Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma
That's fair enough. Lets have it laid out clearly then.
Originally Posted by Rusty Hills Farm
The fundamental thing to understand is that treatment free beekeeping necessarily goes hand in hand with a breeding program. You have to continually make new colonies from your best - and only from your best - to maintain and improve the health of your stock (so you need to figure out how 'best' is to be measured, and to be able to tell which are best...).
This is what animal husbandry is, and always has been founded upon. If you don't do husbandry properly, you will be bound to failure. Its that simple.
The ideal program is:
1) Source mite resistant bees
2) Locate them where the likelihood of mating with feral survivors is high, and the likelihood of mating with treated bees is low
3) Continually raise more stocks than you need to replace the failure/poor performers, and to give rise to better and better genetic combination (more and more mite resistant and improved general healthy and vitality - giving good crops.
4) Aim to dominate the local drone population
Unless you are lucky enough to be within an established thriving survivor/tf locality, you have to establish not just a tf hive, or a tf apiary, but a tf breeding pool.
Anything less will be bound to fail. That's how it works. That's how its always worked.
Raising new stocks from what you have carefully established to be your best is the total of the hands-on part. Anything else, try to leave to the bees to sort out for themselves. That way you'll get bees that can take care of themself.
Be aware: nothing will frustrate the process of raising health faster than treating! It is fatally addictive. The sole exception is to preserve, or prepare a colony for requeening with what will hopefully be better genetics. Work to minimise drone output from such 'hospital' colonies.
The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet