Quote Originally Posted by Metropropolis View Post
Attempting "treatment free" without experience and hard work is just well intentioned neglect.

I cannot help but cringe when I see the words "first year beekeeper" and "treatment free" in the same sentence.
This thesis I would approach with trepidation, but the numbers seem to bear your point out. The beginning beekeeper often doesn't have the drive (or the stupidity) that I did, starting with 20 packages as I did rather than with one or two like the more cautious person does. Add to that the fact that the price has nearly tripled since then for a three pound package and more caution is warranted.

That being said, I do not want a first year beekeeper to start any way but treatment-free. Once on the treadmill, there's no good way to get off. Instead the freshman beekeeper must learn quickly to increase. The key I have found is to hedge your bets against losing all your hives at once and the best way to do that is by having more than one or two. I recommend a minimum of five. The increase not only helps in the numbers game, but it helps in the genetics game.