Quote Originally Posted by libhart View Post
Not true. I've come to believe that being successfully treatment free with a small number of hives is affected greatly by location. I'm envious of those who are in a location where they can successfully be treatment free with a small number of hives, but that is not my area as evidenced by the losses in my area for those who do not treat vs those who do. The Managed Pollinator CAP project is doing a multi-year study on the effect of location on colony mortality. To say that someone's bees in Vermont (or anywhere else for that matter) are no more likely to die than anyone else's is IMHO not the case at all.

Okay, let's say that his bees seem to be no more likely to die than nearby commercial beekeepers who treat, and that they survive better than some nearby beekeepers who treat. If we go by that interesting study you posted, Kirk Webster shouldn't have any hives left alive, since the test apiaries mostly died out completely after two or three years, including the one in Maine, very similar climatologically to Vermont.

What I would have liked to have seen in that study is treated companion apiaries that were managed in exactly the same manner-- no increase, no requeening, etc, so we could see how many of those colonies could survive three years of benign neglect, except for Varroa treament. (I realize that wasn't the point of the study.)

The point I keep trying to make, and that no one seems to want to respond to is this: how sustainable is the practice of treating for mites? How long can we keep doing this and expecting that the outcome will somehow be different from what we see now--- more virulent mites, and increasingly less effective treatments?