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To treat or not to treat?

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wilderness 

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The more I read about treating bees for various diseases and pests the more I become confused.

I've been reading through Michael Bush's website and came across this

"How much do we upset the balance of this rich ecosystem when applying anti-bacterials such as tylan or terramycin and anti-fungals such as Fumidil? Even essential oils and organic acids have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects. Then we kill off many of the mites and insects with acaracides.

After totally unbalancing this complex society of diverse organisms with no regard for benefit or not and contaminating the wax that we reuse and put in the hives as foundation, we are surprised to find that the bees are failing. Under such circumstances I would be surprised to find them flourishing!"

Whole article here http://bushfarms.com/beesmorethan.htm
 
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Hivemaker. 

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Wilderness,you say your confused. Do you treat your bee's with anything and if so, are they now sick?
 

Nellie 

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Oh blimey, do I want to get myself embroiled in another row?

I don't actually disagree with the overall point being made to be honest though I'd suggest that the approach suggested perhaps is more reflective of US commercial style beekeeping than your average hobbyist, as I understand it's far more widespread to treat for everything just in case.

Never personally used anything in my hives other than thymol and a bit of syrup now and then simply because I've never seen anything in my hives other than varroa that actually requires treatment. Anything else would make me stop and think twice before I reached for a bottle or a powder of something to treat it anyway.

I could slap supplements or treatments containing Fumidil B, for example, into my hives on the off chance they might have Nosema I suppose, but I'd much rather test them and find out for sure. Then I can make a decision, do I really want bees susceptible to Nosema in my apiaries?

Likewise using stuff like terramycin which, I believe, tends to be used as a prophylactic treatment for AFB in the US but off the top of my head I'm not even sure if you can buy it over the counter in the UK as a honey bee treatment, certainly none of the major suppliers stock it.

I do think that it's a good general point/question though. Why are you treating for something? Might there be an alternative "treatment" that doesn't require slapping an antibiotic or fungicide into the hive? What's the downside if you don't treat?

At the risk of spreading arguments about treating for varroa into yet another thread, if you decided not to use Thymol what beneficial mites do you feel you'll be sparing in the hive and can you make a case for their beneficial effects outweighing the negative ones from varroa?

I think people should question stuff like this. You've read the article on Michael Bush's site, how much of that stuff are you actually putting into your hives at the moment and why are you doing it?
 
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There is not correct reply to this question.
The use of DDT certainly save may lives of human kind, but the chemical was persistant in the environment and indeed has now become a byword for mans (and chemical companies) disregard for the natural world. Rachel Carlson blew a very loud whistle in her book "Silent Spring"............. and the cudgel has been waved against "chemicals" by a new breed "environmentalists" ever since.

Yes the bad bugs got killed, so did the good bugs that were eating the bad bugs, hence an exponential explosion of bad bugs and more chemicals to kill them, killing off any good bugs left!

Before I did a degree in Environmental Science here in Plymouth, I probably was in this new group of "environmentalists", but education has taught me to question everything. Just because a chemical compound appears naturally in nature does not necessarily mean it must be natural... pyrethnins occur in many plants as a natural insectide, but when modified by twiddling arround of a couple of hydrogen atoms in the lab, become a powerful and persistant, all bug killing, million dollar making, compound.
And that is the problem $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Is squirting yet another noxious chemical into an already stressed system going to reverse the problem possibly caused by squirting another chemical into it, intended to kill something else initially?

Yes we need to be concerned with bee diseases, and need to react in an intelligent way if we find them.

Research into bees seems to me to be massively underfunded, and successive governments seem to be blind to the implications of a beeles planet.

WHY is a herbicide made to kill woody stemmed weeds withdrawn from use by farmers but still allowed for use on golf courses... when it has been proven to cause persistant damage to tomatoes and potatoes.... composted material being the vector?
And what damage is the herbicide doing to other life in the ecosystem.

I agree that we need to think seriously before using any remedy to disease, and that perhaps the remedy is becoming part of the problem.

Perhaps in a perfect world I should invest in a Top Bar Hive to produce beeswax to press my own foundation..... hope I am not opening another can of worms?
 

Skyhook 

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I dont think anyone likes treating their bees- but most people realise it's a neccessary evil. They have some pests and diseases of their own, and some exotic ones. We can minimize these as much as possible by good management, but the fact is that when our bees have problems it's up to us to do what we can.
 

wilderness 

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Bees are not sick - hopefully.

I have treated this autumn with your Thymol solution and last winter did an Oxalic acid treatment. OK, the thymol killed some varroa mites but at what cost to the bees health & other microorganisms? I made similar comments on the thread about Formic acid treatment.

In 2009 I had a colony with AFB. Did the oxalic acid and Apiguard treatments make them more susceptible? I don't know.

I'm a 3rd year beekeeper so still on the very steep learning curve.

The more I read and stumble across "alternative" methods makes me think a lot more about what I'm doing to the colony rather than take things at face value.

ps I don't wear sandals or eat edamami beans :smilielol5:
 

Hivemaker. 

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Well Wilderness,you have to think about what harm the mites may of done if you had not treated,did the thymol treatment hurt them more than the mites and the viruses associated with them could of.
Perhaps you should try not treating them for anything at all,ever....and see what the results will be...then at least you will have gained some experiance of what could happen,or will happen....and see which you think is best for your bee's.
 

MuswellMetro 

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Bees are not sick - hopefully.


In 2009 I had a colony with AFB. Did the oxalic acid and Apiguard treatments make them more susceptible? I don't know.
No you just live near wallingford and a large importer of foreign honey
 

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