treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread
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  1. #1
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    Default treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    the title says it all.

    civility remains the rule and personal attacks will be deleted.

    this thread has been started as the place to have the debate in order to keep threads on other topics from becoming derailed or side tracked.

    posts appearing in other threads that are more appropriate for this one will get moved here.

    so have at it but be nice.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Guy sand girls lets start by saying that I have no problems with beekeepers who do not wish to treat their bees, I treat my bees because it is the only way I can keep them alive and thriving. Thriving means that I can make increases of over 100% per year with losses of less than 10% per year, and still make a fair crop of honey in a state which is low on average honey per hive. What is more I do it only using OAV which to some beekeepers is not possible. When the time comes that queens are available with traits that will stay in the local gene pool that will keep our bees mite free or virus free I will be in line with many others to purchase such queens but that time is not here so I am left with the only option available and that is the use of some sort of miticide. There are many beekeepers around this forum who do not treat and seem to keep their bees alive but few mention the secret of their success. Do they really know the secret or is it just a factor of their locality or of the mites in their area, until we can get answers to this can we really learn anything from this. Mostly when questioned about mite densities most reply that they do not sample for such and never do. So until we get some answers to these questions nothing is gained.
    Johno

  4. #3

    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    the title says it all.

    civility remains the rule and personal attacks will be deleted.

    this thread has been started as the place to have the debate in order to keep threads on other topics from becoming derailed or side tracked.

    posts appearing in other threads that are more appropriate for this one will get moved here.

    so have at it but be nice.
    My opinion is that we have Mites that infect the bees with Viruses. Those viruses cause mortality in bees. Some even make the colony crash. As a result, I treat to keep my bees alive!

  5. #4
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    In my first year, we did not treat. In our second year, we were able to split to 11 hives. Those 11 hives were not treated. Before Thanksgiving all 11 hives crashed and died.

    Crawling bee's, mite droppings, deformed wings, prove that mites killed all 11 hives.

    We now treat.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    I am not treating for now. I believe people are keeping bees and there are ferals and that you can not control what is around you and so it is you that has to keep your bees.
    I stole this quote from michigan mike cause it expresses my overall view best.
    I did not enter this thread with the view that it is anti treatment free beekeeping.

    My reading of the premise is a desire to have bees that do not rob other colonies as a way to minimize mite issues. I mentioned TF only because Nancy mentioned she offers instruction to local beekeepers on testing and treatment as a means to address the problem and that Shinbone mentioned that his area has a large number of TF beekeepers that by definition would not be open to her instruction. I monitor and treat but have no issue with those who chose not to. My bees are my responsibility not theirs, I have a TF beekeeper about 100 yards down the road, I do not hold him responsible for my mites, I respect his right to keep his bees as he deems appropriate. I try not to live in the world I wish for but rather the one that exists. We have many members on this forum that tackle the mite issue in various ways, ankle biters, hygienic, forced swarm and the like. Shinbone has introduced the elimination of robbing as another tool. I just happen to think it is unrealistic; robbing is only one of many ways mites are introduced into a colony. I do not judge any members motive or method. We have members along the whole spectrum from Nancy who pampers to the extreme to a member who takes all the honey, eliminates his colonies and starts fresh the next year. I respect them all. It was not my intention to offend anyone. I expect the same respect and would not take kindly to someone showing up at my door and suggesting that I need to install robbing screens or asking whether or not I monitor and treat. Shinbone I believe was asking what [B]he can do[B]not what others should do. Help him find those honest bees.
    I don't say what it takes for you to raise bees but also don't discount out of hand what others are doing just cause I might not be able to do it. I do believe the weakining of bees by treating and don't put much creadence in the mighty mite bomb. I don't mind if people treat and it works for them but don't buy that it is the other guys fault if what they do doesn't work. My view is I can not control the other guy and so all things can happen around me and so I just need to figure out what makes me happy.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  7. #6
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    I thought when I started with bees I'd be treatment free and as organic as possible as I have been for over 40 years of small home farming.

    I still like the idea of how things could be in a perfect world, but after several years with bees I've learned to become realistic quick. I am whole hardly FOR treating with the appropriate methods, at the appropriate time for maximum effectiveness with the least invasive and accumulative treatment possible.

    I admit it, I love killing the little [email protected]#^#(*! *
    I get a real kick out of being proactive and protecting my bees from unnecessary stress and the slow agonizing death associated with being a parasitic host. I occasionally will miss or overlook a hive that had declined from a mite load (usually along with an aging, failing queen) and feel like a real piece of 'you know what' because I allowed them to suffer. In my opinion, it's senseless.

    I've also been absolutely amazed by their recovery when given a new young queen, mite treatment and feed. Recovery has been like a miracle right in front of my eyes. Bringing a hive back from the brink of failure is very rewarding.

    I view occasional issues with hive health a great opportunity to become a better beekeeper and learn to identify the issue and resolve it- along with future avoidance of repeat issues.

    I have a lot of hives and their needs are varied. Some need treatments, some don't depending on their age, genetics and broodless period histories. I don't have so many hives I have to rely on a strictly scheduled one size fits all treatment plan.

    I am pleased I have learned not to be a day late and a dollar short, when it comes to mite control. I don't let anyone shame me for treating.

    Popular or not, my methods are what make sense to me, with my genetics, my goals & needs, my specific climate. I am fortunate I have a broodless period during winter and many of my hives can easily wait until winter for OAV treatments without undue negative effects from waiting.

    Having good genetics, young well mated queens and a broodless period earlier in the year due to the delay in virgin queens getting mated and laying are a big part of my management decisions.

    My lines are resistant to mites, not allowing them to reproduce unchecked and they have excellent tolerance against viruses due to the presence of mites.

    I am fortunate to be pretty secluded from other beekeepers and my risk of infestation from outside sources is very limited. My biggest threat is an unusually warm winter that allows very early brooding. That combined with older, less vigorous queens will result in the need for early spring treatment. I had that in the winter of 2013-2014 and am grateful for normal winters that keep them cool and inactive!

    I OAV with the ProVap at optimal times of the year, fill in with Apivar when brood is present if treatment is necessary and cannot wait for OAV broodless periods.

    I also use other methods to reduce mite loads coming out of winter such as cutting capped drone comb and running virgin queens through nucs (Break up overwintered hives that come out of winter in less than excellent shape) to help clean them up and get a fresh start. A virgin queen is like a secret weapon. Their effects are not always 100% enough to control all mites if they are badly infested, but what they do for older frames that need to be freshened is truly magic.

    Hacking out the capped drone comb sections ( with those frames of partial foundation) when I make up those new nucs takes the first bite out of the mite breeders immediately. The virgin queens continued cleansing usually finishes the job quite well.

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    Sometimes this is beneficial, sometimes it is not needed. Pays to check though, especially in those colonies that have brooded up earlier than others.

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    I've pushed my hives to the limit many times in many respects for years so I know my genetics well and have faith in their ability. Sure, they may be fine for a couple years without mite treatments, but if they are kept from swarming, the queens is aging and slowing down and the colony had not had a summertime brood break in years, I am not going to let them decline to the point of crashing. I've pushed them by design at times, pushed them due to circumstances beyond my control at other times. Weather extremes and serious seasonal anomalies to name one thing, My mother falling and breaking a hip another time which left most of my colonies unattended for a considerable length of time while I helped her recover.
    Too many colonies to manage well on my own and a yard too far away to get to as much as I'd like. All those things result in no or greatly delayed management, yet most were in great shape. I have no doubt though, extended neglect would ultimately result in serious loss es at some point.
    But these tests do help me recognize those superstars out there that I end up selecting for grafting. Hives where all things being equal, impress me every time I get into them.

    I have no hives in my yard I do not know the full extent of their history.
    These hives have overwintered multiple times, I personally reared all the queens in them so the age and genetics of the queens are not in question.

    A colonies peak performance and longevity don't last forever, there is a point a beekeeper needs to take control to keep colonies fresh and clean.


    Could I go totally treatment free and survive ? ( No chemical or OAV treatments) With 30 hives or less, absolutely I feel I could do it, after getting the education I have running about 200 colonies for the last few years.

    But if your TF requirements include not using management such as splitting and using virgin queens, then the answer would be no. I don't think I could be successful long term. Then there would also have to be a plan for isolating the hives that started to get over run when organic methods were not enough. Then what? Allow those to dwindle and fail? Spread mites to feral hives? I couldn't do that.

    Focusing on the health of the colony instead of surplus honey production when I started beekeeping has worked well for me. I've been totally self sufficient ever since my second year, never buying bees again after my original purchases.
    Last edited by Lauri; 01-14-2018 at 07:32 PM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    I have run a paired TF / Treated set of yards since I returned to the States in 2001.
    The non-treated yards have consistently suffered high mortality. No instant "evolution" to "survivor" bees has occured. I consider TF beekeeping a pure fraud.
    In 2017, the colonies of 27 of 30 F1 daughters of a Instrumentally inseminated VSH breeder queen purchased from VP Queens died in my TF yard as of January 7, 2018.
    In 2017, 28 of 30 colonies of **treated** bees survived in the treatment yard.

    There is *zero* comparison between the survival of mite-controlled colonies, and colonies left to succumb to mite-vectored virus. None.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    When I first started I wanted to go without chemicals to treat for mites and probably leaned in the direction that a lot of new beekeepers do in the idea of, I am going to do this the "right" way. Obviously nobody wants to put anything in their hive that could be harmful, so chemical treatments and such are unappealing. Then my first hive died from mites.... I would guess that happens to many many new beekeepers. Even though I had already read numerous books and website articles, I read even more and researched different options and thoughts behind them. I then began using treatment for mites. Overall I think the bees will eventually adapt and evolve in time, and in a perfect world we would do everything to help them along (by not propping up weak genetic strains, reducing pesticides, etc). Without getting too deep, I think that as a society we too often will do something without enough thought to long term potential issues and then just deal with the inevitable problems when they inevitably arrive (pesticide use, deforestation, human and farming antibiotic overuse, etc.) In the short term hopefully there are more numerous and continuously improving queen breeders that can help along with more science based research and studies. Many of the chemicals are "soft" and although they do have some negative effects I think at this point that can be accepted as a tradeoff. At least some of the chemicals for mite treatments are not showing resistance but who knows if we use them long enough. As long as we continue to research the problem and not rest with the current treatment regimen, we can hopefully continue to evolve. There is no one perfect way, but learning more and more and understanding the pros and cons of the different options while keeping an open mind are really important.

    Also, I think monitoring is a big key. I don't think beekeepers are helping themselves or their bees by just treating on a set schedule. Monitoring for mites and then, applying chemicals when needed instead of a blanket treatment based on the calendar is better in my opinion. Knowing why you are using something and what it is doing instead of just putting it in because somebody told you to. I don't think anything is helped by putting a chemical in the hive just because it is a certain date/time. Monitoring (before and after treatments) will help in using the least amount needed instead of using it when it may not be necessary and therefore exposing the bees when not really needed. Monitoring also allows us to see if the treatment was effective.

    I enjoy reading and learning more on this topic and I am excited to see this area of research continue to evolve. I will continue to keep an open mind and constantly re-evaluate what I am doing and how I am doing it to hopefully continue to be a better beekeeper.

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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    I consider TF beekeeping a pure fraud.
    I believe some can do it.....
    What I consider a fraud is telling (from either the seller of the bees or some GURU) new beekeepers buying packages and nucs from non-TF folks, not to treat. I also think it is disgusting to let a hive succumb to mites from either a desire to become TF or laziness. Just my opinion.
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the ProVap 110
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  11. #10

    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    I am firmly convinced that with the appropriate selection of the more resistant colonies and the prevention of the proliferation of susceptible colonies both in the practice of commercial beekeeping and in hobby, both treated and without treatment, there have long been resistant bees.

    I also think that the unnatural managements of the bee colonies makes them vulnerable.

    Unfortunately, however, the susceptible colonies are being multiplied, the main thing being the production of honey.

    I do not want to take responsibility for an animal that can only be kept alive with constant treatment, this applies to the bees, my chickens, and the livestock for my meat consumption.
    Treatment is necessary in my eyes only in case of illness, but not as a basic application.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    the title says it all.

    civility remains the rule and personal attacks will be deleted.

    this thread has been started as the place to have the debate in order to keep threads on other topics from becoming derailed or side tracked.

    posts appearing in other threads that are more appropriate for this one will get moved here.

    so have at it but be nice.
    posts were made in another thread this morning, causing the creation of this one, which haven't been moved here -only deleted.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    posts were made in another thread this morning, causing the creation of this one, which haven't been moved here -only deleted.
    here you go clyde:

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    Lets treat forever...
    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    Lets try to keep them alive any way possible
    Johno
    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    let's not challenge the motivation of others espousing different approaches please.
    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    Who's challenging what If someone has a better way lets hear it and see the results, remember its the hives alive that produce the honey.
    Johno
    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    I respect and understand this attitude. But I find it to be depressing. IMO. That because there are lines of bees that are able to cope with the mites, which in my eyes should be promoted.
    If this treatment would make the mites go extinct I would even join in the treating if needed.
    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    SiWolke no problems , I just like to be realistic. whoever has these mite resistant stock that can survive anywhere and produce a fair crop of honey should be very wealthy by now from all the queens they must be selling, and all the buyers would be shouting from the rooftops about how at last they no longer have to treat for mites, However I hear no one shouting at all. When one day there is a breakthrough in this area I am sure many will move in that direction. I have brought in queens of this type and even breeder queens and yet if I do not treat my bees will die. I have tried these mite biter queens, the one I got to test I think was so busy biting mites that she forgot to lay many eggs so that did not last long. So until then if I have mites I kill them.
    Johno
    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    SiWolke no problems , I just like to be realistic. whoever has these mite resistant stock that can survive anywhere and produce a fair crop of honey should be very wealthy by now from all the queens they must be selling, and all the buyers would be shouting from the rooftops about how at last they no longer have to treat for mites, However I hear no one shouting at all. When one day there is a breakthrough in this area I am sure many will move in that direction. I have brought in queens of this type and even breeder queens and yet if I do not treat my bees will die. I have tried these mite biter queens, the one I got to test I think was so busy biting mites that she forgot to lay many eggs so that did not last long. So until then if I have mites I kill them.
    Johno
    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    johno

    Every time somebody phrases thier wording like this it seems like a put down to those who are keeping bees with out treating. Like the first thing a person does that doesn't treat is to go into queen rearing for others. I have not been treating and I can garrantee that I don't intend on going into queen rearing for others. I don't care how anyone keeps bees but I don't keep bees the way I do so I can spend all my energys trying to save the world. I do it like I do cause that is what is working for me so far. I don't blame you if you feel you need to treat but am not sure that those that don't are just not having any success. I have seen the fall back postition mentioned in many threads that it should not be believed that poeple have success and don't treat cause they don't make queens for everybody else and so it must not be true is not what I believe.

    I don't know how long I will be successful or if I have a day of reckoning coming but I do know that I have no intention of making and selling queens for others. I might give somebody a queen cell that is close to me if I have one and they need one but I am not trying to save the world and that does not mean I am not doing what I am doing. I don't mind if you are happy with what you are doing and even look up to you if you are making money from your bees while doing what you are doing.
    I do think the phrasing I highlighted is like calling others liers on what they are doing just cause they don't want to start a queen rearing buissness.
    Cheers
    gww
    Ps I do understand that my bees might not live everywhere like they live here but I also am not going to make queens to find out. I just do what I do and it has worked so far though it is early in my beekeeping and maby it will go bad sometime.
    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    No problem to me too, johno. Im realistic person myself. But I hear no enthusiastic shouting about how nice the bee colonies fare if they are treated ( here or on forums). No, beekeepers who treat always talk about the mite problem.
    And many hives die in spite of this treating. There are other problems with those susceptible bees or regarding the managements..perhaps the Lithium Chloride will make it easier.
    A breakthrough would be very nice

    At least professional breeders now care for resistance as a trait. As one of the traits. So not only weak genetics around sometime.
    Isnt it crazy we have to treat livestock not as an exception but always? Just like pigs or chicken are treated with antibiotics. Do we really want to produce our food like that?
    Well sorry, this is off topic. Please ignore me.
    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    gww,
    I would love the tf beekeepers who have the chance to breed queens and distribute them. More if they would not be so expensive.
    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    this post is a perfect example of why the debate and argument continues ad nauseam.
    Quote Originally Posted by wildbranch2007 View Post
    i had to do it this way to keep the first post in this thread first. from now on the the time stamp of any moved post will stay as it was. thanks everyone.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #13
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    I personally would like to be treatment free. However, I understand the reality of my location. My focus has been to treat as I learn how to keep bees alive. So far so good.

    As long as the commercial beekeepers continue to treat and are migratory it will be an uphill battle to be treatment free in the US. Their numbers will just overwhelm everyone else except those that are lucky enough to be isolated.

    I have made the decision to only use those so called “natural” treatments, thymol, formic acid and oxalic acid. These are working for me. Attention needs to be paid to mite counts all the time. They can very easily surge even after treatments.

    I frequently lurk in the treatment free forum to keep up to date on developments there. After a couple of more successful years I will most likely start to dabble in TF and see how I can adapt that to my area.

    Thanks to everyone on this site for all the knowledge sharing and let's keep it civil! There's enough incivility in the world today.

    Jon

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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Treatment free has to do with mites but I think bee keeping is so verible of what those doing it want out of it that just saying treatment free does or does not work narrows the focus too fine. One part is, if you have a hive, how big can you make it and how long will it live. The other part is what does the bee keeper want to focus on getting out of his bees. The mad splitter would rather consintrate on selling bees and so makes multiple splits knowing he is on the small edge of bee density but has enough that he still wins the numbers game.

    A guy might have free wood and a lot of room and so consintrates on just having more hives and so the higher percent of death might not impact him in the same fassion. Another might just buy packages and use his drawn frames to get as much as a package can give him over just a one season period.

    One might not even bee a bee keeper but might be a fruit grower and care more about pollination.

    The measure of success regaurdless of how mites are handled is in the hand of the beholder.

    Skill is a funny thing too. A person may have skill in what he is doing but not in what another is doing. Throw in local enviroment wether for mites or honey production or how many beekeepers are around and maby what they are doing and my guess is there will never be a uniform way that can be pointed to as the only right way and even if there was, people would still do what they want.

    Most adress the single mite issue from where they are standing and measure success in the same way.

    My view is pick your poisen and then persue it and make whatever adjustments are needed till you get what you consider success. I do think that there is only one way to do anything and that is to just try it and also that just cause you try it and it doesn't work for you does not mean that someone else does not have a differrent experiance and the reason may just not be clear. Nobody can say that they know and have the right answer cause if it was easy to do, every one would be doing it. If it was too easy cause everyone knew the answer, nobody would buy honey cause everyone would just have thier own hive. It is not supposed to be easy. It is easyer for those who have figured out thier cog in the big wheel.
    Cheers
    gww
    Success? Some people paint and some don't, I don't glue my frames many say that is bad. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
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    Default

    Bees are livestock in the states, always have been, always will be. Feral bees are not wild bees. I agree with the idea that if we just let bees be bees they will return to their natural state. That state just so happens to be not existing here. The results of Natural Selection are not always a better stronger animal, Sometimes things just cease to exist.

    Any livestock that is in my care is going to be kept In the best possible health that I can keep it in. Anything else seems like borderline animal cruelty to me. If a sick bee looked like a sick horse or a sick dog, none of these TF people would be doing what they are doing.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    a few more earlier posts moved from another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by baybee View Post
    Confusing... What does "TF" stand for then? Thoughtfree? Total failure? Must be the victims of the local beekeeping clubs where the idea of TF beekeeping is hyped up by some without teaching necessary techniques.
    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    That's not it, I think it's a sympathy with the bees that you do not want to expose them to the evil mites.
    I understand that. It's really hard to watch the bees learn to fight back and accept the risk that they will not make it.
    Quote Originally Posted by baybee View Post
    Do you mean they treat out of sympathy or go TF out of sympathy (whatever "sympathy" means when one talks about responsible beekeeping)?

    "...most lines of honey bees today will succumb to the varroa/virus complex within a year or two of starting the hive, unless realistic measures are taken by the beekeeper to reduce the mite population. Please read my article “The Varroa Problem Part 6b–Small-Scale Breeding,” in which I discuss some of the misconceptions often advocated by well-intentioned (but biologically misinformed) “treatment-free” promoters." -- says one beekeeper with 50 or so years of experience. I have heard similar opinion from another beekeeper, who is local with hundreds of hives and 47 years of experience.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Nhaupt2
    Bees are livestock in the states, always have been, always will be. Feral bees are not wild bees. I agree with the idea that if we just let bees be bees they will return to their natural state. That state just so happens to be not existing here. The results of Natural Selection are not always a better stronger animal, Sometimes things just cease to exist.

    Any livestock that is in my care is going to be kept In the best possible health that I can keep it in. Anything else seems like borderline animal cruelty to me. If a sick bee looked like a sick horse or a sick dog, none of these TF people would be doing what they are doing.
    This is a nice view but how many of those dogs are killed each year cause they are not wanted. The last old dog I had that got a big cancer groth on its belly got a 22 cal shell in its head but the next one might get me a thousand dollar vet bill. How many chicken farmers cull thier old stock. The reason for culling comes down to money and not good treatment to living things. How many bees that end up in bad places are sprayed?

    Which time are facility and which times are cuelty?

    The truth is most livestock things are treated as they are because of monitary reasons even if we want to believe other wise.

    How long does a feral bee have to be around before it is considerred a wild thing? 100 years? 200 years?

    You are correct that nature is in constant arms war with itself and there are some times losers. Some times the loser is something humans value and sometimes the things humans value win and the bad bug loses. Never ending.

    It is very easy to point to others actions and say how bad they are and I sure believe there probly is a line but may not draw it where you do. I don't find pleasure in pulling the wings of flys but don't mind swatting them at all.

    I have chickens get sick every once in a while and I don't take a five dollar chicken to a fourty dollar vet. I would rather it not get sick but not so much that I don't let them free roam which allows interaction of my birds with wild birds that might be sick or cars or foxes. It ain't worth it to build a giant inclosed fence to me and cruel or not, it makes sence finacially for what I do.

    Why do we value bees? Because they are worth something? We don't value termites.
    Cheers
    gww
    Ps I bet the big hog operations don't bottle feed the runts of the litter.

    Ps Ps If bees were like chickens, If you killed a chicken that had Mirics (spelled wrong) disiese that is incurable, are you being cruel or or you being good cause that chicken won't have eggs that hatch into more disiesed chickens. If you let weak bees die and strong ones live, are you helping or hurting the livestock. I am not sayin more then it is a lagitamate arguement for discussion. I do know many breeding stock of other live stock take the position of not breeding from weak or damaged animals.
    Last edited by gww; 01-14-2018 at 02:41 PM.
    zone 5b

  19. #18
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    228

    Default

    Gww, I'm sure they don't, but when diarrhea hits the farm they don't sit back and say they will hope for diarrhea resistant hogs to emerge from the ashes either.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,527

    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    I was able to be TF for 6 seasons and suffered between 15% to 60% losses, usually about 30%. It's labor intensive, invasive and rough on the bees with brood breaks, drone culling, etc. I would get lots of survivor bee stock from swarms in town and try to breed from them. The reality of the situation is that there's a commercial who has thousands of hives that he migrates all over the county. Both of my yards have 150+ hives within 1/2 mile (0.8 km). If I move my bees further out into the sticks there's always someone running Carnis or Italians or Russians or Hybrids or whatever somewhere relatively close. I don't have or want hundreds of hives to try to make my own DCAs. So the concept of breeding and keeping survivor stock is nullified by reality.

    I've seen people treat with amitraz and Apivar and whatever else rolls down the pike, seen them use terrmycin (sp) essential oils etc. which in my opinion are good thing to see. Knowing the hows and whens of other people's routines adds to my own experience. And I always knew the harsher treatments just weren't what I wanted to do so I went with the "softer" OA. Being TF gave me a broader perspective and a bigger set of tools in my beekeeping toolbox than some of those who treat may have but I'm never going to be TF again.

    As for the commercial, I've seen threads where people say to go tell someone to move their bees or else type of comments. The guy's been beekeeping for 70 years, he's worked for and earned every spot he drops his hives just like I've worked hard to get outyards and places in town to put hives. Come tell me to move bees Im going to tell you to shove off and thats if Im in a good mood So I work with what's around me and quite honestly I like to rub it in the commercials face a little when I call him each spring and ask him what kind of stock he's running so I know what my mutts are going to look like. I also like to tell him how my mating yard is right by 80 of his hives and how my queen success rate is 95% lol (just to aggravate him). Its all in good fun but we both know there isnt a darn thing either one of us can do to about the other.

    To each their own, like Johno said "Lets try to keep them alive any way possible" and square peg said "let's not challenge the motivation of others espousing different approaches please" good advice guys much nicer than I ever could have said it

    I haven't been in the TF forum since Sol left, and I'm richer for it my $0.02
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Charleston South Carolina
    Posts
    431

    Default

    What Johno and Lauri said. I got into bees because I like animals and outdoors. I had no direction so I searched online. There were websites that led me to believe treatment free was possible and great. I personally had around 80% mortality rate. Also I had no comparison because I had never seen another hive. I had nice brood patterns and made around 60 lbs of honey a year. They always crashed come fall or next year. As lauri stated brood breaks feed and requeening the survivors helped. Eventually I decided I wanted to try to become a sideliner. I knew I needed to treat. You cant make a dime if 80% of your bees die. I began treatments with oav and chased mite loads because we never have a broodless period. Vsh, ankle biters, mite slayers whisker dos and whooskes donts never worked for me. I currently use oav, apivar, and Formic depending on timing and needs. Since I started treating Four years ago Ive never lost over 20%. I am shooting to get to 5% mortality or less. Oh and the same locations that made 60 lbs of honey now have several hives that are able to make 100lbs. Had a couple make around 200. I would like to start selling nucs and queens in 2019 or 2020 and I would feel horrible selling someone mite bombs. All my stock is from a swarm caught in a Tupelo swamp 6 years ago. . It took many trials of different queens until I found what I liked.

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