Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions
It is untrue to say that fair trials of treatment free hives against treated hives have not been done. I have read a number of Beesource members who have done it, and I have done it.
Comparing the losses of a commercial migratory operation to a small hobby treatment free operation is not intellectually honest. A true comparison is done by running all hives similarly.
Other thing to bear in mind is commercial beekeepers do not achieve anything by getting mere survival, their paycheck comes from productivity.
It is also naïve to think that commercial beekeepers just pour chemicals into their hives blindly and for no good reason. Any commercial beekeeper will have learned from personal experience what happens when he fails to control mites and most of them work hard at keeping expensive treatments to a minimum, always pushing the boundaries towards minimal treatment as far as they can get away with.
Last point, commercial beekeepers often use different bees to hobby treatment free folks. they need bees that will turn a profit, ie, be ready for pollination, and easily manipulated to have populations of the right size at the right times for whatever tasks the particular beekeeper will put them to. These bees also tend to be the ones that will not survive without treatment. But a commercial; beekeeper is there to make money. By definition, if he does not do what it takes to make money he will soon find himself a hobby beekeeper working a different job.
Would commercial beekeepers like to be treatment free? Yes, I have yet to met one who would not love to dispense with the need for those expensive and time consuming treatments.
Bottom line, all beekeepers are really on the same team. As an ex commercial beekeeper it does get a bit tiresome being told by people who have never tried it, how the business should be run.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).