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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.
+1
 

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With good "cultural practices" they over winter alligators out side here in the CO mountains... Colorado-Gators-Gators-in-the-Snow-e1392314291449-1160x550.jpg
dosen't mean the average person will have good luck doing it, doesn't mean they are suited for our climate

Yes everyone is quick to blame anyone/thing but themselves and point the finger.. I agree there


http://www.howardcountybeekeepers.o...-between-nucleus-and-package-started-colonies

but there are enuf studies and reports out there to suggest there IS something wrong with package queens form the south in the north, as MP points out, how is a drone laying queen the beekeepers fault
 

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From that link - "Our results were very promising in the survival differences. In over two years, the adjusted data for survival revealed the following: 42% of the southern commercially raised package colonies survived their fist winter strong enough to be a viable colony in the following summer. 83% of the overwintered northern raised Nucleus colonies were in viable condition, and 90% of the northern requeened packages were in viable condition the following spring".

Pretty much what I've been saying for years. Nothing actually wrong with packages per se, just, if you are buying genetics that are not suited to your area, still buy the package but requeen with genetics that is.

Note the survival rate of requeened packages was even better than the locally produced nucs.

Problem solved....
 

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Pretty much what I've been saying for years. Nothing actually wrong with packages per se, just, if you are buying genetics that are not suited to your area, still buy the package but requeen with genetics that is.
Getting a queen suited to your area is an excellent cultural practice. Or save yourself the trouble of requeening and buy a package that comes with a Minnesota Hygienic queen. I know someone is supplying such packages. Do not know who off hand but a number of locals bought 100 such packages a few years back.
 

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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.
Meh, not really.
 

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I may not share his opinion on package bees, but I certainly respect it
 

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come on wetwilly, this is the no snarkiness zone. please edit the personal attacks from your post so that i don't have to.
 

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Discussion Starter #88
Suggesting there is a problem with his comprehension level is an opinion, not an attack.

as for the rest.... sorry Mod, I pm'ed him and got no reply. Apparently he's not interested in "cashin me outsaahhd"

ys WW
 

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Discussion Starter #89
Im looking forward to more enlightened discussion from the treatment free gang and a little less from folks espousing their superior bee-treating... sorry "beekeeping" abilitys.

ys WW
 

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Thanks for sharing your experience, that takes cojones to admit a hive death. We can all learn more by taking notes from others' experiences, bad and good, and I hope people continue to be brave enough to post. Beesource is the best resource I have found on treatment free beekeeping, and it is all from volunteering our own info and experiences.

Good luck WW in finding feral bees! Or rather, having them find you. And you now have fabulous resources for your future splits and swarms, so they can take off. Take care to close those hives well so gyspy moths and shb don't get in... if you aren't getting freezer temps outside might have to freeze a few frames.

Thomas Seeley has a fabulous book about beelining, which is hunting feral hives, and if your library doesn't have it, I would say get it! Spring, before the nectar flow, is a great time to do beelining...
 

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Discussion Starter #91
Hey Trish, thanks very much. Context and objectivity among the Pro-treatment overlords that stalk the forum will go a long way in improving peoples confidence in contributing, but hey If lonesome Willy has to take a beat down to prove it can be weathered then so be it. The bees arent getting out of this without a blood nose so why should I? Or anybody else for that matter ;)

By the way I was at the apiary today and 12 is dead. A perfect score. :(

Tom Seely's paper on bait hives is very good, I'm sure his book is good too.

ys WW
 

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Hey Trish, thanks very much. Context and objectivity among the Pro-treatment overlords that stalk the forum will go a long way in improving peoples confidence in contributing, but hey If lonesome Willy has to take a beat down to prove it can be weathered then so be it. The bees arent getting out of this without a blood nose so why should I? Or anybody else for that matter ;)

By the way I was at the apiary today and 12 is dead. A perfect score. :(

Tom Seely's paper on bait hives is very good, I'm sure his book is good too.

ys WW
The battle you are, and will be, fighting when you get more bees is between you and keeping your bees alive.
All this effort you've expended in this fictitious and shallow battle with what other beekeepers do to manage their bees has gained you nothing.
Learn the way of the honeybees, then you'll be getting somewhere.
Remember: Crawl, Walk, then Run.
 

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Hey Trish, thanks very much. Context and objectivity among the Pro-treatment overlords that stalk the forum will go a long way in improving peoples confidence in contributing, but hey If lonesome Willy has to take a beat down to prove it can be weathered then so be it. The bees arent getting out of this without a blood nose so why should I? Or anybody else for that matter ;)

By the way I was at the apiary today and 12 is dead. A perfect score. :(

Tom Seely's paper on bait hives is very good, I'm sure his book is good too.

ys WW
Wow!! What exactly are you trying to accomplish?
 

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Hey folks, I read a lot and post only occasiomally but thought I would add my experiences here. Been learning about these little buggers for about 4 years now. My first attemt was a nuc bought from. Local guy who swore he would not sell to me if I did not treat for mites. "They will not survive and I am not selling you my bees if you are just going to let them die"! So, I treated that nuc and it did not make it through the first winter. Luckily, a swarm moved into the vacant hive the next spring and I still have that hive going strong three years later. I set swarm traps out and have caught a couple swarms each year and that along with splits from my strongest hives has gotten me to 13 colonies. Without treatment so far.

Last year I had one hive that was very infested with mites and I was afraid it would not make it but they pulled through. That one is probably my weakest hive right now but still alive and building up nicely. When I saw the problems with this hive I got scared and checked my oldest and strongest hives for mites by cutting out drone comb and doing a count. The infested hive had mites in nearly 90% of the drone cells and many had 3 or more mites per cell. The stronger hives were in much better shape with one only showing about 10% infection rate.

I put a sticky board under the least infected hive and left it there for 24 hrs. When I pulled it out I only found a few mites. I got a small microscope out and examined the mites I found. Each of them had been chewed up pretty badly. Legs chewed completely off a couple. This hive swarmed one Saturday while I was out there looking at them (what an experience!) and I was able to catch this swarm. Yesterday this swarm captured hive was busting at the seams and I had to give them more room. Not much in terms of stores but loaded with bees and capped brood. i also made a split from the original hive last year so now I have three colonies with these genetics and all are doing very well.

My thoughts! I have split quite a bit and caught swarms so I obviously have had brood breaks which has to help. I know there are some genetics in my bees that try to control mites because I saw mites that had been attacked. I think both are working in my favor. Something else I do is never feed sugar. I leave them all the fall honey and take any excess in the spring as our flow starts. I just pulled about 4 gallons of excess Fall honey last weekend since things are starting to bloom here. I also run foundationless but I am not sure how much this plays into things. Seems like the jury is still out in this one but some of the reasons people state for foundationless makes sense to me.

Another factor that I think helps me is that I am not real close to a lot of agriculture. To the east of me is a large river swamp with no one keeping bees or growing crops there. To the west there are a few beeks about 4 to 5 miles away but other than that, as far as I know, there are not any other managed colonies.

So were the swarms I caught feral or where thay from someone's managed hives? I have no idea but I have never seen a marked queen. My bees are smaller than the first ones I got and darker in color. The queens are a deep yellow color. They are not mild mannered but also not so hot that you cannot work them. They LOVE propolis and this trait makes working the hives a lot more difficult than that first nuc I had. Again, not sure if this is a contributing factor to success or not but it is an observation.

As my handle says, I am not a pro! I am a relatively new beek (especially by the standards of a lot of the folks on this site) but I have been learning a lot over the last 4 years. I tend to analyze things and try to relate observations to scientific reasoning. Just the engineer in me I guess! One thing that has always made sense to me is that treating will make bees weaker and mites stronger. That is the reason I am trying to go TF. If the bees have to struggle for survival, they will learn how to fight off this predator. Even in the human population with terrible diseases like ebola, not everyone dies. There are some people that can survive this dreadful disease and those are the ones scientist study for a cure. With the short lifecycle of bees, if we can find strains that can fight off the mites or develop resistence to PMS, I believe we can be successful at becoming treatment free. At least until the next crisis hits!
 
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