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OT, not directed at you. The last two sentences were pointed at the 10:1 or 45:1 strawmen floated above. I'll edit the post to make that clear.
 

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Discussion Starter #63
If you are running all topbar hives, I'd be glad to share with you what I do in my chemical treatment free apiary.
Thank you Ruth, and I will gratefully accept any help offered, and do what I can to contribute. Bouncing my granddaughter on my knee and browsing your page right now.

ys WW
 

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OT, not directed at you. The last two sentences were pointed at the 10:1 or 45:1 strawmen floated above. I'll edit the post to make that clear.
OK have edited my answer that now lacks any context.
 

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Thank you Ruth, and I will gratefully accept any help offered, and do what I can to contribute. Bouncing my granddaughter on my knee and browsing your page right now.

ys WW
I will send it to you in a PM on Beesource. Prefer not to get dragged into the fray of this thread, but would be happy to explain how I manage the mites in my hive.
 

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OT, not directed at you. The last two sentences were pointed at the 10:1 or 45:1 strawmen floated above. I'll edit the post to make that clear.
No strawman, just simple math derived from squarepegs post. Correct me if I'm wrong.

....What I will suggest is that over time we will all become beekeepers who don't treat. It is as inevitable as the development of resistant genetics will permit. Now we can argue over whether beekeepers will have to treat for varroa until the end of time.
Terrific if it's so.
 

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OT, I don't see the black bold moderator status under his name.
If you don't treat then at least do some mite bee bomb frames removal to let some
hives survive. This is exactly what I did. Then when the hives are booming in the Spring time, get them the tf stocks.
Swarm trapping you don't know their genetics and changes are might go back to square one again. Then another
2 years are wasted trying to go tf.
After the mites got removed into the mite bee bomb nuc hive all my hives are surviving now. One hive almost ran out of food as the bee population grow some more coming out of winter. No syrup, no incoming nectar flow either as they are starting to brood up with 4 frames of hungry bees and broods. The mite levels are minimal though the hive is almost at the starvation stage now. With the Cordovan queens and carnis drones, their genetics somehow don't mix together. Why they still not mutted, I don't know.
I have to give them some emergency feeding with 4 lbs. of loose sugar on the bottom board and 2 small sugar loaves on the top bars. This should keep them going for awhile. If you use the same hive manipulation then your package bees are still alive now. Come Spring time I will use the tf drones to I.I. the Cordovan queens with compatible genetics since the carnis drones cannot do it here. Tf is possible if you know how to keep your bees alive over the winter.


See it here:
 

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>Treatment free members listing = 60 listed ( post #130 1/21/17)
>Active Members = 2,873 (1/24/17)

I get PMs and emails all the time from tf people who don't want to post on here because they don't want to be attacked or ridiculed. To assume that there are only 60 on Beesource is definitely erroneous. More than that contact me on a regular basis.
 

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Several times in this and other threads I have seen statements like package bees will not make it in the north and the queens with package bees are junk and can not over winter in the north. I am fully willing to accept both statements if your desire is to simply put the bees in a box and expect them to prosper and over winter. However, I also know of several people in the north, places like Chicago for instance, who have had fine luck over wintering package bees and queens with losses as low as 5%. So, what is the difference? Quite simple really. Those with good results made sure the bees were healthy and parasite free within days of receiving the package. If the bees were on foundation they feed 30 or more pounds of sugar to get them started off right and get some drawn comb. They made sure the bees had adequate stores all summer. If needed they started fall feeding in August to make sure the hive has adequate winter stores. They made sure the bees were healthy and parasite free again in August. If you do not want to make sure your bees are healthy and parasite free and have adequate stores at all times guess what? They will likely die. If you do make sure they are clean and have stores you can expect less than 10% winter deaths that first winter. You can pretty well bet that you will never buy a package that is parasite free. If you do get one parasite free it is simple luck and likely not repeatable even from the same source. You will never buy a package that has adequate stores from day one. You can probably help your odds a little if you requeen with honestly mite resistant queens within a month of getting the package or you can buy the package with a mite resistant queen. If you do not make sure they are parasite free right at the start and wait to requeen until August with the most mite tolerant queen money can buy they are likely dead in that first winter and you just wasted your money on that perfectly good replacement queen.

So, packages do not die simply because packages are junk. Packages die because of the lack of management practices of the buyer. Try buying a brand new car and never change the oil or check and correct the problem when the check engine light comes on and see if you can get 100,000 miles out of it. Lack of management by the owner will ruin that perfectly good car.

If you will note carefully I never once said you need to treat with a chemical. There are other options if you are willing to feed that package enough. I leave it up to you to figure those options out yourself as if you have to work a bit you might learn something about bee management.
 

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...If the bees were on foundation they feed 30 or more pounds of sugar to get them started off right and get some drawn comb. They made sure the bees had adequate stores all summer. If needed they started fall feeding in August to make sure the hive has adequate winter stores. They made sure the bees were healthy and parasite free again in August....
Y'all need to pay attention to Richard here. Although I started with nucs (with proven, laying queens) I was advised similarly- feed, feed, feed to get comb drawn and get them started right. Get them built up and healthy right off the bat.

I had 100% survival here in cold country, with bees out of Georgia (I insulated too). Build them up and make sure they're healthy.

If you're in a place that gets a -real- Winter, with temps that go near zero or below, -insulate- them. I know that there are a lot of people who will tell you that you don't need to do it, but I can tell you that it really helps. You want to give them the best chance? Give them every advantage. I got caught be an early sub-zero cold snap here and didn't have insulation on yet, and they suffered.
 

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Swarm traps, by the dozen.
I've sat and watched a feral colony in a boarded up factory window make it winter after winter, drought after drought, dearth after dearth - for a decade now. Obviously they know something I don't about surviving.
You've got the right idea. If you want to be successful keeping bees treatment free, learn from those who are successful keeping bees treatment free. Particularly folks in your locale. They're around. Don't feed your feral bees unless they need it, and try not to cause them to need it.
 

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Several times in this and other threads I have seen statements like package bees will not make it in the north and the queens with package bees are junk and can not over winter in the north.

I believe that most comments, and certainly every comment I've made here (and elsewhere) about package bees not surviving was based on the premise that they were left treatment free. It doesn't take God-like beekeeping skills to make package bees survive long-term,. However, to simply place them in a box (even feed as much as they require) but pay no attention to mites and not treat or requeen, and they'll be dead (most times) by the end of the second year. Any that survived the second winter would be remarkable. If that's how you want to spend your money and treat these creatures, then I guess have at it. However, if you want to be respectful of the creatures you just adopted, then take the appropriate action to insure they thrive, and believe it or not reach your goal sooner. Above all, if you want to become TF, then don't follow the path detailed in post #1 of this thread.

I am NOT bashing the package industry - this is the nature of the business. I've bought many packages of bees and experimented with various methods (treatment, and TF), so I know what to expect. I've had some GREAT queens come in packages too. It should be obvious to anyone who's played this game that treatment or some other intervention IS required if you're going to start with package bees.

I say all of this as someone who has invested a great deal of time and money working towards becoming TF and have had as much success as some of the most notable and frequent posters in this forum. One way I differ is that if I find a problem it gets fixed. I simply do not believe in letting colonies perish. Believe it or not, I'm in this business to make a profit and allowing bees to die is not part of that formula.
 

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>Instead of ,decide to go treatment free, it should be, learn how to kill mites, it will save a lot of heartache.

If he wanted to hear all of these posts about treating or how treatment free can't work, he would have posted this in the "Disease and Pests" forum.
 

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Turns out that's what Lorenzo Langstroth would say too were he able to advise us today! The boxes that we call a "langstroth" he called cheap imitations. They were used by people who overwintered their bees in a cellar, then brought the boxes out.

Langstroth used double-walled boxes with sand or straw between the 2 layers of wood. he was trying to recreate a bee tree. Not related to starting with packages vs nucs or whatever - but kind of interesting what we have forgotten that beekeepers of the past already knew...
 

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If he wanted to hear all of these posts about treating or how treatment free can't work, he would have posted this in the "Disease and Pests" forum.
Its really not clear what he wanted to hear. He lost 11 out of 12 packages to PMS. His plans were as stated: "Buy package Bees, install package bees, decide to go treatment free..." I'm not sure which forum this thread belongs in, but IMO the TF forum has been given a disservice by this example.
 

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Its really not clear what he wanted to hear. He lost 11 out of 12 packages to PMS. His plans were as stated: "Buy package Bees, install package bees, decide to go treatment free..." I'm not sure which forum this thread belongs in, but IMO the TF forum has been a disservice by this example.
I agree especially when you read the following October 13th post by the OP.


I put my 2:1 on about 2 hours ago and its half gone. Sound about right? Or did I poke too many holes in the can. Nothing leaking out either entrance.

SNIP
Was there any additional feeding?
 

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Discussion Starter #79
You've got the right idea. If you want to be successful keeping bees treatment free, learn from those who are successful keeping bees treatment free. Particularly folks in your locale. They're around. Don't feed your feral bees unless they need it, and try not to cause them to need it.
Thanks Riv, IMO in my micro-environment, (declining industrial/suburban, the one I have faith has been weeding out the poor lines), feeding through the dearth just comes with the territory. You need a big nest for Knotweed. (yum yum)

I find it grimly amusing that people refuse to believe package producers might consider selling packages that fail in the first year a smart business model. Its even smarter if we keep giving in to the urge.

It makes me wonder where all these successful treatment free genetics are disappearing. They would come in handy, no?
 

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I find it grimly amusing that people refuse to believe package producers might consider selling packages that fail in the first year a smart business model. Its even smarter if we keep giving in to the urge.

?
You need to stop blaming the package supplier for your hive deaths and learn to blame yourself. You killed those hives pure and simple. It is not the suppliers fault you killed them it is your fault. Until you understand that and correct your cultural practices you will most likely continue to kill hives regardless of where you get them. Do not blame others for your personal neglect.
 
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