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  1. #1021
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    I'd just like to say that i have enjoyed watching your thread and have learnt alot over the last few months, so thank you.

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  3. #1022
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    use the garden wagon, sides come off with pins easy. best is a cheap used one with a missing side. Have a "list" and check garage sales.
    GG
    GG:

    These are some great options as well. Your idea of having a list of options to keep an eye out for is smart. Now that you've made me aware of this idea, I am going to have my eyes peeled for prospects locally.

    Thanks again for all the help and good input. I am grateful.

    Russ

  4. #1023
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by mischief View Post
    I'd just like to say that i have enjoyed watching your thread and have learnt alot over the last few months, so thank you.
    Mischief:

    Great to hear from you! I imagine you are gearing-up for Spring just around the corner. How have your bees fared this winter?

    I am glad you have learned a lot here- I know I certainly have. I can say without a hint of false humility that to the extent this thread is helpful it is as a result of all the fine folks here on Beesource (like yourself) who have taken the time to share their experiences.

    So please feel welcome and invited to comment should you read something and have a question or feel like you have something that contributes to the discussion.

    Here's wishing you and your bees the best of success in the coming season (at least in the Southern Hemisphere). Around here, I've got about 30 - 45 days to get everyone buttoned-up for overwintering.

  5. #1024
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    If I were asked to summarize his recommendations as succinctly as possible, I would outline them thus:

    2. Reversal of the broodnest several times early in the season is imperative to mitigate reproductive swarming.
    Rather than trying to explain this myself, I will quote George directly:

    Since creation, the rule of "food over brood" simply means that genetically bees like to move UP as they eat the honey stored above them and when they run out of space ABOVE for the queen to lay eggs, they swarm, even though the lower frames may be empty. Hence, the beekeeper REVERSES the two brood chambers so that the bottom chamber which is almost empty of brood is now the top chamber and the queen can just go right up and lay eggs.

    It is Nature's Way or Bee Behavior that bees like to move UPWARDS, and more or less have to be FORCED DOWNWARDS. Hence, when the space in the upper frames is filled up with brood or honey, even though there is plenty of empty space in lower frames, the bees and particularly the queen resist moving their brood rearing to the lower frames. Hence, the worker bees either stop the queen from egg laying, or even prepare to swarm. Therefore, it becomes the BEEKEEPER'S task to reposition the frames so that there is always empty laying space ABOVE where the queen is laying. However, the position of the frames that contain brood is VITALLY IMPORTANT before you start Repositioning those frames.


    http://pinkpages.chrisbacherconsulti...eekeepers.html

    While it is my opinion that one could argue as to whether early-season brood nest reversals are a prudent management practice or not, I think we might all agree that backfilling of the broodnest with nectar prior to what Mr. Walt Wright coined the ‘Reproductive Cut-Off’ is at least one of the main contributing factors to a colony executing swarm preps.

    As a practical matter, George mentioned he might reverse the broodnest up to five times in the months of February, March and April (in Central Maryland) to prevent broodnest backfilling.

    The rationale for George to reverse the broodnest had the express purpose of forestalling reproductive swarming which had the effect of maximizing the colony size and thus maximizing the colony’s nectar-gathering capability.

    While I will save a discussion about reproductive swarming in a TF context for a follow-up post, it seems plain that while reproductive swarming in general has many tangible and intrinsic benefits, it also seeks to minimize surplus honey production- which was primarily why George was seeking to mitigate it.

  6. #1025
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    So today I was reading the September 'BeeLines' publication (the official periodical of the Kentucky State Beekeeper's Association) when I read an innocuous headline of 'Queen bee researchers to hear from doctoral student Jody Gerdts'. Reading on, I found out that Ms. Gerdts was speaking yesterday (9.8) at a meeting of the Kentucky Queen Bee Breeders Association (https://kybees.org/wp-content/upload...9-BeeLines.pdf).

    What caught my eye however was a short snippet which said, "Updates on Kentucky feral stock and Purdue queen lines will also be discussed."

    I immediately reached out to Ms. Dorothey Morgan, President of the Kentucky Queen Bee Breeders Association (http://kyqueenbreeders.com/) who responded promptly saying,

    "Nothing has been published [regarding the feral project] yet. We are working with Western Ohio, Ohio Central State and PA. We are finding extreme chewing behavior in feral stock both in KY and Ohio, we are also grafting queens from KY and OH and inseminating them with opposite state's semen. You can follow us on Chasing Feral honey bees, Sustainable Genetics Technology Network and Lavender Lane Honey Bee Farm all on Facebook."

    I don't know how this ambitious project has escaped my notice, but it appears that they are getting some mainstream attention and developing a repeatable track-record for success.

    I am really excited to see this effort develop further, right here in my neck of the woods.

  7. #1026
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Thanks, Russ.
    Just another evidence - those who looking for a resistant stock, there are clearly many options.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #1027
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Hi Russ,
    Thanks for the info.
    Your statement:
    I don't know how this ambitious project has escaped my notice, but it appears that they are getting some mainstream attention and developing a repeatable track-record for success.
    I do not play in the facebook sand box so can you describe the repeatable track record.
    Is the county they are pulling bees from close to you? maybe your queens are getting into the drone space, that would be exciting.
    GG

  9. #1028
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    I do not play in the facebook sand box so can you describe the repeatable track record.
    Is the county they are pulling bees from close to you? maybe your queens are getting into the drone space, that would be exciting.
    GG
    Gray Goose:

    Thank you for your feedback. Good questions. I think there are three (3) posts made in the last year that give one the best sense of their progress to-date (as posted below). I am working with Ms. Morgan to schedule a member of her team to come down and evaluate our stock via their current protocols, but the first cut is to evaluate mite drops and ascertain whether greater than 50% of the drops show evidence of chewing. Her operation is approximately 250 miles East of me. I will keep you all apprised of further developments on this front.

    August 8th

    This photo was taken in Southeast Indiana from the Screen of the DM3 Microscope. Photo shows three Varroa, two are chewed, one is not. Feral Honey Bees in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio are Chewing Varroa. Beekeepers can find Varroa Chewing Behavior using a SCREEN BOTTOM BOARD AND A MICROSCOPE.

    March 13th

    Over wintered Feral Colonies in Western Ohio. Varroa Mite Chewing ~50% last year. Age of colonies are 4 years old. Adapted to the local area. Gentle and productive. Ten and eight frame equipment 3 deep super configurations. Will be producing queens for Insemination and also harvesting semen from drones. Fingers crossed! Will be Collaborating with other states within the Heartland Honey Bee Breeders Cooperative HHBBC. We are still Collaborating with Purdue University plus other Universities. Within the Feral Colony Network in Western Ohio Of Over 300 Feral Colonies, our winter Loss is ~5%. We are creating other Feral Colony Swarm Trapper Networks within the Member HHBBC States

    January 2nd

    LANDSCAPES FOR SWARM TRAPS: PHOTO: Map of Ohio River and it’s Major Tributaries. Experience shows Feral Honey Bees live within 50 miles of a River, with Woodlots ages of 75 to 100 years and Excellent Natural Nutrition For Pollinators. Also no MANAGED BEES within 10 miles of the area you are locating Swarm Traps.

    Mite Biting.jpg Feral Bees.jpg Feral Bees2.jpg Feral Bees3.jpg Ohio River Tributary Map.jpg

  10. #1029
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    Gray Goose:

    Thank you for your feedback. Good questions. I think there are three (3) posts made in the last year that give one the best sense of their progress to-date (as posted below). I am working with Ms. Morgan to schedule a member of her team to come down and evaluate our stock via their current protocols, but the first cut is to evaluate mite drops and ascertain whether greater than 50% of the drops show evidence of chewing. Her operation is approximately 250 miles East of me. I will keep you all apprised of further developments on this front.

    August 8th

    This photo was taken in Southeast Indiana from the Screen of the DM3 Microscope. Photo shows three Varroa, two are chewed, one is not. Feral Honey Bees in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio are Chewing Varroa. Beekeepers can find Varroa Chewing Behavior using a SCREEN BOTTOM BOARD AND A MICROSCOPE.

    March 13th

    Over wintered Feral Colonies in Western Ohio. Varroa Mite Chewing ~50% last year. Age of colonies are 4 years old. Adapted to the local area. Gentle and productive. Ten and eight frame equipment 3 deep super configurations. Will be producing queens for Insemination and also harvesting semen from drones. Fingers crossed! Will be Collaborating with other states within the Heartland Honey Bee Breeders Cooperative HHBBC. We are still Collaborating with Purdue University plus other Universities. Within the Feral Colony Network in Western Ohio Of Over 300 Feral Colonies, our winter Loss is ~5%. We are creating other Feral Colony Swarm Trapper Networks within the Member HHBBC States

    January 2nd

    LANDSCAPES FOR SWARM TRAPS: PHOTO: Map of Ohio River and it’s Major Tributaries. Experience shows Feral Honey Bees live within 50 miles of a River, with Woodlots ages of 75 to 100 years and Excellent Natural Nutrition For Pollinators. Also no MANAGED BEES within 10 miles of the area you are locating Swarm Traps.

    Mite Biting.jpg Feral Bees.jpg Feral Bees2.jpg Feral Bees3.jpg Ohio River Tributary Map.jpg
    that blue area in the pic is a nice size area. As the bees develop I would think it expands. they die out the chewing ones move in. turf expands. Thnks
    GG

  11. #1030
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    ... I will save a discussion about reproductive swarming in a TF context for a follow-up post...
    I thought I would take a swing at this topic- knowing I might strike out. So feel welcome to offer your critiques- you won’t hurt my feelings.

    At a very practical level, I recognize that my limited experience at swarm mitigation has not been very effective. Of the two overwintered colonies I had from last year, one swarmed despite my late attempt at ‘Checkerboarding’ and the other was not strong enough coming out of winter to pose a serious swarm threat.

    That said, why might someone not want their colony to cast an early-season reproductive swarm? I can think of three reasons:

    1. Maximizing Honey Production- As previously mentioned, this was the prime motivation for why Mr. Imirie would both re-queen every year and undertake an ambitious effort of reversing brood boxes.

    2. Preservation of Genetics- Once the resident queen ‘flies the coop’, the mother colony is lead (and ultimately staffed) by a new genetic profile which may or may not exhibit all the desirable traits of the previous occupants.

    3. Queenlessness- In the unfortunate event that the new resident queen fails to make it back from her nuptial flight(s) or is insufficiently mated, the colony is often left without the internal resources to restore a queenright condition and is thus doomed without beekeeper intervention.

    From my humble point of view, these are all perfectly good reasons to put in the necessary management effort to circumvent swarming. So why would anyone seek to encourage (or at least not unduly stifle) reproductive swarming? I can also think of three reasons, of which the latter two may only apply in certain TF management regimes:

    1. Colony Increase- By either catching swarms or utilizing any number of methods of artificial swarming, one can pursue appreciable gains in their total number of colonies.

    2. Drone Saturation- By allowing swarms to return to unmanaged environments in the flight-path of one’s apiary, one can theoretically build a genetic buffer around their apiary that provides some inertia against the influence of transient genetic profiles entering the airspace.

    3. Varroa Management- The brood break afforded a colony following the issuance of a reproductive swarm allows the colony to ‘reset’ their varroa footprint- at least as it relates to the broodnest. Dr. Thomas Seeley has noted in his research that swarming is a very important element to the ongoing success of the unmanaged colonies in the Arnot Forest. In the following video he gives a brief introduction to this concept:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgdKrQ16rX8

    So is there a ‘right’ answer regarding swarming in a TF context?

    Based on what I have read and studied this far, I think that long-term success without treatment for varroa is much more complicated than simply whether one allows their colonies to swarm or not- and certainly depends upon the locale, the overall surrounding genetic profile and the specific internal mitigation strategies being employed by each individual colony- it might even differ in both mechanics and relative efficacy within the same colony year-over-year.

    So I am still wrestling with this concept. I have the ‘luxury’ of keeping bees as a hobby, so I may try both methods in the same yard to see what develops. It might look something like this:

    Hive A (Swarm Mitigated)- Manage hive(s) in generous volumes with more than adequate stores over winter. Early in the season (Maybe 1st week of February for me)- execute ‘Checkerboarding’ in the remaining stores and move the brood nest down to the bottom of the stack (if necessary) to give them more empty overhead comb than they can backfill before ‘Reproductive Cutoff’ and thus forestall reproductive swarming.

    Hive B (Swarm Encouraged)- Manage hive(s) in adequate volumes to aim for them to be fairly light on stores coming out of winter. Take no action to reverse boxes nor perforate the remaining overhead stores, thus allowing them to have an easy lift at backfilling the nest and issuing a swarm.

    Ultimately, the main difficulty I see in this type of experiment is attempting to set a ‘control’ regarding relative varroa load in the comparison hives prior to conducting such an experiment. A late winter evaluation of cluster size and mite drop might be the most rational proxy for a citizen science experiment such as this.

  12. #1031
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    I do not know how these managements fit your pigeon holes as posted. Here goes anyway.
    1. The guy I got my bees from runs two deep going into winter. The very first warm day Feb/March He takes all extra space away (usually one deep) and crowds the bees. Best I can tell this accomplishes two things. One, the crowded bees build up better and two if not gotten to in a timely fashion would start swarm prep. I believe he liked the swarm cells for expansion rather then making queens but would have high density bees as a start of getting ready for the flow. I am not sure but think he might have tried for both lots of times. Some times I think he threw some saved pollen in to help.

    Me on the other hand, have did all kinds of maneuvers to slow my bees down. My first move is that I always have too much space on my hives and try to also keep the brood nest open and sometimes rotate in a way that some brood even gets pulled out. I try and not have the hives as heavy as I can get them in fall so that they come through to spring with no room. I don't want them to starve but try and slow the bee keeping down so that if we have a warm early spring that lets the bees take advantage of the early tree nectar that my hives don't swarm before it is getting to 70 degrees pretty regular. First year the hives had lots of sugar water and little comb and it was swarm city before it was warm enough to even inspect.

    The other guys gets much more honey per hive then I do. I got the only bees I ever bought from an april hive that was in swarm mode from him.

    He has kept bees for twenty years. He does not treat but does have some hives die every so often. He uses foundation. The only time I ever take a box off is in oct. I put empty boxes on as soon as they get close to getting the one under it filled with comb even if they are not drawing wax.

    His goal is lots of bees early and my goal is to slow things down till it is nice enough to be a fair weather bee keeper.

    I do what I do for me and not for the bees. The bees seem to play along knock on wood till they don't. I am a little worried of the hives getting too big of a mite load due to long term with out swarm/split of some kind providing a brood break and believe I will know more next spring as that will be the third winter for some that have not been split. I may have had a few superceedures this year though.

    I do not know if it is mites and slow build up or bee keeper management and slow build up that reduces my honey take. It is just what I do.

    As far as how to help the genetics of a population. We are both managing different and not treating and so it could be luck of the area. I couldn't tell you which management would be best for genetic make up but can say if the make up is good then it might not matter which management. Of course all my bees could die this year and it was a fluke it has been so good for the last four summers.

    I do not know how the other guy has done over the past twenty years. The last two or three he is getting by but now only has three hives and I think they all lived two years in a row and gave good honey. 400lbs the year before last and 160 lbs this year. The average for missouri is 50 lbs. He lives 1.3 miles away from me as the crow flies.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  13. #1032
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    ...3. Varroa Management- The brood break afforded a colony following the issuance of a reproductive swarm allows the colony to ‘reset’ their varroa footprint- at least as it relates to the broodnest. Dr. Thomas Seeley has noted in his research that swarming is a very important element to the ongoing success of the unmanaged colonies in the Arnot Forest. In the following video he gives a brief introduction to this concept:...

    I started the year with no bees (last year was sad) and received a swarm in late May. They built up and I split them into 5 colonies in July. 4 are appearing to do well with good queens, one is in the process of making a new queen right now, with 4 queen cells capped.

    Of note, no signs of Varroa. I have alcohol washed twice and not one mite. I have used a magnifying glass on the crap on the bottom board and not found one mite. Splitting/swarming works to control Varroa. Not much honey though.

    Plan for next year is to do a big splitting of all surviving colonies during the Spring and then again in July if they are doing well.

  14. #1033
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    ar1
    Seems late for a queen now. Not much time to make winter bees. You got to do what you got to do though. I would like to hear how that one goes. I also made one queen in july (which I thought was kinda late) but I sold the mother queen and some bees. You are aggressive. I hope it goes really good for you.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  15. #1034
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR1 View Post
    .... Splitting/swarming works to control Varroa. Not much honey though.....
    UNLESS you use some of the splits as resource hives for the other splits and run them as resource hives/honey hives groups.

    You end up with 1)weak splits being robbed of the bees and 2)strong splits being propped for the production.
    In the end even the weak splits are strong enough for the self-sufficiency.
    And you have additional queens/units.

    The 50/50 splits are the most useless utilization of resources and time.

    This is how I prefer the splits to the swarms - you can play the game on your own terms.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  16. #1035
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    I do not know how these managements fit your pigeon holes as posted. Here goes anyway.
    GREAT response, GWW. Thank you for taking the time to type all that out.

    I've read your post carefully three times now, and I think you make a lot of very salient points. And if I might summarize them a bit:

    1. Ultimately we manage our bees the way we want to, trying to find the way that best fits our goals and our objectives.

    2. The local genetic profile has HUGE implications upon our ability to keep bees successfully in a TF context- regardless of our management approach.

    3. Our management MIGHT be able to confer some advantage (or disadvantage) to a colony's internal management efforts.

    Thank you again for the excellent and detailed reply. I sincerely appreciate it!

    Russ

  17. #1036
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR1 View Post
    Plan for next year is to do a big splitting of all surviving colonies during the Spring and then again in July if they are doing well.
    AR1:

    Thank you for the update. It sounds like you have done very well in growing your apiary.

    I do hope you will continue to update us on your progress- is your plan to continue aggressively splitting your survivor stock or will you at some point aim for building some colony mass for surplus honey storage?

    Keep up the good work!

    Russ

  18. #1037
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    I thought I would take a swing at this topic- ..........

    Ultimately, the main difficulty I see in this type of experiment is attempting to set a ‘control’ regarding relative varroa load in the comparison hives prior to conducting such an experiment. A late winter evaluation of cluster size and mite drop might be the most rational proxy for a citizen science experiment such as this.
    Need to think about this one...
    When have time.


    As for me, I envision going forward as a regular splitting operation (early - for swarm control and expansion; late - for mite control, quality queen raising, and expansion).

    Mind you, I would never split 50/50, for example.
    The splits should be asymmetric (and similar to the natural swarms in that - the swarming never results in 50/50 division of the resources - the splitting should resemble the swarming in resource distribution - the natural way and pretty normal to bees).

    In addition, ad-hoc shook swarms are a good tool to resolve immediate issues (and pretty darn good imitation of the natural swarms in the end).
    I have done it twice this season and happy with the results so far.

    In combination with some preferred stock for pest resistance and local adaptations - I see this general (and actually old school) approach as working for everyone, everywhere.
    In the end, it is just a regular programming - planned distribution of the risk and loss replacement based upon natural bee behaviors.
    Last edited by GregV; 09-12-2019 at 10:54 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #1038
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Russ
    2. The local genetic profile has HUGE implications upon our ability to keep bees successfully in a TF context- regardless of our management approach.
    I only have the experience that I have. I have nothing to compare it to. I have only a few times ever seen some one else's hives except for you tube. My experience makes my mind question all the others experiences of dead bees in one year that others report. My belief in people, counters my mind on this and I do believe those other people and know that some of those people are around me and have lost all their hives.

    I don't know if my hives look good when I look inside them? I can sometimes see differences in individual hives under my care but am not always sure of the cause.

    I think your number 2 marked statement is my meaning as well as the other condensations of my post also reflect my thoughts. Being totally honest, I would have to say I really don't know much and am trying to learn and at least doing a little observation and coming up with what I come up with till I learn more.

    Take every thing I say as from an knowledge infant and with a grain of salt. Don't get me wrong, it is my best at this time that I have to offer.

    I do believe that people go to the effort to keep bees for a purpose of their own and work towards that purpose rather then work for the bees.

    Reading others experimentation and trying stuff your self to compare the results is the only way I know to go about bee keeping. That is what I think I am doing.

    I do really like you giving your over view of the things you read. It takes the question away of what you understood and gives avenue for clarification or discussion and is a great way to communicate in my mind.

    Thanks
    gww
    zone 5b

  20. #1039
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Need to think about this one...
    When have time.


    As for me, I envision going forward as a regular splitting operation (early - for swarm control and expansion; late - for mite control, quality queen raising, and expansion).

    Mind you, I would never split 50/50, for example.
    The splits should be asymmetric (and similar to the natural swarms in that - the swarming never results in 50/50 division of the resources - the splitting should resemble the swarming in resource distribution - the natural way and pretty normal to bees).

    In addition, ad-hoc shook swarms are a good tool to resolve immediate issues (and pretty darn good imitation of the natural swarms in the end).
    I have done it twice this season and happy with the results so far.

    In combination with some preferred stock for pest resistance and local adaptations - I see this general (and actually old school) approach as working for everyone, everywhere.
    In the end, it is just a regular programming - planned distribution of the risk and loss replacement based upon natural bee behaviors.
    So Big Question here "What is the Control" As the queen can have 12-20 baby daddy's and the mother can as well, it is unlikely even in Sibbling Queens to have "sameness" unless you Inseminate from same line drones, which would result in a poorly mated queen. Realize there are likely several paternal lines for each hive, and the control is out the window. That is why these study's that start with 100 packages......are not all that repeatable.
    GG

  21. #1040
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    So Big Question here "What is the Control" As the queen can have 12-20 baby daddy's and the mother can as well, it is unlikely even in Sibbling Queens to have "sameness" unless you Inseminate from same line drones, which would result in a poorly mated queen. Realize there are likely several paternal lines for each hive, and the control is out the window. That is why these study's that start with 100 packages......are not all that repeatable.
    GG
    Does not matter to me, GG.
    I play the dice game.
    Somehow it works.

    Overall, the more we look at it, the more we understand how little we understand.
    With that, why bother?

    Lots of smart people say lots of smart words and yet they don't know much.

    Let it all work out mostly on its own.
    You propagate them and it works.
    Good stock (when proven) does help to move along.

    Interestingly, by now most people around me would have lost their bees without treating them (if they started at the same time I did).
    Pretty darn sure I will still have enough of my bees the next spring.
    But they will be rushing to buy more Southern, commercial packages again.
    Some people never learn, I guess.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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