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Author Topic: How long have you been treatment free?  (Read 3538 times)

Offline Bob Wilson

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How long have you been treatment free?
« on: January 23, 2022, 12:19:52 am »
I am impatiently watching the front of my hives as spring approaches. Will they all make it into this 4th year?
I have been treatment free since I first began. I don't even bother to check mite numbers. I never have.
I have to admit, that the strong and persistent pro-treatment opinion of the majority of beekeepers does somewhat intimidate me. But I remain resolute to my original idea. If I have to treat, then I'm not going to beekeep at all.
I keep waiting for mites to decimate my tiny apiary, and for the long timers to say, "We told you, so." It's not like I have a very long track record.
Why do my bees continue to live? I'm not sure. Perhaps one or more of these reasons, or none at all.
1. Resistant local/feral bees instead of chemically dependent stock?
2. Acclimated local/feral stock instead of shipped in purchased queens?
3. Long Langstroths instead of standard langstroths?
4. Foundationless, so the bees build smaller cell size?
5. Foundationless, so bees arrange their comb as they want?
6. No chemicals (not even "natural" treatment compounds) to weaken the colony?
7. Swarming the first 3 years, so more brood breaks?
8. No sugar (I leave enough honey) or artificial pollen feeding?
9. Just dumb, blind luck.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2022, 12:56:00 am by Bob Wilson »

Offline NigelP

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2022, 06:08:08 am »
Many bee colonies will survive treatment free. The strategy's they seem to adopt over time are small numbers of bees,  frequent swarming and low honey yields.

Offline Acebird

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2022, 09:24:44 am »
Bob, I lasted 6 years with standard Lang hives up north.  The fact that you lasted 4 so far make me believe your hives are in a good area.  My hives were anything but small and I had to sell honey because I didn't need what I got.
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Online The15thMember

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2022, 12:51:43 pm »
I think we all wish we knew the answers to those questions, Bob.  Then everyone could be treatment free.  I've tried, but with little success.  I lost a hive to mites my first year, and after that I've kept a closer eye on my mites counts, and the numbers just are not sustainable.  I'm thinking about trying to integrate some new genetics to see if that helps.  I'd be interested to know what your mite counts are, Bob, just to see whether the bees are doing well in the presence of a lot of mites, or if they are doing well because they have few. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2022, 06:28:40 pm »
That, 15, would be an interesting piece of information.

Online Lesgold

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2022, 08:37:59 pm »
I feel for you guys that have to deal with varroa. It must make treatment free beekeeping a difficult challenge.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2022, 03:53:29 am »
Looking at your list, I am thinking 1, 7, and 9 are what have given you a longer run.
The typical lifespan of an untreated hive goes along and looks something like;
1st year; minimal to no problems. Good population growth and honey production. Happy beekeeper.
2nd year; no obvious sign of problems but may notice population is slower to build and honey production is down somewhat. Which are usually blamed on the weather or supercedure / swarms. Hive may crash or abscond late in season.  Perplexed beekeeper. 
3rd year; hive bees are visibly sick. Small bees, deformed wings, waxy hairless, shaky, patchy shot brood, chalk mummies, etc. Very low population growth that stagnates or dwindles, little to no honey production, absconding, collapse.  Discouraged devastated beekeeper. 
That is the typical track of TF.  Factors that change outcomes and timelines are things like;  managing for or against swarms, environmental conditions (warm/cool dry/humid sun/shade), genetics, background viral loads, types of forage available, age and prolific of queen(s), age and hygiene of combs, health and mite levels of neighbouring apiaries. ..
Those are some thoughts that may or may not be helpful .  Barring any groundbreaking revelation class of discovery in your apiary; it may be prudent to be prepared (mentally) that this could be your toughest year coming up .. or maybe not. Crossing fingers.  It depends ;)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2022, 04:05:50 am by TheHoneyPump »
The bees will spend the next 4 days undoing all of the wrongs that the beekeeper just did to them.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2022, 07:27:35 am »
NATURAL & ORGANIC BEEKEEPING METHODS 'The title section this topic is posted under'. I realize some are not interested in the organic part but strictly the natural part. HoneyPumps' post was very interesting and revealing. Of course some have had exceptions such as Cao for just one example.
 
Robo and I were discussing one of the organic aspects of helping our bees just yesterday. Not because of this topic, but stemming from a discussion at his 'local beekeepers association meeting'. We had a couple of topics specifically in mind and briefly talked about each. I will be happy to post those titles under a 'spinoff topic' here in the natural and organic section if anyone is interested, as I do not wish to hi-jack this discussion.

The organic choice mentioned, along with time lines, charts and graphs, mite drops, mite counts, effectiveness of organic treatment etc.  Good stuff along with experimental methods that have been posted here by our 'very own fellow' members through the past 4 years.

Phillip
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2022, 09:59:06 pm »
HoneyPump,
Ha! I count #9, dumb, blind luck as a major factor also.
In fact I agree with your other two choices also. I plan on brood breaks again this year, and introducing some more feral stock. This is year 4 for me in your timeline. We shall see what it brings.

Offline BagziK

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2022, 10:51:38 am »
Hi Bob, What you're doing is really fascinating. I agree that introducing too much chemistry is not good for bees and their lives. This destroys their natural immunity.
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Offline BagziK

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2022, 10:56:50 am »
Also, I think that when treating bees, we should force natural preparations, when we decide on treatment.
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2022, 11:00:04 am »
Hi Bob, What you're doing is really fascinating. I agree that introducing too much chemistry is not good for bees and their lives. This destroys their natural immunity.

Bagzik I agree that 'too much' chemistry may kill anything lol...What is your description of too much chemistry in honey bee treatment?

Thanks,

Phillip
« Last Edit: February 22, 2022, 11:17:12 am by Ben Framed »
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline BagziK

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2022, 12:44:10 pm »
Hi Bob, What you're doing is really fascinating. I agree that introducing too much chemistry is not good for bees and their lives. This destroys their natural immunity.

Bagzik I agree that 'too much' chemistry may kill anything lol...What is your description of too much chemistry in honey bee treatment?

Thanks,

Phillip

I know some beekeepers who use chemicals throughout the season, I think that's too much. For example: At our location, the use of thyme tea has been shown to help treat Varroa mites.

So, during August, we feed the bees a couple of times with a mixture of honey and thyme tea, or add thyme tea in sugar syrup (free choice). This has proven to be very effective in our country, for fight against mites.

Of course, it is best to collect thyme yourself and make tea, so that it is not purchased tea.

In addition to thyme, nettle proved to be excellent for fighting mites.

In addition, I use the organic product Oxalic acid in November.
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2022, 01:35:36 pm »
BagziK, I use oxalic also. I treat in December (a time of less brood in my location). I treat in early Spring as well.
Adding: When a new swarm is captured I will treat these new swarms after they have had time to establish themselves, 'before' capping of first brood.
Late July and August is a time of dearth here in my location most years, I will treat during that time period as well.

I am under the impression that Bob chooses not to treat and I respect his decisions. I look forward to more updates from him on his methods and results. I do not wish to stray too far from his Original Post. I had not heard of bees having their natural immunity destroyed by treatment. I found your statement of 'too much chemistry' interesting. Therefore I chimed in wondering where the line is drawn of what is too much and what chemicals may be the culprit of destroyed natural immunity systems from your understanding.... Maybe you can start a new topic, interesting topic, on the subject of too much chemistry and destroyed immune systems.  'You have my attention'. Thank you again.

Phillip
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline BagziK

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2022, 02:00:25 pm »
BagziK, I use oxalic also. I treat in December (a time of less brood in my location). I treat in early Spring as well.
Adding: When a new swarm is captured I will treat these new swarms after they have had time to establish themselves, 'before' capping of first brood.
Late July and August is a time of dearth here in my location most years, I will treat during that time period as well.

I am under the impression that Bob chooses not to treat and I respect his decisions. I look forward to more updates from him on his methods and results. I do not wish to stray too far from his Original Post. I had not heard of bees having their natural immunity destroyed by treatment. I found your statement of 'too much chemistry' interesting. Therefore I chimed in wondering where the line is drawn of what is too much and what chemicals may be the culprit of destroyed natural immunity systems from your understanding.... Maybe you can start a new topic, interesting topic, on the subject of too much chemistry and destroyed immune systems.  'You have my attention'. Thank you again.

Phillip

Ben, also, sometimes I use oxalic in December, everything depends on the weather conditions, and I make sure that there are no brood if possible.

I will also follow the information from Bob.

When you start the treatment in the spring, I haven't done it before, is it when the pollen intake starts.
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Offline BagziK

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2022, 02:06:54 pm »
BagziK, I use oxalic also. I treat in December (a time of less brood in my location). I treat in early Spring as well.
Adding: When a new swarm is captured I will treat these new swarms after they have had time to establish themselves, 'before' capping of first brood.
Late July and August is a time of dearth here in my location most years, I will treat during that time period as well.

I am under the impression that Bob chooses not to treat and I respect his decisions. I look forward to more updates from him on his methods and results. I do not wish to stray too far from his Original Post. I had not heard of bees having their natural immunity destroyed by treatment. I found your statement of 'too much chemistry' interesting. Therefore I chimed in wondering where the line is drawn of what is too much and what chemicals may be the culprit of destroyed natural immunity systems from your understanding.... Maybe you can start a new topic, interesting topic, on the subject of too much chemistry and destroyed immune systems.  'You have my attention'. Thank you again.

Phillip

Yes, regarding bee immunity, I have heard from older beekeepers that if more chemical products are used, the bee becomes addicted to treatment. And after that, bees can hardly cope with mites and diseases on their own.

They concluded that after some follow-up.
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Offline BagziK

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2022, 02:20:09 pm »
BagziK, I use oxalic also. I treat in December (a time of less brood in my location). I treat in early Spring as well.
Adding: When a new swarm is captured I will treat these new swarms after they have had time to establish themselves, 'before' capping of first brood.
Late July and August is a time of dearth here in my location most years, I will treat during that time period as well.

I am under the impression that Bob chooses not to treat and I respect his decisions. I look forward to more updates from him on his methods and results. I do not wish to stray too far from his Original Post. I had not heard of bees having their natural immunity destroyed by treatment. I found your statement of 'too much chemistry' interesting. Therefore I chimed in wondering where the line is drawn of what is too much and what chemicals may be the culprit of destroyed natural immunity systems from your understanding.... Maybe you can start a new topic, interesting topic, on the subject of too much chemistry and destroyed immune systems.  'You have my attention'. Thank you again.

Phillip

I think that if two types of chemicals are used in one season, that's a lot. It should be combined one chemical product and one organic one, I do that and in the last 5 years I have lost only one beehive (this year, but my mistake, this Bee Colony was weak before winter).

One of my colleagues decided not to use chemical products for one year, he treated bees only with formic acid and lost a lot of bees.

That's why Bob is fascinating to me
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2022, 05:06:57 pm »
According to research, one of the best times to use OAV is when bees are brood-less. Simply because OAV does not penetrate capped brood, therefore not being able to reach mites which may in the brood, underneath the caps. December is recognized as a good time, a favorite time to treat with OAV in accordance in my area. Similar can be said of late summer because of dearth in my area, for the same reason. Dearth is usually a time of less brood and a good time to treat with OAV leaving mites little place to 'hide'.

There is much which can be leaned here at Beemaster for the beekeeper, the search bar is a great place, whether that beekeeper is a beginner, intermediate and or well seasoned in various areas of beekeeping, (not only treating of mites). However for the last few post, (and please accept my apology Bob), we are talking primarly Oxalic Acid Vapor treating.

There are 'several topics' discussing the use of of OAV here, along with 'sources' included and provided many times, posted for backup. Sources including Scientist, Universities, and Bee Researchers, as well as individuals here at Beemaster doing their own personal research.. Including types of treatment, treatment schedules, treatment dosages, treatments during time of brood, etc.

So far I have never heard of any case of Immune problems caused by oxalic acid vapor in any research paper or otherwise. I would like to read that source or sources of papers if you have them available. It is a big world and research is a steady progress, still reveling many things, while there are many good things yet to be learned.

I also realize 'opinions' may vary from beekeeper to beekeeper, some stemming from myths while others from facts... A great asset of Beemaster is; Together we 'discuss and learn' sharing the two and hoping to separate the two, for the good of beekeeping, the beekeeper, and bees alike.
Very glad to have you here BagziK. Keep your good contagious enthusiasm coming!

Phillip
« Last Edit: February 22, 2022, 08:13:49 pm by Ben Framed »
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Online Ben Framed

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2022, 05:07:29 pm »
HoneyPump,
Ha! I count #9, dumb, blind luck as a major factor also.
In fact I agree with your other two choices also. I plan on brood breaks again this year, and introducing some more feral stock. This is year 4 for me in your timeline. We shall see what it brings.

Cao has had some pretty good fortune with TF... Location maybe? Maybe adding number 10 to your list; Location?
'I don't know'. lol

Phillip
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline Bill Murray

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Re: How long have you been treatment free?
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2022, 07:42:44 pm »
Im going to say I believe in my heart it all has to do with the region in which you live. That being said you must have a broodbreak to keep the mite level down or treat. I can keep a hive of bees here in N. fla Appox. 3 years treatment free, without forcing a broodbreak. Same if I treat with oa. Now Im not treating every 3 days. With that all being said, I used to make a broodbreak in all my hives. I havnt done that for 2 yrs and I see the problem with that. This year I am working on splits raising there own queencells above a double screen bottom board, make the bottoms queenless, install cells. We shall see. I think this will be less time consuming than grafting. Also