Interesting conversation with a honey customer

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by riverrat, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I had a lady drop in and buy honey last night. She was telling me her sister had decided to take up bee keeping. She bought several packages a couple years back. The lady was telling me her sis lost all the hives over winter the first yea. Her belief was she had decided to go treatment free and her bees came from a large package provider in the south and up to arriving the bees had been treated. The lack of treatment she believes is what done them in. I know it is hard to take bees that have been treated and switch to non treatment but I would venture to guess there was other reasons for the losses. From what I have seen and read in package bees its the 2nd and 3rd years you have the heavy losses due to the mite takes a couple of seasons to get the upper hand on the new hive. Anyhow where I seen her mistake that unfortunatly led to her not getting more bees is. She tried to go it alone relying only on the advice of the bee supplie house she ordered her bees from. Going treatment free tells me she didnt listen to there advise either. Until she called them told them her bees was gone and they probly said see I told you you had to treat the bees.
     
  2. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    A good argument for why a new beekeeper to have a mentor or join a bee club. :drinks: Jack
     

  3. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Or get involved in this forum.
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Similar story to Rat's:
    Had a guy buy a nuc off me 3 years ago. Said he had a hive in his backyard for nearly 15 years, always took honey off it and never had a problem, but it finally died. Anyway, I sold him the nuc ( told him he really should buy 2 to be safe but he wouldn't ;) ). I saw him a year later and asked how it was doing, he said great. This past spring he called and said his hive had died and he needed another nuc. He didn't know what happened and after talking to him it became clear that he hadn't checked for mites, or in fact really gone through his hive at all other than to harvest.
    I explained that things have changed in keeping bees and they need more management than perhaps he was used to. He did not want to treat, and I explained that anything I sold him would probably not survive more that 2 or 3 years if he didn't change his approach. I sold him another nuc and sent along with him a single mite treatment and explained how to use it. It is up to him whether he does or not and I made him aware of the possibilities.
    I believe as well that many new keeps think that they can somehow defy the odds, somehow avoiding what has plagued the majority of the beekeeping world, and simply provide a "good home" and all will be well. I remember when I got my first 2 nucs that I believed I was "isolated" enough that I wouldn't face the problems others were having. If only it were that easy.
    I realize that there enough keeps that are treatment free to not believe it can't be done. But these are people who are experienced, knowledgeable and manage their bees in different ways than your average backyard keep. They work hard to achieve those results and my hat is off to them. To those entering the field, learn the basics first, then tackle the world. :)
     
  5. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    :goodpost:

    Words to live by...."Learn the basics first, then tackle the world."

    Well written, Perry
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Ditto...... :goodpost:
     
  7. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    riverrat,

    That old advice of not having problems till the second or third year, fell by the wayside in the past few years.

    Yes, in years past, a beekeeper could drop in a package and not do anything and have about a 90% chance of getting the hive through the first winter. The packages were always treated for mites. Then of course, we called the second year, the sophmore curse as mites caught up. And hive loss was much higher.

    But in the past several years, a new beekeeper could not get half the packages strong enough to even get through the first winter. Queen supersedure, outright colony loss, and poor performing bees were seen all around. And many last year reported huge losses even before the beginning of December.

    I do have my own ideas for why packages have taken so badly in the past 5 years or so.

    Fortunately, this year, I have seen no early reports of massive losses, as seen last year at this time. Funny how this coincides with the stoppage of imported packages the winter prior. So perhaps we can at least get back to a point where we can at least get packages through the first winter.

    As for treatments, which are vague at best on this thread, I have been keeping bees with not standard treatments for many years. And my losses are no higher than all the guys down at the local clubs who treat their bees each year with whatever they use as the flavor of the day.

    I always find it funny how folks point out losses by those that do not treat. But probably 90% of beekeepers by a show of hands at local clubs, still treat. And yet, they lose massive amounts of hives.

    It's like I keep hearing "You need to treat or you will lose bees" and yet, the losses are still there, and many times higher for those pumping in the treatments.

    I don't see many beekeepers in a position of saying they lost no bees due to treating.

    I think beekeepers are being sold a bill of goods that will continue to fail. They just do not see it.
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    This is where the definition of treatment comes in.

    If you make a split, clean the bottom board, scrape off a few moth cocoons, rearrange the frames, or anything else along those lines, you are not treatment free, only chemical free. Treatment free only exists when you go out once or twice a year and harvest a super. Anything else you do is a treatment. Treatment free is almost a guaranteed 100% loss. Chemical free is, in my opinion, the best way to go, but treatments of a non-chemical nature is absolutely essential.
     
  9. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I think people get this idea that a hobby bker has one or two hives and that after a couple of years one or both of those hives die. And that longtime experienced bkers know how to keep their hives from dying.

    What's not being considered is that the hobby bkr leaves their hives there, doesn't split or requeen or anything- and eventually something happens and the hive dies.
    Meanwhile, the longtime bker is not just letting that hive sit there- they are making splits, moving the bees around, requeening or pulling nucs and frames from those same two hives. They wind up with several other hives from the one original, and if the original hive dies, they still come out ahead and have gained rather than lost. So they can't say they 'lost their hives'. Rather, the original hive has produced additional replacement hives all along. The experienced bkr has plenty of hives that die...but they also create new hives from the old ones.
    The hobby bkr's hive dies and they have to wait til next year to get more bees. They haven't learned to make a few replacements to have on hand when one or two hives die.

    A hive is not a static permanent unchanging thing. Like a plant, it has a lifetime even if the outside of the box looks the same. The bees inside that box all die every month or two, the queen dies every few yrs or more often, or is superceded or flies off, swarms or splits are produced regularly. The original single hive may 'die', but the bees live on....if the BKr has the experience to keep making more bees.
     
  10. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Omie said:
    "A hive is not a static permanent unchanging thing. Like a plant, it has a lifetime even if the outside of the box looks the same. The bees inside that box all die every month or two, the queen dies every few yrs or more often, or is superceded or flies off, swarms or splits are produced regularly. The original single hive may 'die', but the bees live on."

    :goodpost:
     
  11. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    bjorn I agree with you on this and that is exactly the reasons I meant when I wrote i venture to guess other reasons was the cause. What it boils down to a lot of new keeps just dont take the time to do there homework before getting there bees. :thumbsup:
     
  12. rast

    rast New Member

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    Some that buy bees are only doing it so at work or where ever they can say, "I'm doing my part, I keep bees". Status symbol.
    An individual I knew called me wanting to buy a hive, I asked him where he was going to put it, "my yard". Nothing around you for them to forage on I told him. 2 orange trees he said. I didn't sell him a hive. I told him to educate himself on bees and get back with me then. Haven't heard from him.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    the rat writes:
    Her belief was she had decided to go treatment free and her bees came from a large package provider in the south and up to arriving the bees had been treated.

    tecumseh:
    there may be some clue here as to who not to buy from but there is also a likely clue out there as to 'where' not to buy from?