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Is it possible to start off as TF or is that an advanced technique for year 2,3,4 etc?

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  • Is it possible to start off as TF or is that an advanced technique for year 2,3,4 etc?

    I love the ideas of TF. But is it really possible right from the beginning, or does one have to build up to multiple hives using traditional techniques of feeding and anti-mite techniques for some period first?

  • #2
    The short answer is: You're either TF or you're not. I don't believe in working towards TF from any traditional

    But don't expect to have bees that need treatment survive if you stop treating them.

    Stop buying bees and work with swarms. (Keeps you busy every year and only the good stock will survive.)

    If you really want to buy bees, look for a TF beekeeper near you to get them from.

    Treated bees and packages should not be considered imo.

    TF beekeeping is all about having strong bees able to survive without the BK.
    Waregem - West-Vlaanderen - België (Flemish/Dutch)
    Waregem - West-Flanders - Belgium (English)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    My Blog
    https://beekeepingwithbob.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      Originally posted by BobTheBuilder View Post
      The short answer is: You're either TF or you're not. I don't believe in working towards TF from any traditional

      But don't expect to have bees that need treatment survive if you stop treating them.

      Stop buying bees and work with swarms. (Keeps you busy every year and only the good stock will survive.)

      If you really want to buy bees, look for a TF beekeeper near you to get them from.

      Treated bees and packages should not be considered imo.

      TF beekeeping is all about having strong bees able to survive without the BK.
      So set out the traps, and if I don't catch bees, then I don't have bees that year? Sounds simple enough, I guess.

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      • #4
        That's it. If you really want bees you could buy them - but then you 'invest' and as soon as you do that beekeeping might become a business where you want to protect your investment more than you would enjoy working the bees. Hence Solomon's catch prhase I presume: If you're not having fun: go do something else!
        Waregem - West-Vlaanderen - België (Flemish/Dutch)
        Waregem - West-Flanders - Belgium (English)
        -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        My Blog
        https://beekeepingwithbob.blogspot.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by BobTheBuilder View Post
          That's it. If you really want bees you could buy them - but then you 'invest' and as soon as you do that beekeeping might become a business where you want to protect your investment more than you would enjoy working the bees. Hence Solomon's catch prhase I presume: If you're not having fun: go do something else!
          Well, it's not all fun, some of it is work. It is agriculture, farming, animal husbandry. If it were all fun, everyone would do it.

          I am not sure where you are that you can just put out bait hives and you automatically instantly get colonies. But that is freaking awesome!!! I don't happen to live there. I can "try" to catch swarms, but that can happen, or not happen at the will of the wizard of whimsy!! So I must choose a more proactive approach, leaving me with buying nucs, or packages. With the additional option of buying extra queens. And, in all cases, they can be a pig in a poke. So I think it is all a matter of strategy based on getting some stock and doing the best I can with them, and maybe I can get lucky and have some survivor stock come spring. Though I am not sure how one does this without treating for mites, Or beetles, Or feeding through the dearth or all the other things that the commercial keepers say has to be done. So I guess I am looking for advice other than what I would get from the commercial folks.

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          • #6
            "Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began…"--C.H. Spurgeon
            Nehawka, Nebraska. My website: bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm em portugues: bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm My book: ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
            -----"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin-----

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Michael Bush View Post
              "Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began…"--C.H. Spurgeon
              and let the Lord be all in all to you.

              Spurgeon was a phenomenal writer, preacher and so forth. Here is the libreVox for it. https://archive.org/details/all_of_grace_1011_librivox

              Michael, I have enjoyed reading your book. Your writing style is gentle and flows well. One of the few modern day authors I would enjoy sitting across a table over a cup of tea or mug of beer and a conversation.

              As for the Spurgeon quote, that is certainly inspirational. Not exactly sure how it fits into my current stream of spirituality. or even directly related to beekeeping or my current attempt at formulating a concrete plan for the coming season. But I shall take it as motivational in the same ways as Zig Ziegler and Dale Carnegie helped to do sales without offering any sales techniques. Hopefully I am taking it in the manner you offered it. Otherwise I simply missed the point.

              On the other hand, if you meant it as a paraphrase that I should take literally. the you have added a chicken-egg problem to my original question. Which gives me more questions than answers.

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              • #8
                The point I am attempting to make is that you won’t get to Laramie by going towards New York. If you want to be treatment free you should do that.
                Nehawka, Nebraska. My website: bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm em portugues: bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm My book: ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
                -----"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin-----

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Michael Bush View Post
                  The point I am attempting to make is that you won’t get to Laramie by going towards New York. If you want to be treatment free you should do that.
                  Depends on the starting point? If I am in Mexico, England, or possibly even Canada it might require going the same direction to get to either one, at least at the beginning of the journey. When I look for heroes, I don't really see someone with the same starting point. I love the way Sam Comfort's story reads, but he started out as commercial and skimmed off his best survivor stock to begin. It is hard to follow Dr Leo because I am not sure what he is doing specifically other than selling books and speaking. As for Lazutin, that seems like the real goal/basis had to do with getting European dark bees and being in a colder zone than myself. Mike, you seem to be next on my list of TF people, but even after reading your book, I am not quite sure how to apply it to my specific location/situation starting from scratch. Not to mention that answers you give online have a tendency to be philosophical on the level of the ancient kung fu master in an old b&w kung fu movie. No offense intended. I might just be a little thicker than most and need more of "This is a block" than "wax all these cars" kind of answer.

                  Okay, I get what you are saying. If I can drive you further towards actual specifics. I will suggest that it appears that bees available to me here in my area as nucs, tend to be those created for commercial beekeepers. If they are not treated for mites, and fed through out the dearth we have here from June to August they will not survive.

                  If I catch swarms, it more likely that they will be casts from such bees that were treated for mites and fed through the dearth and swarmed away from their keeper, than that I will have caught some super feral bee who has learned how to winter/survive dearth/ and mites.

                  So if I were to start with a very large number of colonies and just let them die if they can't get along with their mites. Let them die if they can't survive dearth. And let them die if they can't get along with their beetles and nosema. Then what I have left will be some amazing survivor stock. Or "no bees"

                  I don't have unlimited funds or space. Therefore 100 colonies is out of the question. In actuality so is starting with 10. So, in reality, best I can start with would be 2 if I had to buy them, and possibly as high as 5 if I can catch swarms. Space-wise I can probably handle up to 3 stacks and 5 to 7 nucs though my laws only cover me up to "5" the way I understand them. But that is another issue altogether. I promise to try to stay on topic.

                  Let's say I can build unlimited wooden-ware in whatever configuration necessary. And I can buy 2 5FD nucs, and put up some manageable number of trap boxes that may catch as few as zero additional colonies. What would be the strategy to become a TF keeper?


                  Here is my current understanding, it definitely needs some clarification and straight up answers as well:
                  1. Must make it through flow without losing to swarm.
                  a. There are loads of Italian bees in my area.
                  b. If swarms are allowed to happen, there tends to be too week a remaining colony to raise a queen before the robbers reduce them or recruit them to come join their colony somewhere else.
                  c. Splits can prevent this, or can be done to thwart this with increase and new genetics influx from raised queens.
                  d. Special Magical queens can be introduced to splits.
                  2. Must make it through dearth without losing to starvation.
                  a. By the time that nucs are available it is at least half way into flow.
                  b. Flow ends pretty drastically into dearth.
                  c. Sugar syrup seems necessary to even give them a fighting chance.
                  d. If they haven't gotten pollen stores, I can't see how well they can breed strong long-lived much less "winter" bees.
                  3. Must make it into winter with enough resources to over-winter and survive up to the flow.
                  a. It is not sufficient to simply survive dearth. If they have collected enough resources, they must not have consumed them all
                  b. Goldenrod and Aster follows dearth, but is it sufficient for winter prep?
                  4. Must survive spring without losing to swarm, and build up into as many "new colonies" as possible.
                  a. Second season, gets to start from the end of winter, and has the benefit of access to the whole flow as opposed to #1 needing to start a couple steps behind.
                  b. As these are either Magical stock or Survivor stock making as many splits as possible certainly results in potential ability to declare "survivor stock" come next spring. But this is depending on build-up/wax production/swarm prevention.
                  c. From here starts some new strategy based on what is learned up to this point.

                  If you feed are you still TF? If splits and queen rearing takes place can we count on drones to bring in enough new genetics to eventually breed stronger bees? Can enough splits be made and given new well bred queens with TF supportive traits (VSH, frugal, good storage on short/limited flow, etc.. ). Will such genetics be able to be maintained in queens reared from their offspring? Or will the open mating with unknown drone stock eventually "water down" such traits?

                  Can some of this be answered or clarified?

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                  • #10
                    Hi Absinthe, you're clearly giving this much thought. Maybe you're even overthinking it.

                    1) Work with swarms
                    2) Feed them if you think this will help them the first year as you say a dearth sets them back in the same year they swarm/are split.
                    3) stop feeding them if they survive winter
                    4) Don't do swarm prevention and catch your own swarms -> taking you back to point 1. OR try to split before the swarming is on their minds -> this might take you back to point 2.

                    You need to work towards what you want to achieve, and only by working towards that you will experience what will work for you and what will not work for your bees.
                    The answer to a lot of your questions will be different, depending on the beekeeper that answers them. The main point is that you need to answer them to your satisfaction. It's too easy to ask somebody else to answer the questions for you and than point fingers and blame them for selling you BS if it doesn't turn out the way you want it to.

                    My point is if you want to keep bees without having to feed them, follow the nature of the bee. Don't feed them, let them die, and build up from survivors - if you have any. Either way, catching swarms next year will keep you busy and if you keep at it long enough, you might get bees that do make it.
                    Waregem - West-Vlaanderen - België (Flemish/Dutch)
                    Waregem - West-Flanders - Belgium (English)
                    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    My Blog
                    https://beekeepingwithbob.blogspot.com/

                    Comment


                    • Absinthe
                      Absinthe commented
                      Editing a comment
                      This seems very dependent on catching swarms. So are you suggesting that I set out swarm traps and bait hives and if it tales 2, 3 or more years to catch one, then I don't have bees?

                      If that's what you are saying, I get it. But it is 180° different from the folks over at BS that seem to have a giant [email protected]*n for me to hurry up and get some bees or don't talk about them.

                      I certainly get the idea of letting them die if they are going to die, to effect natural selection. I would certainly feel more confident with such a strategy if I felt I could actually catch a swarm. Granted my bait hives went up very late this year. But in my whole life I have never seen a swarm in person anywhere, ever.

                      So my plans up to this point have been based on the availability of nucs. I know I can order them, and get one, whether it is half way through the spring flow or not is a different issue, but if I order one by November I know I can get one. I don't know anything about if I can ever get a swarm.

                      The thoughts of spending folding money on nucs, and simply let them die in the name of natural selection, is not within my sensibilities or inclinations.

                    • atollerson
                      atollerson commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Absinthe you are approaching this as if treating ensures your money investment. Which is does not. There are 15 other ways a colony can die besides mites. And I appreciate the amount of research and effort you are trying to put into controlling their outcome but frankly, it is not controllable. I have migrated from a thought process that I own the bees on my property. I don't, because I didn't purchase them. What I own are the hives. I'm a hive keeper. The bees come and stay or go every year. I have the comb and the honey and box. Those are controllable. They are not.

                      I never saw a swarm of bees in my life before I put up swarm traps and advertised on local FB groups (classified sections) I was willing to go collect swarms. But there were dozens to be had once I put myself out there.

                      Every year my club members "buy" nucs because they lack the confidence they will actually catch a swarm, and every year I have swarms for them to go collect and they realize they wasted money buying one. I did the same thing my first year. I purchased nucs, they died that winter with a zero mite count in alcohol wash for reasons having nothing to do with mites and all to do with the way I aggressively split them their first year establishing. Rookie mistake. You will make mistakes. You will kill them. Accept now that you will kill your bees or the environment will and make your monetary and ethical decisions from that assumption. The rest will fall into place.

                      Just let go
                      Last edited by atollerson; 6 days ago.

                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Absinthe View Post
                    I love the ideas of TF. But is it really possible right from the beginning,
                    That's exactly what I did. You've had several good answers and asked several good questions. Here's the way I got started almost 12 years ago. I was working third shift and asked if anyone knew where I could get a colony of bees. One of the guys I worked with was a beekeeper with two hives and just recently had a severe reaction to a bee sting. He was just going to let his bees go feral or die because he was afraid to get stung again. He said I could have everything he had that was "beekeeping stuff" including the two colonies of bees if I would pay half price for the suits etc he had purchased from a national supplier. I agreed and brought the bees home along with the "beekeeping stuff."

                    I had no experience but the bees and I learned to work together. You just have to start and let the bees be bees. Let the people you are around at work, church or on FB or wherever that you need a colony of bees. You might get lucky. Best of luck to you.

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