Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

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Solomon
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Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby Solomon » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:01 pm

In this episode I speak with the first of several in a series of treatment-free commercial beekeepers, Troy Hall of Hall Apiaries. Don't let people tell you that there are no TF commercial beekeepers. I already have two in the hand and working on a third.

http://tfb.podbean.com/e/treatment-free ... hampshire/
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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby Pierce » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:54 pm

Already listening to it. Looking forward to the next one thanks.

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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby Mycroft Jones » Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:58 am

Listening to it now, thanks Solomon.

Had an interesting discussion with the top two beekeepers in my area yesterday. They weren't interested in treatment free, because they said the "hobbyist bees" stop producing brood at the first slowdown in the honey flow. Different needs for commercial vs small timers. They were in the 10,000 hive bracket, they see 300 hivers as small-timers, 1000 as entry level to the game.

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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby Pierce » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:55 pm

Mycroft Jones wrote:Listening to it now, thanks Solomon.

Had an interesting discussion with the top two beekeepers in my area yesterday. They weren't interested in treatment free, because they said the "hobbyist bees" stop producing brood at the first slowdown in the honey flow. Different needs for commercial vs small timers. They were in the 10,000 hive bracket, they see 300 hivers as small-timers, 1000 as entry level to the game.



300! I'd think more like 10 or 5. And you could easily be doing everything they do with 100 - 150.

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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby Michael Bush » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:58 pm

>Had an interesting discussion with the top two beekeepers in my area yesterday. They weren't interested in treatment free, because they said the "hobbyist bees" stop producing brood at the first slowdown in the honey flow.

How much that has to do with Varroa pressure I can't say, but they are describing bees that winter well. I need bees that winter well. Yes, those kind of bees will not be strong enough to take to the almonds in February.
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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby lharder » Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:07 pm

10,000 colony migrating operation = giant health/genetic hazard for those that stay at home

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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby Mycroft Jones » Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:48 pm

lharder wrote:10,000 colony migrating operation = giant health/genetic hazard for those that stay at home


Apparently a type of amoeba has spread all over my area, and can kill a hive within 8 days. They use fumigillin and antibiotics to deal with the amoeba. The one beek had sent his bees into the lab for microscope examination, and found the amoeba. Not sure how fumigillin and antibiotics would protect from amoeba, but it seems to be working for them.

One man locally with 300 hives, told me bees wouldn't fly out a top entrance, and they wouldn't eat dry sugar. Bought bees from him, and this summer they proved him wrong.

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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby brothermoo » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:33 pm

Great podcast... Looking forward to hearing from kirk!


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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby Michael Bush » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:03 pm

> Not sure how fumigillin and antibiotics would protect from amoeba, but it seems to be working for them.

They used to describe Nosema as an amoeba but now they call it a fungus...
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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby Solomon » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:27 pm

Plus, don't forget, the Bee Informed survey shows Fumagillin doesn't even work that well.
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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby waspkiller » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:08 am

A pleasure to listen to, sounds like a really nice guy.

Also just because someone keeps bees commercially does not automatically mean he is evil or anything, glad that side of it came out.

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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby lharder » Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:01 pm

Listened a couple days ago. Good podcast. Enjoyed Websters as well. Looks like about 300 hives is about all one person can handle if they are working on their own.

One question I would like to see asked is their losses relative to treating keepers around them, the range of variability in their losses and whether they feel their stock is improving resistance with time.

In some non varroa issues, tf may actually prove to be more resilient. It would be interesting if experienced TF keepers have escaped some of the other mortality factors that sweep through every so often.

Finally how do they market, and how much of their time is taken up with non beekeeping business activity. Good questions for next time you talk to them.

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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby waspkiller » Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:42 pm

lharder wrote:One question I would like to see asked is their losses relative to treating keepers around them, the range of variability in their losses and whether they feel their stock is improving resistance with time.
I was trying to figure that out myself, but he didn't give actual numbers.

But listening carefully, a lot of what he said indicated he has higher losses than he would if he treated. For example near the beginning of the talk he said if he treated (which he used to so he does understand treatment) he would be able to double his hive numbers every year. But because he doesn't treat he has to grow a lot more slowly, from memory I think he said 30% a year. He also talked about how frustrating it is to see bees dying of mites and know he could easily save it by treating it, and he has to constantly wrestle with himself to let it happen and stay on the treatment free path.

So yes, he has higher losses than if he treated.

Is it improving, from what he said it is obvious that at first it did, because he had initial high losses, and has got past that to a lower level now. But it seems he still has higher losses than he would like, but thanks to his mentors Kirk W and Mike P he has developed a system of having a large number of nucs that are available for rebuilding numbers.

Unfortunately, because it was a spoken message rather than a written one, I cannot go and get quotes to support what I said, but pretty sure I understood right.

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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby Chuck Jachens » Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:17 pm

My interpretation of the how he described losses was that treatment free means a better balance between the mites and diseases and the bees survival. For example, Natural selection of feral hives leads us believe that there is 30 to 50% loss on average over a period of years. Hives swarm about once a year if conditions are average and the numbers grow of feral hives grow to the carrying capacity of the landscape. Overall, the gains and losses even out.

Given a 30% growth rate in the number of hives for Troy results in doubling his total hives every 3 years. That is a lot of capital investment to sustain from buying boxes and frames just to keep the bees. He would also need to double his number of bee yards every three years. Treatment free means he is not buying chemicals (capital expenses) and making extra trips to all his bee yard to do the treatments, also remove and dispose of those treatments (huge time time expense and more capital expenses.

Treatment free allows a natural balance to be maintained even if it takes more management time to do that. He is avoiding the cost of treatment but he can market his bees, honey, pollination, and other hive products as treatment free.

Of course he have crashes in hive numbers, but so do the beekeepers using chemicals. Troy has the advantage that the surviving bees are SURVIVORS. By using expansion model beekeeping with these survivors will result in stronger stock. Every business person I know that has stayed in business plans and expects a bad year or two every once in awhile.

From a business point of view, what he is doing makes a lot of sense and should be sustainable over the long term. Me as a hobbyist can spend $300 to $500 a year for many years (with little $ return, most of the honey is given away) and thoroughly have fun with my hobby of a dozen or so hives. I won't make a living on it like Troy but it does greatly improve my quality of life.

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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby lharder » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:03 am

[quote="Chuck Jachens"]My interpretation of the how he described losses was that treatment free means a better balance between the mites and diseases and the bees survival. For example, Natural selection of feral hives leads us believe that there is 30 to 50% loss on average over a period of years. Hives swarm about once a year if conditions are average and the numbers grow of feral hives grow to the carrying capacity of the landscape. Overall, the gains and losses even out.

I don't think there is a strong number on what survival will be in the long run. A balance point is probably some time away. There is dilution of TF genetics by treating keepers in many locations that lowers survival for TF keepers. The increasing numbers of TF can slowly change this picture around depending on the area. It looks like established TF keepers usually have enough to sell bees and honey and you are right there is extra value/quality in both the bees and honey. I have a strong fall nectar flow that I could harvest any extra in theory.

There was a thread on beesource where losses between TF and treating were to be compared. I brought up the point that inputs needed to be kept track of as well (how much time treating etc.) to make a proper comparison. The idea being that if on the treating treadmill, more effort may be required to stay in the same place. TF could become more profitable than treating as treating inputs rise, while they stay the same with TF. Meanwhile mortality is expected to drop to some asymptote with TF, and possibly get worse for treating. A well known keeper replied that he spent 100% of his time on his bees. Not so helpful. The idea of opportunity cost and a dynamic genetic component seemed lost on the discussion. Shocking as some of these are business people.

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Re: Episode 31 - Troy in New Hampshire

Postby lharder » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:07 am

waspkiller wrote:
lharder wrote:One question I would like to see asked is their losses relative to treating keepers around them, the range of variability in their losses and whether they feel their stock is improving resistance with time.
I was trying to figure that out myself, but he didn't give actual numbers.

But listening carefully, a lot of what he said indicated he has higher losses than he would if he treated. For example near the beginning of the talk he said if he treated (which he used to so he does understand treatment) he would be able to double his hive numbers every year. But because he doesn't treat he has to grow a lot more slowly, from memory I think he said 30% a year. He also talked about how frustrating it is to see bees dying of mites and know he could easily save it by treating it, and he has to constantly wrestle with himself to let it happen and stay on the treatment free path.

So yes, he has higher losses than if he treated.

Is it improving, from what he said it is obvious that at first it did, because he had initial high losses, and has got past that to a lower level now. But it seems he still has higher losses than he would like, but thanks to his mentors Kirk W and Mike P he has developed a system of having a large number of nucs that are available for rebuilding numbers.

Unfortunately, because it was a spoken message rather than a written one, I cannot go and get quotes to support what I said, but pretty sure I understood right.


Your impression was about the same as mine. I'm really interested in the overall trajectory of these systems. Inputs as well as outputs.


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