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Discussion Starter #1
I tried to keep bees before one could get information on the internet. I gathered some equipment and tried to keep bees according to the popular literature. The printed resources at the time did not deal with varroa. I tried multiple years to buy packaged bees and make a start that ended in the fall or before spring. I even bought colonies in the fall that failed to survive.

In short, I gave up... But, I had 2 stacks of a mixture of used hive and supers. They must have been really good swarm traps because they both caught 'em.

My life was turned upside down with my wife passing and raising our boys. No time to even think about bees.

I remarried and life settled a bit. My current wife occasionally asked about the bees in passing. She finally said that she did not understand why I had bees and she had no honey... Gotta fix that.

My research efforts lead me to this forum. Reading here informed me that I had some special bees. Survivors. I had 2 colonies living in the boxes that were left in place for over 10 years with no interaction from me.

Soo... I have begun to build an apiary from my past. I re-started in 2014 with bees that I have never treated. It's a work in progress. I have purchased queens and nucs from treatment free suppliers to augment my poor efforts at queen rearing and added splits that I have made.

I will get better at grafting this year. I intend to spread the genetics I have around my area... And make my lovely wife some honey.
 

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special bees indeed tpope. thanks for starting this thread and we look forward to following your progress. good luck with the expansion and putting a little honey on the table! :)
 

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Everyone has an opinion, here's mine. Don't rush to purchase TF bees from others, until you have checked them out closely, not saying they will lie to you, just saying one person's idea of TF may differ from another's idea of TF. You know the feral bees that found you are making it on their own, and watch them closely, you may have to treat with something like OAV once in November when they are almost broodless to keep them alive. Just because they were in your boxes for ten years does not mean they never failed, they may have failed and were repopulated by another swarm or they may have survived uninterrupted because they swarmed every year and the brood break allowed them to get ahead of the mites. I never got very good at grafting, my old eyes let me down, there are several easier ways to make queens and some produce better queens. Think about foundationless, they will make the size cell that is right for their smaller body size, and they will make a lot of drones. I grew up on a farm and have the farmer's mentality, to me they are livestock, they are not my pets, some will say I will NEVER do this or that to MY BEES, a dead TF bee is just a dead bee, so I do the least I can to them and encourage them to evolve. Good Luck with your bees, pm me if you need my help.
 

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Wow, tpope. You definitely got something special there. Propagate the heck out of them if you can. I look forward to following your journey.
 

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Everyone has an opinion, here's mine.
This is the treatment free forum.
Any post advocating the use of treatments, according to the forum definition of treatment will be considered off topic and shall be moved to another forum or deleted by a moderator, unless it is employed as part of a plan in becoming treatment free.
I think we should have a rule waiting for those who want to be tf to ask if they want to use treatments on their path or not.
 

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Yeah, a dead tf bee is just a dead bee. I try to get to them before they go bye-bye.
So far all hives are still alive though they have the mites with them. Going to get the mite
biting bees for them this coming season.
 

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This is the treatment free forum.


I think we should have a rule waiting for those who want to be tf to ask if they want to use treatments on their path or not.
Sorry SiWolke, and thank you for pointing out the rules, but since the last sentence of the rule you inserted said " unless it is employed as part of a plan in becoming treatment free." I felt it was appropriate.
 

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If it ain't broke why are you trying to fix it?
tpope,. awesome., I see some honey in your wife's future. Now here comes the hard part of management:D
 

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Sorry SiWolke, and thank you for pointing out the rules, but since the last sentence of the rule you inserted said " unless it is employed as part of a plan in becoming treatment free." I felt it was appropriate.
10 yrs with no treaments and he needs a plan to become TF? I don't understand this logic?
 

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Re splits. Maybe a good first step is a snelgrove board to make vertical splits. They will make a few good queen cells that you can make additional nucs with.

I would build numbers with this stock before bringing in outside stock. Too much outside influence too early could disrupt what you have. However, you probably also have some ferals around that can stabilize things.
 

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Soo... I have begun to build an apiary from my past. I re-started in 2014 with bees that I have never treated. It's a work in progress. I have purchased queens and nucs from treatment free suppliers to augment my poor efforts at queen rearing and added splits that I have made.

I will get better at grafting this year. I intend to spread the genetics I have around my area... And make my lovely wife some honey.
Are you seeking guidance, or just relaying a very interesting story? If seeking guidance, then it might be helpful to give us more information. You say you restarted in 2014, and that you brought in queens. What state is your apiary in now, e.g., how many colonies do you have now. Of these, how many from the original survivor genetics? Have you successfully propagated any of the original survivor genetics? Are you actively working these survivor colonies? What goals do you have - I'm sure we could all chip in and get your wife some honey :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I appreciate the encouragement and offers to help.

You don't know how good or bad your bees are until you have something to compare them to. Most of my purchases have been from known VSH suppliers. I have the resources now that will allow me to raise more than a couple of queens each year. I have gained confidence working with the bought bees that I won't be wasting my efforts on my survivors.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Looking at the bees flying into and outta my hives, I feel that I have 12 today that are active.
One is a single hive body. Three are 5 frame nucs. The remainder are in at least a double deep.
It's time to start planning how to open the brood nest since I am limited in how much comb I can give towards checker boarding. I did leave a large amount of honey so that I would have resources available. I am scratching my head about extracting some of the honey to gain the comb for use. Gonna have to get in there and see.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yes, I am channeling Matt and Walt for my nucs as they build. I have some comb and will have to wing the rest..
 
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