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Author Topic: to kill or not kill  (Read 2468 times)
lee
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« on: March 02, 2005, 01:41:06 PM »

someone told :?:  me. that he likes chemical free honey. so at the end of the year he takes all the honey and kills all the bees. and he said he gets more honey that way becaues the bees don,t eat it over the winter. and he buys new bees  in the spring to start over.  :?:  :?:
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2005, 02:13:18 PM »

Hi Lee:

This was the standard for many Canadian Commercial Beekeepers for many years. They chose to kill the bees and start fresh each Spring 1) to salvage as much honey as possible in their cold climate 2) reduce the cost of chemical or natural treatment of bees to reduce Varroa and other pests and 3) to reduce the colony loss due to Varroa mites - nothing is worse than using up a great deal of your honey just to lose your colonies to Varroa.

There has a been a paradgym shift in thinking as the cost and availability of replacement bees has sky-rocketted to the commercial industry. Now they find it more cost effective to hive the bees in buildings that are warmed enough to reduce the consumption of honey and even commercial beekeeper "associations" are banning together to buy chemical treatments in high volume.

It is a war out there - the beekeepers against the Varroa and it appears that SLOWLY Varroa resistant bees are making their way into the feral hives. Nature itself sees that this is a critical situation of survival and is making changes (although it is unclear what changes beyond possible small cell building) but something is happening - but NO WHERE NEAR THE RATE that Varroa is killing off bees around the Globe.

I can not morally justify killing my bees unless infected with Foul-Brood. Otherwise I will do all that I can to over-Winter my bees for the following season and then if necessary requeen the hives.

In my case, last year I bought two packages, installing them http://www.beemaster.com/inst2004.html and I had no sign of Varroa into the Fall - something I am still VERY surprized about.

I had a third hive which was a swarm that took possession of some frames in a super I had placed in my shed - that hive (which now is in Virginia at Bigrog's home http://www.beemaster.com/bigrog.html ) did have a varroa problem and Rog has done EVERYTHING right in handling the problem and I'm hoping that they will be fine into Spring Smiley

To keep or kill - I'm a "beekeeper" not a beekiller. I vote to always keep your bees if the colony is healthy and strong enough to survive your particular Winter.
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BigRog
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2005, 03:57:43 PM »

Well I think that C3 has wintered. It's not over but will be very soon. I see many bees flying on days around or over 50.

I had great help and advice. I just followed it.
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lee
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2005, 04:16:10 PM »

ok thanks for all the great info... this is all new to me   Cheesy
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Jay
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2005, 04:16:59 PM »

It's sort of the difference between "beekeeping" and "bee-having". If you're a beekeeper, then you are just as concerned about what's going on with the bees, as with the honey. If you're killing off the hives, yes you have more honey, but you are not increasing the bee population, which in turn does nothing for pollination and all the benifits that go along with having a strong bee population.

It is much harder to be a beekeeper than a bee-haver! Cheesy
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Rich V
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2005, 05:05:16 PM »

The differance is, are you keeping them for profit,or pleasure.

Rich V
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2005, 06:05:57 PM »

I can't see how anyone could even MAKE a profit by killing off the bees. Sure, by over-wintering the bees you have to either feed them sugar water or use a feeder board with the hard candied sugar/water, or let them keep enough honey to make it. Feeding sugar water is probably a more profitable choice for many people. Honey is more valueble than sugar. And medicating can be a slight cost, if you have many hives. But I'd say both of those things cost less than buying bees each year. That's very expensive. Plus, to get a strong enough hive to get a decent crop of honey in the first year you would probably want to buy either a nuc or two packages of bees (only one queen though).

My husband and I go through over 200 pounds of honey a year in our coffee alone!! So far we've had to buy most of that at the grocery store at $2-$2.50 a pound. I need one great hive, or two average hives just to cover our own consumption. Smiley I think it's much wiser to start the spring with an established hive.

Not only that, but I really like my bees. I care about them the same as my pets or livestock. I'm sure there are people out there that kill their chickens off every winter so they don't have to feed them when they're getting few to zero eggs. It may be seen as "just a good business practice", but I wouldn't do things that way.

Beth
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2005, 06:14:38 PM »

Quote from: Beth Kirkley


My husband and I go through over 200 pounds of honey a year in our coffee alone!! So far we've had to buy most of that at the grocery store at $2-$2.50 a pound. I need one great hive, or two average hives just to cover our own consumption. Smiley

Beth


You sure you and Chad aren't hummingbirds  Tongue

I'd be a diabetic whirrling dervish stuck to the ceiling or doing the Curly Shuffle embarassed  Glad to see such honey fans. I think our consumption is probably more in the 15 to 20 pound a year range, but I've given honey for gifts which really raise that number up quickly.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2005, 06:31:03 PM »

I'm sure it's that much John. Smiley But I think it's Chad that uses the most. He used to use a FOURTH A CUP of sugar per large mug of coffee. That's enough to turn his coffee into surup. I've tasted his coffee...... it's THICK. But now that he uses honey (which is sweeter) it's not in that 1/4th cup amount. But I buy a two pound thing of honey at the store about every third day.

I agree.... it's sorta crazy. I don't use too much though. WHEN I put honey in my coffee, it's what I call "a one second swirl" - squeezing the bottle and making two circles in the coffee. I allow myself this little sweet pleasure because I've found that honey has a lower "glycemic index" than refined sugar. I don't have it every day.

Beth
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lee
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2005, 07:05:14 PM »

for pleasure i just got them about 3 weeks ago. it has been cold here but we had 2 or 3 day when the sun came out . and so did the bees . it is going to bee about 9 here in the morn.. they will need to put  a coat on so they can come out to play . do they make them that small. cheesy
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lee
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2005, 07:08:53 PM »

Quote from: lee
for pleasure i just got them about 3 weeks ago. it has been cold here but we had 2 or 3 day when the sun came out . and so did the bees . it is going to bee about 9 here in the morn.. they will need to put  a coat on so they can come out to play . do they make them that small. cheesy
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2005, 11:05:40 PM »

I was told before that a few beekeepers up north, it was cheaper to bye packages every year and sell the honey it would take a hive to survive through the winter (TAKE ALOT OF HONEY UP NORTH),  I see there point  from a money stand point but it wouldnt be so profitable for someone down south to do that kind of thing, just think packages are bought from the south about 2 - 2 1/2 months before the main flow starts up north. I wouldn't kill my bee's but some say "THIS IS A BUSINESS AND IN A BUSINESS WE ARE HERE TO MAKE MONEY[/b]"  wink
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2005, 08:37:38 AM »

Cheesy  I got started beekeeping because I didn't want a bunch of bees to die.
 cry I had to kill off two colonies last year and It sure did go againest the grain and saddened me, not for the money. because I killed some of the finest critters on the face of the earth.
Made me want to go right out and hunt down a colony of yellow jackets and kill them just for the fun of it.

Temp today is supposed to get in the high 20 range with the sun shining and I bet my girls will be flying.
 Cheesy Al
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Rich V
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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2005, 09:24:22 AM »

In Northern Illinois where I live. Pure, raw honey sells for $4.00 a pound in the health food stores. I do not  plan to knock off my bees for the profit.

Rich V
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Kris^
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2005, 06:57:15 PM »

I hope to at least make a little money from whatever size beeyard I establish.  So far even my first year showed me the advantage of starting the beginning of the season (at the start of the first honey flow) with an established hive of 25-40,000 bees rather than sitting out the first flush waiting for a box of 10,000 bees to arrive in mid-to-late April.  As for the so-called "lost profit" of leaving honey in the hive to winter the colony over, well, as Finman points out, sugar is cheaper than honey.  Is having 3 or 4 times as many bees in your hive a month earlier in the spring worth the price of 40 pounds of sugar spent the previous fall?

-- Kris
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