Hello from Berlin
A few bees took the opportunity today for the first time this year to enjoy some sunshine even though the temperatures were a bit cool (still well below 10C/50F). Thought I'd mention this joyous sight and then introduce myself.
Kevin Pfeiffer, born in SD, USA. Spent almost 20 years in southern California and now have been iving in Berlin, Germany, for the last ten years or so. Plenty of online beekeeping forums here (Bernhard Heuvel's Warré Forum is certainly worth mentioning), but I like to read and write in my native language every now and then.
I'm a small-time hobbiest beekeeper -- not interested in selling honey (or even centrifuging it). For now just one hive (but a second to come this spring, I hope), in a horizontal hive box called the "Bienenkiste" which is worked by tilting the box forward on end and then removing the bottom. Semi-fixed natural comb which is normally not removed (other than the top bars in the honey chamber at the rear). Harvested honey comb will be pressed.
Here in Germany, in case anyone is interested, the most common varroa treatments are formic acid (dissipated by evaporation after the honey harvest) and oxalic acid in a sugar solution (dribbled in the early winter when brood-free). Some are also fumigating by heating oxalic acid (not yet legal in DE) or using thymol-type products. Non-treatment is rare (I think) and would probably get you booted out of any beekeeping club here -- the country is small and beekeepers are in relatively close proximity to one another.
Kevin M. Pfeiffer -- Berlin, Germany