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I will try to answer the question a little more literally:

When treating with Apivar: $9.60/hive.

When treating with Apiguard (and I get away with less because of climate): $4.00/hive.

When treating with OAV: $0.34 per treatment/per hive. Does not include cost of vaporizer.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Thank you, everyone. This thread really took off today. You all have answered my original interest and a lot more. SuiGeneris that was some serious analysis.


Alex Madsen
engineering manager and amateur beekeeper
 

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I am not really losing any hives but this is only my third winter and it may be the year. I am not making a ton of honey and it might be different if I treated. Not sure about that one yet. I did make lots of bees first year.

I kind of agree with hillbilly on it depends on what your situation is and what you want from the bees. If somebody that has to count on what they are getting from the bees has a bee keeping model that gives them the return they need consistently, it might be silly to upset the apple cart by taking big risk trying a different model.

I kinda wanted to keep bees with out spending money and not being that worried about how much I got from them as long as it was something. I would be broken hearted if they all died one year but it would not hurt me as for as a living cause I only have time in them and no real money.

I may try treating at some point once, just to see if it did reflect in honey production. Or I might try other things including trying a different forage area and leave things the same first. With my small amount of experience, the biggest change I have seen have a big impact was just the weather difference from year to year. Don't know about this year till spring but my bees just don't die and so cost wise, my need to treat has not shown it's self yet.

If I had three thousand hives and knew what I was getting, I might try one yard different just like If I move some hives to a different forage area, I won't move them all cause it would not tell me anything.

I am the guy that only has ten hives (not 3000) going into winter and for me now, I think it would cost more in time and money to treat based on my expected outcome of what I currently want out of my bees. I see things that I don't understand the cause and effect of yet. I could not write off the beneficial effects treating may have cause I have not had the incentive to try it cause I am getting enough and there are other things I want to try first and see what the effect is and it gets confusing when trying to lay an outcome on something if you tried too many things at one time.

I believe luck has something to do with how it goes also.

I do believe that if you add it all up that you can do things in two ways and come up with similar cost. Say keeping extra hives with the equipment cost coming once or fewer hives and spending the money and time to treat. Both of these relies on having a constant death rate and harvest rate to plan around. being stationary or migratory may effect whether either is possible also. I am stationary.

After I get more years under my belt or if my ambition level changes, I may become a treater that is convinced that no other way would work for what I am wanting to do. Right now with my experience so far and only talking for me in my aria with my bees, treating, counting mites both seem like wasted money and effort before trying a few other things for improvement on my honey harvest first.

This is not to say I know anything or to put down what others know for themselves. I have met my first goal with out having to treat and that was to have bees that I don't have to pay for and making everything with my own labor and getting something from those bees for doing it.

Hillbilly is putting shoes on his kids feet and has different needs from his bees.

Weaver is selling queens and bees and so for his model getting a premium for not treating.

In all three cases, the cost to benefit is different.
Cheers
gww
 

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in many years the number of hives lost is not different between treated and TF apiaries.
Please back that up... IMO total BS, if it was true TF would be the standard way, not a dark hole full of snake oil and but a few doing well (and there realy are some doing well). one only has to look at the BIP to get a feel for the numbers
all the big guys have it wrong and are just blowing there $$?
the big guys see around 25% losses, lets just say if they went TF they lost 35%(BIP )... that's 100 less hives per thousand alive... maby another 200-300 that don'y make grade and are useless
shooting spit ball numbers... $180 for almonds, then break in to 4 nucs and some honey, maby another pollination contract..so low ball that to + $400 or so... call it 300 more"losses" (dead and dinks) for tf, Thats a loss of $174,000 in income, even if you spent $100 per hive in treatments your 74k better....
its not the cost of replacements, its the hives not able and ready to go to work when there needed/wanted that's the cost.
sure for the back yard guy with 10 hives the difference in losing one or 2 more hives going TF may not matter, espicaly if they make there own spits... but at the economy of scale of the big boys, it can be the difrance between making it and ruin


An absurd example of oxymoronic rhetoric, as cavemen had no concept of science, especially that of chemistry.
It would be more accurate to say that non-treatment - that is, allowing Nature to 'take it's course' is more in keeping with the behaviour of primitive cavemen.
+1.. those "enlightened bees" took 70%+ losses in 2012 and are now treated... mite bombed back to the stone age ;)
relay tho one only need to look at johns work to see the dollars and cents.. he worked with a few hunderd hives were kept stationary and TF, use for honey production. And 4,000 hives were treated and used for migratory pollination. Treatment provides an ROI

I kind of agree with hillbilly on it depends on what your situation is and what you want from the bees.
spot on, the more you push them, the less they have to fight other problems.
 

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An absurd example of oxymoronic rhetoric, as cavemen had no concept of science, especially that of chemistry.

It would be more accurate to say that non-treatment - that is, allowing Nature to 'take it's course' is more in keeping with the behaviour of primitive cavemen.
LJ
Oh I understand! Now I see the light, thank you!

So modern beekeeping is constant treating without future concepts except more or new treatments, worst case treating prophylactically! How valuable science is in this case!
Exploiting for honey like the caveman did, only exploiting even more because of clever managements and naming that care of bees! Taking 60kg instead of 15kg from one hive and claiming the bees will like that?
:lpf: How man sees his actions in the way he wants!

Seems to me progress by resistant bees breeding and selecting by man as nature cannot select anymore a much more modern approach, bond included.
Probably would be nice to start this after 30 years of standstill.

Michael Palmer, what about you? You would be even more famous to provide with resistant stock. :)

Then the opt did not have to start this thread and people could have bees surviving as before varroa. No costs of treatments.
 

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Interesting SuiGeneris ... presumably your model doesn't take account of the different survival rates of colonies treated once (end of summer) or twice (end of summer AND midwinter)? I've run my own models of mite numbers in the colony 'carried over' on colonies not treated midwinter with dribbled or OAV. Based on these mite numbers only (I'm not aware of other data that would help here, but happy to consider some) I'd expect those treated once would suffer about 25-33% higher colony losses.
The model is very simple, based on (for maqs/apivar) 2x yearly and for oav whatever the treatment regimin was in post #6. Its a 1-year model, so it doesn't take into account cost that carry over more than 1 season.
 

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The major retail treatments converge in price at about $5-$10/hive. Some of these treatments have raw ingredients that do not cost anywhere near the retail price asked (even adding in registration expense overhead). My economic model tells me that the "market" has decided it is willing to use treatments 2 or 3 times per year at $5-$10, which is approx $15-30/colony/year. This is working the problem from the other end, but the convergence in treatment costs tells me that there is an economic calculation (conscious or unconscious) made by thousands of consumers.
 

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I will try to answer the question a little more literally:
...................
When treating with OAV: $0.34 per treatment/per hive. Does not include cost of vaporizer.
To be more literal and fair - do also mention the cost of high quality personal protective equipment, highly recommended when using vaporizer.

As one of our local beekeepers stated (he is a professional chemist and handles chemicals for living):

Disclaimer: I'm not advocating this and believe your health is worth more than the $35-40 for a respirator, but some people are too cheap to buy one even though they'll drop $100 on a OA vaporizer.
If you're a sane person, you'll buy a respirator.
In my own past life I worked in an industrial food plant cleaning crew - the routine was to spray around concentrated bleach/caustics/acids..
Even with respirators required and usually used, I am pretty sure, I inhaled enough aggressive chems to damage my air ways some (maybe even more than I know).
This is one reason I am not dealing with any acids - I have done my time.
Enough of that nonsense and saving few bees is not worth it to me.
Those inhaled chems probably cost me some years of my life - to be found out yet, in time.
Just saying..
 

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I agree little-john. Plus I enjoy handling my bees which gives me a great deal of satisfaction. My enjoyment and the challenge are worth a lot. I use OA 3 different ways and all are home made. My latest is copper tubing with OA heated in an elbow with a gas torch. Treating from the back I can do it anytime of the year rain or shine and I don't have to unstack boxes.
 

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there is tangible time and cost savings and an intangible flexibility bonus about not having to make sure the honey supers come off early enough in the year to allow for mite suppression.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
For those curious as to my interests, I was interested in the economics of a nonchemical varroa treatment idea. The short answer is, I can not get the $ math to work.
back to the drawing board.

JWChesnut, I think your assessment is spot on of $15-30/colony/year based on my own math and what others have posted.

Alex
 

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there is tangible time and cost savings and an intangible flexibility bonus about not having to make sure the honey supers come off early enough in the year to allow for mite suppression.
Yes; the labor involved, treatment immediate cost, and the very important flexibility issue are very real issues. :thumbsup:
 

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Once again beekeeping is local as I do not have supers on my hives for more than 3 months of the year and so can take care of mites in the 9 remaining months if I choose. Because I am cheap I use OA for treatment and because I am cheaper I make my own vaporizers and can also treat at about 1 minute per hive. I am also a miserable miser and hate to lose colonies so I am quite miserable about the less than 10% per year I lose and jump for joy at the more than 100% increase in nuc's and splits every year. Now I could be a caveman and consider Darwinian beekeeping which is more in line for cavemen I think, but there we end up with little honey few increases in stock and much less income to pay for this enterprise. So as I have mentioned before I treat most of my colonies around 12 times a year and it is so cheap it is almost free so I am almost treatment free.
Johno
 

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Once again beekeeping is local as I do not have supers on my hives for more than 3 months of the year and so can take care of mites in the 9 remaining months if I choose. Because I am cheap I use OA for treatment and because I am cheaper I make my own vaporizers and can also treat at about 1 minute per hive. I am also a miserable miser and hate to lose colonies so I am quite miserable about the less than 10% per year I lose and jump for joy at the more than 100% increase in nuc's and splits every year. Now I could be a caveman and consider Darwinian beekeeping which is more in line for cavemen I think, but there we end up with little honey few increases in stock and much less income to pay for this enterprise. So as I have mentioned before I treat most of my colonies around 12 times a year and it is so cheap it is almost free so I am almost treatment free.
Johno
Im with johno on this
-> no treatment led to dead bees for me in percentages that if they were ongoing would have led to me quitting the hobby. With OAV survival of 80-90% or better is entirely feasible and for a treatment that costs pennies and is quick to do.
 
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