Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Yes, but what's good for me probably isn't good for a guy trying to make a living off a honey crop. It's all relative to what you view as success. If all you want to do is raise bees off of treatments, I am positive that you could do it conditionally. Just determine what you want, and let that define your actions. There is plenty of room for failure, and learning opportunities.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by heaflaw View Post
    Location

    Location

    Location

    Your neighbor's hives need to be treatment free survivors also. If not, then each supercedure or swarm of your hives will lesson the good genetics that you have. And swarms in your area may or may not be from treatment free stock.
    there are 4 other beekeepers that keep bees within flight distance of my bees, me and one other guy guy are the only non treaters and neither of us have any major issues. We flood the DCAs with drones to make up for the medicated bees.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    there are 4 other beekeepers that keep bees within flight distance of my bees, me and one other guy guy are the only non treaters and neither of us have any major issues. We flood the DCAs with drones to make up for the medicated bees.
    I think this is a good example of the cooperative effort some have been utilizing in regard to creating TF buffer zones. SP posted about a group in Ohio that was working toward it and having good success. Hopefully he'll update if he ever hears from them.

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    We flood the DCAs with drones to make up for the medicated bees.
    Where is the like button? Like!

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Some 2 cents (references to: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursimplesteps.htm)

    My understanding is that it is easy to be treatment free for the 1st summer hive... it is the 2nd summer and later hive that you have to watch. That changes the first year picture for me, since a 1st summer hive often has low mite load even if they will get hammered next year. I'm still monitoring but I"m not likely to be faced with the "treat or let nature take it's course...whatever that is" scenario this year. Nice to think that just treating would fix it, right? But, see link above, and...

    My reason for TF approach is simple - if the bees do die over the winter, I want to be able to harvest the honey and not wonder whether mite treatment is in it. I should mention I have TBHs so I can't just take a super off; and even for people with boxes, there can be a lot of honey in the brood box that becomes suspect if the beeK treated and then the bees died. I'd rather lose the 2 yr old hive every year (and make splits so I don't feel the loss) that wonder about that.

    Of course you can just plan on feeding the deadout's brood frames to the next bees - but I want the choice. Now how to achieve that and not risk flooding the neighborhood with mite-infested bees if things go south... :/ so far mite loads low, 0 or 2 in 300 bees, but it is the first year for my 4 HTBH colonies!

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    I personally do not think the bees heat the hive, they heat the cluster. no animal other than man is known to heat the air around them. they heat themselves. Animals do not need warm rooms. they only need to remain warm themselves. We are the only ones that think the room has to be warm in order for us to be warm.

    For the most part though I think temperature control in the hive is best achieved with as little ventilation as possible. I make on opening in my hives and want it no bigger than 3 square inches. it is smaller than that most of the time. I want my bees to be able to control the temperature inside the hive. I see problems with this with simple wood hive. I think bees would do better with more temperature stable materials. Mainly ones that do not allow the interior to heat up.
    I came across a study by Clayton Len Farrar that supports your position.

    29. ...The cluster does not radiate heat to the unoccupied part of the hive, as a stove radiates heat to a room.
    30. The entrance of the hive when reduced bears a similar relation to this unoccupied space as an open door does to a full sized room.
    31. The value of wind protection and hive insulation in reducing the expenditure of bee energy is obtained through the reduction in the rate of temperature changes, thus permitting the cluster to adjust itself gradually; it is not obtained by the retention of heat radiated by the cluster.
    Thus, you are correct:
    1) Bees do not heat the hive. They heat themselves.
    2) The temperature of the unoccupied space is related to the size of the opening (ventilation)
    3) "Temperature stable materials" = Insulation (and in my opinion, including comb) helps reduce the rate of temperature changes, which reduces expenditures in bee energy.

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post

    >LOTS OF SPACE (Oscar Perone)
    I totally disagree. The right amount of space should be the goal.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesspace.htm
    Michael,
    I edited post 1 a few days ago to address your comment. I believe the intent with this item was to ALLOW the colony to grow and be of substantial size. The use of followers may be a good practice.

    Your website states:
    "I used to find it very confusing when people would talk about always keeping strong hives. It seemed to me that a nuc or a split was always weak, by definition, but I will offer a new definition. A strong colony is merely a colony with a good density of bees."
    This makes good sense too. However, I'd like to add that there are many benefits to having a large colony vs. a small one. One benefit that has multiple positive implications was pointed out by C. L. Farrar:
    Bees die at an earlier age in small colonies than in large ones. The rearing of proportionally large amounts of brood shortens the life of bees below that of bees in colonies where brood-rearing is less intense...
    Large colonies => longer bee life-spans. Large colonies require LOTS OF SPACE, but I agree that managed space is even better.

    Thanks for your input.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    there are 4 other beekeepers that keep bees within flight distance of my bees, me and one other guy guy are the only non treaters and neither of us have any major issues. We flood the DCAs with drones to make up for the medicated bees.
    I try to dominate my area with force of numbers, and believe my natural approach to selection on the male side makes a big difference. This is: I (don't treat or mess at all and...) run unlimited brood nests on natural cell. That means the stronger hives make many more drones than the weaker ones, and the air is filled with the drones I want. Those whose drone comb is filled with mites of course make way fewer drones.

    Its my belief that messing with this natural mechanism could, alone, account for much of the health problem beekeepers experience. Without the strong-make-more stuff going on on the male side you've lost an essential health-maintenance mechanism. Systematically limiting brood nests, using printed wax and even raking out drone cells all fatally interfere with an essential device - a variant of natural selection by strength.

    What I like about my 'management' is I don't have to do anything - what needs to happen happens all on its own!

    Mike (UK)
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    That means the stronger hives make many more drones than the weaker ones, and the air is filled with the drones I want. Those whose drone comb is filled with mites of course make way fewer drones.
    That makes sense and applies particularly to feral hives which have no artificial restriction on brood comb. Meaning drones available for mating are typically weighted toward any feral hives in the area and particularly toward feral hives with fewer mites. I use mostly foundationless frames in the brood chamber which allows drone cells. But I typically have a queen excluder above only three eight frame boxes for brood. So I don't have unlimited brood chambers. I don't have any rationale for only using the equivalent of 1 ten frame deep boxes other than that I have been doing that and have not had noticeable colony losses of mature hives.
    David Matlock

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    It helps a lot if there are other beekeepers you can swap queens with. Small numbers of queens eventually lead to inbreeding. Bringing in a queen from someone else who is treatment free can significantly increase production and other desirable traits.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    I just finished reading a collection of thoughts (word doc) from SamComfort. From what I gather, he is saying the following for successful TF

    * Keep splitting (or swarming) and dont target to make the hive too big, crowded etc
    * Dont push bees for honey production (not to the level of what one might expect / get from treatment colony)
    * Encourage brood breaks (means dont feed during dearth)
    * Do feed if they dont have enough winter stores
    * Harvest old comb out

    Interestingly, I asked our local Nuc producer on why she switched from Russians to VSH Italians / Carnis. Her response was that Russians were swarming crazy and she things that was their primary way of keep mites in check.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyNJ View Post
    I just finished reading a collection of thoughts (word doc) from SamComfort. From what I gather, he is saying the following for successful TF
    Much more important than all of these: have resistant bees, and work to keep them resistant down the generations. Monkeying with them to 'help' them cope with mites just means you're masking the problem, and keeping alive bees that ought to be replaced by better adapted ones.

    Adaptation, or resistance, or whatever you want to call, is the key. Its useful to think of this rather like (as is said) a shark has to keep swimming, or it sinks. Similarly, lifeforms have to be subjected to natural (or unnatural) selection, in order to just maintain their capability to thrive in the present environment. As soon as you start messing (unless you are careful to take steps to ameliorate your actions) the gene pool starts sinking...

    Mike (UK)
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Much more important than all of these: have resistant bees, and work to keep them resistant down the generations. Monkeying with them to 'help' them cope with mites just means you're masking the problem, and keeping alive bees that ought to be replaced by better adapted ones.

    Adaptation, or resistance, or whatever you want to call, is the key. Its useful to think of this rather like (as is said) a shark has to keep swimming, or it sinks. Similarly, lifeforms have to be subjected to natural (or unnatural) selection, in order to just maintain their capability to thrive in the present environment. As soon as you start messing (unless you are careful to take steps to ameliorate your actions) the gene pool starts sinking...

    Mike (UK)
    While I agree its important to have proper genetics, I am not sure folks who actually did TF for many years agree thats THE most important thing. In that same book Sam cautions against droping TF queens into infested or weak colonies. He also cautions against DWV and other virus spreading if the colonies are pushed / manipulated to keep high in numbers. So management (and setting right expectations) seem lot more important.

    BTW, I got few Sam queens this year and put them into Nucs for overwintering. Cant wait to see how they come out of 2017 spring.
    Last edited by DaisyNJ; 08-15-2016 at 10:06 AM.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Much more important than all of these: have resistant bees, and work to keep them resistant down the generations. Monkeying with them to 'help' them cope with mites just means you're masking the problem, and keeping alive bees that ought to be replaced by better adapted ones.

    Adaptation, or resistance, or whatever you want to call, is the key. Its useful to think of this rather like (as is said) a shark has to keep swimming, or it sinks. Similarly, lifeforms have to be subjected to natural (or unnatural) selection, in order to just maintain their capability to thrive in the present environment. As soon as you start messing (unless you are careful to take steps to ameliorate your actions) the gene pool starts sinking...

    Mike (UK)
    What you call monkeying, I see as management techniques. I don't necessarily agree with every single point Sam makes here (most), but I don't think when failure occurs, you can scratch it up to "genetics" every time even when you have the most resistant, prolific bees in the world. Its often the beekeeper that practices poor hive management that results in failure of a colony. My guess here is Sam's style of management is trying to be in tune with the bees natural rhythm in a feral setting.

  16. #35
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    And BTW, I am not down playing the importance of genetics, just noting that experienced TF keepers seem to suggest very balanced approach between genetics, management, environment and expectations. Many also suggested a very diversified drone population for the queen mating, again, looking for long term species survivability rather than just today's problem.

    On the topic, came across this

    "This study suggests that RHB (Russian Honey Bee) showed some degree of resistant to DWV as shown by no reduction on weight and numerically lower proportion of wing deformity when compared with the other bee stocks."

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...26861516302084

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyNJ View Post
    expectations
    I think that's my worry in regard to new beeks who buy packages and decide to practice the Bond method, only later to claim that TF doesn't work.

    Genetics are the base to which you apply the methods. It doesn't work otherwise. I hope I didn't seem to downplay that. Without the proper genetics, you have a hive that is destined to crash and burn practicing TF management or lack thereof in terms of Bond scenarios.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordak View Post
    What you call monkeying, I see as management techniques. I don't necessarily agree with every single point Sam makes here (most), but I don't think when failure occurs, you can scratch it up to "genetics" every time even when you have the most resistant, prolific bees in the world.
    If you have reasonably adapted bees then your failure rate will be no greater than is normal for healthy environment-adjusted bees; and that's not 'failure'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordak View Post
    Its often the beekeeper that practices poor hive management that results in failure of a colony.
    I don't 'manage' - or rather my 'management' is: 'Don't manage'. What is important to recognise is that short-term help turns (unless you are very careful) into long-term damage. Bees aren't pets, they are livestock, and should be managed as such. Trying to save every one, helping every one thrive, doesn't allow you to see which are strongest. And that's something you really need to know, so you can make more from them.

    Of course if you only have a few hives none of this matters a whole lot. But you should recognise then; that you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. If you can join up with more beekeepers in your area, and start improving the health of the breeding pool, then you can make a difference - you can make an adapted strain of bee that others can make use of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordak View Post
    My guess here is Sam's style of management is trying to be in tune with the bees natural rhythm in a feral setting.
    That's fine; but the most fundamental 'rhythm' in nature is natural selection for the fittest strain. If you're not in tune with that, as I say you are part of the problem.

    Mike (UK)
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  19. #38
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    If you have reasonably adapted bees then your failure rate will be no greater than is normal for healthy environment-adjusted bees; and that's not 'failure'.



    I don't 'manage' - or rather my 'management' is: 'Don't manage'. What is important to recognise is that short-term help turns (unless you are very careful) into long-term damage. Bees aren't pets, they are livestock, and should be managed as such. Trying to save every one, helping every one thrive, doesn't allow you to see which are strongest. And that's something you really need to know, so you can make more from them.

    Of course if you only have a few hives none of this matters a whole lot. But you should recognise then; that you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. If you can join up with more beekeepers in your area, and start improving the health of the breeding pool, then you can make a difference - you can make an adapted strain of bee that others can make use of.



    That's fine; but the most fundamental 'rhythm' in nature is natural selection for the fittest strain. If you're not in tune with that, as I say you are part of the problem.

    Mike (UK)
    I think your approach is a very black and white one in an environment where there are so many grays. A tired cliche, but I guess a cliche fits here. I have no problems with different approaches, your hard line is fine. By many standards of beekeeping practices, many would view my management as a hard line in regard to management style. I certainly don't see it as a problem. If you do, that's your business. I don't see beekeeping in terms of "I'm right, you're wrong."

  20. #39
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordak View Post
    I think your approach is a very black and white one in an environment where there are so many grays. A tired cliche, but I guess a cliche fits here. I have no problems with different approaches, your hard line is fine. By many standards of beekeeping practices, many would view my management as a hard line in regard to management style. I certainly don't see it as a problem. If you do, that's your business. I don't see beekeeping in terms of "I'm right, you're wrong."
    I'm just trying to keep clear some facts. Some things help the long term process of keeping bees tf in any area - everywhere. Those things are 'right' in that sense wherever you are.

    Other things - like 'monkeying' as I put it, might be solutions to the short term and narrow goal of keeping hives alive and helping them 'thrive' (assisted); but, unless you take great care, they're not helpful in the longer term. In fact they can be harmful in the longer term - no better than chemical treatments to the aim of raising resistance. Again, that statement is 'right' everywhere, always.

    However, if you are bringing in more resistant genes, then overall probably the effect on the local breeding pool might be positive.

    I just think its useful to be clear about what helps in the long term. Just leaning hard on 'management' tricks isn't.

    Mike (UK)
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  21. #40
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    Default Re: Keys to Treatment Free Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    I'm just trying to keep clear some facts. Some things help the long term process of keeping bees tf in any area - everywhere. Those things are 'right' in that sense wherever you are.

    Other things - like 'monkeying' as I put it, might be solutions to the short term and narrow goal of keeping hives alive and helping them 'thrive' (assisted); but, unless you take great care, they're not helpful in the longer term. In fact they can be harmful in the longer term - no better than chemical treatments to the aim of raising resistance. Again, that statement is 'right' everywhere, always.

    However, if you are bringing in more resistant genes, then overall probably the effect on the local breeding pool might be positive.

    I just think its useful to be clear about what helps in the long term. Just leaning hard on 'management' tricks isn't.

    Mike (UK)
    Sounds like we are on the same page, only in the viewing of Sam Comfort's advice is where we differ. I don't agree with all of it, but for a newbie TF beek, it seems like a good game plan. You have to get comfortable with bees before you can get comfortable with doing nothing I would think.

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