Re: New beekeeper interested in chemical free treatment
berzee, you can see that one's philosophy to treat or not to treat is a polarizing subject on any bee forum.
I've just come back to beekeeping after almost a 20 year absence. Back then it was easy to be treatment free. Today, with arrival of a new nosema, small hive beetle, varroa mites and an idiopathic brood syndrome the bees are under attack every moment of every day.
I laud the researchers looking for bees and genes that resist viruses & disease while aiding resistance to mites, but their work, and the evolution of bees to live with these mites, is a slow deliberate process, sometimes with two steps backward.
For the moment, I've chosen the IPM philosophy to help keep the bees alive, while others more gifted than myself, search for the genetic secrets that help the bees deal with these problems that kill colonies.
I have to tell you that my bees do not have many mites, thanks to Minnesota hygienic, BWeaver's survivors, and some feral bees that found their way to my house. The powdered sugar and hopguard treatments have been successful. I've ordered an oxalic acid vaporizer should the need present itself, but that is in reserve for a really sick hive.
I do not criticize natural beekeepers, realizing their view is as valid as my own. But, I will do everything I can to have queens that head healthy colonies, intervening with whatever treatment is necessary (I don't ever expect to use synthetic miticides however). HTH
I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)