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Author Topic: Becoming Treatment Free  (Read 1232 times)

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #20 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:
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #21 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
« Last Edit: December 23, 2019, 12:20:57 am by Ben Framed »

Offline yes2matt

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #22 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 
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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.

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Offline Acebird

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #23 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.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline yes2matt

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #24 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.

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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #25 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.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #26 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.

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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?
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline yes2matt

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #27 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.

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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. 

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Offline paus

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #28 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.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #29 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. 

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Thanks yes2matt for answering. That helps. I figured as much, but it helps fill in the blanks for me.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Seeb

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #30 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
« Last Edit: January 11, 2020, 09:23:26 am by Seeb »
The edge . . . there is no honest way to explain it, because the only people who really know where it is, are the ones who have gone over.

Offline yes2matt

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #31 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)

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #32 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.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #33 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.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #34 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!
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #35 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!!

Offline Seeb

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2020, 10:46:55 pm »
Thanks so much Matt
The edge . . . there is no honest way to explain it, because the only people who really know where it is, are the ones who have gone over.

Offline BAHBEEs

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #37 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

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #38 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.

Offline yes2matt

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Re: Becoming Treatment Free
« Reply #39 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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