Re: Treatment Free Commercial Beekeepers?
Specialkayme, by "reinventing the wheel" I'm referring to beekeepers who believe they have to go cold turkey or develop their own treatment free bees, with the attendant risks. Such bees are already available.
The other concern I have, both for the hobby beek and the commercial, is that it seems every time a successful chemical treatment comes along, a few years later the mites have developed resistance.
And believe me, I understand the difference between a guy like me seeking to manage 50 hives a year for several thousand dollars income to supplement my retirement, and the person who runs 1,000 or more and makes his entire living from the bees. I have learned so much from reading the commercial section of the forum, and appreciate your forbearance. I wonder though, if the fact that some of us who don't have our livelihoods at stake, and take risks the commercials cannot afford to take, if we by doing so and sharing information, are thus able to help you all out, maybe just a little bit.
fwiw, I neglected my hives in 2012. Reasons are not important, I just supered when needed, ignored the rest of the time. No swarm management, nothing else. I ended the season with 28 hives. Harvested from 23, but the 28 hive average was 54.96 pounds, higher than the Missouri state average. I had 17 hives on a trailer, parked on the edge of a forested pasture of grass, with some clover. Then I moved that trailer to soybeans for 2-3 weeks. My top three producers: #1, clover, 95 pounds, soybeans 75 pounds, 170 total. #2 I split May 9, produced 105 pounds on soybeans. #3 21 pounds on clover, 154 on soybeans, 175 pounds total. All were headed by B. Weaver queens. It was all the bees, I neglected them. Had I been able to do what needed to be done, the rest of the colonies should have produced better. Just thought you might find it interesting.
"If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow