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Who on biobees is treatment-free?
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:24 pm    Post subject: Who on biobees is treatment-free? Reply with quote

Are you treatment-free? If so join this thread and post your experience. Those of you who never tried it and are against it start another thread please (PLEASE) Smile thank you Smile

I didnt trest the two colonies I started last year. They are 500 km away from me and a friend will update me about them. I will visit them at the end of March. I will also start my own treatment free apiary this year. Im aware that those areas who had Varroa for less than 5 years need to treat but we had them more than 10 years so bees had chance to adapt to a certain point.

Beekeepers in sweden and denmark who treat with organic acids still experience 80% losses (my father in law, my mentor and a third person i know). 2 of them live in an area without agriculture (forests) one of them not.

M. Bush, Solomon Parker, Sam Comfort, Les Crowder, Dean Stiglitz, the Bond guy Kefuss (and others) have been treatment free for at least a decade. Its possible!
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Rupert
Silver Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2008
Posts: 629
Location: France, Tarn-et-Garonne, Realville,

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Che,

I have been treatment free for three years, going on four.
All my bees came from swarms and there are not many other hives close to me.
I don't inspect my bees either. I take honey, but always leave at least one comb of honey next to the brood in hTB hives. I'm expecting them to abscond at some point when, and if, they decide that the combs are too old. I really like the fact that the bees are in charge. If they go, they go with my blessing. I'll get more swarms.

Rupert
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kirk Webster is another treatment free name I forgot to mention above.
As well as Wyatt Mangum.

For those of you who need proof from Solomon Parker please ask him dirrectly in his thread;
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?275827-Ask-Questions-Here!

Sam Comfort is easy to contact over his web page http://anarchyapiaries.org/hivetools/

Michael Bush on http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

According to Erik Österlund bees of Africa and South America adapted to Varroa after only 5 years because no beekeepers had money for treatments and most feral colonies adapted themselves to it which they afterwards trap.

John Kefuss (Live and Let Die);
http://survivorstockqueens.org/John%20Kefuss%20Keeping%20Bees%20That%20Keep%20Themselves.pdf
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Rupert for joining in Smile

If feral swarms are the solution than swarming your own area would be a good start, and keeping the hives in a "tree hollow" manner too.

My bee mentor told me that if I dont treat my hives they will die after maxx 5 years. Then I ask him why did his 13 out of 15 die last winter? He had no answer yet he religiously treat with Oxalic Acid Wink

The same was with my wife's father, he too told me that bees will die if I dont treat yet 11 out of his 13 died last winter.

Per Eriksson, a popular beek from sweden who only feeds his bees with honey and treats with organic acids have not lost any bees for 10 years until last winter almost all colonies died. He too has no answer (he lives in a forest area no agriculture around).

Im not buying this "must treat" cr@p*! Bees must find the way and I dont care if Bernhard or any other beek sais they are not super bees! I feel they are and its time to get those of us who are not having bees for business to do something about it and let the bees keep themselves!

We do NOT OWN THE BEES! How dare we thinking like that!

Some of you say "feral bees can survive treatment free" and I ask why is that??? Because they have no owner! So, if feral bees can survive on their own so can the hive bees if we let them bee.

John Harding is another treatment free beek who place his hives on Geophaitc Stress Lines. Hollow trees are aparently found on those lines.
Placing hives onto those lines (dowsing) and stressing the hives as little as possible can be the way to go.

Erik Österlund told me that all bees which had Varroa for at least 5 years have a chance to be treatment free. But we MUST GIVE THEM A CHANCE TO DO SO, or?
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AnthonyD
Silver Bee


Joined: 14 Aug 2011
Posts: 707
Location: County Kerry Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Who on biobees is treatment-free? Reply with quote

I know you requested for those who disagree to go elsewhere, but for the benefit of those who may receive misinformation I am contributing my thoughts:

Che why haven't you responded to all the advice and questions given to you here:

http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14337&highlight=

Its like you're deliberately sticking to something you really really want to be true. I find it incredible that you didn't even reply to the concrete realities and practical experience that was presented to you and then simply made a thread to see if there was anyone to support the reality you want to be true.

Wishing and wanting doesn't supply for reality.

Che Guebuddha wrote:
Im aware that those areas who had Varroa for less than 5 years need to treat but we had them more than 10 years so bees had chance to adapt to a certain point.


Thats hardly a fact, its just a theory based on a theory. And more to the point its just something you've heard.

Che Guebuddha wrote:

Beekeepers in sweden and denmark who treat with organic acids still experience 80% losses


I find that very hard to believe, thats certainly nothing like over here. Or in the UK for that matter. (EDIT TO ADD - with regards to losses due to varroa)

Che Guebuddha wrote:

M. Bush, Solomon Parker, Sam Comfort, Les Crowder, Dean Stiglitz, the Bond guy Kefuss (and others) have been treatment free for at least a decade. Its possible!


Its what you would like to believe for sure, but that simply doesn't make it the reality of the situation or the truth.

Che Guebuddha wrote:

If feral swarms are the solution than swarming your own area would be a good start, and keeping the hives in a "tree hollow" manner too.


But 5 or 6 hives isn't going to do that, even before varroa (as far as I can remember from reading) most swarms(something like 80%) didn't make it. The few swarms from you're few aren't going to do a thing.

To top it off even if you had a hundred hives, all of the very few feral colonies that actually do make it from you're swarms will probably die from varroa anyway. So reduce this to only a few hives and you haven't a snowball's chance in hell.

Che Guebuddha wrote:

My bee mentor told me that if I dont treat my hives they will die after maxx 5 years. Then I ask him why did his 13 out of 15 die last winter? He had no answer yet he religiously treat with Oxalic Acid Wink....The same was with my wife's father, he too told me that bees will die if I dont treat yet 11 out of his 13 died last winter.


This is where practical beekeeping experience comes in.

I look after another persons hives as well as my own and this year she lost 66% of her colonies. None of them died due to varroa.

There are numerous ways colonies can die.

You should know this.

Che Guebuddha wrote:

Per Eriksson, a popular beek from sweden who only feeds his bees with honey and treats with organic acids have not lost any bees for 10 years until last winter almost all colonies died. He too has no answer (he lives in a forest area no agriculture around).


You must not forget there are a lot of variable in beekeeping. Sometimes you just get lucky.

One of my mentors hasn't lost a colony in around 7 years. He keeps about 30 colonies. His friend who works with him has around 30 also and has lost hives every year, despite having the same bees, the same environment, using the same methodology.

Its chance.


Che Guebuddha wrote:

Im not buying this "must treat" cr@p*!


And this quote displays exactly you're problem.

You're not thinking with you're head. You're thinking with you're heart.

You're not looking at things objectively. To you non-treatment and its proponents e.g sam comfort etc are enlightened and conversely saying you 'must treat' is cr@p*.

That's emotional reasoning, if it can be called reasoning at all. And it displays a great lack of respect for those on this forum and elswhere who have all the practical knowledge you don't possess.

Che Guebuddha wrote:

Bees must find the way and I dont care if Bernhard or any other beek sais they are not super bees!


And what if you're wrong? What then?

Che Guebuddha wrote:

I feel they are and its time to get those of us who are not having bees for business to do something about it and let the bees keep themselves!


That's an unfair generalization, plenty of us who believe in treating when necessary are not in beekeeping for economic reasons. I would bet most people on this forum are not in it primarily for economic gain.

But this brings up another point:

If you want nothing at all from the bees and have no interest in personal gain, then what are you doing beekeeping. If the bees can do it on their own, then why not leave them to it? Does this not suggest something?

Che Guebuddha wrote:

We do NOT OWN THE BEES! How dare we thinking like that!


No but many invest time and money in beekeeping and feel responsible for their bees.

Che Guebuddha wrote:

Some of you say "feral bees can survive treatment free" and I ask why is that??? Because they have no owner! So, if feral bees can survive on their own so can the hive bees if we let them bee.


Although I've conversed with a very knowledgeable beekeeper on this forum who claims ferals in his area are surviving treatment free and the fact some studies have show it, the general experience worldwide is that they don't survive treatment free.

Che Guebuddha wrote:

John Harding is another treatment free beek who place his hives on Geophaitc Stress Lines. Hollow trees are aparently found on those lines.
Placing hives onto those lines (dowsing) and stressing the hives as little as possible can be the way to go.


Correction, on what he claims are 'geopathic stress lines'.

They might be as real as the faeries at the end of you're garden. I think most people and probably most scientists would feel that way.

Again this is something purely theoretical to you, and you have grasped at it like a man drowning. This is a bad approach to beekeeping.

Che Guebuddha wrote:

Erik Österlund told me that all bees which had Varroa for at least 5 years have a chance to be treatment free.


And because he told it to you it's true?


In my opinion Che, you should listen to the advice of the folks on this forum who take the time to give it to you. Not so much mine as I am still a fledgling in my opinion. (Aside from on advising you to take advice Laughing )

If someone wants to go treatment free then wait until they see feral colonies thriving with varroa in their local environment.

Then hive those bees fast.
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Gareth
Wise Bee


Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 3060
Location: UK, England, Cotswolds

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to treat with thymol and discussed my thymol recipe on this forum. A couple of years ago I came to the conclusion that we will never get to the point of bees being in balance with the mite until we allow the bees to find that balance in their own way and on their own terms. So I decided to institute a treatment free regime. I realised that it was only fear of losing hives that was holding me back, but I was losing hives anyway, to all sorts of causes - none of them varroa.

But I also realised that it is not enough just to stop treatment. You have to do everything you can to give bees the right conditions in their hives and to obtain, wherever possible the right sort of bees. That means hives that mimic hollow trees (I converted from horizontal hives to Warrés) and catching as many feral swarms as possible. Of course one cannot be sure that the swarms one catches are feral, but I know for sure that if I do not catch swarms I will have no feral swarms.

Has it worked? Way too early to tell. Ask me in another 5 years. What I do know is that there are quite a lot of treatment free beekeepers in the UK. Some report annual losses of around 30%, others a lot less than this. But one must expect losses, if not initially, perhaps later as things settle - swarms can easily go through their first season without loss, for example. Losses can, of course, be made good through swarms (from one's own hives and others) and, if one wants, through splits. Thus, the total number of hives might remain constant or even increase and, on this basis, one might say that no losses are incurred. This is something to hold in mind when reading reports of treatment free beekeepers who suffer no losses. Ask the question: how is that measured?

As to breeding bees that suffer no losses from varroa, ever, that is another issue. I have come to the conclusion that varroa tolerance/resistance is a highly complex thing. There is no silver bullet. A lot of different factors come into play, some of which we can guess at, others we have no idea. That is why active breeding (by 'active' I mean selection by the beekeeper) is, to my mind, not possible; we simply don't know what to look for. Over time, if we leave the bees to be bees and give them the best possible homes, allowing them to reproduce in their own way, through swarms, I feel we will gradually get there. It will happen sooner in locations where there are large numbers of feral bees and will be slower - maybe even impossible - in areas where local beekeepers use bees highly bred for 'productivity', 'non-swarming', 'docility', 'low propolis use' and all the other things, many of which may well act against varroa resistance.

Lastly, if you have only a few hives and go down the no-treatment route, you may find you lose them all and need to restock. If you are on the local swarm list and are in an area that is productive for swarms this is not a problem. If you are in an area where swarms do not occur, and bees are 'bought' in packages or nucs, this is a problem and means starting again from scratch. So look carefully at your locality before deciding on a strategy.
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andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am treatment free unless you count putting bees on energy line crossings.

I will see how it goes in the next few years.

My Perone is, of course, treatment free.

A

Just to add that if I had a problem I would consider my position carefully. My first intervention would be icing sugar, I have used it before.


Last edited by andy pearce on Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Che why haven't you responded to all the advice and questions given to you here


I dont want to hijack that thread totally hence this one is started.

Quote:
And more to the point its just something you've heard.


What is the diference between me hearing stuf from beeks on this forum or from beeks elsewhere? In both cases it "just something I've heard"

Quote:
I find that very hard to believe


You can believe whatever you want I just write what other beeks reported and these beeks are all 30+ years beekeeprs. I dont know how it looks "over there" nor was I refereing to it. I speak of Sweden and Denmark and of people listed in the first post.

Quote:
Its what you would like to believe for sure, but that simply doesn't make it the reality of the situation or the truth.


Do you call those beeks liars? How do you know they are not telling the truth?
Again Im not believing anything Im just LISTENING to those who DID IT!
You can choose to be ignorant and doubtful, your choice!

Quote:
The few swarms from you're few aren't going to do a thing.


How do you know this? Can you fortell future?

Quote:
To top it off even if you had a hundred hives, all of the very few feral colonies that actually do make it from you're swarms will probably die from varroa anyway. So reduce this to only a few hives and you haven't a snowball's chance in hell.


You assume too much. You post like this every so often and because of it I dont feel like replying to you. It exhausting me to even read such replies. Its not what you say but how you say it!

The more hives you have on a locality the more chance there is for a Varroa infestation. Nature does not favour monoculture! Less hives have more chance to sort the issue.

I will try to space my hives as much as possible and try not to have mpre than 6 per locality (1km at least)

Quote:
There are numerous ways colonies can die


Conventional beeks always say that here when their treated colonies die but if one doesnt treat and the colony dies it is because one didnt treat Rolling Eyes

Quote:
Sometimes you just get lucky.


That is good enough for me.

Quote:
You're not thinking with you're head. You're thinking with you're heart


Are you a shrink?

Quote:
That's emotional reasoning, if it can be called reasoning at all. And it displays a great lack of respect for those on this forum and elswhere who have all the practical knowledge you don't possess.


You are being condescending and writing a reply to you is exhausting me on this Monday evening.

Quote:
And what if you're wrong? What then?


I cant fortell future! Can you? I only know that if you dont try it you will never know! So far all the treatments are not making stronger bees, that is for sure! I was never a conservative dude.

Quote:
If you want nothing at all from the bees and have no interest in personal gain, then what are you doing beekeeping.


My father in law asked the same question! He doesnt understand that people might keep bees for the bees sake and not for the honey as he does! He hopes that I will get back to my senses and become a poper beekeeper Rolling Eyes
I started beekeeping after I read The Barefoot Beekeeper, and for all the reasons Phil mentioned in that book.

Quote:
Does this not suggest something?


No, not realy!

Quote:
No but many invest time and money in beekeeping and feel responsible for their bees.


So does those owning a Zoo! You make no sense and Im getting a headacke now!

Quote:
And because he told it to you it's true?


Do you call Erik Österlund a liar? You are being very condescending and arogant!

This is my last reply to you until you change your atitude! Until then I will be ignoring your posts!

Have a nice evening!
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AnthonyD
Silver Bee


Joined: 14 Aug 2011
Posts: 707
Location: County Kerry Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I expected you would reply hyper-emotionally. You are only proving my point.

The only thing I have to say about any of your responses is on the integrity issue and also the issue about 80% losses (due to varroa) that you have reported as these are the only actual arguments in your response.

For the first issue, I think we've had this same discussion before. I don't doubt their integrity. Not anymore than any other man. But I certainly question their results when it conflicts what is seen on the ground by most beekeepers around the world.
When I said 'And because he told it to you it's true?' I merely meant it as a rhetorical question.
I was making the point to you that you shouldn't automatically assume everything you read on the internet is true, or accurate, however you want to look at it.
That doesn't say anything about said person's moral integrity, but rather that one should be skeptical when they see such large claims. Not dismissive, but certainly skeptical.
Which is not what you are doing. Like I said in my post, you seem to cling to certain ideas like a drowning man clings to a raft. (No sugar feeding, treatment free, 'geopathic stress lines')
All I'm getting at is, do a bit of beekeeping for a good few years and then make you're leaps and jumps.


Secondly on the 80% loss issue. If you were merely referring to 80% losses due to a variety of causes then fair enough, like I said my mentor had 66% losses, weather was weird bees didn't adjust well, its not surprising.
However,
What you implied was something different, you seemed to say that despite treating with oxalic acid or similar beekeepers still had 80% losses in your region, putting it this way gives the idea that somehow these 80% losses were due to varroa -as the acids are used to counter varroa.

If you had a percentage for losses due to varroa, you're point would make more sense. Or would make sense period.

Just because I disagree with you and offer advice or correction, doesn't mean I'm condescending or arrogant. Granted I do sometimes struggle with expressing myself in writing properly, but I've apologized for it before and I mean no offense.

Take my point, not 'the way I say it' - which I don't think was that bad anyway.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Gareth and Andy for joining much appreciated!

Quote:
A couple of years ago I came to the conclusion that we will never get to the point of bees being in balance with the mite until we allow the bees to find that balance in their own way and on their own terms. So I decided to institute a treatment free regime. I realised that it was only fear of losing hives that was holding me back


This is exactly what Im getting at. Glad Im not the only one.

Quote:
But I also realised that it is not enough just to stop treatment. You have to do everything you can to give bees the right conditions in their hives and to obtain, wherever possible the right sort of bees. That means hives that mimic hollow trees


This reasonates well with me and is exactly what Im intending to do.

Quote:
There is no silver bullet


Of course not. Im looking at the bee issue as a puzzle. Lots of pieces making a picture. Not treating is just one of the puzzle pieces, pesticides, loss of habitat, stress etc ... other puzzle pieces. Holistic approach is my goal hence me choosing a top bar hive (natural cell size and cell size variety and placement of cells is up to the bees to choose), low maintenance, leaving them honey, letting them raise their own Queen (unless the Queen failed), let them have as many Drones as they see fit, placing the hives on the geopathic stress lines, placing the hives in spots which get lots of sun, not overcrowding with too many colonies at one location, etc ...

Quote:
So look carefully at your locality before deciding on a strategy.


Yes and this makes me take a deep breath ... my wife and I are buying a farm in Denmark this year and most of that country is under heavy agriculture. Monocultures, pesticides, conventional beeks treating bees and breeding for the reasons you mentioned.
I told my wife that Im not buying a farm in a region without any forests. I want my bees to have at least one part with wild vegetation to ther disposal (Honey Dew, flowering trees and bushes).

I will be aslo planitng heavily with flowering trees and bushes like Willow, Sloe, Linden, Caragana arborescens, etc ... so bees have the chance to get pesticide free pollen and nectar (this is not 100% but will improve their chances)

Thanks again for joining in!
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Gareth
Wise Bee


Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 3060
Location: UK, England, Cotswolds

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
my wife and I are buying a farm in Denmark this year and most of that country is under heavy agriculture. Monocultures, pesticides, conventional beeks treating bees and breeding for the reasons you mentioned.


There was a Danish beekeeper at last year's UK Natural Beekeeping Conference. He didn't make Denmark sound a great place to keep bees naturally, or even at all.

The non-treatment beekeepers that I am aware of in the UK are generally in areas of mixed woodland and farming; the sort of area that you would look at and think it is a reasonable place for bees. I am not aware of any in the areas that are purely intensive agriculture (not that that means there aren't any). But it seems like a big factor in bee health is a varied diet of different sorts of pollen, much of which comes from trees and shrubs. So, in your situation, I would look very carefully at the locality, and that means driving and walking around at different times of the year. Some locations will introduce too much stress on the bees before they even get round to coping with varroa - and, more importantly, varroa-vectored viruses.
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GürkanYeniçeri
Foraging Bee


Joined: 21 Dec 2011
Posts: 107
Location: Australia, Canberra

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

People who think it is impossible, should stop interfering the others trying.

I am treatment free (hack, in Australia you don't need to yet...)

There is a problem on hand. There is this balance that mankind disturbed for generations and now it is time to restore it. It will not happen quickly, may be we can not see it. May be our kids will see it. Like the winter stock foragers of a bee colony, they will never get to eat what they've foraged but the super-organism will continue to be alive.

I am trying to put some guidelines for TFB and wanting to develop treatment free queens and signify the genes of that sort for varroa hygienic behavior, disease resistance etc. I found member Norm's writing back in 2009 helpfull. couple of friends that I met in our Turkish forum also interested in the subject.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There was a Danish beekeeper at last year's UK Natural Beekeeping Conference. He didn't make Denmark sound a great place to keep bees naturally, or even at all.


Small flat countries are never good for bees, like Belgium, Holland so is Denmark totally covered in monoculture fields usually treated with pesticides.

When checking farms on the net I look to have a relativly large forest area at lest 1-2 km away on one side and a (small) town on the other. The towns in Denmark have lots of trees and bushes and people generaly dont use pesticides in their gardens. Its impossible to avoid agriculture totally in Denmark. Of course one can hope to have an organic farmer for a neighbour Smile

Here in Sweden where I am have a summer house is mostly like you describe; forests and fields. Many fields are for horses so not that much monoculture but two of my neighbours grow non-organic rapeseed and strawberries Sad

Gurkan I see you started a treatment free thread over at Bee Source. Good man!
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Who on biobees is treatment-free? Reply with quote

Che Guebuddha wrote:
M. Bush, Solomon Parker, Sam Comfort, Les Crowder, Dean Stiglitz, the Bond guy Kefuss (and others) have been treatment free for at least a decade.


You did not forget only Kirk Webster but Dee Lusby and other professional beekeepers.

How many of them live in remote areas? Wink

How much honey do they harvest? (Honey crops are a measure for thriving, believe it or not.)

I have non-treating experience for nine years now. Good results are rare and limited to a couple of years of survival, no thriving. I decided to treat colonies who need it. Just as Erik Österlund does. He has 30 hives untreated in 2012, the rest (150 hives in total) get thymol treatment.

You better do your own experiences first and then discuss YOUR results. Better then discussing hearsay. And nobody is calling anyone a liar, come on. Please calm down, no reason to get excited.

Again I recommend to follow the Soft Bond Test, it is a good help to become treatment free in the long run. If you know better, try your luck. Wink

Bernhard
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
How much honey do they harvest? (Honey crops are a measure for thriving, believe it or not.)


I dont believe that! According to Seeley if swarms got 15, 40 and 100 litres cavities the swarms chose the 40 litres hives. How much honey can bees store in there? 20kg maybe a bit more. A swarm in June can easily fill this up if its not a rainy year.

We still dont know how much damage we are doing to the super organism by forcing it to make more honey by supering/nadiring.

Quote:
You better do your own experiences first and then discuss YOUR results.


I will do that too.
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AnthonyD
Silver Bee


Joined: 14 Aug 2011
Posts: 707
Location: County Kerry Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rolling Eyes
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che Guebuddha wrote:
I dont believe that!


The best medicine against believing is knowing, and knowing results from your own observations.

Try to write down notes about observations whenever possible, it truely helps.

The best treatment for bees is what Oscar Perone says:

- a lot of honey (and pollen)
- a lot of space (I'd rather say a lot of good comb)
- a lot of peace.

Also important - very important - is a good queen. Properly mated.

The rest is close observation and helping here and there.

Keep an eye on varroa, closely monitor varroa. You learn a lot about bees by monitoring varroa. It is a well adapted parasite, there is no better bee teacher.

Good night,

Bernhard
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
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Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not quite treatment free as I use icing sugar.
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madasafish
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Joined: 29 Apr 2009
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Location: Stoke On Trent

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not treatment free - use Thymol strings.

I might be in 5 years time if I am alive then.
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biobee
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Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaunreiter wrote:


The best medicine against believing is knowing, and knowing results from your own observations.



Wise words from our resident Zen Bee Master!
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Barbara
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Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I stated in my post on the other thread, I am 4 years treatment free but that has not entirely been a conscious decision on my part, nor is it set in stone that I will continue not to treat, it's just that I haven't needed to. My bees are a direct line from those which arrived in my garden as a swarm 14 yrs ago and which were treated with chemicals (Apistan and Apiguard alternately) during the initial years of varroa infestation. These bees are local dark bees and have survived 14 years and I would hate to lose them now, so I confess that I would treat with thymol if I saw significant workers with Deformed Wing Virus (I don't monitor mite drop).
I'm not sure at what point you consider them survivor stock, but to my mind, if they need a little help every 4, 6 or even 10 years, then I am comfortable with that. If they needed treating every year and where showing no sign of coping on their own, I would be less precious about them perhaps.

They don't produce lots of honey but they are hardy and frugal and overwinter well. They like to swarm and cast, but they are generally mild mannered and a pleasure to live next to. Most years I am lucky to get a few jars of honey off at least one hive but there is certainly not an excess to sell.
I am fortunate, it seems, to live in hilly country with plenty of trees and wilderness, but the season is short and living in the bottom of a steep wooded valley, it takes the sun a while to reach the hives on a morning, so the days are short too. They rarely swarm before the middle of June but can survive the winter as quite a small cluster.

I feel that I am very fortunate to have such bees come to live in my hives. They don't have all the best attributes a beekeeper would want but they suit me just fine. I'm not convinced that producing large amounts of honey is necessarily an indication of a healthy colony, just that they are characteristics of a different breed. My bees don't need a lot and therefore don't produce a lot.

Anyway, that's where I am at the moment with my bees. The reason I am critical of being dogmatic about non treatment is that I almost certainly wouldn't have these bees now if I had not treated in the past. Therefore I will keep an open mind about treating a colony which has survived 4+ years without treatment, but for some reason may become overwhelmed by varroa and perhaps needs a helping hand in the future.

Dusko, ask yourself, if you were in that position where you had bees that had survived 4 years without treatment, but were obviously suddenly being overrun by varroa, would you really let them die rather than help them to get over this bad spell and hopefully go on to survive another 4+ years treatment free and maybe spawn many more colonies that were also treatment free during that time. Parasites are part of a balance, but there are other factors which affect that balance. If the host is unwell, the burdon the parasite places on it can suddenly tip the scales. That trigger might be poor nutrition, low level poisoning, bad weather or some other disease. I think it is important to always keep an open mind, so that you can make an objective decision when that time comes..... especially if you are going to be beekeeping in a less that idyllic location.

What I hate is the idea that people throw chemicals into their hives routinely, just in case!

Sorry, I've rambled on a lot I know, but I felt that you (Dusko) picked out one very small quote from my post on the other thread because it suited your purpose but ignored the remainder and I really felt that I wanted to make my position on this quite clear.

I really admire your optimism and idealism but I hope you will temper it with observation of the real world when necessary.

Sincerest regards

Barbara
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mannanin
Scout Bee


Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 260
Location: Essex. UK.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I can say is that I am treatment free and sugar free for the past 4 years. My views and findings very much mirror those of Gareth and Barbara and I really cant add anything more of note.
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Bugscouter
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Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 808
Location: USA/California/ Sacramento

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm in the opposite situation as many of you. Right now I'm surrounded by 1.5 million hives (and their Varroa populations) from all over the US. I caught a feral swarm, but for all I know this colony originated in Texas, or Arkansas, or Florida, or who knows where else. And this invasion take place every year.

I think intervention is going to be the norm for me. Last year I used Honey-B-Healthy when Deformed Wing Virus showed up, but I will probably not be using chemical treatments. I think the chemical treatments just help the Varroa adapt to the chemicals and there has been a couple of reports lately showing that the miticides have a synergenic effect with the pesticides that I know my girls are taking in.

Plus we have periodic droughts that will probably necessitate feeding every once in a while.
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andy pearce
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Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che.... I had a long talk with the Danish bee keeper Gareth refers to, who was at last years conference. From what Henning said it seems the agricultural land and associated ecosystems are so controlled (I got the impression it was a matter of pride) that there just is not the wild flora there in large parts of the country for bees. You can keep bees if they have access to a town and gardens but he was adamant that rural bee keeping was compromised by the behaviour of the Danish farmers making the place sterile. It seemed to be what he came to the conference to tell people. Also, is it Denmark where, if you can keep bees, you have to do a shook swarm annually on a certain day?
A
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catchercradle
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Joined: 31 May 2010
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Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andy, that is what I have read about Denmark. Still the noises coming from the EU are promising at the moment.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy,
Quote:
Also, is it Denmark where, if you can keep bees, you have to do a shook swarm annually on a certain day?


I never heard of this before but it sounds like something biodynamic beeks would do (I might be wrong).

Wild flora in Denmark is very tiny. People were encoraged by the governemnt to plant bee friendly plants, bushes and trees, they even ofered money for it (not anymore though).

Yes, I am looking to buy a farm which is located close to a small town and a forest part. Will see how it goes.

Instead of trying to move away from the conventional agriculture we must find courage and energy to influence change towards a more sustainable agriculture.

One thing is encouraging though; Denmark is the No.1 country in the world in buying Organic food. This means people will vote against Neonics!
A Dane, Dan JØRGENSEN of the EU Parlament is talking about banning all the pesticides and go organic Very Happy
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Che Guebuddha
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Joined: 31 Jan 2012
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Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biobee wrote:
zaunreiter wrote:


The best medicine against believing is knowing, and knowing results from your own observations.



Wise words from our resident Zen Bee Master!


Phil I wonder if your bees are treatment free or if you have tried it? Thanks!
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The best treatment for bees is what Oscar Perone says:

- a lot of honey (and pollen)
- a lot of space (I'd rather say a lot of good comb)
- a lot of peace.


I agree on honey/pollen and peace but not on lots of space part, at least not here in Sweden. The more I talk to the beeks here the more I come to understand that Nordic Bee for example overwinters much better in small cavities (8 top bars contained within the follower boards). For this reason I am not going Perone Hive as I first though I would (I still love the idea though).

What would happen I wonder if bees would get a 40-60 litres hive year around. No supering no expanding and manipulating on our part? When they back fill the nest with honey they swarm/split. This allows for break in brood rearing, rather than manipulating them to rare brood all the time so not to swarm. Bees try to collect enough honey to overwinter so do bees have surplus honey and what stress is caused to them by expanding the space by us, by expanding the brood nest? Is this lots of peace if we super and nadire and space the brood nest?

Did any of you keep bees in this manner (I think Barbara wrote once that she doesnt manipulate her bees)? If so what are your results?

Quote:
I really admire your optimism and idealism but I hope you will temper it with observation of the real world when necessary.


Thank you Barbara! Yes I do observe ... the workings of the false notion of Self as well as the outside world which gets reflected on the inside working of the false notion of Self.
It aint easy to see thorugh all this since great concentration and mindfulness is needed but Im trying to strive diligently.

Quote:
would you really let them die rather than help them to get over this bad spell


The way I see it; by treating the colony we weaken their gene pool and hence killing them on a genetic (nature) level and we are instead breeding a more virulent Varroa mite.

Maybe that 4th year is actually the year the colony is breaking through the issue. And we break this by adding foreign substance to the super organism. Lots of mites means nothing, even you said that bees might need to feel overwhelmed with mites to actualy learn (or something like that).
Great mite fall might indicate a very good grooming behaviour yet our fear choose to see it as the right time to SAVE the bees from this pest!

If I am to treat the bees with anything it is going to be Phil's deep litter floor! Im already treating them with a top entrance and freedom to build their own comb on top bars. I think Im treating them nice enough!

Do you (all of you who think so) honestly think that I came to this kind of forum because I want to kill bees? Get out of here Laughing

Che Out!
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catchercradle
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Joined: 31 May 2010
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Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Do you (all of you who think so) honestly think that I came to this kind of forum because I want to kill bees? Get out of here


I doubt if anyone comes to this type of forum because they want to kill bees. I also doubt if you will find anyone in the BBKA or other national associations wedded to frames and treatment who will admit to it. The problem is that when people disagree strongly it is difficult sometimes to find a middle ground.

There are those in my local association who say that keeping bees treatment free increases the varroa problems of those in the area who do treat.

On the other hand many of us would argue that their treating their bees makes it much more difficult for our bees to learn to cope with the mite. On the whole all these opinions are honestly held. In my second year I lost a colony to wasps in the autumn. Whichever route we go down, all of us will make mistakes and what is right for you may not be for me in what is becoming an increasingly urban area.

I may be better off with less oil seed rape and neonicotinoids around as a consequence or depending on what people plant in their gardens I may be worse off. On that score I need to wait and see.

Hopefully all of us can learn from our mistakes through observation. If we are unable to do that, then the bees are in even more trouble!
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There are those in my local association who say that keeping bees treatment free increases the varroa problems of those in the area who do treat.


It seems your local beeks speak the same language as the swedish/danish beeks Rolling Eyes
I ask them how can they have Varroa issues from untreated bees or elsewhere if the treatment is effective? I get no dirrect clear answer but some sort of twisted one. Some think that even feral bees are a bad idea because they spread the Varroa to their hives Rolling Eyes

You see I dont mind beeks around me treating if they feel enclined to do so. All i ask is for them not to alienate me because of my approach.

Maybe my bees (rather Drones) will have more Varroa but they will also have better gene pool with each passing year (those colonies which survive that is).

Most of them use 5.1-5.4 mm foundation yet i dont go against it. But as soon i mention top bar natural comb some start rolling their eyes. Im growing tired of this.

Quote:
I doubt if anyone comes to this type of forum because they want to kill bees


My reply was linked to Barbara's (and others who ask the same) question if I will let the bees die. Of course even those who still treat with Apistan poison blindly believe they are saving the bees. Same applies for those who believe thanks to Neonicotinoids we have enough food on this planet. Same for those who drop neuro poison Front Line on her dogs to repel Ticks yet no one wants to put it on their own skin Wink

Human ignorance is deep indeed!

If bees (as Barbara wrote) are being too weak to fight Varroa because of the loss of habitat then instead of treating go out and plant bee friendly plants, bushes, trees. Plant like crazy! I know Im already stratifying Black Locust, Sibirian Peashrub, Borage, Thyme, Lavender, etc
I will try to plant a whole hectar with bee friendly trees and bushes, berry bushes and fruit trees (already planted 9 germinated Apple trees).

Join local environment organisation and inspire change! Dont say treat bees because they are too weak to fight the Varroa.

This thread should not be about me but since some make it as such I must state that Im not chasing a silver bullet!!! Instead I desire to find all the missing puzzles which are leading to thriving bee population!!!

We are brainwashed well forthe last few decades to immediatelly go for drugs and poisons if we face issues. What about bringing biodiversity back to life?

So, back to this thread;

Who on biobees is treatment free?

Thank you
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