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  • Thomas Seeley on Treatment Free

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #8979  by NigelP
 22 Sep 2020, 10:33
Interesting article by Prof Seeley in ABJ on going treatment free for varroa.
Over three years he has recorded a 30% annual loss of colonies due to varroa I doubt I shall even think of following in his footsteps.
He also describes a 1 year study on wild local/ Webster Russian queens ( treatment free line of Russian queens) and VSH Italian queens, the VSH Italian hives had the highest varroa load, although he doesn't describe whether they were badly affected by them or not....The lowest mire loads were in the local and Russian hives but too early in his studies to draw any firm conclusions.
 #8980  by huntsman.
 22 Sep 2020, 12:00
In the autumn when four year olds go to school they may come home with nits in their hair.

Nothing wrong with this unless you ignore the nits.

Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!
 #8981  by Patrick
 22 Sep 2020, 16:30
I own several Professor Seeley books but on this topic, widely aired, I really think he has drifted into intellectual self indulgence rather than practical application.

Unfortunately, on his recent jaunt into the misnamed Darwinian beekeeping, his considerable and deserved reputation has given way to a range of postulations that seem to range from the generally true and applicable, to mildly irksome generalisations and beyond into problematic theorising.

The suggestion to stop treatments and instead cull every colony which shows high mite levels before they “skyrocket” sounds okay until you consider the real world implications. For how many years do you keep killing colonies? What happens when all of your five colonies has “high” mite levels in the same season?
 #8982  by AndrewLD
 22 Sep 2020, 17:30
I wonder if in the great expanse of northern America he hasn't got a touch of prairie fever? I'd love to spread my hives out over thousands of acres but sadly a third of an acre just isn't allowing me to provide the natural home some of his theories seem to suggest is required ............
 #8985  by Patrick
 22 Sep 2020, 22:59
One of the principles suggested is to deliberately keep bees restricted to one brood chamber and a single super to promote congestion and thus swarming which, as we know, may have a benefit in temporarily reducing mite loads. Really?

Grazing animals often naturally carry higher intestinal worm burdens partly due to the numbers of animals kept on the same ground. By the same thinking then, would it be thought acceptable to just leave the gate open and let most of them wander off and become someone else’s problem , just to reduce your few remaining animal’s worm burden a bit?

This is maybe all well and good with hives in extensive forested areas of New York State where the resultant swarms are unlikely to cause a nuisance, but for hobbyists in areas of more typical levels of habitation it is simply not responsible social behaviour.

And there is the small matter of the reported 4 out of 5 swarms natural mortality by the end of their first winter. So typically not great for the bees you were supposed to be looking after.

So I won’t be doing that either , thanks all the same.
 #8986  by AndrewLD
 23 Sep 2020, 08:25
huntsman. wrote:
22 Sep 2020, 17:37
Keep in mind, honeybees are not native to North America.

Native Americans called the first European imports; 'White Mans Flies.'
I have heard that too. Apparently the native americans could tell the white man's progress by the arrival of honeybees a couple of years before the settlers actually arrived (not sure if I believe that one......).

I see this rather simply; if beekeepers did not keep bees we probably wouldn't have any pollinators left and be in the same position as some parts of China. To keep bees we have to keep them in artificial circumstances that may not be ideal but there really isn't a practical alternative in our crowded little island. It is by far the lesser of two evils.
 #8987  by Steve 1972
 23 Sep 2020, 10:53
I started treatment with Apitraz two weeks ago on four colonies and one week ago on five colonies..i have not checked the inspection trays on the colonies i did last week but the four i did two weeks ago have a fairly large mite drop in there hundreds and still counting..i dare say that if i listened to incorrect advise and went treatment free or culled hives with heavy mite loads my apiary would be in a sorry state come spring..
 #8994  by Chrisbarlow
 23 Sep 2020, 13:48
Treatment free bees are the future but I suspect they'll still be a long way off.
 #8997  by huntsman.
 23 Sep 2020, 14:59
<Treatment free bees are the future but I suspect they'll still be a long way off.>

I don't agree for one moment but if you are correct, imagine how easy beekeeping would be, you would need to know bugger all. Just collect the honey, if you get any honey.