Do I really need to medicate?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
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    35

    Default Do I really need to medicate?

    This is my first year bee keeping. So far I would say pretty successful. Bought two packages in late May. One hive has filled both deeps and working on two supers. Other hive has finally filled the first deep. Pretty good for a late start and no comb to start with.

    I try not to bother them too much. Every time I open the hive I feel like I kill so many from the busy hive I feel bad about it. How do you set a 100 pound deep box down on a flood of bees pouring out everywhere.

    My question is probably a dumb one, but is treating for diseases and pests something that must be done every year? I haven’t done anything for them but give them a good home to grow. Probably one good month left before it gets cold. I’ll take my supers off the busy hive the end of this month.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,744

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    It is not a must that you treat for diseases and pests. However, not doing so greatly increases the likelyhood that you will be spending your money on bees instead. Strong hives crash the fastest when it comes to mites. Weak hives succumb to SHB and wax moth infestations.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,763

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    you don't necessarily need to "medicate", but you will need to do something to manage the mite population in each hive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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    644

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    I was in a similar boat five years ago when I just started out.

    Trust us on this - do something to monitor and treat for mites. A huge, booming, healthy hive will mite crash so fast it will make your head spin. OAV is a good option.
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default

    I bought some Hopguard2 strips when they were on sale earlier this year.

    Any experience using these? I was planning to add them at the end of this month when I think the brood is more dormant.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron.koe View Post
    I was planning to add them at the end of this month when I think the brood is more dormant.
    Waiting until brood rearing slows or stops is too late to do much good. You need healthy, unparasitizied winter bees.
    Hopguard wouldn't be my first....second....or even third choice.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  7. #7

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Hopguard. Company should be banned. We try everything that looks like it has a chance to give us some kill on the mites. Sorry you got took in. I wish the suppliers would drop them for ethics.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    ElDorado,Arkansas,USA
    Posts
    1,581

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Whats wrong with Hopguard? I have never used it and have never heard anything bad about it until now?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,768

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    I've been not medicating for anything for 39 of the last 44 years. Certainly just because you haven't had issues doesn't mean you won't have issues. But again, just because you treat doesn't mean you won't have issues.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursimplesteps.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Greenville, NC, USA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Welcome to the forum. This is a great hobby and the forum is a really good source of information. 2 hives same age 1 is great and 1 is so-so. I would suggest that you do a mite check immediately; alcohol wash is fastest. Mites in the small hive might be the reason it is slower. Using smoke will help move the bees so you don't crush so many but some will bite the dust. Review your methods, sitting boxes down can be done without crushing a lot of bees, you do it quickly at an angle over the top. You may not need to unstack both deeps every inspection especially during a flow. Forget disease treatments until you have proof of a problem. Treat for mites with OA in fall and spring. You may not have a broodless period so you will have to treat 3-4 times, a week apart, at each interval. Join a bee club and GET A MENTOR to show you the ropes. Check out SCIENTIFIC BEEKEEPING on his website. i've never had a disease problem and I have had my bees checked by the state inspector. My hive losses came from not checking robbing soon enough and having a queen failure in December. You need robbing screens and mouse guards, close the entrance down with wire so you keep good ventilation. GET A MENTOR, I've been keeping bees for a while and I still talk to my mentor almost weekly to compare notes.

  11. #11

    Default

    Wow what a message.
    Nobody can control the market, not at least in free Europe.
    I have been getting poorer ever since started breeding. Only ideological wins if anything.
    Luca Consigli is selling very cheap F1 queens, and helping thousands of beekeepers for better varroa resistance with my breeding work.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    I have been getting poorer ever since started breeding. Only ideological wins if anything.
    Luca Consigli is selling very cheap F1 queens, and helping thousands of beekeepers for better varroa resistance with my breeding work.
    Thousands of tf beekeepers in europe? Never heard of them. Do they still treat their resistant queensīcolonies?

    Thatīs fine though if itīs done, the F1 seem to be the best. Thatīs what we do, purchase some good queens hopefully from colder climate and without hive beetles coming with them and breed from them, distributing the genetics among the group.
    Everyone can do that. It must not be the most expensive queens, it can be local mutt survivors too.

    We donīt treat them or if we have we take them out of the program. We see no sense in treating queenīs colonies out of a resistance breeding enterprise or treat them less. Makes no sense IMHO.
    Resistant queens justify the price if they are resistant without treatments only.
    Last edited by 1102009; 10-18-2018 at 02:18 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Every queen sent around Europe will be a step forward spreading resistant genes.

    How many packages did you buy this summer and where did they come from?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    Every queen sent around Europe will be a step forward spreading resistant genes.

    How many packages did you buy this summer and where did they come from?
    >>> not long if treatments go on and no selection is taking place. And not every queen is resistant.

    >>> I bought 4 packages of buckfasts from a breeder who claims to breed for VSH as a trait ( not the main traits, because I canīt afford pure VSH queens) he is 200km far north. I followed the local association`s advise which was not to import bees from italy. First I wanted to follow your advise purchasing F1 daughters from your queens from italy, but I donīt want to be blamed if the SHB appears. You never did take me on my offer to test one or two queens from you getting them for free, even when we were friends in Austria you were not interested.
    You wanted to test our survivor queens though, as I remember.
    I offered to feedback and journal about your queens and how they do under my circumstances.

    I thought I would have more losses so I wanted to have bee numbers but I had enough survivors in spring to rise to the same numbers of hives almost. And more if I had wanted to. So I made a mistake, I donīt need the package bees (yet?)
    I plan to use part of the bees for my next breeding out of elgon survivors if I have any.
    The buckfast queens will be tested in a different location and not treated too or maybe treated and exploited for honey to feed the not treated.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    You never did take me on my offer to test one or two queens from you getting them for free,
    I cannot afford sending queens for free.
    If you think about it for a minute, you soon realize, that there might be couple hundred beekeepers besides you wanting free queens.

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    You wanted to test our survivor queens though, as I remember.
    Yes, I do want to buy any bee stock kept TF over longer time. In Austria I remember talking with Manuel Schüle about his black bees, 6 years without treatments. Manuel is from Switzerland and he told me that some of his friends have been even longer tf, even André Wermelinger, one of the speakers, was interested getting his stock into a study.
    Last edited by Juhani Lunden; 10-18-2018 at 09:00 PM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,038

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron.koe View Post
    is treating for diseases and pests something that must be done
    Short answer, Yes.

    Why? Because -

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron.koe View Post
    Bought two packages.
    Package bees are typically high production bees that are bred for that and are medicated, they are unlikely to last much over 12 months, if even that, if not medicated.

    They are not the same bees you might get from Michael Bush, and I'll bet you are not using his management methods either.

    Might sound a bit flippant, but, medicate, or die.

    Not with hopguard though, it's rubbish.

    Or alternatively, ask Michael Bush to send you 2 of these queens he sells. Let's know how that works out.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    2,506

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron.koe View Post
    My question is probably a dumb one, but is treating for diseases and pests something that must be done every year?
    Probably not in your location. Where did you get your packages, and are you in the north/northwest part of Houston? Make a couple of walk away splits in early April to get some local urban feral genetics.
    David Matlock

  18. #18

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    siwolke is located in germany and medications are required by law there. she has acquired the knowledge and understanding vtbeeguy is referring to that is necessary to do the work required to move toward a treatment free approach when located amongst a medicated only bee population comprised of varroa mite susceptible stock.
    thanks for the kind words, SP.

    TF beekeeping under my circumstances is totally different to beekeeping normally practised, so today I realize that as tf beekeeper here it is not possible to learn from an experienced old school beekeeper but one has to develop his own strategies.
    Actually, the experienced long time beekeepers learn from us a different approach, as it shows in my forum.
    For that they must be open to all ideas and tries which is a psychological thing. Leave behind all arrogance and start new.

    Itīs more try and try again with times of high losses.

    Iīm still at a start and it might fail, but I see that all beekeepers here have only one topic : to be able to stop chemical treatments. Reserch goes into that direction too.

    My comment to the so called "neglected " colonies: they are our future hope.
    Iīm with a group which observes free living colonies which survive in spite of the worst circumstances and we want to find out why. They are the new "ferals" and might keep good genetics.

    Fear of loosing control made all our ferals and feral survivor traits extinct. Now europe wants to have them back.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    To me,
    old school beekeeping with itīs prophylactic, non monitoring, not bee orientated managements is lazy beekeeping.

    Under my circumstances the so called "neglected" colonies are our future hope, keeping some survivor traits breeders made extinct.

    240 never treated wild living survivor colonies already observed in germany canīt speak wrong.

    If treatment management goes on like that in the US I promise you you will get to the point europe was some years ago. Donīt follow our example!
    The mites will never go away and the bees will get weaker and weaker. Until some new pest arrives. Then the bee colonies will crash.
    Last edited by 1102009; 10-20-2018 at 12:27 AM.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,450

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    SiWolKe: Back to topic. no, you donīt have to treat with chemicals. There are other ways to hold the mites at bay, but they are treatments too.
    Now THAT is a key statement.

    Personally, I don't understand the paranoia which surrounds the use of chemicals (perhaps being an organic chemist at one point in my life is relevant ?), as we live within a chemical world ... we are ourselves (as are the bees) huge conglomerations of biological chemicals. Water, even the air we breathe, 'is/are' (or at least can be viewed as being), chemicals ...

    vtbeeguy: It requires multiple other tactics (IPM) to keep bees treatment free.
    As Sibylle has pointed out above, IPM involves physical treatments - and so the bees are actually no better off from the adoption of such a chemical-free approach, for the Human Being firmly remains an essential component within the honeybee's survival equation.
    If, however, a strain of bee could emerge (naturally, NOT by human selection) which could co-exist in some way with the Varroa mite - then I'd be one of the first in the queue to acquire and propagate such a bee.


    I'd like to take this opportunity to remind people that in dosing a beehive with Vapourised Oxalic Acid (which is the only treatment I've ever used, and the only one I intent using), it is NOT the bees themselves which are being treated (as far as we know) - that is, the mites are not some kind of pathological organism interfering with the bee's biochemistry - it is the parasitic mites themselves which are being treated.

    Any genetic adaptations which may be required to render VOA treatment ineffective must arise within the mite, and not within the bee - that, I would suggest - confirms my claim that it is actually the mite, and not the bee, which undergoes such treatment.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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