The OP is (was...don't see them around this thread) a inexperienced beekeeper with 2 hives of package bees.
Why dose a tread like this always become a soap box for the TF crowd to try to talk a new beekeeper in to killing their hives?
Beekeeping is a numbers game not religion.... you need to play the odds if you want bees come spring.
telling the OP "Yes, you should treat for mites this year, spend the winter researching, and go buy a few Bweaver queens (sence the OP is in TX) come spring " will have a much better chance of the OP becoming a TF beekeeper... vs becoming an ex beekeeper
no one (or very, very few)has been a success going TF with package bees
the pseudoscience and outher "great" ideas like microbes/scorpins etc needs to go way as does bond, neither has paned out, neither is a reasonable path forward.
We know from gotland what happens when we remove the beekeeper (true bond) Fries etal 2006 -150 hives in 8 apiaries became 7 hives 5 years later.... despite swarm collecting and feeding
fries 2006 bond.jpg
2004 they had to intervene and make splits to keep the stock from being lost
As JL notes, TF is an advanced beekeeping skill, not suited to the beginner.
As Sam comfort talks about.... You need to learn to be a sustainable beekeeper 1st... once that is obtained then you can work on not treating.
the title of his latest video say it all "TF, but not stupid"
less stupidity, more sustainability and reality is whats needed....
going TF on package bees is stupidity, they NEED to be medicated
Last edited by msl; 10-29-2018 at 03:21 PM.
JL he was making a cultural reference/joke on a popular 1970s US song
You are on it MSL
"Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker
I just wish I could walk with a soft sole shoe instead of a hard head... Like mark I tire of this game
Why do you think Erik sells his queens to a price we can afford? He wants to have some feedback and he gets it. Whatīs great is, all beeks I know who have elgons never treated them so we can watch what happens.
thanks for the kind words.
you seem to think new beekeepers are not able to use their brains.
The posts on this forum are so varied in the opinions nobody is brainwashed.
Banging my head here!!
My question is.....how come some are treatment free with what appears to be little effort, while the rest of us are too busy slinging mud at each other and we havent yet got to where we what to be?
Is there a missing step here somewhere?
Have feral survivors around to bring good genetics and to provide your beeyard with new colonies after high losses is what many do, catching swarms.
Isolation and distributing of your own genetics via drones helps much.
I have not such advantage. No ferals and no swarms around.I have weak stock all around, treated prophylactically all the time, propagating strong survivor mites, I have high density of hives in my area. Iīm not the least isolated.
If I would do like Michael Bush can or others do, being able to ignoring the mite situation, I had no bees left after one season. I tried this once with an artificial swarm, made of local mutts and they were dead in a few months.
Iīm really amazed I still have some survivors which must be the resistant bred stock I use now. But letīs see how it will be in spring.
By the way: My first colony was treated and they died too. 30-40% deadouts from treated hives are normal here in my locale.
Oh SiW, I wasnt having a go at you! or any one else.
I despair, even though I have managed so far to have zero loses with my one hive. I just do not understand why some can have healthy hives and we o not.
there must be missing factors or we would all be able to do as MB etc... are.
We dont have ferals either.
Sadly, we here, also have a huge problem with AFB compared to other countries.
Those that are treating here are having to leave their treatments in for 2 extra weeks, viral loads here appear to be viralent compared to earlier years.
I just think we are missing something important, a missing link, a missing something that would change things if we could just see what it was.
Iīm never offended!
Wish I would know!I just think we are missing something important, a missing link, a missing something that would change things if we could just see what it was.
I created a feral hive which lives now since 2016, never opened and it still thrives and goes into winter strong and Iīm observing some escaped swarms living in stone walls.
Could be left alone will help.
We are a group in my forum which works on the improvements, the longest lived tf bees are 6 years now but my co-worker is an excellent seasoned beekeeper who knows exactly what to do to keep his bees strong.
Losses so far + - 30% which is great.
But itīs about beekeeping and we want to have some honey. So livestock husbandry is not "having" bees.
So why not just learn from the bees and monitor what happens right now while treating and become more experienced? There are many approaches to tf and if you only need some OAV instead of formic or other hard chemicals you do the first step in the right direction.
Thanks, those are all good points.
I did start off with the softest-FGMO, so, yes, I will keep on trying.
I'm lost - totally and utterly lost.
I think my basic problem is that I have absolutely zero understanding of the core principles (the aims and objectives) of the TF movement. I understand the concept of 'letting Nature take it's course' - and although I'm pessimistic about this approach to Varroa, at least I can understand the fundamental principles involved.
Now in my lexicon - intervention, management, or any form of human activity designed to influence an organism's behaviour or remedy a problem is a treatment - originally from the Latin tractare meaning to "manage, handle, deal with, or conduct oneself toward", and used within the field of medicine from 1780 onwards to mean "to attempt to heal or cure, to manage in the application of remedies".
But - within the context of 'Treatment-Free' - I'm now reading about human selection of genetic strains, and the use of Artificial Insemination techniques to promote these strains ... at the expense of others. - i.e. which will effectively result in a well-intentioned but cavalier reduction of the gene pool. How do either of these square with the concept of 'letting Nature take it's course' ?
The problems which the beekeeping community currently find themselves in are a direct consequence of human interference - of people arrogantly thinking that they are smarter than Nature - and yet here we see exactly the same thinking being applied: that OUR choice of genetic strain - because it happens to deal with a problem we currently find too tough for us to deal with - is the magic solution. But at what future cost ?
Although we've been stumbling about in the dark for many years, we appear now to be at the threshold of some major advances towards the understanding of how best to deal with Varroa. It's only very recently that the food source of the (so-called) phoretic mites has been identified, and so our knowledge is beginning to develop at long last. Perhaps very shortly we'll even begin to understand how Oxalic Acid itself has such a dramatic effect upon the mites. Until then, I for one am prepared to play a waiting game until an increase in our understanding hopefully leads to a widespread reduction in mite numbers, so that they eventually become an occasional problem to be dealt with, rather than an essential component of the beekeeping calendar.
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/
J.Lee, a member here in the forum, told me about a friend who has been removing the first drone brood in spring when capped, for years and is tf for many years. Only this, no contaminated comb by treatments.
There are a lot fewer mites in the hive after this culling.
You can do that and then see how high the mite infestation is in the spring when you open the cells, pull out the pupa, and see how many mites are in the cells.
It's good to try something like that, even if it's not a nice job. The bees then breed new drones.
After that, you can decide if and how much you treat, in OAV you have to treat several times, as the mites do not die in the brood.
What nature? Man made nature?How do either of these square with the concept of 'letting Nature take it's course' ?
Wild honeybees are almost extinct in europe so we have only "lifestock" bees.
Perhaps a time will come our bees are regressed so much they are like wild honeybees again, but I donīt see anyone wanting wild honeybees with their wild behaviours except some scientists who want them to improve lifestock genetics.
If I had a cow giving 40l of milk every day I would not let her run free either. She will not survive.
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/
>But the consequence of a Varroa mite infestation is invariably death...
Yet almost every weekend I talk to dozens of people personally who are keeping bees without treatments and succeeding. And emails every day from dozens more. There are thousands of successful treatment free beekeepers that I know of personally. How many more are there that I don't know of? How many just don't want to put their head up and get attacked by those who say they are the problem instead of the solution?
Western Catskill Mountains
I continually wonder what the difference is between those of you who are able to keep bees without treatments and those of us who are not yet able to do so.
There must be something we are not doing or locational things that we may be able to correct if we just knew what they were.
I thought at first that it must be that you are all experienced Beeks, but there are also alot of those who are not able to be TF.
Have you noticed anything along these lines that might be of help to us?
i've suggested that the best way to become treatment free is to find someone in your area having success with it and obtain bees and advice from them.
if there are thousands of successful treatment free beekeepers out there it shouldn't be as difficult as it appears to be for those interested to locate them.
journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives