Is powdered sugar a chemical? I think so. If not, then is vinegar a chemical? How about formic??
I use no chemicals. If my bees die, then that's the way it is. I'm raising survivors which will live and work well in Central VA.
When I decide the colony will crash without help I treat with MAII. After the mites are under control I requeen.
Screened bottoms with oil trays for beetles and thymol gel for mites.
People who are not using pesticides:
People who are using pesticides:
I don't see a geographical difference.
63% of responding hobbyists are not using chemicals.
My next question would be how much success they have had doing so.
I know it's been many, many years since my father has treated his hives with any chemicals.
I'm guessing much fewer than 63% of commercial beeks are chemical-free.
Another question: what percentage of queen and package/nuc providers are not treating for mites (like R. Weaver)?
If beekeeping is being overrun with low-resistance bees, it seems the main culprit is the lack of mite-resistant bees commercially available.
Chemical use in my hives is strictly limited to:
2 drops per quart of 1:1 sugar syrup of melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil, used to keep syrup from molding. My girls don't seem to like 2:1 syrup, and in the winter it never gets cold enough to kill everything. Doesn't seem to bother anybody, and no moldy syrup. What is there gets used. Good enough for me.
Melaleuca has anti-biotic, fungal, viral properties. Prolly qualifies as an essential oil, but even then, I'm using fairly small amounts.
Only other chemical anywhere near my hives is the fire ant granules around the feet of the stands.