Natural bee keeping

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Bsweet, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Ok had a newbe on another forum ask where to get naturally raised bees :shock: .A few of us asked what they ment by that and the thread quickly when mean and was locked.

    Now I don't want to start a crap storm here so lets play nice.

    So I would like to ask what is YOUR view on natural keeping. No fighting ,no preaching just what you think.

    I feel the only natural bee hive is the wild one.

    I keep bees in a man made hive , use plastic foundation,wired wax and foundationless frames,I feed when needed , use SHB traps and p sugar drop for mites but no other chems.

    I am not a natural keeper just less domestic. Jim
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If I keep bees by only what I learn on my own, I keep them naturally.

    If I learn from others and act on that, it is unnatural keeping.

    Only what i learn on my own is natural. All else is taught.

    :twisted: :lol:
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'll bite.
    I don't know what the true definition of natural would be.
    I keep bees in standard Langstroth, wood frames, wax coated plastic foundation. Stopped using Fumadil (fumagillan) 2+ years ago. Stopped using Oxytet (terramyacin) 5+ years ago.
    I feed when necessary and if mites reach levels where I will lose the colony I step in. Bought a vaporizor for Oxalic and would use Formic more (if it was available which hasn't been the case lately) and am TRYING to stay away from the heavy chems.
    Last winter I lost 8 of 19 hives, it would be hard to sustain those losses on a regular basis.
    Right or wrong I do not know, but I try to do all I can to keep my bees happy and healthy.
    What more can one do?
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

    Messages:
    5,162
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    To me, and this is just my opinion, the only "natural" bees are feral bees that are not manipulated by human hands. Even if you have hives that you do not use any chems in but still rob honey, do frame by frame inspections, splits, breaking up the brood nest, etc., etc. then you are adding stress to the hive that would of not been there in the first place. The code of the jungle would have to apply, only the strongest survive.

    Gosh that kind of sounded like BJ didn't it?!?! :roll:
     
  5. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Natural bees would be feral bees,but you said natural beekeeping? To me that means, beekeeping with no chemicals.I have two hives that i have done nothing to them, but put supers on and take honey off for 10 years.With exception of changing old black comb for foundation, rotate brood boxes in the spring and giving 2 to 1 sugar to one that i thought i robbed to close.That's what i think and i'm sticking to it. :mrgreen: Jack
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    bsweet snip..
    I feel the only natural bee hive is the wild one.

    tecumseh:
    pretty much sums it up for me. the natural ones are the one still in the trees.
     
  7. fatbeeman

    fatbeeman New Member

    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    not even going to bite on this one.

    :beg: :lol: :goodpost:
     
  8. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    A question or two, if it is okay.

    Were these feral bees when you hived them?
    If so, are they still feral?
    If so, what should I call my bees, which did not come out of a hollow tree or the wall of a house?

    I see no validity in calling any kind of beekeeping "Natural". I also don't call any kind of beekeeping "unNatural" or "artificial". Do you suppose the bees find what we do to and with them "Natural" or "UnNatural"?
     
  9. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    wow. This is deep. And can be over thought. Another one of them questions you can ask 10 keeps get 11 different answers 2 boxing matches 3 people sent to there corner and the rest not talking to each other. But that dont happen Here matter of fact the mods here sometimes feel like the maytag man. Anyhow here goes my take. 1st off lets look at one side bees only in the wild with no human intervention natural bees. In there natural habitat no. Bees are not native to north america. So do we Label them natural. Look the other way bees in nature are not kept so It wouldnt make sense to say they are naturally kept bees. There is no human intervention. Then comes to the question of natural kept bees. Bees was never meant to be kept in a white box and have some masked man come blow smoke in there face rip there home apart and steal there honey. So that would disqualify natural to some, however, Man found a way to benefit from the bees by taking them out of there habitat and creating a suitable habitat for them to coexist in. What one does with them in this environment may or may not be deamed natural from one individual to another. Naturally kept bees in my opinion are bees in a langstroth hive that survive on limited human intervention. I have hives I havent been into the brood box in over 2 years and they are doing fine. I got other hives I have been into the brood chamber a couple of times in a year to do splits or to check if there is a problem. But I must see signs of a problem before I go digging. The one that knows the bees best are bees themselves and when you let them do there thing they usually do it best with less human intervention. Now on the other end if you have bees you bought from another keep that has medicated and the bees was not allowed to do there thing Im guessing 9 hives out of 10 will fail within 3 years If you do not continue to medicate since they wasnt allowed to learn to deal with problems like SHB and mites on there own. This is why bees in the wild have made a rebound and are now able to grow in numbers They learned naturally to deal with the problem. Or at least it appears to be the case as I have not seen any veil hooded leprechans with a bottle of miteacide in his pocket running around in the timber since I quit drinking. You can pull a hive out of the wild by cutout or swarm. Put them in a box they have a good chance to make it on their own with less human intervention. Matter of fact they should thrive since that has been the way they have been living. You go medicating the hive and it may turn the other way and fail because they are not used to the new things being introduced into the hive. While Im back up on my soap box. I guess we just as well mention asking a bee supply house if you need to treat your bees or go natural. Is like asking the game warden if its legal to take your mother poaching. You know the answer to that before you even ask. When asking to treat It will almost certainly get you a better treat answer. Why because the stuff they have on the shelf is for sale and if they tell you you dont need it they aint goin to sell it. And if the dont sell it they aint makin money. With that "The rat steps once more off his soap box and slides it back under the bed safe for future use" :thumbsup:
     
  10. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    sqkcrk,The two hives in question was given to me by a farmer when i went to get a swarm for him. He said they had been in his woods for 5 yrs.(when he bought the place) and ask if i wanted them.(Ans. Yes)the hives were on the ground and falling apart,i had to put straps around them to keep them from falling apart when i moved them. I've had them for 5 yrs this coming May :thumbsup: . I've done nothing other than what i mentioned to them (except take frames of eggs to raise queens). Natural bee keeping to me is using no chemicals, and do what bee keepers do to prevent swarming and produce honey. So call them natural or feral :confused: . I did put them in new hive bodies with there old frames.Jack
    .
    :goodpost: Rat,we think on the same lines. Scary HUH, :lol:
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    the rat writes:
    This is why bees in the wild have made a rebound and are now able to grow in numbers They learned naturally to deal with the problem. Or at least it appears to be the case as I have not seen any veil hooded leprechans with a bottle of miteacide in his pocket running around in the timber since I quit drinking. You can pull a hive out of the wild by cutout or swarm.

    tecumseh:
    a hive learns nothing. I think this (the rats rant above) is what my good wife would call an antropomorphic (sp??) view and would get him a non passing mark in her class. Basically what is happening is any hive without the capacity to adapt (and survive) in the new environment gets culled and does not pass on any genetic material to the next generation. so in a sense Nature deselects as much as anything else. there is NO learning taking place.

    in my view whether swarms are surviving in the wild (in trees or soffit of your house) in some robust fashion is likely so full of uncertain information as to be valueless.
     
  12. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Tec I agree with you in part. And Agree to disagree with you on other parts. Nature will cull the unfit or unacceptable is a true statement, However, Bees have to have some sort of cognition (ha the rat does know some big words and aint afraid to use them :yahoo: ). They wouldnt be able to communicate when and where to move the swarm to a new home as a group. Or have the ability to realize a queen did not issue with the swarm and return to the hive. Lets not forget there communication as to where the better nectar source is without the ability to think and make a descision. They are more than likely born with these traits. Then again if thats the case they would have never adapted or learned to deal with the mites if they was unable to learn. If they was born with the trait then mites should have never been a problem when they came on the scene. Unless of course the hive was already week and in decline. Somewhere somehow they learned to make the adjustments neccesary to adapt. Kind of like why is it a human has to learn or (adapt) to swim, yet most other animals are born with the ability to swim without having to learn. The rat loves to debate with good friends especially knowing when its all over we can all walk off friends at the end of the day. Accept each others opinion as being part of that individual persons thoughts. Different opinions wether we agree with them or not are what makes the world turn. (Da Rat steps down once more and this time hands his trusty soap box to my friend tec for the next important part of the equation)
     
  13. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is another reason the intrest in bees is gaining popularity, they are a mystery.Scientist use to say animals can't reason (think things out),well, monkey's for one made a monkey out of them.Which makes me wonder sometimes :confused: .are we working the bees or are they working us :shock: . Look at all the things we do to make there life easier for them :mrgreen: .They have taught me that if i do certain things they will sting me,which brings to mind,when do they decide (think) that you are a threat to them or there colony?With 10 deg,below last night and high in the teens today, gives me to much time to think. :lol: Jack
     
  14. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I know this is a little off topic :rules: but: "Scientists use to say animals can't reason"
    I watched a program on crows and their ability to reason things out and I almost came away thinking they were smarter than me! :shock:
     
  15. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Think about all the animals you have ever seen killed on the road. How many crows have you ever seen killed on the road?

    Pedestrians get hit by cars, so maybe crows are smarter.
     
  16. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    One question not answered from my previous post is, if bees "in the wild" are refered to as "feral", what do we call the bees in my hives?

    Brooks bees are no longer feral, because he manages them.

    tec, spelling is not my long suit, but "anthropomorphic" is closer to the correctr spelling, I believe. Def.: attributing human characteristics to animals. What bees do, they do due to stimulus, not knowledge. And due to instinct, I believe. Which is another argument.
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Bees in your hives are "managed bees".
    Brooks has "managed bees from feral stock".

    There was a study conducted.
    Sugar water was placed 100 feet from the hive until they were feeding regularly. Then it was moved in a straight line 25 feet. The bees found it quickly. The next day, another 25 feet. They found it again. the next day, they were waiting 25 feet farther out when the sugar water arrived.

    Was that stimulus or learned, that let them know where it would be moved to?
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think sqkcrk has it... spellin' and all.

    The idea is not to lay human emotion and thinking on what you think is happening with a bee.

    I think Iddee the story you tell (ie there was a study conducted) is a story told by either Seeley or Wilson in one of their books (and someway connected to their students????... ie the bowl was suppose to be moved and was not) and the story gave the impression that the bees 'expected' the movement of the dish of sugar water (at some time interval... one day is what I remembered). I think if you crossed examined the author (right now I cannot remember which) I suspect they would highly hedge the notion that the field bees were as a matter of fact working off of some expectational model. Certainly at a 25' the field bees could be working off of senses much more basic (like site and smell) than some 'expectational' model.

    It was a nice story...
     
  19. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    sqkcrk ask, what do we call the bees in my hives. I would say your bee's :mrgreen: . Or maybe a better word, kept bee's. We agree on what feral bee's are, but i think it would be hard to say, This is the way you do Natural Beekeeping :confused: . What one person calls natural (the way he does it),another may call it managed bees. So it's kind of a play on words.

    Bsweet,what i would call natural beekeeping,is keeping bees in a hive without chemicals in a let live or die situation. Like they say ask ten beekeepers a question, you'll get eleven answers. Jack
     
  20. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've thought similarly when we teach chimps or dolphins or whoever to communicate in our language. WHO is learning the second language, here???