Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free
Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 129
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Madison, AL
    Posts
    82

    Default Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    So being inspired by Square Pegs diary and the other great journal by the others I also decided to give it a go. Something different from the others is that I have never kept bees before in any kind of manner, nor have I had any bees move in to start working with.

    I wanted to start keeping as I wanted to control the quality of my food more and I noticed that the pollination in my garden was quite poor. So if I needed to add pollinators why not get the nice byproducts of honey and wax as well?

    That was a little less than two years ago about the spring of 2016. I spent the rest of 2016 helping a local been out with his 18 hives to see if I would enjoy it and to gain a bit of experience.

    Needless to say I liked it a fair bit ? and I was excited to start. The year started pretty well with a cutout call in February. My mentor and I were never able to get the queen from that cutout and the colony had severe problems requeening.so much so that they completely missed the main nectar flow. Even when they finally requeened she was a dink and they tried to supersede her in late summer only to have that fail as well. I didn't have time or the resources at the to do anything about it as we were moving to a new home and this was my only hive. As such these bees died out before winter.

    I also had put out 5 swarm traps and was able to catch 1 swarm. I found the catch the day before I needed to head out of state for a funeral. Between that and out of state travel for work it was 3 weeks before I could get back. They had populated a deep sized trap with frames so I wasn't too worried but when I returned there were only wisps of the remanents of the comb they had built left. There were no bees and only black frass left at the bottom. There was no webbing like a wax moth infestation and things didn't seem slimey to indicate a shb infestation though I would consider that the most likely reason for their demise or at least the most likely secondary stressor.

    That was the only swarm I caught and only swarm/cut out call I received. As I am going to be treatment free I had heard it's best to start with swarms and a large portion of the budget went to getting the equipment and materials to build me own hives. This year with the move and the several out of state trips for funerals etc I will be trying to catch swarms and doing cutouts again. If I fail to catch anything this year I will be buying packages or nucs next year. I may even get one or two this year if things look bad.

    As nothing overwintered this year's goals are the same as last get some bees and get through winter. And hopefully next summer I can focus on expansion so I won't be in this boat again.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Madison, AL
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Found a few pics from the extraction in February
    20170218_144111.jpg
    20170219_094812.jpg
    The Hive are more of a Layens design just resized to hold a frame the equivalent of a double deep. These hives were big enough to house two full colonies as well. I really like the horizontal style of hives but I didn't like the time it took to build everything, how big and heavy it all ended up and how easy it was for the frames to twist throwing off the spacing of the frames on the bottom. Mostly due to the size, weight, frame issue I decided to move to the more popular Top bar design this year. Figured it was a better time to do that now since I can quickly and easily change all the existing equipment.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,167

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Jovian View Post
    As I am going to be treatment free I had heard it's best to start with swarms...
    the nice thing about catching swarms is that you don't have to buy bees. in most cases however it is difficult if not impossible to know from where the swarms originate. a swarm caught from nonresistant stock is no more likely to have success off treatments that a package produced from the same stock.

    depending on where you are located in madison county there may or may not be a surviving feral population present in your immediate location. chances are better for that if you happen to be near heavily wooded areas or near the river and it's associated tributaries.

    the eastern part of the county around gurley looks pretty good. the outskirts of the bankhead forest might be a good place to set swarm traps if you can acquire some spots to do so.

    an overwintered cut out at gives you a colony that has survived at least one winter. a swarm of unknown origin especially in an area with other managed bees present is a bit of a crap shoot.

    either way i would recommend including mite monitoring into your management, the use of robber screens if you are unable to watch the hives on a daily basis, and the possibility of having to treat for mites if it comes to that.

    my thread is provided mainly for informational purposes. i'm flattered that others have found it helpful and inspiring. my hope is that sharing our experiences may add to the knowledge base and move the ball forward on mite resistance for all of us.

    but as i have posted in the past it is not my mission in life to convert the whole world to treatment free. my opinion is that unless beginning beekeepers have someone in their area already demonstrating success off treatments from whom they can get bees and advice...

    the responsible approach is to proceed with careful monitoring and be prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to avoid collapse and the spreading of mites to nearby colonies.

    at the same time i don't mean to discourage the pursuit of keeping bees off treatments. i have just made the case for the importance of location and pedigree of bees. the other consideration is hive count. my opinion is that it takes more than just one or two hives to be sustainable.

    it is not my intent to throw a wet blanket over your beekeeping plans jovian. on the other hand i tend to agree with those who are critical of the admonition for everyone everywhere to ignore varroa and proceed blindly off treatments.

    these are just my frank and honest opinions shared for what it's worth. i am glad you started this thread, i wish you much luck, and we are looking forward to your updates.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Hi guys, Decatur,.al
    Here. I plan to start up.this year also. Sqarepeg, I finally have my 2 5 frame med. Nucs done. I also built 2 med. Boxes to be able to double stack at later dat. Only left to do is finish painting, and cover my telescoping lids. Next to build out 10 frame hives. Ill be setting up my 2 nucs as swarm traps really soon. Only need some lgo !!! I think Kroger has that. Should be a fun year starting off. I see several swarms each year at my farm just outside Cullman, al. Also, I've asked the few folks in my location about nearby beekeepers. None close, and I'm on dead end road. The 2 I saw last year were really large, and I was amazed. So was my wife. I know about where they ended up at. So my small starter yard will be essentially in the middle of the last swarms flight path. Fingers crossed !!! 😁 good luck guys !!!!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,089

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Jovian View Post
    Found a few pics from the extraction in February
    20170218_144111.jpg
    20170219_094812.jpg
    The Hive are more of a Layens design just resized to hold a frame the equivalent of a double deep. These hives were big enough to house two full colonies as well. I really like the horizontal style of hives but I didn't like the time it took to build everything, how big and heavy it all ended up .....
    I suggest you review my designs here: http://forum.tfbees.net/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=890
    Also started as thread under the "Equipment" about horizontal deep hives.

    The long hive does not need to be "big and heavy". If you want, it can be very mobile (more mobile than conventional TBH).
    In fact, the mobility is big for me since I do not own large property and must be able to move the equipment easily.
    The are many options around just using the standard Lang frames with very minimal reconfiguration.

    Also, historically, the warm way of positioning frames was quite common.
    Today it is scoffed at or people don't even suspect of such an option.
    Well - using the warm way gives even more options if you are into horizontal hives.

    More designs are in works come this spring...
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Madison, AL
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    No wet blanket over hear Sp you've only stated reality. You make an excellent point about it mattering where the bees come from. And in my particular case while all my traps are near large wooded sections with streams nearby in a little over half Im a mile or less of some other beeks. So your caution about the mite monitoring and applying treatments if needed is definitely sound for my situation. I certainly don't intend to make any mite bombs or anything of that nature. I have always intended to go treatment free from the start even before I found beesource. As I stated I wanted more control of my food and its quality so I personally see little point of beekeeping if I treat with harsh chemicals ( I haven't fully decided on Thymol, OA etc, hopefully its not needed). Honestly my initial thought if there was a mite problem was to requeen from known treatment free stock.

    Richinbama Congrats on your start and hope it goes well. If you can't find LGO at Krogers I know Hobby Lobby and Micahels has some by their candle supplies. I am envious of your lonely location as it seems no matter where I look there is always somebody else nearby. Which incidentally I have talked to most of them and have asked how they manage their hives, so that I would know what kind of bees I would likely be catching and what their accustomed treatment regime was. In every case they have told me that they were also treatment free but they wouldn't tell me what their regimen was. These guys are more traditional and old school in their approaches from what I could estimate so I am pretty sure they ain't giving me the full story or are using some kind of different definition of treatment free. "sigh" oh well on ward and forward.

    Btw has anyone used wolf creek bees to get started? I have been looking at them in case I can't catch anything.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,167

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    a tf friend of mine needed a late season queen in a pinch and ordered one from wolf creek in august 2016. they produced a good honey crop in 2017 and are coming out of their 2nd winter strong.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Yes the location had it's merrits. When we bought the land 10 yrs ago. It was literally dead zone. The guy couldn't keep 20 cows alive on it. I now have about 40, and thriving. I've planted allot of grasses, and clovers, ect. There is literally thousands of acres with hills, trees, and pastures. Some are planting a small amt of row crops last couple years. Lots of timber harvested last few years, but that over with for 20 or so yrs for those guys. I wouldn't let the loggers cross my land either. I may have, if they would've asked. I had one tell me he was going to file a right of use case on me, if I didn't let him cut through my place.. lol, I told him to find a good lawyer, and pay my property taxes...he even got to the point of threatening me ... I love my hills, and my cows, horses. Those hills work me to death though... !!! I've got allot of maple, and tulip poplar in nice sized pockets, lots of wild hedges, I hate em but , the bees love em. And BlackBerry to galore. Should be interesting 1st year. I've just got to get over the stings though. Went to my first bee meeting at Cullman last month. Was interesting, I asked about a mentor, nobody even looked my way, or responded... otherwise was ok though. Ill go to Madison, or Lawrence co. Bee club meetings in near future as well. Ill find my calling somewhere though. Ill learn here, and self teach myself the hard way, I guess.. lol. But would love to meet someone in the 20 mile or so range to learn from. I like friends with same ambition that I have. It's a fun hobby, but also a business too. So, growth, and learning is essential for me.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,025

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Jovian
    My opinion if you can afford it. I would bug one of those traditional bee keepers you have talked to into selling you a split or a few frames and a queen. I would of course also keep the traps out but traps are not a garrantee and if they fail, it is just another year with out bees. Of course if the bees die, it is also another year. If one of your neibors sells you some bees. Just don't treat them knowing they may die. You don't know till you try. If they live, fine and if they die, you may need to do more. I am new and don't have the experiance to tell you this will for sure work or that will for sure work. In my defence, I put my money where my mouth is and this is how I am doing it and also how I have seen several others do it and it has worked so far for some and not for others. I only know one way to see and that is to just try it. No garrantees.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Say guys, I have a question??? In my pursuit of catching swarms, I tried to list myself on here to catch swarms, (bee removal) in the Alabama section. How long does it take to get listed? I did it 2 times, and it's been about a week... Any advice how this works, other that filling out the online form here in bee source?
    Thanks, Richard

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Madison, AL
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Thanks for the Feedback SquarePeg that helps me build confidence in them.

    Gww I am seriously considering it and would have already ordered except my wife and I just moved to a new home a few months ago and with taxes things are a tad tight. That said I still might do just that.

    Its partly why I am interested in Wolf Creek as they are about 1-2 hours away I believe with a similar climate and are treatment free. I have heard good things about their stock as well outside of Squarepegs info above. So what would yall do get some hyper-local treated bees or get some close but not as local treatment free bees to start?

    Richinbama I had similar problems with the list here as well last year. I also put myself on several other lists including the Madison county list. I never received any calls from any of the 4 or 5 lists I put myself on. My guess is that there are so many people on these lists already that they never got to me, These lists aren't really connected well to community calls, or something else is going on. Fine to put yourself on them but I wouldn't expect anything. I am a member of the Madison County beekeepers so if you go let me know and I will try to meet you in person! I also got a similar reaction when I asked about a mentor. Most Everyone just said get some bees then ask about it, which I found annoying. One guy got a hold of me later on after the meeting and said he would be interested. I can only say keep asking never know who might be interested and even though they may not be the best beekeeper or new to it themselves any experience helps.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,167

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Richinbama View Post
    I tried to list myself on here to catch swarms, (bee removal) in the Alabama section...
    this is the first time the question has come up since the forum changed hands a while back. it may be that the new owners aren't monitoring that function anymore.

    i would suggest getting on madison county beekeepers list instead. you will be more likely to get a response there.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,167

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Jovian View Post
    Its partly why I am interested in Wolf Creek as they are about 1-2 hours away I believe with a similar climate and are treatment free.
    not completely tf but as close as you can get with commercially available bees in our area.

    they have changed their website but previously stated they used thymol. you could call and ask them about it. that said not a bad choice given so few options.

    (answered rich before reading about jovian's experience swarm listing with madison county)
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Madison, AL
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Rich here is the madison county beekeepers swarmlist for what its worth http://www.alabees.com/activities.htm#SL scroll up to find out who to contact to be added.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Thanks sq.peg. Ill try Madison, and Cullman co. Bee clubs for list as you mention. Can't hurt a bit.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Hi jovian, I added you on my friend list. Say when's the next bee meeting over there. ? Would be kewl to meet ya also. Ill pass ya my number, many a we can look over beeyards sometime. I'm always game to get out and ramble to meet new folks into this hobby. 1-256-566-2184 it my business number, so anytime is kewl.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Thanks, jovian. I sent them a email. !!! 😊

  19. #18
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Madison, AL
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Rich I forgot to tell you that the madison beekeeper meetings are the second thursday of every odd month at 6:30 at the Huntsville botanical garden. so the next mneetin gwill be March 9th.

    It has certainly been an interesting few hours since I last posted and let me say I have the most awesome wife ever well almost So Mrs. Jovian came home yesterday bringing home a stray kitten that was under her car at work to add to the 3 cats, 3 dogs, chickens, fish, etc we already have. Well in order to make up for it she agreed to let me order some bees! So I ordered two 3lb packages with an unmarked queens from wolf creek. They should be arriving April 18th which is the soonest I could get as the march shipments were sold out. I know its in the middle towards the end of our flow so I will likely be feeding to get them through the year. But I have to say its a bit of a relief to know that I will have a guaranteed shot. Free Bees is great but there is something to be said about being assured some will arrive. So good news there on top of that my wife also ordered me Hubers New observations vol 1&2. Im thinking I need to get my wife a extra special birthday gift.

    So today I spent most of the day converting my old equipment into Top Bar hive design from the double deep design. They are made with 2x lumber which will have a polystyrene lid and some polystyrene followers outside the standard wood followers. All in all from the 2 hives that could house 4 colonies before I was able to make 8 top bar hives that can each house a full colony 4 for production and 4 that will be used for traps or expansions. pics below are from todays efforts and the bars I made a few days ago.
    IMG_20180215_190249.jpg
    IMG_20180217_160752.jpg

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    Thanks jovian, I marked my calender. For the 9th. If all goes well, I and mabye my wife
    Will plan on attending .

  21. #20
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Madison, AL
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free

    I had lunch last week with another beek friend and we agreed to go and ask to put up a couple swarm trap where we have had calls last year. This prompted me to makesome more swarm traps and top bars this weekend. Hopefully I'm done for the season making equipment as I have other things needing my time.That said I do like how easily and quickly the top bars come together with any other system I think I would just be sol in getting additional equipment out the door to meet demand. In reading Squarepegs thread I kinda feel like Im already missing the season a bit with not having bees already (Ordered packages should be arriving mid april and swarming hasn't begun quite yet for our area) but trying to put that aside as I think that its just the excitement of the coming season and the natural rhythm of things.

    Rich I will make plans to go the 9th as well. I will PM you with some contact details so that we can meet up.

Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •