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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! New to beekeeping. In fact, I don't even have a hive yet...I am starting a top bar hive this spring and am ordering package bees. I'd like to do things the chemical free way but unfortunately, there is zero availability of non-chemically treated bees in my area this season. I have ordered Italian bees elsewhere, although I fear that they won't last long since they aren't a necessarily disease resistant lot (since they were treated with chemicals) Not sure if I'm fretting for nothing, but would it be a terrible idea to requeen a relatively young hive in its first year with a potentially more disease resistant queen who has not been treated?

Any advice would be helpful, I am still learning...
 

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If you are going treatment free, the best thing you can do is get treatment free local queens or nucs, or from what ever climate is as close to yours as possible. And yes you can requeen a young colony. However it is more likely that you will be the cause of a colonies demise in the first year than diseases. The first season has a heavy learning curve. Personally I would not stress about it and concentrate on the learning experiance. If they make it to the second season, than split them and bring in what ever queen you see fit or raise one. If not, you got a good education in bees and beekeeping for the small price of a package, plus you will have drawn comb which is a great help to the next colony.
 

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Agree with above advise. Also, if you do requeen it, allow them to get established and stabilised first, ie allow the queen that comes with the package to lay eggs at least until there is hatching brood. After that you can requeen it with minimal issues.

Also, if the bees you buy are commercial Italians then yes, they will likely have little mite resistance.

Only other concern, you say there are no TF bees near your area, maybe there is a reason for that. Based on a read of Beesource there seem to be some areas where TF beekeeping is not successful as others. Just learn how to recognise the symptoms of too many mites both in adult bees but especially in the brood, keep an eye on the situation, and you could research some of the non residual methods of mite control just in case.
 

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Honestly I wouldn't even worry about it. There's absolutely no guarantees someone else's TF queen will survive anyways. The best thing to do is locally adapt whatever bees you get.
 

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Not sure if I'm fretting for nothing, but would it be a terrible idea to requeen a relatively young hive in its first year with a potentially more disease resistant queen who has not been treated?

Any advice would be helpful, I am still learning...

Like Stew said,

Find a mentor and/or join a beekeeping organization. As far as being worried, maybe a little too much. Don't worry, enjoy your bees. Watch them build up.

Honestly, be prepared for hives to fail. Some will fail, but not all. When they do, keep moving forward. Enjoy and be thankful for each success.

Keep in mind, even treated hives fail.

Shane
 

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Definitely join a local bee club, or two. Don't be dissuaded when the locals try to talk you out of a TBH. I went through it last year when I started mine and they all said I "had to run a Lang hive for 2 years to get the experience to be a real beekeeper". Eventually found a local beekeeper who produced nucs and queens, but never did one for a TBH. He was willing to take 5 of my top bars and put them in his Lang hive to get them started for me. I didn't ask if he was treatment free, but my bees are on my foundationless comb and he had them for only 4 weeks, so I was pretty happy with how things turned out. Now we have a few more people in our club doing trying a TBH. I find them easy, fun, and educational. (and put an observation window in yours, if you haven't already. You won't regret it)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for all of the helpful advice :)

Not sure what route I'll go yet, but I'm leaning towards just working with what I've got...
As far as joining a bee club, I'm a huge introvert and have been in denial about joining one (that means I have to talk to people right? :pinch: ) But I think that I will look for one this week...
 

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Bizzy_bee the clubs are just a big Beesouce. If no more go and listen sooner or later you will as a ? And get 20 answers for 10 beekeeper. Beside it will be good for you.
David
 

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I'm a huge introvert and have been in denial about joining one (that means I have to talk to people right? :pinch: )
Me too! Just go and sit in the back. It's cool to hear things discussed in a 'live' forum. People are asking the things that you are thinking about. I'm in Knox, a few counties over from you. You're welcome here if you can't find one in your county, but I bet that you can!
 
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