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

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,718

    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.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    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.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    642

    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

  6. #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.

  7. #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

  8. #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.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    ElDorado,Arkansas,USA
    Posts
    1,580

    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?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,760

    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

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Greenville, NC, USA
    Posts
    181

    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.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    1,437

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I've been not medicating for anything for 39 of the last 44 years.
    Michael - there are two things which puzzle me whenever you make this, or a similar claim:

    a) how is it you're not exporting your genetics country-wide in order to start a varroa-related beekeeping revolution ? Unless it's not a genetics issue but more of a locally-dependent phenomena, of course. And,

    b) why on earth don't you invite some post-grad students over to research at your apiary, in order to objectively analyse the methodology being employed ?

    Imo, these steps would seem far more beneficial to the wider world of beekeeping than repetitively cheerleading this assertion from the sidelines ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
    Posts
    1,715

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Generally there are 3 kinds of beekeepers 1, Those who talk the talk 2 Those who walk the walk and 3 rd those rare beekeepers who walk the walk and talk the talk who make a living from the products of their bees, you find them mostly doing it all wrong in the commercial section if you are lucky. New beekeepers are like new investors in the stock market, some emulate those who are successful and others the unsuccessful who can talk up a storm.
    Johno

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
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    2,879

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Michael - there are two things which puzzle me whenever you make this, or a similar claim:

    a) how is it you're not exporting your genetics country-wide in order to start a varroa-related beekeeping revolution ? Unless it's not a genetics issue but more of a locally-dependent phenomena, of course. And,

    b) why on earth don't you invite some post-grad students over to research at your apiary, in order to objectively analyse the methodology being employed ?

    Imo, these steps would seem far more beneficial to the wider world of beekeeping than repetitively cheerleading this assertion from the sidelines ...
    LJ
    LJ,

    a)MB does sell queens to anyone and everyone - they are on expensive side (which I totally understand), but they are availlable for sale.
    b)MB also does educational camps annually and everyone is welcome to attend (after paying a fair tuition). Any researcher is welcome to come and learn (OR gather the intelligence under the guise of a "workshop student" and debunk the myths of chem-free keeping - why not just do the opposite?).
    c)MB has his rights to keep some of the cards close to the chest for any reason. Only fair.
    d)In general, I think I am starting to see some logical way to accomplish the chem-free way forward and that is dependent upon having the "controlling stock portfolio" in a particular locality. This means that you must control mating environment over a distinct area (large enough so to consistently withstand the pressure of imported bees and allow your preferred mating combinations to dominate the area). Simply buying 2-3 resistant nucs and sitting back on them is meaningless as they will just go diluted very quickly. One must develop strategic foot-hold and maintain it long-term (if very lucky, some feral resistance presence is already there - but not very likely for the most of us). For the most people, buying 2-3 queens from MB will do nothing, UNLESS they have a good plan of how to control their mating locale going forward and execute that plan successfully. So, I can see how selling resistant queens/bees can even backfire in many ways when customers will see themselves failing and complain about it (because they do not understand the mating areas control or unable to execute it).

    I also think the real issue is that vast majority of those "post-grad students" are still very much into the medication-oriented research.
    Not very many of the "post-grad students" are into those "politically-incorrect", "voodoo" subjects because those go against the grain (meaning - not funded through typical ways by gov/corp/USDA/any other corporate-type funding).

    Anyway, not representing MB in anyway, just talking my perspective.
    I might get a queen or two from MB one day as we are only one state over; will see.
    Last edited by GregV; 10-12-2018 at 09:05 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk Co, NY, USA
    Posts
    3,625

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Michael - there are two things which puzzle me whenever you make this, or a similar claim:

    a) how is it you're not exporting your genetics country-wide in order to start a varroa-related beekeeping revolution ? Unless it's not a genetics issue but more of a locally-dependent phenomena, of course. And,

    b) why on earth don't you invite some post-grad students over to research at your apiary, in order to objectively analyse the methodology being employed ?

    Imo, these steps would seem far more beneficial to the wider world of beekeeping than repetitively cheerleading this assertion from the sidelines ...
    LJ

    It'll be the same old same old for as long as there is no need to reinvent oneself.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,760

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    >a) how is it you're not exporting your genetics country-wide in order to start a varroa-related beekeeping revolution ? Unless it's not a genetics issue but more of a locally-dependent phenomena, of course. And,

    I sell queens. As many as I have time to produce. It's not really a money making proposition with the cost of equipment and the time spent, but they are available. I shipped one this morning and one last week and lot more back when the weather was still nice.

    >b) why on earth don't you invite some post-grad students over to research at your apiary, in order to objectively analyse the methodology being employed ?

    The "post-grad' students of the University inspect my hives every year under APHIS, find not significant amount of Varroa and show no interest in figuring out why. They would be welcome. I've offered to be involved in other bee research as well. It looks to me like as long as Monsanto, Bayer and Syngenta are funding the bee lab (which they are) that is unlikely to happen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  17. #16

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    LJ,

    a)MB does sell queens to anyone and everyone - they are on expensive side (which I totally understand), but they are availlable for sale.

    So, I can see how selling resistant queens/bees can even backfire in many ways when customers will see themselves failing and complain about it (because they do not understand the mating areas control or unable to execute it).


    Selling tf queens to beginners who donīt have the knowledge/possibility to control matings, is huge waste of resources. To avoid this, one of the most democratic/polite ways is to raise price.

    Just week ago met John Kefuss, he is selling mainly unmated queens, but the mated ones cost 650 €, so mine are actually on sale...

  18. #17

    Default Re: Do I really need to medicate?

    I can only talk about my situation, which has high density of constantly treated weak bee stock surrounding me:

    Without queens from resistance breeding or queens from hobby breeders, from which one obtains survival queens, one can not start with chemical-free beekeeping, unless one has a strategy to slowly wean the bees off with fewer and fewer treatments.

    Immediately after the purchase you have to start with the selection, "live and let die" works, but only accepting high losses.
    You also have to optimize the beekeeping managements which mostly means not as much exploiting for honey, a more natural hive and less disturbances.

    It is not necessary to control the mating,, but it is helpful. Still, the artificial inseminated queens ore pure bred queens not local are not doing better in a new location they are not adapted to. The northern ones are doing better. Often they are superseded immediately.
    Even in overpopulated ( by bee colonies) surroundings, we now have bee colonies that have survived several winters without treatments and were developed by hobby breeders putting up with open mating.

    Most breeders learn nothing of it, because the tf Hobbyists act in secret to not be attacked.
    First of the breeders who want to keep the market, secondly by the beekeepers who treat for fear of mite bombs.

    But there are breeders who support us ....morally,by mentoring or selling queens to us at a low price. My thanks to them!

    Selling tf queens to beginners who donīt have the knowledge/possibility to control matings, is huge waste of resources. To avoid this, one of the most democratic/polite ways is to raise price.

    Just week ago met John Kefuss, he is selling mainly unmated queens, but the mated ones cost 650 €, so mine are actually on sale...
    Not a bad idea to spread tf beekeeping.
    as a breeder getting rich, as a commercial buyer feeling priviledged for having expensive queens and for the hoobyists to boost the propagation of their own local queens just to show tf works with them.
    Last edited by 1102009; 10-17-2018 at 11:55 PM.

  19. #18

    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.

  20. #19

    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.

  21. #20

    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?

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