GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.
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  1. #1
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    Default GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Not to pollute the "cost of treatment" topic anymore, putting it here.....

    Granted, large-scale commercial way is different from a small-scale hobby way and has different priorities and methods used accordingly - most of us get it and so just get this out of the way.
    There are also intermediate cases and we also get it and let us just skip this diversion.

    Did it occur to anyone that there is more than one way get your own bee products (better be "clean" if do make them for yourself), still have the producing bees annually, and yet not be following the commercial ways of doing so (which depend on recurring medication)?

    So, the bee-die off is a part of my picture - I expect few colonies to die and I will appropriate their resources as I see fit.
    The survivors will continue to be part of my hobby bee-selection process going forward.
    The dead will have contributed to the human and bee nutrition programs.
    Everything has purpose.

    In the old time, people would have to kill few hives to get their honey.
    Here and now, the current environment does the same easily.
    In fact, I want few of my hives to die so I am not the one choosing who to rob and who to spare.

    So, in fact, I would rather have 5-6 of my current 14 colonies die (preferably the largest colonies and preferably as quickly as possible so to leave behind most of the resources).
    I would also prefer most of my small/medium colonies to survive and serve as the 2019 season start ups (cheaper to winter; likely healthier being late nucs; the spring development does not much matter of the fall colony size anyway).

    As of the moment, I hardly harvested any honey (only few pounds for the kids).
    The year has been bad.
    However, just a couple of strong dead-outs (sounds weird, ah?) should easily provide more than enough honey and uncontaminated perga for our annual consumption and give-away in lieu of rent payments.

    So here you have it, a "politically-incorrect", inconvenient, agitating statement - I want some of my bees die.

    To be sure, I don't want ALL of my bees die, 50% survival would be fine with me and a good place to restart the next season.
    Just letting the nature (including the mites) do the culling for me.
    Hopefully, by Thanksgiving I get a few drop-offs - good riddance and some holiday crop for us.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    well no one responded, so I will bite
    I have no issue with the harvest of a stock as a whole as a management method. Swarm beekeeping (skep style) has a long and successful history. It wasn't so long a go some northern keepers would do the same and harvest every thing and restock with packages in the spring, still done to some extent in AK from what I read
    .IE on the small scale At $15 a pound premium for "local TF honey" one could see the break even at 10# of honey (cost of a replacement nuc in the spring).

    The question is then, Is it ethically raised. I would say no. Do that to any other live stock and you end up in jail for abuse.

    You, as a beekeeper have made a lot of choices for your stock, the bees have had little say. You have chosen who was split, the type and volume of the hive, etc...
    you cant turn around and say "its up to nature now".... its not. Their survival or failure is directly a result of your management (and past keepers, ie gentnics) and has nothing to do with nature

    In fact, I want few of my hives to die so I am not the one choosing who to rob and who to spare.
    Sounds like the meme saying " hunters should just go by meat made at the store were no animals were harmed"
    Take responsibility for your livestock. Make the hard choices and follow threw.
    Last edited by msl; 10-15-2018 at 02:36 PM.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    The program accepts that "Bond" selection shifts the genome. I find little evidence that Bond selection shifts bees in any favorable manner. Heritability in bees is low due to open, multiple mating. What is reported changing in Bond trials: Bees become runty, small nests with scrappy, hard to manage bees.

    Bees in Bond selection are simply reverting to base, wild type --- quick to swarm, small, dinky colonies. Making up for extreme losses by frequent swarming. This should surprise no one --- evolution is "lazy" -- and if a pre-adaptation is available (in this case swarming tendency and nest size population) the pre-adaptation will be favored over any exotic and fragile mutation.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    GregV, welcome to America still managing to be the home of the free. You are free to keep your bees anyway you wish as long as you conform to the laws of your state. Where I draw the line is when you or anyone else tries to tell me how I should keep my bees.
    Johno

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Not the most sensible post I have read here at BS. But what do I know, I am a new beekeeper.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Well he has a plan. Which is that 50% of the hives have to die, and leave him lots of resources, and a thanksgiving crop. The other 50% have to live well, and prosper.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    I think it is a self pep talk to absolve himself from any blame for bees dieing on his watch. As JWC points out our individual actions have infinitely small influence at the species level. We do however sometimes escape into delusions of grandeur!
    Frank

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I think it is a self pep talk to absolve himself from any blame for bees dieing on his watch. As JWC points out our individual actions have infinitely small influence at the species level. We do however sometimes escape into delusions of grandeur!
    Our individual actions can make a difference at the population level which is what OP is going for. However the way he plans to go about doing so seems dubious. I don't think he can depend on an acceptable yearly loss. I have witnessed an apiary of 10 hives go to 0 over the course of a month due to untreated mites.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    In my area, if the bees "die off" I better get those combs fast or small hive beetles will have ruined everything.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Greg - on another thread (https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...rs-over-winter) you're talking about pulling out all the stops to maximise the over-wintering survival chances of colonies so small that they wouldn't normally survive without such assistance - and yet in this thread you're talking about 'letting Nature take it's course', to the point of allowing colonies to die without lifting a hand to help them. Are there not two opposing philosophies at work here ? LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    I dont think it is so noble or effective. Welcoming the death of some colonies to improve the others is not necessary. If one cares so much about the local populations development the selection process can take place much earlier and avoid additional problems created by actually allowing the colony to collapse: give the queen the hive tool test.

    I am not at all squeamish about harvesting animals or putting them out of suffering or neutering them or dehorning them etc., I dont quite buy the story that someone is doing such wonders for so called improving a strain and meanwhile encouraging the others to die if that is not a necessity of the process. If you take charge of their situation, have the courage to make the tough decisions.

    Sometimes I think we fool ourselves about why we really are doing what we do.

    Edit: just read LJ's previous post; Yes...hmmm.....
    Frank

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Greg - on another thread (https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...rs-over-winter) you're talking about pulling out all the stops to maximise the over-wintering survival chances of colonies so small that they wouldn't normally survive without such assistance - and yet in this thread you're talking about 'letting Nature take it's course', to the point of allowing colonies to die without lifting a hand to help them. Are there not two opposing philosophies at work here ? LJ
    Trying to save those weaklings that will die without my interference.
    I hope some of these are actually worth keeping long-term (only hope, don't know for sure).
    They will have their own opportunity to live or die the next year.

    Strong colonies, on the other hand, are having ALL the tools and resources at their disposal (like I said - I left all the resources to them and letting them organize their own wintering they see fit).
    These better be able to fend for themselves.
    I provide them with excellent quarters, excellent remote, clean pastures, and then I am out of the picture.
    I don't care (already spend too much time on this hobby).

    You see, I want these working dogs:
    West-Siberian-Laika-featured.jpg
    wsl_male.jpg

    But I don't want these toy dogs:
    white-chihuahua_3.jpg
    Great-Dane-On-White-09.jpg

    Issue with my bees is that I don't know what I got on my hands right now.
    All my bees are open-mated or randomly caught swarms - this is what I do.
    I have hopeful expectations of some queens.
    The other queens I hope just die off rather quickly and not waste the resources they got.
    But I don't know which are which for sure - clearly, these are not dogs.

    I am not going get into issues of "proper selection", "proper pet care", "proper animal care", "invasive vs. native", what-have-you...
    Sure, if you have time, resources, and inclination - go for the "proper things".
    I got a job to do here (keep my servers and databases running - what feeds me and the family).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Sure, if you have time, resources, and inclination - go for the "proper things".
    I got a job to do here (keep my servers and databases running - what feeds me and the family).
    taking on more then you can handle is no excuse for livestock abuse

    Trying to save those weaklings that will die without my interference
    now I am lost... those weaklings are the ones that need to go, just like the skep keeper of old. shake them out, take what they got, move on... they are going to (likly) be useless dinks come spring.

    As an unit, an apiary dies with out human interference.

    You don't get working dogs by catching a bunch of random dogs on the street, and penning them up in your yard and seeing what happens. You don't breed working dogs by letting a ***** in heat roam free in the neighborhood... sure you may get lucky, but the odds are not in your favor

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    GregV;

    Looking at the list of responders to your post I think you picked a rather unrewarding crew to convert! Some of them have been worked on by experts and dismissed as not being worth the effort.
    Frank

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    I don't agree with most of the points Greg made in the first post, but one struck close to home. I was pondering next year's splits the other day. Last year around this time I had several boxes of drawn frames with honey and pollen, from two of the hives that died, in storage. Those resources made creating strong early splits possible. This year, nothing yet so the splits will have to draw their own comb and be fed much more heavily. I do not want any of the hives to die, but if they do, their resources will be used to create new hives in the Spring. Such is the circle of life.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Did it occur that you don't have any drawn combs to make splits with from hives that died, cos no hives died. Hence, no need to make splits to make up numbers, you already have the numbers?

    Quite the conundrum
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    JW, why not then allow some colonies grow up an extra box high to produce ten extra drawn frames for splits next spring?

    Next summer (barring the return of EFB) I will do some splits that I will feed to produce drawn comb since I destroyed quite a bit of equipment in the last year. Those colonies will produce no honey but contribute to the apiary. I wont mind at all making the decision of which queens will get the nod and which ones get the hive tool test next fall.
    Frank

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    I am still in the growth phase of my apiary, although I intend on getting a decent honey harvest next year. The seven full-sized hives are all in 10 frame double deeps. The nine nucs are in 5 frame medium over deep or deep over deep boxes. My goal is 20 hives in the backyard, make 20 nucs to sell, and start populating an outyard. Trick will be to get the bees started in Jan. and manage brood boxes to get the additional deep frames I need drawn out early. This worked for me last year as I went from 3 survivors to my current 16. Lost over a dozen splits along the way to mostly dragonfly predation of the queens. Darn things were camped out in the beeyard!
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I think it is a self pep talk to absolve himself from any blame for bees dieing on his watch. As JWC points out our individual actions have infinitely small influence at the species level. We do however sometimes escape into delusions of grandeur!
    Yet the genome shifts at this very moment, and it's delusionary to think you can stop it. I agree that the OP is not likely to see evolution at work in his apiary, but it is there nonetheless, just not something so visible. I wish him and you good luck with your bees, but in the end it is up to the bees. They've been here eons longer than we have, but over 99% of all species that have ever lived are extinct. Bottom line is, if they don't evolve, they will die, same as for everything else. Maybe we shouldn't interfere with that process regardless of profits and loss.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    If we were to observe apes keeping bees, then we'd consider this activity to be part of the natural evolutionary process. But what are we - if not an example of a higher ape ? I think it's somewhat delusionary to consider homo sapiens as being outside of, and thus detached from, the evolutionary dynamic ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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