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.
DarJones - 46 years, 14 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell