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Natural beekeepers Central, Pennsylvania

 
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Naturalbees1312
New Bee


Joined: 21 Sep 2015
Posts: 7
Location: Hershey, PA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:10 pm    Post subject: Natural beekeepers Central, Pennsylvania Reply with quote

Haven't been able to find any and I'm not satusfied with the local beekeeper organization which advocates chemical use.
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Bruce Rodriguez
New Bee


Joined: 10 Nov 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Reading PA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same here. Even on this site, the "natural" beeks keep talking about feeding, foundation, OA, and all kinds of stuff I would never do. It's frustrating. That's just my opinion. This is my first ever post by the way.
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Naturalbees1312
New Bee


Joined: 21 Sep 2015
Posts: 7
Location: Hershey, PA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree.

This is my first year beekeeping. I used foundationless frames --the bees built their own-- and I managed to get 2 full medium supers of honey plus the honey the bees filled the brood box with, in the fall. Total, there's close to 170 lbs of honey on the hive to get them through winter. After winter, I intend to split into 2 hives.


What about you--if we get enough attention here we could start our own regional, all-natural association
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Bruce Rodriguez
New Bee


Joined: 10 Nov 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Reading PA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm kind of starting all over again. About 5 years ago I had to go away unexpectedly and couldn't take my bees with me. Rather than give them away (3 hived swarms) I just left them on my buddy's property to fend for themselves. He's not a beekeeper, but he kept me posted every few weeks as to how they were doing. One of them over-wintered 4 years in a row without so much as having the lid cracked. I finally got to peek inside in September and of course it's all cross-combed up, so I just closed it up. The other two set-ups have had swarms move in off and on over the years, but they were empty. My plan is to get the surviving hive in order next spring (assuming it over-winters again) and collect swarms to get a nice yard going. I signed up on a bunch of swarm lists and called all the pest control companies and gave them my number. Hopefully I'll be busy. As far as an all-natural association, it seems (from reading here and other forums) that no two people can agree on what all-natural means. The regular bee clubs' conversations and presentations I've been to lose my interest so fast I could get whiplash. I just don't want to hear about quick-strips and fondant for the hundredth time. That's just me. I'm a person who likes to observe insects (not just bees) doing what they would do without me there. I'm not a livestock person looking to maximize my yield. OK I'm rambling now. Anyway nice to meet ya. I'm not too far away. Maybe we could work on something sometime next spring.
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Naturalbees1312
New Bee


Joined: 21 Sep 2015
Posts: 7
Location: Hershey, PA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, natural beekeeping is: no intervention besides bi-weekly hive checks. My pest management begins and ends with a screened bottom board. No chemicals -natural or artificial. No sugar water. Basically, my beehive is a place where the bees can live and make it on their own and any extra
Honey I'll get to enjoy. It's also a place for me to observe them doing their own thing.

I don't worry about varroa. My bees need to manage it themselves. They will either survive or die as they would in nature. Also, I will let them replace the queen as they see fit. The only time I'll intervene is to split hives 😆
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Bruce Rodriguez
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Joined: 10 Nov 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Reading PA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with all of that except I don't use SBB. To me, SBBs naturally select for mites with a strong grip. I don't want weak mites falling out. I want them to contribute their flaws back into the gene pool. There are other reasons not to use them but that's just one that I've never seen anyone address even though I've asked many times.
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Naturalbees1312
New Bee


Joined: 21 Sep 2015
Posts: 7
Location: Hershey, PA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha! You're reasoning is awesome. In reading about the mite, I've read that their feet are more like suction cups. This is why things like powdered sugar work to dislodge them from the bees. Likewise, I've read SBBs work because the mites can't grip onto them as they fall off the bees.

I don't use powdered sugar, FYI. I wish there could be something like pollen that could be dusted onto the bees....in fact...what do you think about that? If I collected pollen and then put it in a food processor to make it powder and then dusted the bees with it, wouldn't they groom themselves just the same?
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Bruce Rodriguez
New Bee


Joined: 10 Nov 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Reading PA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not going to dust with anything. I just don't see any reason to. The bees are always going to have some amount of pollen on their bodies. Dusting them is just going to accelerate the selection process for (lacking a better phrase) mites with a vice-grip. Only the mites that can withstand the dust treatments and whatever else will remain to pass on their superior genetics. All the less able-bodied mites will fall out and be removed from the gene pool. Seems counter-intuitive to me. Any minute now, some "authority" will come in here and say my reasoning is all screwed up but oh well. They usually have no concept of how evolution works. Any time you place an obstacle in an organism's way (sugar dust, pollen dust, SBB, MAQS, whatever), you select for those that can (and will) overcome that obstacle. It's simple natural selection, or in this case, selective breeding. On the same token, the only way to select for bees (or plants, or mice) with resistance to an environmental stimulus is to expose many of them to a lot of the stimulus (in this case mites) and see who survives. I don't have the conflict of interest (honey sales) so it won't crush me when I lose some colonies or don't have the yield most beekeepers are aiming for. I can always start fresh next year. And I will.
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Naturalbees1312
New Bee


Joined: 21 Sep 2015
Posts: 7
Location: Hershey, PA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ultimately, I agree with you. I thoroughly believe in natural selection. I'd like bees who are survivors, good at cleaning, good at grooming, all around good stock.


It pains me to think that a queen of mine could mate with a bee from a colony that is treated with chemicals.

I won't really dust, just a thought that occurred to me regarding the pollen.

Although I am delighted with my bees, I am not fearful of them dying if they become overwhelmed. Truth is, the state of the honeybee is in part due to how weak genetics have been propped up through treating.

Have you ever heard of Michael Bush? He's got some really good theories. His website is very informative.
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Bruce Rodriguez
New Bee


Joined: 10 Nov 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Reading PA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have read Michael Bush's books and website and watched his presentations on youtube. In my humble opinion, they're great. I would love to get a few of his queens for my yard just to mix it up a bit. Don't know if he still makes any available. But yeah, like you said, you do a bunch of hard culling to eliminate weak genetics only to have your queens mate with some Georgia run of the mill treatment drone and you're back to square one. Hopefully they cut out enough drone comb, and use enough foundation that they don't flood the area with drones.
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Naturalbees1312
New Bee


Joined: 21 Sep 2015
Posts: 7
Location: Hershey, PA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've not read any of his books but I have been through his site and watched his presentations and I've perceived him as spot on. Most of what he says appeals to me, rationally.

He seems to have some very good ideas and my commitment to non-intervention is directly influenced by his presentations. What sealed the deal is when I went to capital area beekeepers association meeting. They had a PhD speaking about varroa. He spent roughly 30 minutes on hard and soft chemical treatments before he uttered 2 sentences about natural comb as an option: " some people say natural comb is a natural defense against varroa because of the smaller cell size. Several studies by so and so show that cell size has nothing to do with varroa."

I walked out. that was as much as i wanted to take.

Bush still has sessions with him in the summer. You go and stay with him on his farm. Perhaps you could get some queens from him then?

This year I saw 3 bees with mites on them and then I never saw them again. My news are very good at detecting affected larva. In the summer, it was not uncommon to see them bringing out unhatched white larva and discarding them. They're also very calm but good at defending against invaders. I watched them take on bumblebees!
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