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BEEKEEPING LEARNING CENTER => GENERAL BEEKEEPING - MAIN POSTING FORUM. => Topic started by: ParksMtnApiary on December 19, 2019, 07:37:54 pm

Title: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: ParksMtnApiary on December 19, 2019, 07:37:54 pm

I am wanting to start being treatment free beekeeper. I feel that ?man? thinks he knows how to make nature better by changing how nature intended. I feel we have weakened bees natural defenses with chemicals upsetting the homeostasis of hive and making things worse by increasing bee size with today?s foundation. Anyway, I want to begin changing to chemical free, small and/or natural comb. I follow Michael Bush mgmt introducing empty frames with starter sticks or comb. Try to place a few in each hive couple times during flow. Also going to introduce small cell wax foundation as I recycle out old comb. This will take some time to replace all my hives at this pace. How can I keep mite counts down during this long process without treating and tainting my ?new? comb? Any help appreciated....Matt 
Sent from my iPhone
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: The15thMember on December 19, 2019, 08:10:51 pm
I'm only in my second year, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but I also am trying to be as treatment free as possible, and I use no foundation in my hives.  There are plenty of organic treatments available (formic acid, oxalic acid, thymol, etc.) that wouldn't leave residue in your wax.  Perhaps you could treat organically until such a time as you decided to stop treating altogether, if you find your bees are successful enough to stop treating.   
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Ben Framed on December 19, 2019, 08:32:15 pm
I'm only in my second year, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but I also am trying to be as treatment free as possible, and I use no foundation in my hives.  There are plenty of organic treatments available (formic acid, oxalic acid, thymol, etc.) that wouldn't leave residue in your wax.  Perhaps you could treat organically until such a time as you decided to stop treating altogether, if you find your bees are successful enough to stop treating.   

Sound advice Member.
Phillip
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: gww on December 19, 2019, 11:28:06 pm
Pretty new myself.  I have 9 hives right now and am in my forth winter.  I am foundationless due to being a cheapskate and treatment free due to being lazy and not having that bite me in the butt yet.  I agree that oa will not leave residue in your comb if you decide to use it.  If I lived in a place that gave me no choice, I would do what I needed to do to not have to buy any bees.  If you really are worried, you could continually split and just make bees and not honey and probably survive quite well.  I just take whatever honey the bees make extra and try and keep my bees from swarming and they seem to live just fine so far.

My philosophy on the treatment free is that you don't know it will not work till you just try it and see.  I believe others when they say they have tried and it did not work for them.  I will say though, that I have never tried treating  cause my bees have not yet forced me to treat.  They just keep living with out it.

You have to decide if it is worth knowing or not whether your bees will handle it. Only one way to do that and that is to try it and see and take the good with the bad.
Either way, good luck to you.
Cheers
gww
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: FloridaGardener on December 20, 2019, 12:24:20 am
1. Keep feral bees from cutouts. 
2. Or, buy from long-term successful treatment-free beeks only. Michael Bush does sell queens.
3. Choose to live where bees aren?t badly stressed.
4. The healthybeesllc company claims to have a lot science to back their product, but in a way it?s a treatment.  Depends on your definition of treatment.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Michael Bush on December 20, 2019, 01:16:26 pm
From the point of view of keeping the honey organic, formic and oxalic acid are fine.  From the point of view of maintaining the microbes in the hive they are devastating.  The point at which I started having good luck with treatment free after Varroa was when the CORE of the brood nest was small.  That's only about a third or fourth of the actual comb.  It doesn't take that long to get the core reduced.  If you don't mind plastic you can get it immediately with PF120s or PF100s from Mann Lake.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnotreatments.htm
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: ParksMtnApiary on December 20, 2019, 04:59:58 pm
So just use small cell and/or natural for broodnest? Rest of frames standard size? You would recommend plastic over wax foundation?
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Acebird on December 21, 2019, 09:22:41 am
I think with the little experience I have that your success with treatment free will depend on how many hives around you that aren't.  I have never heard of anyone doing both in the same apiary succeeding with treatment free.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Michael Bush on December 21, 2019, 03:01:30 pm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursimplesteps.htm
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: CoolBees on December 21, 2019, 06:02:48 pm
...  I have never heard of anyone doing both in the same apiary succeeding with treatment free.

Randy Oliver keeps both treatment & non-treatment bees in his Apiary. He has written extensively of what he's been accomplishing in hygienic/treatment-free beeking - http://scientificbeekeeping.com
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: CoolBees on December 21, 2019, 07:03:36 pm
Parks - I can't speak for others, I can only share my personal experiences & studies,  some of which may be only relevant to my location.

I chose to be treatment free from the start, as recommended by my beek mentor. In 2015 I captured 2 swarms, split them once each to get 4 hives. All of those hives died by mid 2016. Cause of death was disease(s) due to Varroa.

My studies (compressed) - At this point I began to study bees in depth. Here's what I learned:

The 2 large/commercial beekeepers that I hold in highest esteem are:
Michael Bush - www.bushfarms.com
Randy Oliver - scientificbeekeeping.com

I've read everything on both gentlemens' websites. Well worth the time imho. To my view, both men have arrived at the same place - treetment free genetics - using different paths to get there. Both men offer incredible knowledge on this subject. I highly recommend studying their work.

We are very blessed to have Mr Bush posting here on Beemaster.

Timewise, Randy is well behind (Mr Bush) - and only has part of his Apiary TF currently.

I read somewhere - that India made a government decision not to treat when Varroa hit the country. They suffered a 96% to 99% loss of their bees. However, within 2 years their entire country was back to full production capacity. See - only the bees that were able to survive, were left to breed colonies from. India has never allowed treetment, as I understand it - and doesn't need it.

Africa did not treat their bees when varroa hit - with similar results to India.

In 2017 (I think it was) Randy Oliver tested (via alcohol wash) all of his 1000 commercial hives. He found 20 hives that did not require treetment - that's 2% of his total apiary. He immediately began to use those hives/queens as breeders & drone producers. Last I heard, he had 200+/- treetment free hives (and growing) in his Apiary, and intends on being 100% TF eventually.

The one difference with Randy Oliver's approach that I observed, was that he chose to keep his remaining hives alive via treetments, as he grew his TF apiary.

So, to my view & studies, there are 2 main approaches to achieving a totally TF apiary:

1) buy or capture a large number of hives & go TF immediately. Create your queens and new replacement hives from the ones that survive. Don't be at all suprised if you experience losses from 70% up to 99% (maybe 100%) in the first 2 years.

Or

2) start with a smaller qty of hives. Monitor mite counts via alcohol wash. Treat the hives that are going to fail - they will give you honey, wax, pollen, and bees for use with you other hives. Create queens from your lowest Mite count hives - until the day comes that you apiary self sustainable and 100% TF.

Small/Natural Cell size & clean comb (foundationless) definitely can't hurt the likelyhood of success in either one of the options listed - they will probably greatly increase your chances of success.

Back to my story - In Feb 2018 I got more bees. I chose the 2nd option this time - so that I don't spend all year "hoping & wondering" if I'll have bees next year. I currently have 10 hives, all from captured swarms & resulting splits. They are doing good. Right now, I seem to be observing an improvement in mite counts, and overall health of my hives - not because of treatments, but because of genetic selection. It will be a long process - but I'm not going anywhere, so we'll see ...

Note 1: some people have gone totally TF in one shot and their bees are still surviving - I completely believe them. That absolutely did NOT work for me, and many others also.

Note 2: when you raise daughter queens from successful TF mothers, the daughters will have offspring with [potentially] only 1/4 TF genetics - unless you can control the drones that your queens breed with. So if you can't control the drones, it may take longer to achieve true TF.

Note 3: I treat with OAV - only when/if needed, and nothing else.

I only post all of this in the hope that it will help someone.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Ben Framed on December 21, 2019, 08:23:04 pm
Great post Alan. Thanks for sharing your studies.
Phillip
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: ParksMtnApiary on December 22, 2019, 12:07:22 am
Thank you Cool Bees. I do follow Bush and started looking into Oliver. I?m running just under 20 colonies now through winter. Ended fall with 25 but condensed my weaker ones. Grew up working bees with Dad as kid then took 30 yr break lol. Starting back into it and boy have things changed. The mites are new to me and I have been researching quite a bit. Really liking Mr Bush's? take on beekeeping mgmt. Only started back bout 2 yrs ago with 2 colonies from local beek I had been shadowing. Next yrs got 10 colonies from Kansas beek. First yr the 2 single deeps became 2 double deeps and 2 double nucs. Lost 1 nuc over winter. Had treated with OA drip end of flow. 2nd yr bought the 10 from Kansas and did not treat. Also started doing foundationless this yr. Will see what I have left this spring and begin rotating in more foundationless and start rotating in small cell. Also do some alcohol washes to see what mite counts are to find best colonies to choose donor eggs/queens for splits. Mite counts were relatively low last yr from all the splits I did disrupting brood cycles I believe. Anyway, we?ll see how it goes. Thank you all for your input
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: CoolBees on December 22, 2019, 12:26:03 am
No worries Parks. My highest respect goes to Mr. Bush.

I started to go foundationless in 2018. Unfortunately I had a lot of foundation frames by then. I'm at about 80% foundationless now. So it's taking a while. The transition should be complete by the end of 2020. I switched almost all my gear to mediums. I do have 10 frame (I'll probably sell those in the future as complete hives), 8 frame, 5 frame (nucs), equipment. Standard frame size is just a no-brainer.

Sounds like you've got a really solid starting position. Glad to have you here on beemaster. Hopefully we will both be able to claim "completely treatment free" in the near future.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: ParksMtnApiary on December 22, 2019, 01:48:35 am
I?m working on getting everything to medium also. Would make things easier 😜
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: van from Arkansas on December 22, 2019, 09:38:28 am
: I read Cool - that India made a government decision not to treat when Varroa hit the country. They suffered a 96% to 99% loss of their bees. However, within 2 years their entire country was back to full production capacity. See - only the bees that were able to survive, were left to breed colonies from. India has never allowed treetment, as I understand it - and doesn't need it.

Mr. Cool, I have no doubt you read above.  I?m confused!   India has cerana species of honey bee.  Cerana is the original host of Varroa and adapted long ago, maybe 1,000 years, who knows, to live with Varroa.  Varroa made a species jump to our common Italian.  Cerana does not cross breed with out Italians or put another way, when the two species cross breed the offspring is not viable.       Maybe India imported and tried to breed Italians and this  is to what you refer?  Like I said, I am confused, but understand I believe you indeed read an article.  It?s the article that confuses me?

Africian honey bee is somewhat tolerant to Varroa also.  I?m not talking the africian cape honey bee rather the sculotta [sp]. strain, the very mean killer bee strain. 

Best to your bees, Cool, May we both have treatment free bees one day.  Lithium looks very promising.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Acebird on December 22, 2019, 10:13:56 am
...  I have never heard of anyone doing both in the same apiary succeeding with treatment free.

Randy Oliver keeps both treatment & non-treatment bees in his Apiary.
Do you have an article that confirms that?  Everything that I have read is that he is treatment free until he isn't.  He favors treating bees.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Ben Framed on December 22, 2019, 10:39:09 am
...  I have never heard of anyone doing both in the same apiary succeeding with treatment free.

Randy Oliver keeps both treatment & non-treatment bees in his Apiary.
Do you have an article that confirms that?  Everything that I have read is that he is treatment free until he isn't.  He favors treating bees.

I do not know the answer Ace and I am not trying to answer,  you ask Cool for the article.
I would like to say that Mr Oliver seems to be an open minded, un-bios minded person as for the idea of treating or not treating bees.  As far as organic treatments oxalic and formic pointed out by Mr Bush,  I have read some of Mr Oliver?s articles on experimentation and the different uses of organic treatment methods, successfully accomplishing the use of these organic methods. Refined the methods if you will. There seems to be some confusion or discrepancies about the situation in India as Mr Van pointed out. Making a very good point and one that clarification is desired. This subject is very interesting.
Phillip
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Ben Framed on December 22, 2019, 10:45:40 am
Let me add, let us not over look the very last short but very important statement Mr Van stated in his last post (Lithium looks very promising.). This certainly should raise some eyebrows of excitement to each of us! Thank you Mr Van
Phillip




.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: CoolBees on December 22, 2019, 02:44:38 pm
...  I have never heard of anyone doing both in the same apiary succeeding with treatment free.

Randy Oliver keeps both treatment & non-treatment bees in his Apiary.
Do you have an article that confirms that?  Everything that I have read is that he is treatment free until he isn't.  He favors treating bees.

The only articles I have on this are Mr Oliver's own writings:

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/selective-breeding-for-mite-resistance-walking-the-walk/

More articles found here ...

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/articles-by-publication-date/
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: CoolBees on December 22, 2019, 02:51:44 pm
: I read Cool - that India made a government decision not to treat when Varroa hit the country. They suffered a 96% to 99% loss of their bees. However, within 2 years their entire country was back to full production capacity. See - only the bees that were able to survive, were left to breed colonies from. India has never allowed treetment, as I understand it - and doesn't need it.

Mr. Cool, I have no doubt you read above.  I?m confused!   India has cerana species of honey bee.  Cerana is the original host of Varroa and adapted long ago, maybe 1,000 years, who knows, to live with Varroa.  Varroa made a species jump to our common Italian.  Cerana does not cross breed with out Italians or put another way, when the two species cross breed the offspring is not viable.       Maybe India imported and tried to breed Italians and this  is to what you refer?  Like I said, I am confused, but understand I believe you indeed read an article.  It?s the article that confuses me?

Africian honey bee is somewhat tolerant to Varroa also.  I?m not talking the africian cape honey bee rather the sculotta [sp]. strain, the very mean killer bee strain. 

Best to your bees, Cool, May we both have treatment free bees one day.  Lithium looks very promising.

Mr Van - now you've got me scratching my head. Where did I read that? ... with what you (correctly) point out - it doesn't make sense.

I'm traveling right now - which allows me more time to post, but I have to operate off my memory. If I was home I'd begin tearing thru articles trying to source that statement. Hopefully it's not my memory slipping  :cheesy: :cheesy: :embarassed: I'll try to find the source when I get home again. ... Definitely sounds like my statement about India needs correction though, whether memory or source  - apologies.  :smile:
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Ben Framed on December 22, 2019, 11:48:55 pm
Alan you have always given good information here. I have no doubt that you read about your statement concerning mites and India at some time and point. The statement about India sounded viable and even I commented on your good post. Mr Van brought to light information that you might not have read in the article. Perhaps said information may not have even been in that article or articles for you to read, concerning the different strains of bees present in India. If that is the case, it is certainly no fault of yours for as to any discrepancies that may have come to light. Even if the information was in the article or articles that you read, and possibly missed, you own no apologies as far as I am concerned. I have no doubt that you posted in good faith. The worst a honest man can do is make a honest mistake. However, I'm just not so sure that you made a mistake or forgot anything because of reasons just stated. But in either case, I have confidence in you Sir. This is a good topic and we are all learning from it. Wouldn't you agree?
Blessings, 
Phillip
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: yes2matt on December 23, 2019, 02:15:33 pm

I am wanting to start being treatment free beekeeper. I feel that ?man? thinks he knows how to make nature better by changing how nature intended. I feel we have weakened bees natural defenses with chemicals upsetting the homeostasis of hive and making things worse by increasing bee size with today?s foundation. Anyway, I want to begin changing to chemical free, small and/or natural comb. I follow Michael Bush mgmt introducing empty frames with starter sticks or comb. Try to place a few in each hive couple times during flow. Also going to introduce small cell wax foundation as I recycle out old comb. This will take some time to replace all my hives at this pace. How can I keep mite counts down during this long process without treating and tainting my ?new? comb? Any help appreciated....Matt 
Sent from my iPhone
Hi Matt

I'm in Charlotte NC surrounded by miticide dependent operations. I keep about 20 colonies (intend some increase in 2020) in three locations. I don't use miticides and have not for four years.

I am successful to the degree that my over-winter survival is as good or better than folks around me and I make increase every year with honey and bees to sell.

I take a beating, though, on my honey production on a per-hive basis. Part of that is because of swarm management choices but a lot of it is because my fall and winter bees are spending a lot of energy battling pests that they could be getting fat and happy. So my spring clusters are small and a generation or two behind the other guys' bees that got OAV in September and November.   I try to make up for it by stealing brood from several hives to feed into one production hive. It works, but I still make less honey than if I had more, healthier bees.

I would recommend to find a TF queen producer local to you, make a purchase, and start a conversation about how that particular line of bees is best managed in your area.

Sent from my SM-J737P using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Acebird on December 24, 2019, 09:38:32 am
I am successful to the degree that my over-winter survival is as good or better than folks around me and I make increase every year with honey and bees to sell.
Unless you have hundreds of hives if you sell bees then your honey production will be less.  I didn't sell bees so all the honey they collected for making more bees I got.
Personally if you desire honey then I think it is a mistake for a new beekeeper to take the honey early on.  It requires multiple hives to make a lot of honey.  So initially the focus should be on expansion.  Some do it with sugar.  I believe that results in a weaker bee and the failure will be blamed on varroa.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: yes2matt on December 24, 2019, 11:05:38 am


Quote from: Acebird link=topic=53117.msg478293#msg478293
Unless you have hundreds of hives if you sell bees then your honey production will be less.  I didn't sell bees so all the honey they collected for making more bees I got.
Personally if you desire honey then I think it is a mistake for a new beekeeper to take the honey early on.  It requires multiple hives to make a lot of honey.  So initially the focus should be on expansion.  Some do it with sugar.  I believe that results in a weaker bee and the failure will be blamed on varroa.

Sell a couple nucs pays for a trip to BeeFest. :)

You're right though that a slow easy expansion would be healthier for both bees and beek. :)

My point was that yes, you can, keep bees without icaricides even surrounded by traditionally managed colonies.

Sent from my SM-J737P using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: CoolBees on December 24, 2019, 03:01:37 pm
Phillip, I certainly did not mean to pass along false information.  It was quite unintentional, and just shows how little I know about bees still. ... I did read that info somewhere, and it is obviously "bunk", as Apis Cerana and Varroa both originated in India.   

Mr Van - many thanks for pointing out the error.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: CoolBees on December 24, 2019, 03:04:46 pm
Hi Matt

I'm in Charlotte NC surrounded by miticide dependent operations. I keep about 20 colonies (intend some increase in 2020) in three locations. I don't use miticides and have not for four years.

I am successful to the degree that my over-winter survival is as good or better than folks around me and I make increase every year with honey and bees to sell.

I take a beating, though, on my honey production on a per-hive basis. Part of that is because of swarm management choices but a lot of it is because my fall and winter bees are spending a lot of energy battling pests that they could be getting fat and happy. So my spring clusters are small and a generation or two behind the other guys' bees that got OAV in September and November.   I try to make up for it by stealing brood from several hives to feed into one production hive. It works, but I still make less honey than if I had more, healthier bees.

I would recommend to find a TF queen producer local to you, make a purchase, and start a conversation about how that particular line of bees is best managed in your area.

Sent from my SM-J737P using Tapatalk

Yes2matt: thank you for posting your valuable information. I have a question regarding your beekeeping - are you using small cell and/or natural cell size in your apiary?  Or are you using normal foundation?
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: yes2matt on December 24, 2019, 03:51:02 pm
Hi Matt

I'm in Charlotte NC surrounded by miticide dependent operations. I keep about 20 colonies (intend some increase in 2020) in three locations. I don't use miticides and have not for four years.

I am successful to the degree that my over-winter survival is as good or better than folks around me and I make increase every year with honey and bees to sell.

I take a beating, though, on my honey production on a per-hive basis. Part of that is because of swarm management choices but a lot of it is because my fall and winter bees are spending a lot of energy battling pests that they could be getting fat and happy. So my spring clusters are small and a generation or two behind the other guys' bees that got OAV in September and November.   I try to make up for it by stealing brood from several hives to feed into one production hive. It works, but I still make less honey than if I had more, healthier bees.

I would recommend to find a TF queen producer local to you, make a purchase, and start a conversation about how that particular line of bees is best managed in your area.

Sent from my SM-J737P using Tapatalk

Yes2matt: thank you for posting your valuable information. I have a question regarding your beekeeping - are you using small cell and/or natural cell size in your apiary?  Or are you using normal foundation?
Foundation is like a dollar a frame. I put 50lb fish line thru the holes in the frame ends, tighten to "ukulele" and secure with thumbtacks. The bees draw down thru it no problem, and as long as I put new frame between two drawn frames the bees draw straight. A good use for nucs (steal a frame of capped brood, replace with a blank)!

Someone pointed out (I hadn't noticed) that my bees are smaller than average. 

Sent from my SM-J737P using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: paus on December 24, 2019, 04:18:41 pm
I use all natural comb from my bees. I use skewers in place of foundation or wire, it works and the bees like it better than any kind of foundation.   Most of my bees are of smaller Italian descent from their looks but there are smaller black bees around that come to my feeders.  In the spring I catch or remove swarms and one friend that was helping noticed what I saw, as the norm, " These bees are a lot bigger than your bees".  Yes they are swarms from commercial hives near by actually several miles from my yards. I do not mix these bees for up two years.I have no proof nor can I find any but I think smaller bees resist mites better than larger bees.  This statement may open a can of worms.  The smaller bees are more protective, and my observation is they make more honey.  Probably because of my management practices, or lack thereof.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: CoolBees on December 25, 2019, 04:21:24 am
Foundation is like a dollar a frame. I put 50lb fish line thru the holes in the frame ends, tighten to "ukulele" and secure with thumbtacks. The bees draw down thru it no problem, and as long as I put new frame between two drawn frames the bees draw straight. A good use for nucs (steal a frame of capped brood, replace with a blank)!

Someone pointed out (I hadn't noticed) that my bees are smaller than average. 

Sent from my SM-J737P using Tapatalk

Thanks yes2matt for answering. That helps. I figured as much, but it helps fill in the blanks for me.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Seeb on January 11, 2020, 09:13:22 am
I would recommend to find a TF queen producer local to you, make a purchase, and start a conversation about how that particular line of bees is best managed in your area.

Matt, would you tell who you buy your TF Queens from? I'm in NC
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: yes2matt on January 11, 2020, 10:02:42 am
I would recommend to find a TF queen producer local to you, make a purchase, and start a conversation about how that particular line of bees is best managed in your area.

Matt, would you tell who you buy your TF Queens from? I'm in NC

Call Keith at BeezNeedz in Sophia, ask for "Waynes bees."  Mine are descendants from those.  I should probably add a couple this year myself, I've had a genetic bottleneck more than once (whole generation daughters of one Q)
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: FatherMichael on January 11, 2020, 08:28:44 pm
My bid for reducing mites is first to buy "Texan" bees from The Bee Place near San Antonio.  Pretty sure South Texas Bees are Africanized.  They are known to be "hot".  Will get two nucs this spring for the new apiary site.

Dr. Thomas Seely of Cornell has done DNA testing on bees from Upstate New York to determine that they have African genes, which allowed them to survive Varroa infestation that killed off many colonies in the wild.

Then second, I'll use the oxalic shop towel method and Mite Away Quick Strips.

I once had two cotton farmers in my church who had diametrically opposing strategies.  One wanted to reduce the cost of production; so, he planted his seed and left it alone except for a couple of "workers" that hoed.  The other said he wanted his crop to have every horticultural advantage possible.  He poured on the chemicals and ran his tractors non-stop.  Both made a good living.

I want to make honey for sale so my wife and I can travel in our retirement.  But I am glad about smart, young beeks that will find an answer to the mite problem.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Ben Framed on January 11, 2020, 09:55:14 pm
Quote
''But I am glad about smart, young beeks that will find an answer to the mite problem.''

I agree, let us be reminded. Mr Van, in another topic, mentioned lithium as a possible mite fighter. I am thinking we would all do well to listen closely to Mr. Van and see what this approach may hold.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: CoolBees on January 11, 2020, 10:02:24 pm

... I am glad about smart, young beeks that will find an answer to the mite problem.

Who says we're young?!  :grin: :cheesy: :cheesy: :cheesy: :cool: :cheesy:

I hope to find that answer someday - cheers!
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Ben Framed on January 11, 2020, 10:07:13 pm

... I am glad about smart, young beeks that will find an answer to the mite problem.

Who says we're young?!  :grin: :cheesy: :cheesy: :cheesy: :cool: :cheesy:

I hope to find that answer someday - cheers!

That's the spirit Alan! Let us keep on plugging!!
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Seeb on January 11, 2020, 10:46:55 pm
Thanks so much Matt
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: BAHBEEs on January 13, 2020, 05:05:47 pm
I use nothing but OAV.  I use it any time I know there is no brood.  I have never had to use it in an emergency "the mites are winning" situation, I think because of what I started the post with...anytime they are brood free.  There is still another month max left of that, and they will be brood building for spring.

Do I consider OAV treatment?  Not really.  To me it is treatment only in the same way that soap is treatment for humans.  We can tolerate it but microbes cannot. 

My view -

It doesn't harm bees. it is naturally in the hive anyway, and it does not stay in the honey.

I suppose in the absence of Varroa, nothing would be better...but we all have some Varroa.

When we get to the point that I ma not having to start a breeding program from scratch to get bees that have no Varroa...OVA it is.

Barry
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: jvalentour on January 14, 2020, 01:27:15 am
The use of Formic acid and OAV is a treatment.  It puts chemicals into the hive.
I don't consider treatment free when you use FA or OAV.  Who would?
You are putting concentrations of the above in your hive that are not found in nature.
I use OAV, I do not consider my management treatment free.
You must remove the honey from the hive if you wish to harvest it when you use OAV.  To say it's not a chemical treatment is wishful thinking.

I'd like to see something more than anecdotal about feral/wild bees.  I doubt bees in the US can live without human intervention.  If there is some research out there I'd love to see it.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: yes2matt on January 14, 2020, 06:50:18 am


I'd like to see something more than anecdotal about feral/wild bees.  I doubt bees in the US can live without human intervention.  If there is some research out there I'd love to see it.

Local dude likes to talk his bees up as "organic " because he only uses organic acids.   Ok, buddy.

Feral colonies:  buy me this book and I'll let you borrow it :  https://g.co/kgs/hPWHjb
I tend to agree with you, but helped a friend do a cut out on an old barn, he was pretty sure they'd been there for five years (same colony continuously? Who knows?) But they were healthy happy untouched bees.

You can get a lot of Seeley's work on google scholar, but you have to do some hunting and clicking. Example at this link, you can read the abstract and DL the article pdf from a link at the bottom.
https://www.apidologie.org/articles/apido/abs/2007/01/m6063/m6063.html

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Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: BAHBEEs on January 14, 2020, 10:35:08 am
Note I said I have never done am emergency OAV treatment...thus no I have never removed honey of a treatment.  I only do it two times.  Dead of winter when broodless, or 3 days after package installation. (again still no capped brood).  so by that standard, my honey is unaffected.

Are the bees affected? Sure!!

Try this,
I started spring of 18 with one hive, split it, both made winter while many around me died.  One swarmed in spring but I caught it, and also bought a new package.  I then adopted 3 hives from an old guy, and finally split a hive.  All but one are still chugging along (one of the adopted hives ended up with a bad hive beetle problem and vacated).  I have 4 on order for spring and have a number of spare hives ready anticipating swarm season.

What do I think makes the difference between my hives and those around me?  I feed them till they will not take more in late fall, and I OVA them in winter.  That is all. One assures they are well nourished.  the other that they are not dealing with viruses, by nailing the Varroa.

I would agree that it is likely that they would not last in the wild without us.  They are after all not native to this place.  It could be easily argued that they do harm by pushing out the native species...except we  are killing those off at a ferocious rate.

If someone isolates magic bees one day I will be 1st in line.  Till then.  I have healthy bees.  End of Story for me.

Barry
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: gww on January 14, 2020, 11:29:02 am
jav.........
Quote
I'd like to see something more than anecdotal about feral/wild bees.  I doubt bees in the US can live without human intervention.  If there is some research out there I'd love to see it.
All I know is that I am in my fourth winter and I have only had one hive die over winter.  I have had two hives die over this time (one because I messed up some how when taking a bunch of bees from it in july to give somebody with a queen).   I do not give brood breaks or destroy drone brood or do anything else as a mite control.  I have given syrup in fall in all years but this one.  We will see come spring but so far so good.  I do not discount others experiences when they say they can not do this but still find it hard to believe it is impossible when comparing to my experience because it has been possible for me for the last four years with bees.

I figure it is just as anecdotal when some body tells me that their bees will not live with out treatments as it is when I say that mine are living with out treatment.  I know what I know so far.
Cheers
gww
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: yes2matt on January 14, 2020, 11:37:53 am
Barry,

Within the  treatment free, chemical free beekeeping  community, there is some disagreement about what constitutes "treatment " .. a point of contention is whether feeding sugar syrup is a treatment,  another disagreement is whether making splits outside of swarm season is an artificial brood break and should be considered a treatment. Some people think that mechanical aids like beetle traps are not a treatment,  but most people agree that it is.

However, there is almost no disagreement that OAV, since it is an icaricide artificially introduced into the hive to kill mites, is a treatment.

And since OP asked about "becoming treatment free," that's why the answers have tended in that direction.

There are no "magic" bees but there are good bees and good methods. And some folks with a lot more years than me keeping without chemical interventions.

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Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Ben Framed on January 14, 2020, 11:38:35 am
Barry,  beside ridding of mites, in what way are your bees affected?
Quoting
Note I said I have never done am emergency OAV treatment...thus no I have never removed honey of a treatment.  I only do it two times.  Dead of winter when broodless, or 3 days after package installation. (again still no capped brood).  so by that standard, my honey is unaffected.

Are the bees affected? Sure!!
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: jvalentour on January 14, 2020, 11:48:13 am
gww,
I was implying of a feral/wild survey over a large area of space.
I read about one several years ago but the author dropped off the map.
He counted feral hives in a specific geographical over several years.  The area was remote.
I'd be interested in something university sponsored over many years.

I am glad for your success.  I don't doubt your word.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: cao on January 14, 2020, 11:52:57 am
I figure it is just as anecdotal when some body tells me that their bees will not live with out treatments as it is when I say that mine are living with out treatment.  I know what I know so far.
Cheers
gww

gww, I am right there with you.  I have a few more years than you, a few more hives than you and a few more losses than you but have not treated yet.

        7+ years, close to 80 hives, my losses tend to be around 10-20%


Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: paus on January 14, 2020, 11:57:07 am
Treatment free, I thought I was TF until the preceding post.  Then I thought a hive tool applied to a SHB is a treatment.  So maybe we should say no chemicals that are not found naturally.  Oxalic Acid is very common in nature, many plants have enough OA to poison sheep and cattle.  This can go on and on and on.  Ain't it fun?
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: yes2matt on January 14, 2020, 11:57:48 am
gww,
I was implying of a feral/wild survey over a large area of space.
I read about one several years ago but the author dropped off the map.
He counted feral hives in a specific geographical over several years.  The area was remote.
I'd be interested in something university sponsored over many years.

I am glad for your success.  I don't doubt your word.
That's that book I linked to: Tom Seeley's study of feral colonies in the Arnot Forest

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Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: gww on January 14, 2020, 12:06:40 pm
cao
I am at nine hives down from ten due to a fall beekeeper error loss this fall.  My losses (knock on wood) are a bit lower then yours and we are not to april yet and so that might change.  I have not worked on increasing hive numbers but have sold a couple of splits from the hives.  I have worked on trying to keep swarming down due to getting to ten hives from three due to a very swarmy first year.

jv
I did see a couple of those older studies.  This is just my belief and not from a study but here goes.  I believe that there is probably a decent feral population in most places that have home spots for bees to take up.  I base this belief on the ideal that nature mostly over breeds and keeps such areas full even with high death rate.  So if a place like the arnet forest that only has so many nest sites for bees and most of those being full and then the bees swarming often, it creates a 75 percent loss of the swarms issued but yet the population seems to stay stable.  So it is not that bees do not die but more that bees reproduce very well.
Not saying I know anything just my guess from reading alot.
Cheers
gww

ps Paus-  If you are a beekeeper, you manage hives.  Mites are new.  You can manage hives and did before mites.  If you are managing mites instead of managing bees, you are probably not treatment free.  Just because you manage bees like has always been done, it would make you a beekeeper and not a mite treater.  Common sense dictates that you manage hives to get something for yourself and not for the bees.  Common sense says you would feed your bees in extra ordinary situations or if a drought hit after you took their honey.  This has nothing to really do with mites and is the difference of having bees in a tree in the back yard compared to having bees in something that allows you to get something from them over and over.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: paus on January 14, 2020, 04:12:31 pm
Well said GWW  I got my first bees about 70 years ago.  I was a "Bee Haver" I lost all my hives when I went to service. Knowing what I know now I probably would have lost them any way.  I use DSBB with an oil pan and screened top board with a cloth and sawdust or shavings, about 1 1/2 inches deep same as a quilt.  Thanks to Jim I left the shavings in last summer good Idea.  I did not see bees bearding even on the hottest days.  I have been through several hives last week and never saw any SHB or mold.  There is an advantage to having less than 20/20 vision. I never see mites, hopefully they fell into the oil pan. A hive tool applied to a SHB is treatment as well as the oil pan ,  SOOOO I am not treatment free.  There is no line for treatment and treatment free, it is the degree of treatment we deem best for our situation.  There I go getting philosophical.  I heard that some men were philosophers and others married sweet wives.  I also that philosophers were stupid, witness the last statement.     Thanks to Jim I left the shavings in all summer and I never saw any bearding, or any mildew in hives in the last two winters.  Thanks for this info.                         
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: BAHBEEs on January 14, 2020, 04:18:16 pm
Folks, you need to step back a moment.  You guys are feeling altogether too good about yourselves and the impact of beekeeping.

There are no Honey Bees native to NA.  Europeans brought them here.

They are all invasive, so this nonsense about keeping bees to help nature and all that is horse hockey.  We keep bees to have honey.  If you want to help the environment leave honey bees alone and build native bee habitats.  Any Feral Honeybee hive is in direct competition with the native bees in the area, and thus the exact opposite of helpful.

Beekeeping is farming...well closer to ranching...with a species not meant to live here. 

If you want to fool yourself that you are a saint helping out the environment (and BTW that is the field I actually work in), well you are indeed fooling yourself.  If anything the practice of keeping bees harms the native bees. 

Sorry, but these are just facts.  I keep bees in spite of these facts because I deeply value honey.  The bees are simply a means to an end.  And thus I give them any reasonable and natural advantage...as Oxalic acid is quite common in nature and is naturally found in a beehive anyway...judge and farm as you will, but do it with clear vision of what we are doing.  I suppose more importantly understand what we are not doing...wearing some white hat come to rescue nature.

Barry
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: gww on January 14, 2020, 05:34:21 pm
BAHBEES
By your reasoning, even man is not native cause this is not where the species originated.  I keep hearing something about the bering strait.  I didn't see anyone getting on their high horse or saying they were saving the world in this thread and so missed the need of the point you are making.  I do agree that most keep bees for what bees give them rather then just set up habitat like you would with a blue bird nest.  I thought most of this thread was based on how to raise bees with out resorting to having to do something about mites and also if that was possible.
Cheers
gww

Ps Paus-  I can not see eggs either and can only see small larva if I find big and work backwards.  I can relate.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Ben Framed on January 15, 2020, 12:18:57 am
Folks, you need to step back a moment.  You guys are feeling altogether too good about yourselves and the impact of beekeeping.

There are no Honey Bees native to NA.  Europeans brought them here.

They are all invasive, so this nonsense about keeping bees to help nature and all that is horse hockey.  We keep bees to have honey.  If you want to help the environment leave honey bees alone and build native bee habitats.  Any Feral Honeybee hive is in direct competition with the native bees in the area, and thus the exact opposite of helpful.

Beekeeping is farming...well closer to ranching...with a species not meant to live here. 

If you want to fool yourself that you are a saint helping out the environment (and BTW that is the field I actually work in), well you are indeed fooling yourself.  If anything the practice of keeping bees harms the native bees. 

Sorry, but these are just facts.  I keep bees in spite of these facts because I deeply value honey.  The bees are simply a means to an end.  And thus I give them any reasonable and natural advantage...as Oxalic acid is quite common in nature and is naturally found in a beehive anyway...judge and farm as you will, but do it with clear vision of what we are doing.  I suppose more importantly understand what we are not doing...wearing some white hat come to rescue nature.

Barry

BAHBEES
By your reasoning, even man is not native cause this is not where the species originated.  I keep hearing something about the bering strait.  I didn't see anyone getting on their high horse or saying they were saving the world in this thread and so missed the need of the point you are making.  I do agree that most keep bees for what bees give them rather then just set up habitat like you would with a blue bird nest.  I thought most of this thread was based on how to raise bees with out resorting to having to do something about mites and also if that was possible.
Cheers
gww

Ps Paus-  I can not see eggs either and can only see small larva if I find big and work backwards.  I can relate.

I agree gww. I did not see any sign of anyone here that seemed to feel to good about themselves, trying to get on a high horse, or wear a white hat, try to save the world, show signs arrogance, or an indication of a high opinion of oneself up until a certain post. Up until then I read good solid discussion and reasoning from each poster.  I think I understand what you tretment free folks are talking about, as Paus said and I agree. Treatment means some type of chemistarty compound added to the hive, either inorganic or organic for that matter. Is this correct non treaters?

One of our posters said, "Beekeeping is farming...well closer to ranching...with a species not meant to live here."
OK let's look at the farming and ranching here in North America. What is native to this continent which is essential to the farm industry?
Let's look at cotton. Originally from India, (Soybeans - China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Russia), (Almonds- Western Asia gets the credit.), (Watermelon- West Africa), (Buckwheat- Asia.), On and on we could go at the plants and such which  All are important to our farm industry. Money for a strong economy. Food to feed hungry people as well as livestock.  Should the Honey Bee not earn the same respect?

Let's look at livestock starting with ranching here in America; Beef and Dairy Cattle- (Asia and Europe), Sheep-(Asia) I do not know much about goats, tame rabbits, chickens.  Let's share and learn together in our beekeeping section having fun doing so. 
Blessings



.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: jvalentour on January 15, 2020, 12:23:04 am
Bahbee, be a good chap and fetch the horse.  And be quick about it man.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: jvalentour on January 15, 2020, 12:28:48 am
paus:
Treatment free, I thought I was TF until the preceding post.  Then I thought a hive tool applied to a SHB is a treatment.


THAT was funny.  Thanks paus.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Ben Framed on January 15, 2020, 12:35:50 am
paus:
Treatment free, I thought I was TF until the preceding post.  Then I thought a hive tool applied to a SHB is a treatment.


THAT was funny.  Thanks paus.

X-2 . lol .  :grin:
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: BAHBEEs on January 15, 2020, 10:39:59 am
Bahbee, be a good chap and fetch the horse.  And be quick about it man.

How bout that.

I got something you can fetch, but moderators wouldn't appreciate. 
 

One added to the no need to communicate with list.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: BAHBEEs on January 15, 2020, 10:46:53 am
The point simply was that little to nothing we do in beekeeping is "natural" so there seems to be a ....  logical limit to how far to take this all natural argument. 

Heck there is very little natural about how we put them in variable sized houses and constantly change the size to "manage" them.  If one was going to play the all natural game it could be taken to some quite silly extents.

And while many have not waxed happy about how green they thought they where being, I have seen that feeling aired on the website so, it is what it is, but folks do need to understand exactly what honey bees are and are not.

Excuse the prior attempts at light hearted humor.  It seems senses of humor are rarer every day.

Barry

Folks, you need to step back a moment.  You guys are feeling altogether too good about yourselves and the impact of beekeeping.

There are no Honey Bees native to NA.  Europeans brought them here.

They are all invasive, so this nonsense about keeping bees to help nature and all that is horse hockey.  We keep bees to have honey.  If you want to help the environment leave honey bees alone and build native bee habitats.  Any Feral Honeybee hive is in direct competition with the native bees in the area, and thus the exact opposite of helpful.

Beekeeping is farming...well closer to ranching...with a species not meant to live here. 

If you want to fool yourself that you are a saint helping out the environment (and BTW that is the field I actually work in), well you are indeed fooling yourself.  If anything the practice of keeping bees harms the native bees. 

Sorry, but these are just facts.  I keep bees in spite of these facts because I deeply value honey.  The bees are simply a means to an end.  And thus I give them any reasonable and natural advantage...as Oxalic acid is quite common in nature and is naturally found in a beehive anyway...judge and farm as you will, but do it with clear vision of what we are doing.  I suppose more importantly understand what we are not doing...wearing some white hat come to rescue nature.

Barry

BAHBEES
By your reasoning, even man is not native cause this is not where the species originated.  I keep hearing something about the bering strait.  I didn't see anyone getting on their high horse or saying they were saving the world in this thread and so missed the need of the point you are making.  I do agree that most keep bees for what bees give them rather then just set up habitat like you would with a blue bird nest.  I thought most of this thread was based on how to raise bees with out resorting to having to do something about mites and also if that was possible.
Cheers
gww

Ps Paus-  I can not see eggs either and can only see small larva if I find big and work backwards.  I can relate.

I agree gww. I did not see any sign of anyone here that seemed to feel to good about themselves, trying to get on a high horse, or wear a white hat, try to save the world, show signs arrogance, or an indication of a high opinion of oneself up until a certain post. Up until then I read good solid discussion and reasoning from each poster.  I think I understand what you tretment free folks are talking about, as Paus said and I agree. Treatment means some type of chemistarty compound added to the hive, either inorganic or organic for that matter. Is this correct non treaters?

One of our posters said, "Beekeeping is farming...well closer to ranching...with a species not meant to live here."
OK let's look at the farming and ranching here in North America. What is native to this continent which is essential to the farm industry?
Let's look at cotton. Originally from India, (Soybeans - China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Russia), (Almonds- Western Asia gets the credit.), (Watermelon- West Africa), (Buckwheat- Asia.), On and on we could go at the plants and such which  All are important to our farm industry. Money for a strong economy. Food to feed hungry people as well as livestock.  Should the Honey Bee not earn the same respect?

Let's look at livestock starting with ranching here in America; Beef and Dairy Cattle- (Asia and Europe), Sheep-(Asia) I do not know much about goats, tame rabbits, chickens.  Let's share and learn together in our beekeeping section having fun doing so. 
Blessings



.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Ben Framed on January 15, 2020, 11:13:41 am
Excuse the prior attempts at light hearted humor.  It seems senses of humor are rarer every day.

Barry


Yes Berry It certainly does. J has a good one. I think J was only kidding with you in a light hearted way. My advice is don't take him wrong, Use your sense of humor.


Bahbee, be a good chap and fetch the horse.  And be quick about it man.

How bout that.

I got something you can fetch, but moderators wouldn't appreciate. 
 

One added to the no need to communicate with list.



.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: gww on January 15, 2020, 11:48:13 am
BAHBEE
Quote
Excuse the prior attempts at light hearted humor.  It seems senses of humor are rarer every day.

Barry
Written language has the ability to lose intent based on the reader.  A smiley has a way of clarifying intent very well.  :grin:
I am treatment free for me and not for the bees or nature.  It is just easier.
Cheers
gww
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: Acebird on January 16, 2020, 09:35:09 am
Within the  treatment free, chemical free beekeeping  community, there is some disagreement about what constitutes "treatment " .. a point of contention is whether feeding sugar syrup is a treatment,  another disagreement is whether making splits outside of swarm season is an artificial brood break and should be considered a treatment. Some people think that mechanical aids like beetle traps are not a treatment,  but most people agree that it is.
It is inherent among 10 beekeepers to have 9 different trains of thought.
The only thought that matters is yours.  Because that is how your bees will be treated.
If you got into beekeeping to prove that your ideas are right vs. someone else's then you are doomed.  Bees have a habit of proving what is right is wrong.
Title: Re: Becoming Treatment Free
Post by: yes2matt on January 16, 2020, 12:51:12 pm
Absolutely. Keep bees, not a philosophy.

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