Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split? - Page 5
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  1. #81
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Of course, some of us here demonstrated different results.
    For sure the "dead in spring" is not a 100% guarantee (just as "alive in spring" is not a 100% guarantee).
    Please qualify.
    There are people in my local club that believe like Teha-Gal. I have 10 and 8 frame Langs., nucs, and horizontals with 30 deep frames. I'm not a "treatment free" beekeeper, but I am on my third year of not having to, I just started seeing fewer and fewer mites, and the ones I found were missing legs, until now I see only the occasional one, and it is usually dead. So my opinion is , the bees did it. Fingers crossed.

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  3. #82
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by VadenTwin View Post

    I'm not a tree huger/duck scrubber. but feral bees and survival of the fittest are the way to correct the woes of the bees. ....

    People tend to get locked into mindsets of what they were taught and have experienced, and nobody(most) seems to be willing to go through the work or pain of allowing nature to fix it.
    In theory, this would be a wonderful solution to the problem. The question is, how do we get there on a grand scale. Looking at the broader picture we have to consider the ramifications for commercial beekeepers. Their families livelihood is totally dependent upon income from beekeeping.

    Would we be willing to give up half, or perhaps all, of our family's net income for several years in a row while the survival of the fittest correction takes place. How can we ask them to do that.

    It's a noble goal and nice to talk about, but I've not heard anyone present an actual plan to reach that point without creating a major collapse in commercial pollination and honey production sectors. Not picking on you, just asking to look at the bigger picture. I'm not so sure beekeepers are not "willing" to try and fix the problem, but how?
    To everything there is a season....

  4. #83
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    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Very to the point observation Mike. The solution has to be do able. Vaden is correct about our actions being the major source of the problem but like the proverbial "slippery slope" or "unwringing a bell" going back is nearly impossible without a major reset. Some calamitous happening. Think of the weather conditions and monocrop food supply, political issues etc., that lead to the great potato famine in Ireland in the 1840's: milllions died!

    A multifaceted problem usually does not have a simple solution.
    Frank

  5. #84
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Albany NY
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    Default

    To the op: you do not need to split to combat swarming. Practice and ask beeks in your area what they do and when. If your mites are not under control the swarming may help get there. If you don't have enough extra comb it is more difficult. Good luck! How long have you been keeping bees?
    Mike, if memory serves, Kirk Webster published an article in a journal a whole back about how commercials could switch to treatment free. I don't remember details (try googling it, or does someone have a link?) but I believe it seemed feasable, and at least applied to a small commercial, with a few thousand colonies. Not sure if it would work for the really big guys but that's because I can't remember deets!
    Happy beekeeping everyone!

  6. #85

    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    The best way I could think of is doing the survival of the fittest. I can't speak with years of experience but from what I have read and heard...

    People that treat for varroa and other issues with chemicals average a yearly loss of 25%-30%.
    People that go treatment free and/or survival of the fittest lose about 35%-45%.

    I know that's almost half the your hives but not a big deviation from treating. When you add in the expense and labor of treating, I believe your fiscal cost would be back to, or at least close, to what you have now.

    That's just to deal with chemical treating piece. The other issue comes in with queen rearing. Bees pick a specific egg for a specific reason that no one knows why. Humans going in and picking an egg to make a queen is not natural and this (IMO) produces weak queens. Yes, they may have a great brood pattern, and make hives that produce a lot of honey, but it is impossible to get all the great stuff without a bad trait.

    Going back to the original subject of this thread, which I apologize for dragging down a rabbit hole is...

    Let bees swarm, it's what they do. Its how they create more bees and hives. I have no problem with splitting to avoid losing a great box of bees but you lose the genetics if you throw a reared or mailed queen in there. Do a walk away split instead and make sure both boxes have brood. Then let them make their own queen.

  7. #86
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by VadenTwin View Post
    People that treat for varroa and other issues with chemicals average a yearly loss of 25%-30%.
    People that go treatment free and/or survival of the fittest lose about 35%-45%.
    Not sure where you found these numbers, maybe it's an average of data collected from multiple beekeeping sectors.

    Personally, I think that 30% losses are unacceptable if treating for mites. If that many hives are being lost then there is some other problem, either with the bees or beekeeper error.

    Treatment free loses seem to vary quite a bit depending on the region where the bees are kept. I tried my best to go the treatment free route some time back for a couple years and ended up closer to 80-90% annual losses, and the survivors were weak and non-productive. As much as I wanted to, it just didn't make sense for me to continue down that road. I'm glad that some are successful at it, wasn't working for me here.
    To everything there is a season....

  8. #87

    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    That is a bummer it didn't work for you. My numbers are from a recording of a conference presentation. I will try to find it.

  9. #88
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    May 2013
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    North Liberty, IN
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    417

    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    In theory, this would be a wonderful solution to the problem. The question is, how do we get there on a grand scale. Looking at the broader picture we have to consider the ramifications for commercial beekeepers. Their families livelihood is totally dependent upon income from beekeeping.

    Would we be willing to give up half, or perhaps all, of our family's net income for several years in a row while the survival of the fittest correction takes place. How can we ask them to do that.

    It's a noble goal and nice to talk about, but I've not heard anyone present an actual plan to reach that point without creating a major collapse in commercial pollination and honey production sectors. Not picking on you, just asking to look at the bigger picture. I'm not so sure beekeepers are not "willing" to try and fix the problem, but how?
    Big picture. Survival of the fittest applies to Beekeeping Operations too. And the operations that are successful being Treatment-Free will continue despite what others are doing!

    To OP: Yes! Know your average swarm start dates and flow dates. Plenty of room before average swarm cell start dates and keep Wax builders (8-18 day old bees) depleted.

    Core broodnest getting backfilled and wax builders primed is the major precursor to cast swarms.
    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds" Albert Einstein

  10. #89
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    Oct 2016
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    Albany NY
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    From BeeInformedPartnership preliminary results from respondents who hold about 12% of the nations bees:
    "During the 2018-2019 winter (1 October 2018 – 1 April 2019), an estimated 37.7% of managed honey bee colonies in the United States were lost"
    Treatment Free keeps are often able to stay on par with treaters in their area. For me 30% is an economic threshold. Some years are better, some not.
    Happy beekeeping everybody!

  11. #90

    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    I can't seem to find the video or who presented the number, but I spefically remember there was only 10%-15% difference in survival of treated hive vs untreated. Id however find a talk by Michael bush that discusses alot of what is in this thread.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3qniBf7_U0

  12. #91

    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amibusiness View Post
    Treatment Free keeps are often able to stay on par with treaters in their area.
    Far from true here. Where did you get this?
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  13. #92
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Far from true here also. Personal observation, beeks that have a few years of experience and treat properly have far less than the touted 30-35% losses. And TF beeks in my area lose far more than the 35-45% claimed. Mike's experience is more in line with what I have seen here. My hat's off to those TF beeks that do have low losses. Your stock may be the future of beekeeping.

    So, it would seem that TF beekeeper would want their bees to swarm often to achieve area saturation with their genetic stock. Likewise, beeks that treat may want to prevent swarming by whatever means possible.

    I treat, so I perform spring artificial swarms around April 1st. Around May 1st, I sell the nucs I created with their proven overwintered queen.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  14. #93
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    There is also the issue of my selfishness. I am not a beekeeper because I want to save the bees. I am a beekeeper because I want to keep them, enjoy them, watch them, breed queens, etc. I want them to entertain me. I see them as an interesting challenge and a never ending adult science experiment. I am 50 years old, my father was dead when he was 55. I am not of "the fittest" stock and nature has been trying to kill off my line of people early for many generations now.

    I don't want to spend my remaining years watching bees die and hoping they adapt and overcome. If you do, then I support your efforts and sincerely wish you success. I think it is noble work.

    I am starting a Frankenstein yard this year, away from my other yards, just to see what some of my queens can do on their own. More of a curiosity than a survival contest though.

    I am weary of the debate. We all do this for different reasons. Enjoy your bees and your reasoning. I will enjoy mine.

  15. #94
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
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    453

    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    https://bip2.beeinformed.org/survey/

    go here - you can select the state of interest, years of interest, method of mite treatment of interest...or lack of treatment. Listed as "used any management product."

    backyard treatment free beeks fare worse, lost 51% nationwide last year, and treating beeks lost 38% nationwide last year.

    TF southern beeks lost 37%, treating southern beeks lost 23% last year.

    TF northern beeks lost 58%, treating northern beeks lost 41%. Last year.

    Of the people who responded to the survey. Slightly different results for "varroa treatment". Not sure why. But, you get the gist.

    I have not found splitting or swarm departure to be an adequate mite control method - I lost half of my hives to mite at the end of my TF experience. And they were all splits or cast swarms, nuc sized at the end of swarm season.

  16. #95

    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Thanks for the numbers confirmation. I knew I read or watched where it was only 10%-15%. I also agree with PSM and I am the same age. My father also died in his mid 50s but not from natural causes. This is the most awesome adult experiment I have ever done and I do hope everyone enjoys their bees as much as I enjoy mine.

    Great conversation, even if it did go off topic.

  17. #96
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    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by VadenTwin View Post
    I can't seem to find the video or who presented the number, but I spefically remember there was only 10%-15% difference in survival of treated hive vs untreated.
    I have also read this, but it has not been my experience either.

    Mid Summer of my second season, one of my three, highly touted treatment free colonies began failing. I shook them out and used their resources to bolster the other two and began treating. So my first Winter I had zero losses. My second Winter we can say I lost thirty-three percent. Since I have been treating I have gained each year. I have twenty-four as of today.

    I have eliminated some for being overly defensive and a few for being poor performers which may not have made it through Winter. Even counting these my losses are less than ten percent per year. I have one that I am going to eliminate this Spring because they are swarmy. Do I count them as a loss.

    It is hard to understand reported losses because we don't know what accounting methods are used. After all, I could say I have had zero losses, only gains, except season two.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  18. #97
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    Oct 2016
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    Albany NY
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    I must admit that my "evidence" is totally anecdotal, far from national stats. Tf beek with over 1000 colonies mostly has better rate than state average. Another with over 600 did much better than state average last year. Some folks on this forum. I take them at their word. I am not opposed to other beeks keeping bees how they see fit. Obviously we should be aware and respectful of our neighbors: fall deadouts due to mites can be a risk, as can importing foreign bees with foreign pathogens. I would like local beeks to work together creating local pockets rather than transporting bees needlessly (ie packages). Obviously, polination contracts will need to be filled for many more years so some movement is going to have to happen but this could be more scientifically organised to allow for local adaptations to happen and be valued, and not imediately diluted....
    Another anecdote: after I had higher then normal losses a friend asked if I'd still be tf. The next winter he had high losses and I did not.... So he still treats and I do not. I do not respect him any less for it and hope he reciprocated.
    Happy beekeeping everyone!

  19. #98
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    beeks that have a few years of experience and treat properly have far less than the touted 30-35% losses. And TF beeks in my area lose far more than the 35-45% claimed.
    Adees lost how many colonies past winter?

    Another thing, back in 2006. There was around 2200 operations taking around 1.5 million colonies to Almonds. Down to around 1600 operations taking 2 million colonies. And with projected growth of Maturing new Orchards the demand for colonies will go up. What happened to the 600 operations no longer in that picture? Still have bees or went under? How many years can Adees sustain 50,000 hive count losses?
    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds" Albert Einstein

  20. #99
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    Thumbs Up Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by psm1212 View Post
    There is also the issue of my selfishness. I am not a beekeeper because I want to save the bees. I am a beekeeper because I want to keep them, enjoy them, watch them, breed queens, etc. I want them to entertain me. I see them as an interesting challenge and a never ending adult science experiment. I am 50 years old, my father was dead when he was 55. I am not of "the fittest" stock and nature has been trying to kill off my line of people early for many generations now.

    I don't want to spend my remaining years watching bees die and hoping they adapt and overcome. If you do, then I support your efforts and sincerely wish you success. I think it is noble work.

    I am starting a Frankenstein yard this year, away from my other yards, just to see what some of my queens can do on their own. More of a curiosity than a survival contest though.

    I am weary of the debate. We all do this for different reasons. Enjoy your bees and your reasoning. I will enjoy mine.
    +1 we all have our reasons.....agree, we all march to the beat of a different drummer.
    GG

  21. #100
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Hey Trish, is it possible to pull the hobbyist and sideliner numbers? You know, the 90% of total beekeepers that represent only 8% or so of total hives. Due to the huge number of hives, commercial operator hive mortality rates may actually serve to dampen the results seen by those of us that keep bees non-commercially. I lost 50%, 3/6 my first year trying treatment free. (TF for me at that time was mites? What are mites?) After the second one died I got a little wiser and put Apivar in them and only lost one more. From the three that made it, I increased to 16 hives and had 0% overwinter losses when treated with OAV. I am going into late fall now with 20 hives and 8 nucs, having sold three and losing three other hives due to a failed requeening after a swarm (and PPB).

    And that rolls us back to the topic. Trying to control swarming without a spring split is difficult for a weekend beekeeper. Fail, and your hive swarms. You lose bees and the possibility of losing the hive increases as mated queens only average about a 75% return rate. Split, and you still have a queen you can reintroduce a month later if things don't go quite as planned.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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