Re: Goals in Treatment-Free Beekeeping and Measures of Success
It's a hard one to answer, because everybody's goal is different.
For me, I have little interest in honey production, my days of lifting tons of honey daily are over far as I'm concerned. My particular goal is to run a hobby sized bee and queen breeding operation producing a small number of top quality queens and nucs, preferably raised in chemical free conditions.
What would make me stop chemical free? Simple, if being chemical free stopped me achieving the above goals, I would treat.
And just to clarify, I do treat most hives. But am working towards being treatment free with an increasing number of treatment free hives. In order to achieve raising queens in chemical free conditions, I've been using non residual chemicals, and using management methods such as drone removal.
The ideal would be totally chemical free. I'm attempting to achieve that but only time will tell if that's going to work. I couldn't live with the results some other treatment free folks are getting, but that's just a matter of preferance.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).