My journey towards treatment free
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2015
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    Tallapoosa, Georgia, USA
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    Default My journey towards treatment free

    I tried to keep bees before one could get information on the internet. I gathered some equipment and tried to keep bees according to the popular literature. The printed resources at the time did not deal with varroa. I tried multiple years to buy packaged bees and make a start that ended in the fall or before spring. I even bought colonies in the fall that failed to survive.

    In short, I gave up... But, I had 2 stacks of a mixture of used hive and supers. They must have been really good swarm traps because they both caught 'em.

    My life was turned upside down with my wife passing and raising our boys. No time to even think about bees.

    I remarried and life settled a bit. My current wife occasionally asked about the bees in passing. She finally said that she did not understand why I had bees and she had no honey... Gotta fix that.

    My research efforts lead me to this forum. Reading here informed me that I had some special bees. Survivors. I had 2 colonies living in the boxes that were left in place for over 10 years with no interaction from me.

    Soo... I have begun to build an apiary from my past. I re-started in 2014 with bees that I have never treated. It's a work in progress. I have purchased queens and nucs from treatment free suppliers to augment my poor efforts at queen rearing and added splits that I have made.

    I will get better at grafting this year. I intend to spread the genetics I have around my area... And make my lovely wife some honey.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    special bees indeed tpope. thanks for starting this thread and we look forward to following your progress. good luck with the expansion and putting a little honey on the table!
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    4,211

    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by tpope View Post
    My research efforts lead me to this forum. Reading here informed me that I had some special bees. Survivors. I had 2 colonies living in the boxes that were left in place for over 10 years with no interaction from me.
    So, now we finally know where Squarepeg's bees came from
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
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    763

    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Everyone has an opinion, here's mine. Don't rush to purchase TF bees from others, until you have checked them out closely, not saying they will lie to you, just saying one person's idea of TF may differ from another's idea of TF. You know the feral bees that found you are making it on their own, and watch them closely, you may have to treat with something like OAV once in November when they are almost broodless to keep them alive. Just because they were in your boxes for ten years does not mean they never failed, they may have failed and were repopulated by another swarm or they may have survived uninterrupted because they swarmed every year and the brood break allowed them to get ahead of the mites. I never got very good at grafting, my old eyes let me down, there are several easier ways to make queens and some produce better queens. Think about foundationless, they will make the size cell that is right for their smaller body size, and they will make a lot of drones. I grew up on a farm and have the farmer's mentality, to me they are livestock, they are not my pets, some will say I will NEVER do this or that to MY BEES, a dead TF bee is just a dead bee, so I do the least I can to them and encourage them to evolve. Good Luck with your bees, pm me if you need my help.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Tallapoosa, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    So, now we finally know where Squarepeg's bees came from
    No sir... not my bees. Although I do have to list Squarepeg as a queen supplier.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    west central Arkansas
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    1,080

    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Wow, tpope. You definitely got something special there. Propagate the heck out of them if you can. I look forward to following your journey.
    Season 5. TF.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
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    2,502

    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Your bees and their local feral cousins are a treasure. I would avoid bringing in outside genetics as much as practical at this stage.
    David. Cheerful beekeeping

  9. #8

    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by stan.vick View Post
    Everyone has an opinion, here's mine.
    This is the treatment free forum.
    Any post advocating the use of treatments, according to the forum definition of treatment will be considered off topic and shall be moved to another forum or deleted by a moderator, unless it is employed as part of a plan in becoming treatment free.
    I think we should have a rule waiting for those who want to be tf to ask if they want to use treatments on their path or not.
    Last edited by 1102009; 01-30-2017 at 11:04 PM.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    7,861

    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Yeah, a dead tf bee is just a dead bee. I try to get to them before they go bye-bye.
    So far all hives are still alive though they have the mites with them. Going to get the mite
    biting bees for them this coming season.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post


    I think we should have a rule waiting for those who want to be tf to ask if they want to use treatments on their path or not.
    I think the last thing this forum needs is another rule. What would go a very long way is a good dose of tolerance from both sides.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
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    763

    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    This is the treatment free forum.


    I think we should have a rule waiting for those who want to be tf to ask if they want to use treatments on their path or not.
    Sorry SiWolke, and thank you for pointing out the rules, but since the last sentence of the rule you inserted said " unless it is employed as part of a plan in becoming treatment free." I felt it was appropriate.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    If it ain't broke why are you trying to fix it?
    tpope,. awesome., I see some honey in your wife's future. Now here comes the hard part of management
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by Riverderwent View Post
    Your bees and their local feral cousins are a treasure. I would avoid bringing in outside genetics as much as practical at this stage.
    this right here! If you are having trouble rasing queens from your stock, get some help with that.

  15. #14
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    Sep 2012
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    Casey, Il, USA
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by stan.vick View Post
    Sorry SiWolke, and thank you for pointing out the rules, but since the last sentence of the rule you inserted said " unless it is employed as part of a plan in becoming treatment free." I felt it was appropriate.
    10 yrs with no treaments and he needs a plan to become TF? I don't understand this logic?

  16. #15
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    Mar 2015
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    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Re splits. Maybe a good first step is a snelgrove board to make vertical splits. They will make a few good queen cells that you can make additional nucs with.

    I would build numbers with this stock before bringing in outside stock. Too much outside influence too early could disrupt what you have. However, you probably also have some ferals around that can stabilize things.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Quote Originally Posted by tpope View Post
    Soo... I have begun to build an apiary from my past. I re-started in 2014 with bees that I have never treated. It's a work in progress. I have purchased queens and nucs from treatment free suppliers to augment my poor efforts at queen rearing and added splits that I have made.

    I will get better at grafting this year. I intend to spread the genetics I have around my area... And make my lovely wife some honey.
    Are you seeking guidance, or just relaying a very interesting story? If seeking guidance, then it might be helpful to give us more information. You say you restarted in 2014, and that you brought in queens. What state is your apiary in now, e.g., how many colonies do you have now. Of these, how many from the original survivor genetics? Have you successfully propagated any of the original survivor genetics? Are you actively working these survivor colonies? What goals do you have - I'm sure we could all chip in and get your wife some honey
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  18. #17
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    Mar 2015
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    Tallapoosa, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    I appreciate the encouragement and offers to help.

    You don't know how good or bad your bees are until you have something to compare them to. Most of my purchases have been from known VSH suppliers. I have the resources now that will allow me to raise more than a couple of queens each year. I have gained confidence working with the bought bees that I won't be wasting my efforts on my survivors.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Tallapoosa, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Looking at the bees flying into and outta my hives, I feel that I have 12 today that are active.
    One is a single hive body. Three are 5 frame nucs. The remainder are in at least a double deep.
    It's time to start planning how to open the brood nest since I am limited in how much comb I can give towards checker boarding. I did leave a large amount of honey so that I would have resources available. I am scratching my head about extracting some of the honey to gain the comb for use. Gonna have to get in there and see.
    Working to propagate my survivors and staying treatment free USDA Zone 7b

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    if you haven't already seen this, a possible option for you tpope:

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-the-Broodnest

    my experience agrees with the notion that foundationless frames will get drawn earlier in the season than foundation frames. my observations also support the idea that once a colony is engaged in wax making it will be less likely to swarm.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Tallapoosa, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: My journey towards treatment free

    Yes, I am channeling Matt and Walt for my nucs as they build. I have some comb and will have to wing the rest..
    Working to propagate my survivors and staying treatment free USDA Zone 7b

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