Re: Starting out in treatment-free beekeeping
Just wanted to post a couple of thoughts about moving to small cell and going treatment free. I was using chems until 6 years ago. When I converted, I moved just the center combs of the brood nest to small cell and I purchased some queens from Purvis and I found some feral stock that happened to be varroa tolerant. Long story short, I credit genetics with being a major part of keeping my bees alive over the last 6 years. I converted to all small cell over the last 5 years. An inspection of my colonies shows very very few varroa mites. Whether it is genetics or small cell, I could care less. I care that my bees are making it just fine without any treatments.
Did I have any losses? Sure did. I lost about half of my colonies and replaced them with splits each spring. Do I still see losses? Yes, but way less than 10% and when I do have losses, it is almost always things like queen failure or other things that can go wrong.
NW Alabama, 47 years, 22 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest