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What do we mean by 'treatment-free'?
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jose
New Bee


Joined: 30 Jun 2017
Posts: 4
Location: mallorca-spain

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Barbara. Its up to everyone to consider how bad routine inspections are for the welfare of the bees. I think they are so dreadful that I can spare with them. Queenrightness: After an inspection or something that is so menacing for the survival of the colony (attack of the bear,etc.), bees can kill the queen by two reasons: by affection or by anger, both provoked by stress and both ending with a mass of bees balling the queen. Bees bringing pollen with a normal behaviour and a buzzing note also normal means queenrightness. The buzzing note of the queenless bee is somewhat different, like a mourning. The observance of the entrance and the floor below, especially in the morning, can say many things about the health. Cleaning behaviour expelling sick bees, for instance, means struggle with a health problem, usually varroa. The state of the stores is more complicated. It requires some knowledge of your climate and try to predict the flows and their duration. The activity in the entrance is observed as you can see the quantity of the flow, the growing of the activity and the population increase. I play safe, and as a hobbyist, collect only the spare and long before the end of the nectar flow (at least a month). At the nectar flow I choose a warm, not windy day. These last weeks Im starting to take into account the biodinamic calendar as well. Very slowly and without any jar, I remove the roof, the cork plank for insulation, and I lift slowly the outer cover trying not to crack the propolis. I peek for two seconds and I close slowly. Now I know if I have to supper or wait. Doing this every week or ten days during the flow, together with the observation make very little damage to the bees. If no jarring, no anger. No wind, no lost of scent. I think this is a gentle way to inspect and together with the observation before mentioned, I get the information I need. Why to get used to manipulate bees and frames? The only time when you have to concern is when you extract the spare honey. Then an adequate plan or strategy, the adequate protection to feel safe, and always working without jarring. Bees are not to be feared, but respected. Concerning the oldest feral colonies we know. This is mediterranean beekeeping, with advantages and disadvantages like everywhere. Flows are not so heavy, especially in the mountain, but we have two. In the worst winters here the bees are inside the hive for some weeks maximum. You can see activity almost the whole year. Anyway I agree that despite observation at the end of the winter one of these old hives can die and be populated few months later in the swarming season, here usually april. My beemaster knows some feral hives, the owners say they are always populated. Some of 15 years old. Maybe it could be a good subject for an study. I agree with you with the question of the old comb. As soon as they build new comb, they start to propolize it. And in three years more or less is almost black. Logic under beekeeping standards would say that then they should abscond. They dont. The concept of hygienics is not the same for bees than for humans. And that question I think is creating lots of problems for the bees. Fresh comb is colder in winter, pronest to collapse in summer ( second year bees do not make beards so big than new swarms as I observed). Its an sponge for any poison entering the hive, which later on contaminates bee bread and honey. When wax is blackened the amount of propolis is higher than wax. Its more resistant, less attacked by the wax moth and maybe other pathogens, and not so absorbent. Opposite to the common belief, maybe less chemicals as almost no wax for absorbing is present when the wax is completely black. And the bees clean and propolize constantly. But this is another long question that maybe deserves an study as well. Regards.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1747
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If we had a "like" button, Jose, I would be pressing it now.

It is definitely an interesting topic for study. The comb does eventually get to a state where it is no longer useable for brood and from my observation 10 years seems to be about the limit. I also agree that imposing human views of hygiene on bees is not helpful to them and may not be helpful to us in the long run if we continue this need to exterminate all bacteria.

I have a sewage treatment plant for my home and the seal is currently leaking on it and allowing a very small amount of partially treated effluent to seep out. My bees have been all over it for weeks now despite having other cleaner, natural (a stream) and accessible water sources available just as close to the hives. Bees have a lot better sense of what they need to stay healthy than we do.
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jose
New Bee


Joined: 30 Jun 2017
Posts: 4
Location: mallorca-spain

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your opinion, and for the support and encouragement you give to us, new bees. Yes, sometimes they have strange tastes for water. I think that if in your area feral hives are thriving, as I guess they thrive everywhere, this form of non-sulphuring traditional beekeeping (what I do is nothing new, its a system that worked for hundreds of years) could be an option. It is quite respectful with the bees and I think is more a form of cooperation than exploitation. And varroa is not a problem for feral hives, at least here, and since many years ago. When the mite arrived, feral hives had to retreat from the vicinity of the conventional hives, who were then having big losses. Few time later, maybe few years, they adapted and were approching. Swarms escaped from conventional hives were starting to succeed in feral nests. We were told a different story which is not logic and credible if we check the many millions years history of this superorganism, who seems designed for not to be extincted easily. If feral hives thrive, are gentle and have a history of success, then is just to mimic them as much as possible. They are the best bee-masters. I think that as much we are close to the handling they do, better can be the results, as much we move away the chances of failure increase. This is an opinion, and time will tell if this investigation works. At least, I can see that I am not the only one who disagrees with several or many of the conventional way of handling the bees and try a more ethical beekeeping (or beehaving). By the way, I miss an speller. It could help me with my writing skills. Best regards.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1747
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Yes, sometimes they have strange tastes for water


It is my opinion that they gather much more than just water. I think there are minerals and possibly even good bacteria that they collect. I have also seen them all over my horses urine soaked bedding in my stable yard at certain times of year, usually the autumn time.
It makes me smile to imagine what people who buy all these antibacterial products to keep their environment so hygienic and sterile, would make of it if they knew how their honey was made! Shocked Very Happy
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