Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 241 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok folks, here we go!

Allen Dick has just posted the thought that we need a new thread to get this study going. A suggestion was made that we do some sort of spreadsheet in order to do a scientific statistical analysis of the data posted. So if a spreadsheet is the way to go, help me out here.

Allen, I had thought about doing more of a narrative posting, as I'm not a statistician, and I'm not sure how data from 14-50 hives over a 6 year period would fit into all those little boxes. :scratch: And I don't particularly want this to become a second job for me.

FIRST and FOREMOST! Everyone needs to realize I am NOT a scientist. I'm simply a beekeeper trying to become better at what I do with the bees. I have no desire to become commercial, nor to get a degree in beekeeping. I'm simply doing this as a sideliner to help us all out. If you don't like what Allen and I set up, then simply ignore the thread. Deal?

Now, regarding the parameters of the study:
- I plan to start at the beginning, when I bought my first two packages as I returned to beekeeping a few years back.
- I will post dates, and what I did with the hives.
- I do not have a scale, so I can't do weights at the hive.
- I will post harvested honey from each hive.
- (are you ready for this blasphemy?) I do not currently do mite counts. :lookout: For my purposes, I see no point in it. If they die, they die, since I'm not going to treat for mites. If they die, I didn't want them anyway. It is possible, but not probable, I can be persuaded to change my mind. But only by reasoned, sound logic, and not accusing me of being an ignorant Neanderthal.
- I currently have 14 hives, as I've said before, going to 32-40 this year, and 50 next year or two.
- I do not plan to change my management practices, but will report on hive health and changes as I work towards my twin goals of honey production and increasing hive count.
- I believe the validity of this study lies in the fact that I am not, and will not treat for mites, and will simply report what is occurring in the normal activity of a sideliner beek.
- I will try to analyze and report when beekeeper error has killed a hive.
- If and when a hive dies, I will do what I can to post pictures, and we'll do a post-mortem. If someone insists that bees be diagnosed for trachael mites, if there's any testing expense involved, you can provide the funds. Same for varroa mites. Currently I examine dead bees in front of the hives for DWV. That's what I saw in the only hive I've lost so far. None this year, yet. sigh....
- Anything negative will be reported.

Now, what did I miss, that we need to add to the list? Make your suggestions, and Allen Dick and I will take them into consideration. Fair enough, Allen?

And Allen, I'm depending on you and Barry to figure out the best way to post this on the forum. I suspect as the season develops, I'll add data to the posting every couple of weeks... After the initial set up.

Allen, is this what you had in mind about the public postings?
Regards,
Steven
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,000 Posts
And Allen, I'm depending on you and Barry to figure out the best way to post this on the forum. I suspect as the season develops, I'll add data to the posting every couple of weeks... After the initial set up.
Depending on what you guys come up with, I'm thinking the best way may be to simply give you a password and have access to your own WordPress page(s) for you to do what you want with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts
Whatever administrative plan y'all come up with, keep the rest of us up-to-date on the findings, OK? The "no-treatment" approach interests me, as I am a firm believer in allowing natural processes to operate (as much as possible, anyway - considering that we have changed the natural environment of the bees and tend to "manage" their behaviors to encourage production, etc.).
I'd like to follow this thread.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
What exactly is the experiment? Simply not treating all hives? What will you compare the results too? I'm not sure what this would prove.

A better experiment would be to treat half, and then compare the two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
359 Posts
StevenG, it appears we are rowing the same boat. I had 14 hives going into winter and plan to expand to 50 this spring. I'm a third year beek and honey production is my main focus right now but as I grow, local pollination may be a consideration. I have never treated my hives..

I have some thoughts. Should the type of bee one is keeping be a consideration in this study since they all have different characteristics? I also plan to switch to foundationless in the brood box this year. Would that be worth noting as a management factor? Is the use of essential oils going to be considered a treatment or is treatment defined as the use of commercial chemicals ?

I'm located in the panhandle of Texas(notorious AHB country although I have yet to encounter any). I would like participate in this study.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,683 Posts
I agree, it can not be a no treatment only study.

The same beekeeper (important) needs to have some treated and some not. The treated ones should be atleast 4 miles maybe more from the non treated, to keep the study accurate, and not place unneed pressure on each other.
The treated colonies will need not only treatment dates, but since some treatments are weather dependant, the weather for that area as well during treatment.
In your complete study, it should include the weather year round. This would track plant stress incase of drought or flooding, and what they foraged on.

Treated colonies need counts monitored for not only mites but nosema. As well, there should be two treated sites. One Prophelatic (sp) treatments and the other treat when needed...and honey yields

All hives would need to be marked down with any feed given to them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
359 Posts
c10250,

In a sense we already have the other control group...everyone else that is stationary and using chemical treatment in their hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,827 Posts
Running the numbers is only one challenge in these things. Another is limiting the number of variables. If you don’t, then when you’ve completed the study it’ll only engender more questions than answers.
Best of luck.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
578 Posts
At this point, I suppose that it is necessary to design the experiment. I leave that to the group, but here are some thoughts.

Going back to high school science (that is in my case, 50 years), I recall that the the way to write up an experiment was as follows. There are other variations, but this is pretty basic and organizes the process:

Preparation::
Purpose: A statement of what is being examined and what is to be learned
Method: The specific procedures which will be followed, timeline, etc.
Materials: A listing of what will be required and specifications

The experiment:
Observations: Notes, narratives, tables, and explanations of problems encountered

Afterwards: The write-up including a condensation of each of the above and
Conclusions: An analysis and discussion of what was learned or not learned

No experiment is ever really a total failure, but experiments can encounter problems in design or execution which can make them inconclusive or impossible to finish. In every case, though something is learned, if only that the concept or assumptions were flawed and that it needs to be done over again.

It is possible to be too ambitious, and design an experiment which becomes too complex or too much work to complete, or which depends on information which cannot be properly assessed or measured.

It is also possible to design an experiment which is too simple and only proves the obvious.

IMO, the biggest mistake which is made, and the pros make it too is to assume that everything will go well and fail to anticipate what will happen if things go badly awry.

If big money and strong egos are invested in an experiment, and the hives die in an unexpected way too early in the study or confounding interventions are necessary, there is a strong compulsion to keep going and to somehow salvage the investment in time, money and commitment. Too often, rather than give up the experimenters keep going, try to extract information from the wreckage, write the whole thing up as if it had not become a mess, and make up neat-looking PowerPoint presentations or try for publication.

The big educational aspect of this trial will be that it is open and public as it proceeds, so that the inevitable screw-ups and judgement calls will be obvious to observers and nobody will be fooled by jumping down to the conclusions. Conclusions are often the least useful part of many studies I have looked over and IMO, fairly often different from what I would conclude from the same data. (That is IMO why so many studies do not present any more than a minimum of data).

Anyhow this should be fun. Lets now start with writing a statement of purpose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good morning curious beeks!

Allen, thanks for your focusing our/my efforts. I will take your proposals into consideration, and have something for you and the group by Monday. I will post it on this thread.

Question of methodology - After we nail down parameters and protocols, and establish the thread for this, perhaps I should change the title to " 'No Treatment' Report". My thought for this is that I am not going to establish a "control" group that is treated. Nope. Simply not gonna do it. That defeats my purposes as a beekeeper. I realize that may make this "study" less of a scientific study, and more of a "report." If that's what we need to to do maintain the integrity of it, I'm fine. It also would allow others who prefer to do a more controlled study with treated and non-treated colonies to do so.

ACBEES - I personally think you're correct, those beeks who are stationary and treat are the control group. But that's my opinion.

honeyshack - Your comment about weather is duly noted, and appreciated. I will do what I can to calendar the weather, starting today. But, as stated above, I'm not going to treat any colonies. So we probably ought to call this a "report" after we get it set up, per Allen's suggestions above.

c10250 - the "experiment" is designed to answer those people who say that colonies that go untreated will eventually crash, die out, and you'll have no bees. So far I've gone untreated with only one death. Sceptics say there has been no controlled experiment or reportage. This study is designed to answer those questions, simply by reporting my efforts and experiences to keep my hives alive without treatments. After two more years of this plan, we'll know how many of my hives died, how many lived, what my honey production was, and whether I was crazy or not... oh, wait! My wife tells me I AM crazy, and that's not the issue here! :lpf:

Barry - Thank you for the idea of the password and WordPress pages. I assume this is something that would be posted here as a new thread?

Those of you who have read my profile know I'm running several different types of bees. In the reporting, you'll know which type is in which hive and apiary. I currently have the Russians in a separate apiary. I will report on the forage at each location as we set this up, and will keep a running report of the types of bees in a particular hive and apiary. I currently have three apiaries, in three locations. I will be expanding to four apiaries in three locations due to space limitations in one location. The fourth apiary will be 1/2 mile from the second, on the same land. I'll clear that up as we set this up.

Any other comments or suggestions?
Regards,
Steven
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
I believe that there are already two people who i know of who have done this and have reported their results. One of them posts to this forum, the other doesn't. Michael Palmer and Kirk Webster. What do they have to tell us? Again.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,229 Posts
As I've said before, it's easiest if you can tally responses in a table format.

Think in terms of broad categories.

If there's a good statistical test available (there often is), then you are on your way.

As I've suggested to Peter, a well designed survey is a powerful research tool.

There are many advantages to a survey approach.

You probably already have enough data on hand w/o having to reinvent the wheel.

Start by making some claims about your beloved 'treatment free' beekeeping.

The questions will write themselves.

There are many research designs that don't require control groups. They use proven statistical techniques to show significance. Also, think of the beekeeping methods that you are using now/today.

Work smarter, not harder. Up and at em. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I believe that there are already two people who i know of who have done this and have reported their results. One of them posts to this forum, the other doesn't. Michael Palmer and Kirk Webster. What do they have to tell us? Again.
As has Mike Bush, who explains his system quite well: http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
But I don't know how long he has been treatment free...has to be several years. This doesn't seem to be enough for some folks however.
Regards,
Steven
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
578 Posts
> I believe that there are already two people who i know of who have done this and have reported their results. One of them posts to this forum, the other doesn't. Michael Palmer and Kirk Webster. What do they have to tell us? Again.

The problem is organisation and presentation as much as actually doing the work. For that matter, many are running IPM and finding they never have to treat, but how do we track that?

Maybe what is needed is to find and collate all the reports to date.

Do the people mentioned have a coherent account published on the web of their progress, or is it in snippets?

I ask because I don't know. Maybe all the data is out there already and just needs to be found and presented, not to say that another such exercise would not be useful.

In my experience, on examining some accounts, and I am not talking about these two, BTW because I just have not looked.

There are, however, some accounts which are disjointed, incomplete and suspect simply due to lack of consistency, or overlaid with theoretical speculation, and there is one oft-mentioned one which has been re-written several times, each time differently with a different slant -- and all the original data and reporting lost, (except somewhere in my personal web archives).

What should make this one different is that it will all be reported real-time, other than the historical summary which I trust our experimenter will write up to show how he got to the starting point.

One pitfall which hopefully this one will avoid is trying to rationalize what is happening. What draws many people into question is not what they accomplish, but how they try to rationalize what is occurring. Empirical data speaks for itself, but when people start trying to prove things, everything tends to get messy.

As an example, I have no problem whatsoever, agreeing that Dee is doing what she says she is doing and that the results are what she says they are, but I doubt we will ever agree on the reasons. The same is true with several others.

Facts are facts and indisputable, but theory is theory and always subject to debate.

As it has been said in irony, "This obviously works every day in the field, but can it possibly work in theory?"
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,229 Posts
Put a # of years treatment-free question in the survey.

Respondents don't have to answer survey questions that don't apply to them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
Allen Dick;505263 Do the people mentioned have a coherent account published on the web of their progress said:
Kirk Websters beekeeping life is well documented in ABJ articles that he has written over the last 5 years or more. Mike's experiences have been told of here and in his many lectures.

Maybe, before Mike gets to busy, if it ain't to late, he can chime in here.

But also, maybe, the questions that are being looked into here aren't the ones that Mike and Kirk have answered, w/ enuf hard data. But, I believe, both Mike and Kirk do keep good detailed records.

What do you say Mike?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
578 Posts
Yeah. As I said, getting all the info together in a concise and digestible form is the real issue.

Also, I seem to recall that Kirk had big losses last winter. Is that correct?

That is not to say that occasional big losses is a condemnation of any particular path, since they come to everyone in the fullness of time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,953 Posts
1. Mike Palmer is not treatment free. Mike is a great beekeeper, Mike is supportive of what we (in the treatment free community) are doing. He can of course speak for himself, but in a nutshell, when he presents at treatment free conferences, his attitude seems to be "if you don't treat, you will lose a lot of bees. You need some way to make up for those losses."....and Mike presents his overwintering nucs techniques (which is very similar to what Kirk does).

2. Kirk had some losses last year but still had a successful season. If you want to make judgements about what his losses were, or how his season turned out, it's probably best to give him a call rather than to speculate here. FWIW, we went to one of yards a few weeks ago, and I don't think we saw a nuc that wasn't alive (out of at least 50).

deknow
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
578 Posts
I don't want to make judgments, merely observations.

I don't see things in black and white. I see everything as interrelated and a continuum.

If Kirk has losses, kirk had losses. I leave it to others to attribute meaning to that or not. I won't bite.

As for treatment-free as a religion, I don't go to that church. I like to think I am a pragmatist and that I make decisions based on a fact-based assessment of the situation rather than on principle.

Principles are necessary to avoid the necessity of starting from scratch in every new situation, but they must constantly be tested against (apparent) reality.
 
1 - 20 of 241 Posts
Top