Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany
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  1. #1

    Default Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Hello!
    This is my own thread and I want to reach small beekeepers who are in the desperate situation of not being isolated and having no ferals around.
    There must be a way for us to have treatment free bees too and if my chronicle helps with that or gives you some consolation I will be glad.

    I will start this weekend with summaries of the last two years, so please wait with your comments until I reach the present time.

    Thanks to all you guys who encouraged me to do this especially to squarepeg. It brings much joy to me to be accepted and respected in my efforts.
    Sibylle

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    1,393

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Sorry, couldn't wait Look forward to reading about your journey.
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    THE LAW

    https://www.llh.hessen.de/downloads/...r_11-01-01.pdf

    This is a summary of what we have to heed when we keep bees.

    If you are not able to read with a google translator here are some duties:
    - you have to registrate your hives
    - you have to pay tax if you have more than 25 hives because then you are a commercial
    - you have to protect your neighbors from your bees
    - you need a special health certificate to migrate with your bees
    - you have to call the bee inspector if you see brood disease, especially AFB which means your hives are eliminated ( you may keep the bees to start new)
    - swarms belong to the beekeeper they came from, they are not yours
    - you are not allowed to feed your bees in the open field
    .........

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,170

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    good morning sibylle! (actually it is late at night here)

    thank you for your willingness to share your story.

    is it mandatory by your laws that all beekeepers are required to use mite treatments in their hives?
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #5

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Itīs regarded as mandatory if you have a high downfall of mites ( more than 10 mites daily).
    But itīs not controlled by the institutions per se.

    Itīs your own responsibility.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,170

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    i see, i think i misunderstood about that. the translation is challenging sometimes. thank you for clarifying that for me.

    and i may be mistaken about this too, but i thought that if a beekeeper wants to practice treatment free there you have to get special permission and allow for periodic inspection?
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #7

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    2014 - MY FIRST HIVE

    My husband watched me for years working with solitary bees.
    Doing a part time job as gardener in a wildlife park I built nesting places and planted for the bees.
    My own garden is a solitary bee`s paradise.

    He decided it was not a whim and presented me with a gift coupon to join a bee class.

    The teacher was keeping bees in an organic way which meant natural comb, no queen excluder, no foreign queens introduced, treatments with formic and oxalic acids, multiplying via splits and artificial swarms.
    The honey was completely taken and sold as organic, the bees were fed with sugar syrup.

    We worked without protection clothes until one day we opened a hive with laying workers.
    The result:
    12 people stung and one in hospital with acute circulatory collapse.

    Despite this the bees got me hooked and I acquired my first hive from him in July.

    bee class 2014.jpg
    natural comb.jpg
    working my first hive.jpg

  9. #8

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i see, i think i misunderstood about that. the translation is challenging sometimes. thank you for clarifying that for me.

    and i may be mistaken about this too, but i thought that if a beekeeper wants to practice treatment free there you have to get special permission and allow for periodic inspection?
    You can registrate like this and work together with institutions for example. You will be supported with money working with institutions, but not always.
    Maybe a time will come when I will try to get this permission. But I want to be independent.

    As long as you have no dangerous brood disease and donīt let your hives die of mite infestation in summer you have no problems with the bee inspector.
    So thatīs one of our strategy to prevent this states with our bees.

    Therefore we need to have a place which is our "hospital". Bee colonies, which are not resistant and dwindle are placed there and treated or the capped brood is taken out.
    This hives will never again been used in our tf apiaries.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    10,170

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    i think i now better understand your circumstances, motivation and strategy. thank you for answering.

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    I will start this weekend with summaries of the last two years, so please wait with your comments until I reach the present time.
    my apologies sibylle. please tell your story in your own way. i'll hold further comments and questions until you reach the present time.

    guten nacht
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #10

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Thanks for helping and mentoring me here, squarepeg.

    Please feel free to clarify my contributions with your questions.

  12. #11

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    THE FIRST COLLAPSE

    Two weeks after the purchase I realized that my colony was very sick in spite of having a health certificate.
    My teacher told me what I saw was NORMAL!

    I observed:
    waxmoth larvae
    chalkbrood
    hygienic behavior
    mites on bees
    30 mites falling down onto the varroa board per day
    DW- Virus present

    He recommended another formic acid treatment so I went to our local bee equipment shop and bought formic acid 85%.

    But when I opened the hive wearing rubber gloves and protection goggles I could not do it.
    I just could not.

    So I went to internet and googled until I found a tf forum:
    www.resistantbees.com

    I read about the sugar treatment and decided to try this.

    I treated the hive 12 times. 10 times every 2 days in a row and 2 times again later.
    This reduced the phoretic mites to 3-5 per day.
    The bees tolerated this very well.

    But there were still many mites in the brood and the virus present.
    The bees were now in a stasis.

    In october they suddenly throwed out all chalk brood mummies and much brood infested by varroa disease.
    I had some hope because they were still having a good density of bees.
    I fed 25l of sugar syrup and closed the hive for winter.

    Aviva mite infestation.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #12

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    MY EDUCATION TIME 2014-2015

    I joined the forum and started my education going treatment free.

    The method which is propagated there is oriented on Dee Lusby.

    I purchased small cell foundations made of organic wax from a swedish company.
    I read every text about tf I could find.
    I started a scorecard record and was mentored by Stephan Braun, who is an experienced tf beekeeper.
    Most important was that I learned about how tf bees handle their hives and what to look for.

    I got some friends which were treatment free for 2 years.

    End of january my hopes to overwinter my colony crashed.
    We had a very cold spell and they had already started to breed but the bee density was not enough to keep them warm and they died.

    I had found a mentor in the forum who offered me a tf hive.
    But those were AMM, the queen coming from LaPalma, canary island.

    Stephan warned me about them, they would be not easy to handle.

    I was not willing to wait for another offer, so I was going to try them.
    End of april we brought them home.
    Before the transportation my mentor checked them to see if the queen was there.

    This bees were different. Opening the hive they attacked, but my mentor and I were not stung because we kept calm.
    My husband was not so lucky and got stung 5 times through his clothes.
    I took them home that night with mixed feelings.
    But they taught us how to handle them and now Iīm fascinated by their feral ways.

    In may my mentor asked me if I would want to have more colonies. He wanted to reduce his hive numbers or give up beekeeping because he lives in an area with much spraying.

    These were 3 colonies of carnis and I was very happy to get them.
    They were descendants from queens coming from Christian Wurm, who is a commercial tf beekeeper in Austria. One queen was an original pure bred queen.
    I installed a second apiary on my property for them.

    My mentor helped me to manage the hives and mentored me.
    I learned much this year.

    I splitted every hive, the AMM mother I splitted twice, the pure bred carni I did not split, because my mentor wanted me to have one honey production hive. I went into winter with 8 colonies.
    Since my mentor had harvested I had to feed sugar syrup again.

    Pictures of this work you can see on the 3 sites, but they are from 2015 and 2016:
    http://www.vivabiene.de/g20-Arbeitsweise-SiWolKe.html
    Last edited by 1102009; 12-03-2016 at 03:40 AM.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    7,861

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Cannot wait your suspense is killing me and my bees!
    Hurry up! Hurry with your story here. I have many to contribute to yours.
    So what's next?
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  15. #14

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    Cannot wait your suspense is killing me and my bees!
    Hurry up! Hurry with your story here. I have many to contribute to yours.
    So what's next?
    Mmmh....now Iīm making breakfast.....take a nap....

  16. #15

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    2016 REFLECTIONS

    After my experiences 2015 I reflected about my way of proceeding.

    Jealousies between my mentor and Stephan Braun made me leave the forum and go on alone.
    The friends were loyal to me.

    When I told my mentor that from now on I would not want to go for honey production but start an expansion model, he cancelled mentorship.

    I was lost.
    My husband saw this and filled in the blank.
    He worked with me from now on.

    I started to approach Michael Bush and Erik Österlund via e-mail.
    I needed their answers to help my self-assurance and to go on.
    They were most helpful and I got many new informations and links to support my strategies.

    All hives survived winter and surprised me with their strength in spring. It had been a warm winter and they had not made a brood brake.
    They were able to fly for pollen in early march and had much stores left.
    In may I had one hive which had 16 brood combs dadant size and one with 12.
    The average is 6-8.
    I splitted again every hive except one AMM colony which had superseded their queen in september 2015.

    Since I was not able to find my unmarked queens in the strongest hives I just splitted those two in half, careful to give both of them enough eggs.
    Ten minutes later the sound of hive told me where I had put the queens.

    My method so far was splitting in half, the queen`s split with mostly capped brood, the queenless with open brood.

    Then came the first setbacks:
    - The pure bred queen`s hive died of a local paralyze virus end of may.
    - 3 out of 4 queens were lost on mating flight at my carni beeyard
    - one of those had many laying workers and built no queen cells

    I lost patience with the laying worker hive and tossed them into the grass.
    They were accepted into the hive nearby.

    One was very strong in density.
    My young friend from bavaria, with whom I started VivaBiene , offered me two elgon F1 queens, mated in his apiary ( crossover carni-elgon).
    I splitted the queenless hive in two and introduced the elgon queens. Both were accepted but one colony I had to strengthen with a brood comb donation because the queen needed some time to start big brood areas.

    One of the queenless hives lost their new queen again and once again raised a new one. They had been without a queen for two and a half months and the bees left were very old.
    The new queen started to lay 5 combs Dadant in one day. When the brood was capped I saw the bees doing VSH, so I decided to donate to them a brood comb with capped brood from my strongest hive to try to help them to survive winter.

    I closed up 14 hives for winter after feeding half of them a small amount of honey syrup.
    Last edited by 1102009; 12-03-2016 at 07:46 AM.

  17. #16

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    WINTER 2016

    Last month one hive was dead. I found no sign of varroa disease, in fact, this was the hive which looked the most healthy when going into winter. No mite sassafras in the cells, no brood, no bees, a small dead queen, maybe unmated and a handful of dead bees left.
    The reason could be queen failure or me killing her on my last check.
    I stored 30kg of honey for spring needs.

    Ah, I forgot: harvest in june was 40kg surplus from 3 queenless hives. 15kg of that I used to feed or donate.

    And now I invite you to comment and ask your questions!
    Last edited by 1102009; 12-03-2016 at 10:29 AM.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    10,170

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany



    please do not get mad at me sibylle because i am going to compliment you.

    first, you did a very nice job telling your story so far, and i know that isn't easy when not using your first language.

    second, it is clear that you studied very hard to learn everything possible about keeping bees in general and utilizing a tf approach in particular. this was time very well spent and i believe greatly increases your chances for success.

    third, it's too bad that personalities got in the way with respect to the other mentors. the information that they can provide is the closest to home and usually the most meaningful. that you are able to rise above that says a lot about you.

    fourth, i have more but i am sure there are others who want to comment so i'll save it for a later post. many thanks once again for taking the time to share your experience here.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #18

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Many thanks for your kind words, squarepeg.
    You are right, I live and breathe bees right now and my husband hopes we will talk about other things once again...

    I want to thank those on Beesource too, who talked about their beekeeping and provided me with many new insights to managements.
    You know, SP, how much I enjoyed your thread, even if I am not able to do the same approach to beekeeping.

  20. #19

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    PLANNING 2017

    If I have survivors:

    - I want to do my own expansion model and stop at 25 hives because I donīt want to pay tax
    - my expansion model will be: still to do strong splits but of another kind, more natural, imitating swarming. A change will be not to give all mites into the queenīs hive.
    - no feeding with sugar
    - no donating of brood comb ( except eggs for the queenless)
    - mite monitoring
    - breeding four new queen colonies in nucs from 2 of the best, the others will raise their own queens

    I will go on with my workshops. The goal is to distribute tf drones as much as possible in our area.
    http://www.vivabiene.de/g26-workshops.html
    Last edited by 1102009; 12-03-2016 at 10:22 AM.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    west central Arkansas
    Posts
    1,080

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    You're off to a great start, Sibylle. Looking forward to more!

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