bought have developed a mite infestation. You can harvest honey or you can feed mites and nurse struggling little colonies. I tried it for several years but I have had my education now.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    You can harvest honey or you can feed mites and nurse struggling little colonies.
    I've put up 1600 + lbs this year from 25 tf hives and haven't done any fall harvesting yet.


    Don

  18. #17
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    >It appears that those honey bees had reverted to their wild state: with much smaller colonies, and were notably more aggressive. Generally speaking, they were no longer suitable for modern beekeeping.

    Any animal surviving in the wild will revert to it's "wild state". The qualities we are constantly selecting for are not being selected for in the wild. Only survival is. But that doesn't mean you can't select for those traits. The ability to survive the mites is not tied to aggressiveness. Productivity does not preclude survivability. If you want healthy, gentle, productive survivors you have to select for those traits.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  19. #18
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Gilbert, Az
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    154

    Default Re: No treatment hives

    About 3 years ago i was at home depot. I was walking the garden section when i noticed a large number of bees checking out an empty shed. I warned them that they were most likely about to receive a swarm of bees. These bees, even in the absence of the rest of their sisters, started ramming their bodies into my head. I am assuming that these were AHB. The stats from ASU, our local university, say over 90% of phoenix hives are. If they were that nasty in this transitional state i can only imagine what his bee yard is like. Gilbert hit the national news this week with this http://www.abc15.com/news/region-sou...o-stay-indoors.

    All that said, I have heard that many of these AHB hives are mild tempered. If they have decent temperament and still resist mites they may have some value in the future.

  20. #19
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    Aug 2011
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    Clinton, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    I've put up 1600 + lbs this year from 25 tf hives and haven't done any fall harvesting yet.


    Don

    Ok, to put the conversation in perspective, do you know what is the normal colony average in your parts? Not trying to be mean but that is only #65 average. I have no idea, maybe that is good for your area. In comparision, it'd be 55-70% of a summer only crop on long term average here and below 50% of summer crop from some of the country north of you.

    i ran straight out treatment free bees for years while looking for specific stock; the predecessors to what eventually was used in develpment of SMR and then VSH lines. yep, they stayed alive for multiple years but were of no economic value at the time; until learned to use them for drone stock, crossing, etc.

  21. #20
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    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: No treatment hives

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post


    Did you intend to type AHB?
    Yes, thanks.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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