Re: I don't understand this complaint about treatment free beekeepers
I wish I understood some of this discussion. I do understand how to super bees to maximize both honey production and beekeeper efficiency. Making a good honey crop isnt really rocket science, it takes a lot of field aged bees to make honey, they need a lot of empty space above the brood nest to encourage hoarding and they need a nectar source. We give pretty much every hive 3 mediums at the start of the main white honey flow. If every hive isn't good enough to super then we haven't done our job well. Quite often if the flow is heavy we follow up with an additional super where needed and move a boxes around as needed to make the most efficient use of our equipment. We take off that early crop and super back with newly extracted combs which seems to really stimulate additional production. This allows us to segregate our earliest whitest honey and have found that its easier for the bees to quickly fill up boxes directly above the brood nest than to place them on top of a tall hive. The biggest problem with putting on too many boxes is that too often hives just work right up through the middle if the flow is poor and we have to either sort through lots of comb or just run lots and lots of part full frames which don't like to run through an automated extracting system very well.
I keep hearing all this talk about losses or the lack of them. It's not an issue I worry about or even keep track of that much. Our spring "losses" are the 10 to 15% of the queens that don't catch, there always seem to be 10% or so summer losses which I usually attribute to either poorly mated queens or "second catch" queens moved at the wrong time and maybe another 5 to 10% winter losses (after the move to Texas). During spring nucing season I don't even concern myself with losses, just how much brood there is to work with and what I am going to do with it. If there wouldn't be enough brood to go around then I would consider that a problem but that hasn't happened since our last bad hive crash, nearly 10 years ago, after that year I vowed to never use any more "hard" chemical treatments in our hives.
"Ve are too soon olt und too late schmart."- A nameless German philosopher