Treatment free for 20 months + feed free
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  1. #1
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    May 2012
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    Hillsboro, Wisconsin, USA
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    Default Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    I just realized that I haven't treated any of my bees for mites, or anything else for that matter, for almost 2 full years now. They just haven't needed it. I also have had excellent winter survival rates. I wonder if it correlates with the fact that I haven't fed them either for that time. Thoughts?

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  3. #2
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    Aug 2011
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    KC, MO, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    Where did you get your bees?

    Do you check mite levels?

  4. #3
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    Apr 2005
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    Salem, Oregon
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    My first thought is:
    I'm sure glad those bees are in Cheyenne Wyoming and not Salem Oregon.
    I have exactly ONE more hive than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  5. #4
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    I work with lines from Noble Apiaries in Dixon, CA.

    I only check drone brood. It used to be that if I found more than a couple mites, I'd treat with OA dribble, but two seasons ago I decided to skip it and see what happened, and here I am now with healthy bees, had an excellent honey year, and all are going into winter strong.

  6. #5
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    good report ben, thanks for sharing.
    'no wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes' - the doobies

  7. #6
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    Jul 2013
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    lake hopatcong nj
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    Quote Originally Posted by westernbeekeeper View Post
    I just realized that I haven't treated any of my bees for mites, or anything else for that matter, for almost 2 full years now. They just haven't needed it. Thoughts?
    How do you know they haven't needed it if you haven't gathered any data to support this statement? I know you scratched open some drone brood and checked, but if you are going to make such a drastic change, wouldn't one want to do a more reliable test? I'm a fairly new beekeeper and probably shouldn't give my opinion, BUT it is of my humble opinion, that I think you owe it to yourself, and other beekeepers to at least do some more accurate and extensive tests to confirm your statement of not needing to treat.


    Todd

  8. #7
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    ben, are you doing any queenrearing from your best colonies?
    'no wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes' - the doobies

  9. #8
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    May 2012
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    Hillsboro, Wisconsin, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    @ Squarepeg: Didn't get a good chance this year. :-)

    @ Todd: Thank you. Yes, I do plan to put in place a more formal program. I was simply throwing my informal results out there for discussion. I appreciate your input!

  10. #9
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    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    "I wonder if it correlates with the fact that I haven't fed them either for that time. Thoughts?"

    A controlled study of that would be interesting. What else do you do that could affect success with varroa?
    David Matlock

  11. #10
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    Jan 2013
    Location
    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    577

    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    I wonder if it correlates with the fact that I haven't fed them either for that time. Thoughts?
    Been TF for 15 yrs. Feeding real honey keeps them healthy for sure. I don't hesitate to top off with sugar syrup if needed. Striping the broodnest of honey is a poor practice in my opinion. Artificial feeds are ok if truly needed but I wouldn't rely on them for best bee health. Quality food and clean wax will help you, but only go so far. Keep an eye on your mites if you don't need to treat then why do it....

  12. #11
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    Quote Originally Posted by westernbeekeeper View Post
    I wonder if it correlates with the fact that I haven't fed them either for that time. Thoughts?
    while not universal among all those keeping bees off treatments avoiding artificial feeds is a fairly common denominator. the literature is somewhat lacking with regard to what role that may play or not.

    intuitively one might expect honey would contain important nutritional factors potentially involved in the bees' natural immunity to pathogens that would be absent in plain sugar or hfcs.

    this may explain in part why some bees are able to tolerate high enough mite loads to be devastating to other bees.

    all speculative on my part and jmho.
    'no wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes' - the doobies

  13. #12
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    Jul 2013
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    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    It is worth reviewing the time series data from the "Gotland" Bond experiment.
    Workbook4-1.jpg

    In that fundamental paper, at 20 months "in" losses were manageable. In my opinion, if an apiary is managed for very young colonies -- a TF endeavor is practical, if costly. Much of the "noise" about one particular management tweak or other is lost when you consider that TF colonies take a while to express mite syndrome and die.

  14. #13
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    Sep 2012
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    Casey, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    It is worth reviewing the time series data from the "Gotland" Bond experiment.
    Workbook4-1.jpg

    In that fundamental paper, at 20 months "in" losses were manageable. In my opinion, if an apiary is managed for very young colonies -- a TF endeavor is practical, if costly. Much of the "noise" about one particular management tweak or other is lost when you consider that TF colonies take a while to express mite syndrome and die.

    IMO that is a sustainable operation. It would probably take more colonies than a treating yard to produce the same amount of honey. You would basically have 2 yrs of production and on the 3rd break up into rebuilding mode. With colonies staggered in their timing throughout the process one could run a fairly set number of production hives and nucs and that is the model that several around me locally use and that I am trying to work up to. Some of them locally are getting more like 3-4 yrs production and 4/5th yr bust up into nucs for rebuilding though.

  15. #14

    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    To be sure...twenty months seem a bit premature to be bragging....in my opinion.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    To be sure...twenty months seem a bit premature to be bragging....in my opinion.

    it's a lot longer that 2 commercial packages I bought this spring hived on may 1 and the first was dead come mid sept due to mites. Was hoping to requeen it next spring. Second lost last week. But it tried swarming on me so I was able to split off original queen into a nuc. Parent hive succomed to mites. All my locals are thriving and well, one queen was on her 4th yr this yr before I lost her to a swarm.

  17. #16

    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    it's a lot longer that 2 commercial packages I bought this spring
    The old rule that a package should survive its first year without any treatment....just ain't so anymore....and maybe never was. On the other hand it'll take more than twenty months for someone to claim tf success...again...in my opinion.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    The old rule that a package should survive its first year without any treatment....just ain't so anymore....and maybe never was. On the other hand it'll take more than twenty months for someone to claim tf success...again...in my opinion.


    I now agree 100% with the first part of that statement and unfortunately learned it the hard way. The Second half I think success is in the eye of the beholder. It's kinda like owning stocks, You could be on a downward trend and get out and it was a failure but hanging on a bit more and doubling down and it would have rebounded and been a success, so it's entirely dependent on your end game. When it comes to building my TF operation, I see hive failure as a success to the overall goal. ( typically/ prior to this yr ) Mother winter selected for me which bees not to breed from.

  19. #18
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    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    20 months isn't a bad start IMO these days. I lose mine over here in September, I guess that's like the 6 month mark from spring. Phil has some good queens, I have tried them, very productive but over here I didn't see any tolerance to Varroa and they were in a good forage area, no feeding required either. Other traits are spot on though, good brooders, forage heavy, large broodnest during the season.

  20. #19
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    Jun 2012
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    King County, Washington
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryVanderpool View Post
    My first thought is:
    I'm sure glad those bees are in Cheyenne Wyoming and not Salem Oregon.
    ...and what would be your second thought

  21. #20
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    May 2012
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    Hillsboro, Wisconsin, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment free for 20 months + feed free

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    To be sure...twenty months seem a bit premature to be bragging....in my opinion.
    I feel ya! Not trying to brag...just putting my short experience out there for grilling. I DO NOT profess to know much at all about treatment free. This is more for my learning as much as or more than anyone elses. ;-)

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