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Author Topic: So, how does one keep bees organically OR non-toxically?  (Read 3691 times)
DayValleyDahlias
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« on: April 19, 2007, 11:05:54 PM »

Big question...what are your feelings...suggestions, experiences on/with this?
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2007, 07:29:17 AM »

Keeping your bees chemical free is easier than keeping and organic setup.
Chemical Free means you don't use any synthetic chemicals in the treatments of your bees. You don't use chemical laced wax foundation. Natural alternatives are the key to keeping a chemical free beehive.

Organic generally refers to honey and is a certified product. Not only must your hives be chemical free so must all the plants your bees will gather nectar and pollen from within a 2 mile range. That is why organic honey costs more.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2007, 09:05:36 AM »

I think it would be pretty hard for me to have organic honey (certified) because the bees go were they want.But you can Manage your bees without the use of chemicals and without chemical infested wax foundation.I got two pieces of plastic from Dee Lusby to use to make my own foundation.And I'm going to start useing Foundationless frames.I'm going to try to post some pictures of my hives this week end
kirk-o
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2007, 09:47:53 AM »

I am seeing the phrase "small cell" here a lot...is your feeling/experience that by keeping things as close to nature as possible, that Darwin will kick in...survival of the fitest?

As you can gather, I am just beginning, I am also a dahlia grower and grow only organically...I can't say what my neighbors use ( but I do educate on the importance of organics )..

Thanks for you help...
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Mici
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2007, 10:35:15 AM »

it's actually quite simple.
you have to beekeep with bees, not against them, and keepeeing bees on straight all equal, perfect fundation certainly isn't WITH the bees, it's against them.
by giving them this man-made foundation you're forcing them to raise bees of only one size, the size that fits US and not the bees.
blah blah blah, i could go for ages, anyway the biggest thing is the foundation! what we give thme is wrong, as simple as that, about survival of the fittest, all of them are already winners, we can only ease their future progres,.
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tillie
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2007, 12:31:46 PM »

DayValley,

You might want to check out the organicbeekeepers listserve on yahoogroups.com.  My understanding is that organic beekeeping includes only feeding the bees honey (not sugar syrup) and never doing sugar shakes, which while it might help rid the bee of the varroa mite during grooming, is not natural.  In addition it includes not using any foundation in your hive that has wax which may be chemically impregnated and most (all?) commercial foundation is.

My goal is to go as close to that as I can - so I don't use poison, am trying to get my bees to draw out their own comb, rather than use foundation, and am trying to defeat the varroa mite without chemical usage in my hives.  I have no plans to sell honey, just want to be as close to a natural beekeeper as I can be to do my small bit to help the planet.

Linda T in Atlanta
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2007, 01:54:22 PM »

Keep going Tillie you will get there
kir-o
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2007, 09:28:09 PM »

Okay, so I am understanding it somewhat better now...allow the bees to create their own foundation...so..one uses an empty frame?  Or one with small cells and non chemical starts?  I did join the organics group...there is SO uch info there...whoa...I am not sure what sugar shaking is...how does one keep varroa away organically?  I just want to help bees survive in this world, and if I get a bit'o honey out of the deal...its a plus...
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tillie
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2007, 12:04:58 AM »

There have been lots of posts on powdered sugar shakes:

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php?topic=6215.0

There's one.  The idea behind the powdered sugar shake is to get the bees to clean the powdered sugar off of themselves and the hive and in the process, knock the varroa off who then fall through the SBB and can't climb back up on the bees.

I have some pictures on my blog of the PS shake as well:

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2007/03/bermuda-inspection-today.html

The principal behind natural cell beekeeping as I understand it, is that the bees naturally grow worker bees in smaller cells than the foundation sold commercially (other than specifically buying SC foundation).  Since worker bees hatch out a day or two sooner from SC comb, the varroa mite can't mature and therefore can't propagate.

Hope that helps,

Linda T in Atlanta
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2007, 12:29:12 AM »

OOOHHH Very interesting and seems to make sense...wow...thanks
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2007, 12:45:35 AM »

Okay, so I am understanding it somewhat better now...allow the bees to create their own foundation...so..one uses an empty frame?  Or one with small cells and non chemical starts?  I did join the organics group...there is SO uch info there...whoa...I am not sure what sugar shaking is...how does one keep varroa away organically?  I just want to help bees survive in this world, and if I get a bit'o honey out of the deal...its a plus...
Short answer, to the theme of this thread: "Very well, thank you."

Minor correction -- bees do not create foundation, they build honeycomb. Allowing the bees to build their own comb from their own freshly secreted wax, can be one way. Using starter strips or even small cell wax foundation, as long as the wax is free of contaminating chemicals, can also be satisfactory. I have been keeping bees for the past 40+ years, I have never used any of the pesticides, antibiotics, etc. that many of my fellow beekeepers use regularly. I very rarely feed anything but combs of honey. I don't even worry about mites, or diseases, though I would be concerned if they ever caused any trouble for the bees. So far, I haven't lost a single hive, so would be hard to answer a survey categorizing how I sustained hive losses, since I haven't had any.
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Joseph Clemens
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2007, 12:54:07 PM »

>Okay, so I am understanding it somewhat better now...allow the bees to create their own foundation...so..one uses an empty frame?

Not usually.  You can put an empty frame between two capped honey combs or between two combs of brood but not anywhere else.  You need some kind of comb guide.  That can be a beveled top bar or a starter strip.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm

>Or one with small cells and non chemical starts?

That can work.  Or if you just want small cell you can use small cell foundation.  It depends on what you want to do.

> I did join the organics group...there is SO uch info there...whoa...I am not sure what sugar shaking is...how does one keep varroa away organically?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm#varroa
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesvarroatreatments.htm

Here's some beginner's stuff:

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnewbees.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbasics.htm
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Michael Bush
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2007, 11:57:27 PM »

Once again...Thank you!
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beehive lane
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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2007, 01:21:47 AM »

Right on, this is what I was looking for! Since my husband and bought his grandfathers property in 2001, not a chemical has entered our little oasis. Cant control the crap the local farmers let loose, though. The closest farm is 20 acres away and hopefully sheilded by the bluff. I am dreaming arent I. I would like to read more about organic, chemical free beekeeping, this is how I manage myself, why should the bees be any different?
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Syd
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2007, 08:43:56 AM »

Hi Beehive lane you can also go to organicbeekeepers @yahoo
and Beesource.com also good luck
Kirko
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2007, 01:35:06 AM »

Using starter strips or similar guide is more natural than using foundation.  Foundation is not natural and the reprocessed wax can contain chemicals from who knows where.  Letting the bees build their comb naturally lets the bees do what comes naturally.  The bees will build either drone, storage, or worker brood cells.  They build the type of comb they need.  Foundation gets in the way of that process by forcing a standard size cell that the bees must alter.  That is why ,if you use small cell foundation in the honey storage area the bees may chew it up in order to build storage sized comb. 
A person concentrating on organic honey might not want to use sugar shakes as there is nothing to stop the bees from converting some of it to honey.
But, under the definition of organic verses man made chemical treatments sugar shakes are an organic approach.
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