steps to TF ?
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Thread: steps to TF ?

  1. #1
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    Default steps to TF ?

    Can someone please give a road map to TF? All the necessary steps one has to take? Many thanks in advance.

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  3. #2
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    Jan 2014
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    Roxboro, North Carolina
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    To start with you are going to have to start with treatment free bees or requeen to treatment free queens. Pol-Line, V.P. Queens, Olympic Wilderness ect. There are others. Also you are going to have to deal with the fact that in exchange for not treating you are going to have to deal with a MUCH stronger swarm instinct. Hope this helps. I'm treatment free for five years. Good Luck.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    IMO There are factors that you may not be able to overcome. Probably the biggest one is isolation from "inferior" commercial genes.

    Try to find a local TF in your area, and get genetic stock from them.

    Swarm trap feral survivors.

    https://beesource.com/resources/usda/...tock-a-recipe/

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...nt-Free-step-1

  5. #4
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    Collierville, TN
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    First get ahold of some stock that you feel are resilient enough to suit you, either purchase them or get them through swarm catching/ removals. Evaluate the bees, keep in mind "survivor bees" from trees and other small cavities swarm often and this undoubtedly helps in their resistance to mites. After evaluating the bees long enough to understand their traits, pick a couple queens that are a good starting point and raise some queens. From these choose the ones that are as resistant as the parent stock or better, but are also displaying better honey production. In my experience "survivor/feral bees" have been poor producers in general, but tough. You can then continue selecting daughters that have more and more of the traits you want, not forgetting to allow your best hives to produce all the drones that they want. This process takes a lot of time, you will kill or let die a lot of bees. Since this is my hobby I could afford to "play" with the bees. After around 5 years I'm starting to see some good bees in my opinion, they are alive for one and finally making me some honey. It just takes some time, good luck.
    Last edited by ShrekVa; 06-01-2016 at 07:11 AM. Reason: spelling

  6. #5
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    This is good, it sounds everyone is in agreement that TF bees are first step and critical step. Since I don't intend to breed my own Queen does anyone knows a reliable source of TF Queens, that are commercially available?
    What would be the next step after obtaining the bees, going foundationless?

  7. #6
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    a better first step is locate someone in your area (if possible) already doing it. this will let you know that your local environment supports resistant bees, which usually means you have a population of feral colonies surviving in the area.

    (if possible) obtain your bees from such an operation and do your best to emulate their practices which are allowing for success there.

    (if not possible) catching swarms from, cutting out, or trapping out unmanaged colonies you have verified are overwintering (and not just this year's swarms taking residence in a dead out cavity) is another way to get survivor stock.

    the studies on and the experiences reported with regard to cell size and/or the use of foundation or not are somewhat mixed. there are a number of us on the forum having success keeping bees off treatments using the standard sized foundation.

    the more important factor in my opinion is whether or not your area has adequate habitat, forage, and is currently supporting feral colonies.

  8. #7
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    Sep 2012
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    Casey, Il, USA
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    These guys are all spot on, it can be done starting with commercial stock, but it's ALOT harder and you will experience ALOT more loss. If this is your only route, numbers are your friend. Check out the OTS method of queen rearing. You don't have to use this method specifically but understand why he does it, and why it works. The excessive splitting he does is considered TF compared to the official definition here, but IMO excessive splitting is a treatment because when you stop splitting all colonies every yr some will begin to die. What you want to do is over time and once you have enough colonies to work with, Start letting colonies grow an entire season before splitting, and when those start surviving, start splitting your colonies that make it through their second winter. Then after some time try letting them go 3 yrs before splitting. The goal is to have colonies of various ages and stages so all your eggs aren't in one basket. 3 yrs is the goal we shoot for here because in my opinion that is a sustainable number. They build on yr 1 with possible late honey harvest, become honey producers their second yr and on their 3rd they become breeders and get busted up starting the cycle over again.


    If you can start with TF or overwintered feral stock and use the above approach you will be yrs ahead.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    Quote Originally Posted by deepster View Post
    Since I don't intend to breed my own Queen does anyone knows a reliable source of TF Queens, that are commercially available?
    If you can't locate a local, northern source, you might look into Frost Apiaries in Dardanelle, Arkansas.
    David Matlock

  10. #9
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    Quote Originally Posted by deepster View Post
    Since I don't intend to breed my own Queen does anyone knows a reliable source of TF Queens, that are commercially available?
    sam comfort
    kirk webster

    might have to wait on a list for a year or two...

  11. #10
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    Try to find a local TF in your area, and get genetic stock from them.
    This list of beekeepers by town in Connecticut may help: http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/docu...ut_in_2016.pdf. You can also look for someone who does cutouts in your area. (Try Jeff Shwartz.) Keeping hives near a forested area with a population of feral bees or near a DCA near someone who maintains a large stock of bees from swarm traps and cutouts may help with long term genetics.

    There are a number of non-genetic factors, including hive configuration, materials, feeding, styles of beekeeping, and many other factors. Also, the genetic factors include not only the bee genetics, but also the genetics of mites, viruses, and potential pests and pathogens and other natural enemies of the varroa mite, and the genetics of other inhabitants of the bioculture within the hive, within the bees, and within the mites.
    David Matlock

  12. #11
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    Johnny Thompson has V.P. Queens. 1-601-562-0701. I would recommend the Allegro line for longevity. He is treatment free. I would try starter strips before foundationless. Cut down 5.1 crimpwire foundation into strips if you want to go that route. I would get the basics down first though. Hope this helps. Good luck.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    J.Lee please elaborate little more how I would install the strips. This is interesting I thought small cell size was important part of treatment free. I have gone foundationless in the home of my bees move to smaller cell.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    You cut the wax comb foundation into strips as per the pic, then put into the top bar of your frame as per the other pic, the strip can be glued in using hot melt glue. The comb foundation does not have to be small cell the bees will not base the kind of comb they build on the cell size of the foundation strip.

    Use a narrow strip preferably around one cell depth protruding from the top bar. This is so not too many bees can hang on it and cause it to fall out before the bees have attached it onto the wood properly.

    Some people use popsicle sticks or wedged bars to try to get the bees to build the comb in the right place, but both those methods can have issues. I sell bees to newbees with no experience and get them to start their foundationless combs like this and there is never a problem, plus the resultant comb looks a whole lot more pleasing than one hanging on a popsicle stick. Only other thing they have to do is have the frames correctly spaced from each other, and have the hive exactly level. And oh, do use wires in your frames the bees build right onto them and they add a lot of strength to your combs.

    Should add, I am not treatment free myself so you can take or leave my advice but getting comb started right is much the same treating or not treating.





  15. #14
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    Frankford, ontario canada
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    hi all,
    I'm sorry if I offend anyone, not what I'm going for. I guess I just don't really understand what makes TF. my understanding is if you stop treating, you will have treatment free bees. also seems that the whole trend to go TF has created aarket for some to provide TF bees. and to sell small cell foundation.
    why does everyone try to over complicate things.
    my plan...
    steps to treatment free.
    1. stop treating
    2. no foundation because it probably came from treated bees, and forcing the bee to draw a specific size cell... why? to add stress? because stress is NOT linked to diesease (ya, I typed out sarcasm) let them build what they want. they really are not trying to kill themselves. they want the same as all life on the planet, world domination, and will take w/e steps they feel necessary to accomplish that. if the comb is not going straight, fix it. only have to do that for 2 frames, then you have guides.
    3. no sugar. maybe a small amount if you reduce the pH to a level that will not make the organism susceptible to diesease. humans need to learn this too. and no man-made processed additives mixed in. stay away from chemicals. maybe apple cider vinegar to reduce pH.
    4. when they want to swarm, maybe let them make their own queen, do a split, w/e, you have to remember that life does w/e it can to survive, it won't just roll over and quit. ever seen a fallen tree start growing again?
    5. trust the bees to fix it.

    I know this is pointless and holds no weight due to inexperience, but logic, and life, I have those as a guideline, probably you will lose bees if you take my advice, but those are my plans, and I will keep posting how my TF bees are making on, I am going to treat with powdered sugar or something if I notice varroa problems.
    but I am having great confidence that I will succeed with the above steps.

    can someone point me a link that defines the TF factor, and how not starting by buying TF bees as opposed to not treating and removing any "nuc" frames etc. constitutes non-TF if you let them make a queen and have the bees for over a couple months?

    thanks and enjoy your day.
    h.
    brand new guy in zone 5b, finding the limit of stress for bees.

  16. #15
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    Warren County, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    I'm sorry if I offend anyone, not what I'm going for.
    >>>nah...

    I guess I just don't really understand what makes TF.
    >>>correct.

    my understanding is if you stop treating, you will have treatment free bees.
    >>>thats the hope. mostly you will have dead bees. then build off the ones that live. if it were easy everybody would do it. do you think anybody WANTS to put pesticides into their hives that they will then be taking honey from?

    why does everyone try to over complicate things.
    >>>theres a lot of aspects to consider. at first it appears that you just dump bees in a box. not really.

    my plan...I am going to treat with powdered sugar or something if I notice varroa problems.
    >>>that is treating, so you will not be TF. look up 'IPM'

    I am having great confidence that I will succeed with the above steps.
    >>>and the best is hoped for you. in reality, you will be humbled. you are not the first.

    can someone point me a link that defines the TF factor, and how not starting by buying TF bees as opposed to not treating and removing any "nuc" frames etc. constitutes non-TF if you let them make a queen and have the bees for over a couple months?
    >>>google, its all there.

    nobody trying to be discouraging, just real. small cell, narrow frame, foundation, box size, top/bottom style, etc. dont really have all that much to do with TF. again, lot of aspects and angles of approach.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    coal reaper, do you also think small cell doesn't improve on TF / fighting ability of bees with Verroa?

  18. #17
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    May 2016
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    Frankford, ontario canada
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    @coal reaper ya, i even wrote "treat" before sugar, guess i needed more coffee... lol. well, i hope it works. for everyone.
    h.
    brand new guy in zone 5b, finding the limit of stress for bees.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    Happens often LOL. There is a curious facet of human nature where new beekeepers decide how they will manage things. They do not want to TREAT, as TREATING conjures up mental images of horrible toxic poisons being literally poured into hives. But they sometimes decide that they will do little things to treat such as sugar dust, essential oils, or whatever, because if they do it themselves they are just treating, not TREATING.

  20. #19
    Join Date
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    Champaign, Illinois
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    The first step is admitting that there is a higher power than yourself.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  21. #20
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Frankford, ontario canada
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    Default Re: steps to TF ?

    @oldtimer ya, they won't be TF then i guess. sugar is bad enough, i don't even want to feed. but i will do candyboards for the winter i'm sure...
    but i won't put any lab chems in, including stuff in the sugar that i don't want to feed them. i'm a picky eater, and i won't eat that. remember when DDT was sliced bread?
    @betty
    what step is admitting there is no "yourself"?

    h.
    brand new guy in zone 5b, finding the limit of stress for bees.

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