Re: Define "treatment free"
"The act, manner, or method of handling or dealing with someone or something:"
"management in the application of medicines, surgery, etc. "
"subjection to some agent or action. "
"care provided to improve a situation (especially medical procedures or applications that are intended to relieve illness or injury)"
In terms of pest management, relating to insects, plants and disease, a treatment is a manipulation or application of various control methods to minimize or eliminate said pests from an environment such as a building, farm or in beekeepers cases, a bee hive.
All of the things you described above, Barry, are technically "treatments" some of which involve introducing chemical pesticides, others of which fall into biological, mechanical, etc... controls, methods or "treatments".
Personally, to me it seems the biggest argument in this type of discussion revolves around the definition of "chemical" treatments.
Most people want to include all synthetics as chemicals, other want to include natural ingredients as "chemicals" which technically is correct. A chemical can contain any number of synthetic and/or natural ingredients.
For most people I read who say they try to eliminate or minimize "treatments", they usually mean they are not using any type of chemical or very often, no synthetic chemicals, inside the hive.
To be quite literal, even if you do not introduce a chemical to the hive, if you do a powder sugar shake, you have performed a "treatment" or if you pinch a queen, that technically is also a "treatment", performed in order to have effect on the conditions or symptoms of the colony inside the hive.
According to the EPA and the Department of Agriculture, any Integrated Pest Management plan should and can very likely include the possible use of chemicals/pesticides in addition to other control methods (biological, mechanical, regulatory, etc...).
The goal of the Integrated Management Plan is to control populations, keeping them at minimal or economically sustainable levels by using multiple controls which in combination can minimize and, at times, eliminate the need for chemical pesticides. (chemical including both synthetic and natural ingredients)
My point, after all this lengthy typing, is that most people who say they are "treatment free "most likely mean they are "chemical" free, but still use other, non chemical, treatments to have an effect on the health of the colony/hive.
No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.