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Author Topic: opinions on treatment free beekieeping  (Read 5772 times)

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2015, 08:46:12 am »
If you think about what happens in nature, if every swarm survived then the number of colonies would about double every year.  Soon the earth would be covered several yards deep in bees (in about 50 years or so).  But, of course, this doesn't happen.  The reproduction of bees evens out in the long run and just makes up the losses from the bad years in the good years.  Basically if every colony swarmed once every year (which is probably what it averages out to since some swarm several times and some don't swarm) then an average of half of the colonies have to die every year (in the long run) for that to even out.  If we beekeepers had those kind of losses we would be pretty disappointed.  We do our best to make up for the bad years by feeding and leverage the good years by splitting and hopefully if we don't break even on hive numbers it's because we are expanding the numbers...
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Offline Eric Bosworth

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2015, 08:49:09 am »
Please don't get me wrong I am trying to grow my apiary and proper management is a large part of that but bees have existed for thousands of years on their own without management. I would just like to be the devil's advocate and argue that perhaps mismanagement is how we got to this point.
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Offline Solomon Parker

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2015, 03:37:43 pm »
Then ill start splits and we will try your treatment free when I can afford some losses.
It doesn't work that way.  Treating also results in losses.
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Offline Solomon Parker

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2015, 04:54:46 pm »
I HOPE I never have to treat them, but it has been my experience that I will eventually do so, to save them.
Save them for what?  What?s the point when you stop treating at some point, like the point when you die or get crippled, and then they die at that point?  Why not just clear out the nonsense now?

   I believe you can run treatment free. I believe it when you and others tell me they are treatment free. Some keeps have great luck, buy resistant bees and trot on down the no treatment path without a hitch in their giddyup. Maybe its climate, maybe its other resistant bees in the area their queens mate with? Lack of other bees in the area?  I dont know how to explain why they can live one place treatment free and not another....
Not true, there are TF beekeepers everywhere.  The problem comes when you try to move bees from one place to another and expect the same results.  Bees aren?t meant to move.

   
   I have had bees that showed fantastic hygienic behavior. They passed the liquid nitrogen test with flying colors. They did well for two years, superseded their queen in year three, and by year four were crashing hard. 
I don?t find that bees often encounter liquid nitrogen in nature.  Seems to be a more or less useless talent.

     
   
Treated bees thrive, untreated bees die.
  That?s simply false.  Treated bees are dying almost as rapidly (or in many cases more rapidly) than untreated bees.  Feral untreated bees do just fine.  Long term treatment free bees do just fine.  I?ve been keeping bees for 12 years and never used a single treatment, hard soft or otherwise.

   
   The "natural" way is foolish..  allowing bees to die because they are not resistant makes no intelligent sense to me.  Why would you not treat them, and replace the queen?  In six to eight weeks there wont be any of the old progeny left, then you get to see if the new genetics can survive, and all you paid for was the queen..  I guess if your rich and dont mind buying packages or nucs every year..   I'm not rich, so I think I will treat when forced to it rather than let them die.
This is where the major disconnect is.  If you?re paying for every hive you get, sure, it?s not very bright to just let your hard earned cash die.  But it?s irresponsible beekeeping to buy bees!  I haven?t bought so much as a queen since 2011.  My bees come from my bees or feral swarms.  Don?t buy bees!  And for sure, don?t buy packages!

Also, the treatment-free way is not ?natural? if that word really means anything at all anymore.  It?s beekeeping.  Beekeeping is not natural.  However, rather than make weak bees and strong mites by treating, we make strong bees and weak mites by employing natural selection, or enhanced selection by artificially increasing more rapidly than nature would normally allow.

It makes no sense whatsoever to dump chemicals in a hive, then switch out the queen.  The hive is already affected by chemicals, it?s a lost cause at that point for me.  Time to trash it and start over.  Rather than let a hive die, smash the queen and unite it with a better equipped hive.
Solomon Parker
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Offline biggraham610

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2015, 12:41:11 am »
Treatment/Treatment Free is a circular debate. I think everyone would love to be treatment free. I also think that there are some people that see it as irresponsible to watch a hive dwindle. Soloman, If one was to take the treatment free approach from square one, buy 5 local nuc's or packages whatever to get started, and they all crashed, how would you suggest one replace the bees to start again? We dont all have swarms on the doorstep.
I think everyone wants to have a sustainable apiary and never have to buy bees. Screaming "don't buy bees" is counter productive. Perhaps you never bough a bee, but I doubt that's the case. We all had to start somewhere.
I am doing my best to keep my bees alive and free of treatments, All of my current hives are led by queens raised off of original VSH stock open mated to feral drones. They are doing well at the moment, and my hopes are high. I don't think that means if it looked like my whole yard was crashing, I would not take action and try to save them and continue to get more of the local genes working on the next round of queens.
At the end of the day we are managing our bees. There are different management styles in all aspects of Farming, as in Life. To each his own. Belittling someone because they take a different path, solves no mysteries. Also, whats up with the random question mark? Makes it a little hard to read your posts. Good Luck to all. G
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Offline Maggiesdad

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2015, 08:54:15 am »
I believe the board doesn't recognize certain punctuation marks from different systems, G.  I've seen it before with other folks posts too. I don't think SP is putting the ?s in there like that.

Also, I don't see belittling... just a passionate position. The OP asked for opinions, and they are going to be firmly held on this topic...   :grin:

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2015, 02:33:02 pm »
> I think everyone would love to be treatment free.

All my life people will say to me "I'd give my right arm to play the guitar like that"  (of course they are partially trying to make that joke) but I say, no you wouldn't.  If you really wanted to play the guitar, you would play it.  Play it when you get up.  Play it during you lunch hour.  Play it when you get home.  Play it in the middle of the night.  If you REALLY want to play the guitar you would play it.  Everyone obviously does not REALLY want to be treatment free or we would all be treatment free.

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Offline Solomon Parker

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2015, 03:59:46 pm »
Treatment/Treatment Free is a circular debate. I think everyone would love to be treatment free. I also think that there are some people that see it as irresponsible to watch a hive dwindle. Soloman, If one was to take the treatment free approach from square one, buy 5 local nuc's or packages whatever to get started, and they all crashed, how would you suggest one replace the bees to start again? We dont all have swarms on the doorstep.
I think everyone wants to have a sustainable apiary and never have to buy bees. Screaming "don't buy bees" is counter productive. Perhaps you never bough a bee, but I doubt that's the case. We all had to start somewhere.
I am doing my best to keep my bees alive and free of treatments, All of my current hives are led by queens raised off of original VSH stock open mated to feral drones. They are doing well at the moment, and my hopes are high. I don't think that means if it looked like my whole yard was crashing, I would not take action and try to save them and continue to get more of the local genes working on the next round of queens.
At the end of the day we are managing our bees. There are different management styles in all aspects of Farming, as in Life. To each his own. Belittling someone because they take a different path, solves no mysteries. Also, whats up with the random question mark? Makes it a little hard to read your posts. Good Luck to all. G
I have no idea where the question marks came from.  They were apostrophes when I typed them.

See, I hear something like "I'm doing everything I can to stay treatment-free" and all I can think is, "there's a misunderstanding here."  That statement is an oxymoron.  You don't do a bunch of things to be treatment free.  The bees do treatment free.  Doing everything to stay treatment free is simply not treating and letting the bees handle it.

Yes, I bought bees, in 2003, 20 packages.  Like Michael says, I wanted to be treatment free, so I did what was necessary to make it happen.  I worked really hard and saved my money.  I researched morning noon and night.  And most of all, I found a model and followed it.  So much failure in this field comes from people who start out on their own and don't follow the model of those who have already succeeded.
Solomon Parker
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Offline biggraham610

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2015, 04:44:05 pm »
I read Michaels story Solomon. I know he lost all his bees treating, and lost all his bees not treating, and then hit the right chord and it has worked out since. How about you? You bought 20 packages and had enough from the beginning to not treat and be sustainable. That's nice, what were your losses the first year? The second year? Until you got enough local genetics built in, how big of a hit did you take? If anyone thinks I am anti treatment free you got it wrong. Everyone does not start with 20 hives. If you start with 2 and lose one, you have a chance, if you start with 5 and lose 4 you have a chance, if you start with either and lose all, you are buying bees.  G
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Offline divemaster1963

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2015, 08:46:36 pm »
I personally chose not to buy bees. I get bees from cutout and trapouts apx: 10-20 per year. then I split survivors from previous year. I have been down to as little as 5 hives in bad winter years. but mostly my loss have been from as I stated during long cold snaps and the balls are caught to far off stores and I'm not able to open them to check and move stores closer to them.

john

Offline Duane

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2015, 09:34:55 pm »
I think what some people do not realize is what natural selection means.  It means elimination.  And it could be your bees.  And it could be 100 hives of your bees.

That's where it hurts.  When you are spending $100+ for a colony of bees and they are dying, you hate to see your money disappear.  But it has to be your belief system.  If you really truly believe treatment free is best, then you can't say when the going gets rough you'll fall back to the time tested method of treating.  That would mean you don't really believe treatment free is the answer.

It would be a little like someone who has high blood pressure and doesn't want to take drugs but wants to reduce through lifestyle changes.  So he goes along, makes little headway, and his blood pressure rises.  He then caves in and says, exercise and better eating choices is not working so guess I'll have to go and take drugs.  What this means is that he really believes drugs are the answer.

Same with bees.  You either believe treatment free is the answer or you don't.  It's a pure faith statement.  It might be based upon evidences, but each side has their own evidences.  This is about how you actually believe.  If you believe, truly believe, treatment free is the answer, then treating is not an option.  However, you have to be prepared to lose bees.  And you should be learning from others.  But treating them may only delay the problem.

I've seen people saying if you don't treat, you are endangering everyone else's bees.  Kind of makes sense.  But I think such an attitude is more of a popular thing these days. Call it socialism, liberalism, or whatever name goes with it.  If you look at natural selection, those who are propping up disease susceptible bees are actually hurting everyone else's bees.  They are weakening the gene pool.  But saying this isn't really true.  Because no one really knows how to raise healthy bees.  If someone claims someone else is hurting other people's bees, they are saying they know everything about how to raise healthy bees.  And that, is simply not true.

Offline Michael Bush

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Offline Duane

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #32 on: July 13, 2015, 10:19:29 am »
I don't recall having come across that page on your site before.  If I have forgotten, it might have influenced what I said.
I especially liked this:
Quote
If you believe there is a solution and you are focused on finding that solution within the framework of your view of the world, you will likely find something that will work.
If one believes treatment free is possible, they will continue searching until they find a way which works for them, even though they may fail along the way.

With the example of the lag screw, if she really believed the idea would work, and even though what she attempted did not work, she might contemplate why the specifics she tried did not work, and come up with another and another attempt until she came up with a fine threaded oil plug along with using some gasket sealer.  But she believed it would not work, "proved" it did not work, and stopped short of the goal.

I've seen some equate natural cell and small cell to be the same.  They say they used small cell and still have mites.  But they can't really compare what they did with what someone who lets the bees make their own comb did.  Because they didn't do the same thing!  And I've also seen some telling what they did along the lines of "put a bolt in it".  They did not give adequate details to follow.  They fully knew what they meant and intended, but failed to convey the details.

I've observed something I didn't expect in the hive.  To me pollen is pollen, get it in there and store it.  But for some reason, the bees put one color of pollen together, and other colors together.  Now this could be because each be has their own area and concentrates on one flower.  But could it be a possibility that they use different pollen for different purposes?  And if they make such a do about keeping like pollen stored together, could they use different cell sizes for different purposes?  Of course we know that regarding workers, drones, and honey cells.  But could the bees select different cells at different times of the year for different reasons?  For example, if the mite load reaches a certain threshold, could they switch to different size cells?  They might even be doing their own mite management with cell size.  There's so much we don't know, but seeing them segregate pollen caused me to think there's lots of things going on.  And if we force one cell size, whether small, medium, or large, their choices and ability to deal with things are reduced.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #33 on: July 13, 2015, 10:36:12 am »
While there are some things we all agree will fail, there are things where one person has succeeded and another has failed.  The difference is always in the details.  If you take one of these controversial ideas and state it in general terms (such as "put a bold in it") then you need only tell me how you want the outcome to be and I can set up an experiment to prove it either way.  Why?  Because it's all in the details.  If someone wants to disprove some general statement they need only stack the details in favor of that outcome.
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Offline OldMech

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #34 on: July 13, 2015, 10:21:40 pm »
Then ill start splits and we will try your treatment free when I can afford some losses.
It doesn't work that way.  Treating also results in losses.

   How do you figure? I have never lost a hive from treating, but I have lost them from NOT treating.
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Offline OldMech

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #35 on: July 13, 2015, 10:32:05 pm »
I HOPE I never have to treat them, but it has been my experience that I will eventually do so, to save them.
Save them for what?  What?s the point when you stop treating at some point, like the point when you die or get crippled, and then they die at that point?  Why not just clear out the nonsense now?

   Mech;    Because you dont have to pay hyunjdreds of dollars to replace bees you didnt need to lose. Feel free to spend your own money however you wish.


   
   I have had bees that showed fantastic hygienic behavior. They passed the liquid nitrogen test with flying colors. They did well for two years, superseded their queen in year three, and by year four were crashing hard. 
I don?t find that bees often encounter liquid nitrogen in nature.  Seems to be a more or less useless talent.

   Mech;   I am hoping are you are yanking my chain?


     
   
Treated bees thrive, untreated bees die.
  That?s simply false.  Treated bees are dying almost as rapidly (or in many cases more rapidly) than untreated bees.  Feral untreated bees do just fine.  Long term treatment free bees do just fine.  I?ve been keeping bees for 12 years and never used a single treatment, hard soft or otherwise.

   Mech;   Then we have very different bees, or perhaps methods of treatments?


   
   The "natural" way is foolish..  allowing bees to die because they are not resistant makes no intelligent sense to me.  Why would you not treat them, and replace the queen?  In six to eight weeks there wont be any of the old progeny left, then you get to see if the new genetics can survive, and all you paid for was the queen..  I guess if your rich and dont mind buying packages or nucs every year..   I'm not rich, so I think I will treat when forced to it rather than let them die.
This is where the major disconnect is.  If you?re paying for every hive you get, sure, it?s not very bright to just let your hard earned cash die.  But it?s irresponsible beekeeping to buy bees!  I haven?t bought so much as a queen since 2011.  My bees come from my bees or feral swarms.  Don?t buy bees!  And for sure, don?t buy packages!

Also, the treatment-free way is not ?natural? if that word really means anything at all anymore.  It?s beekeeping.  Beekeeping is not natural.  However, rather than make weak bees and strong mites by treating, we make strong bees and weak mites by employing natural selection, or enhanced selection by artificially increasing more rapidly than nature would normally allow.

It makes no sense whatsoever to dump chemicals in a hive, then switch out the queen.  The hive is already affected by chemicals, it?s a lost cause at that point for me.  Time to trash it and start over.  Rather than let a hive die, smash the queen and unite it with a better equipped hive.

  Mech;   Perhaps you need to start using OAV, I can now see that the entire post was related to the "other" treastments.. I have used nothing but OAV for several years now..   Killing a little insect on a big insect with insecticides never did make sense to me....  so.. I happen to agree with your last statement 100%, the only difference is I just give them a better queen after smashing the old one.
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Offline divemaster1963

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #36 on: July 13, 2015, 10:48:18 pm »
I'm not rich by no means. low wages and high medical and cost of living pushed me towards non treatment. but sense I did this I like it. the added cost of treatment would cost me more money than I could or what to spend. mother nature knows more than anyone of us or all of us together how the bees survive. (by swarming) if a area is not benifical to a hive the hive swarms and improves in a different location. so I take ques from the bees. if a hive is not working in one area I move to a new area. I do this with out yards. none within 3 miles of each other and on different forge. this is what was taught to me by my uncle. let the bees tell you what works and what does not.

john

Offline Eric Bosworth

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #37 on: July 19, 2015, 07:26:16 am »
Yoda once said "Do or do not, there is no try." I have to wonder how bees have not gone extinct without treatment for thousands of years. Just as antibiotics in humans have created super bugs, the same can and will happen with bees. Genetics plays a huge part in survival. I remember something from highschool about survival of the fittest. Some people are surprised that new types of diseases are discovered in humans quite regularly. It should not be a surprise. Medical advancements have made it possible for people to live healthy lives that would have died at birth 100 years ago. So now they can have children that have new problems. The same can be said about bees. Non treatment very well may result in bees dying. But it could be that natural selection was not given the chance to select.
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Offline little john

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2015, 11:50:17 am »
I've never treated bees, but maybe I would - providing it made sense to do so. Sure, I lost a few colonies in the early days - mostly during winter - but those that survived are now pretty tough.

I reckon most maladies develop due to poor hive conditions - in particular inadequate ventilation. Either that, or weak strains of bee are being supported by chemical treatments and so their genes are being passed on, rather than dying out as nature intended.

I do treat Varroa (but that's NOT treating bees) with OAV, and luckily we don't have SHB. If we did, then I'd treat those too - but I can't see me ever treating bees prophylactically.

I certainly don't see feeding, or other methods of basic hive management, as being forms of 'treatment'.

LJ
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Offline OldMech

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Re: opinions on treatment free beekieeping
« Reply #39 on: August 04, 2015, 11:38:43 am »
You have to wonder how bees went without treatments for thousands of years??   Really?  Did bees have the problems introduced by pesticides and mites for thousands of years? Not hardly. Those are the things we introduced...  want to see the results of the things we introduced? Come on over, I'll show you at the very least, a dozen empty feral bee trees. They suruive in this rea right now by swarming.. a LOT... they swarm, and the mother hive dies. That winter, or the next..  however long it takes them to be overcome with mites..  its a GUARANTEE.. no hope, and if you are hoping then your up for a bit of heartbreak.  I personally dont want swarmy bees, and not treating because its expensive is about as silly as it gets.  It costs around ten dollars a year to treat 50ish hives.  120 dollars or so for the vaporizor.. which would have been a single treatment for less than half of my hives...  a one time cost...

    Treatment free..   start with the best bees you can get, and then be prepared to lose a LOT of them while you find the ones who can deal with the problems associated with your area/weather/humidity/mites and diseases..   Yep, possible. I know keeps who are doing it, but they are doing it with intensive management instead of treatments..  I have not found a bee yet that will survive more than three years without  TREATMENT OR INTENSIVE MANAGEMENT in the area I live in.  I am looking, I am trying..  MN Hygienic?  nope, died.. VSH Gold? Nope, Died..  Old Sol?  No, REALLY died. "Survivors from NC are the best I have seen to date, have to see if they make the winter.. they built up FAST and are pulling larvae that have mites... keeping my fingers crossed...     the issue here is.. replacing these queens.. they will cross with local drones, and LOSE the ability to survive with mites.. So I will need to keep buying queens until their drones have infused enough resistance into the local bees.. how long will that take? ten years? Fifty years?

   Not treating, and or NOT managing your bees to survive is irresponsible. if you HAVE bees that can survive.. GREAT!! Awesome!  Advertise them and sell queens!  For everyone else who allows them to die.. I really hope I get to meet you in person one day. Your THE problem that the rest of us have to put up with while trying top raise resistant bees.
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.