Is the division 'Treatment Free' adequate to the task?
The thread title I wanted to use was:
"Is the division 'Treatment-Free' adequate to the task of understanding 'non-orthodox' beekeeping"
I'd like to see a discussion of the proposition that while it has functioned well to separate (broadly spreaking) 'chemical' from 'non-chemical' beekeeping it is now an obstacle to what would be a useful division between methods that seek to raise resistance and those that seek only to manage lack of resistance by means of manipulations.
'Treatment-free' as currently defined makes no distinction between these aims and the methods employed to achieve them. And that, it seems to me, muddles something that we'd all benefit from unmuddling.
The main argument is that there is really little difference between treating and managing against varroa. Both aim to manage the situation, rather than to attempt to repair it. Both tend to undermine any development toward resistance. There is insufficient justification for separating them.
Aiming to raise resistance is something altogether different. Its an attempt at a permanant repair, the achievement of the state of natural balance between host and pest that would have occurred without systematic treatments and manipulations. A state where beekeepers don't undermine and destroy their local feral populations just by the act of keeping bees - thereby removing the diversity and vitality that benefits all of us.
From this perspective, manipulations are a sub-group of treatments. Resistance raising is something else entirely.
What we need are conceptual divisions - and terms describing them - that follow, and make explicit, the most important realities. At present we don't have that: and the result is muddle, confusion, and unnecessary and draining argument.
My suggestion is that the categories are re-examined from this perspective, and manipulations returned to the treating 'orthodox' section. That will supply the 'Treatment-Free' section with the singularity of purpose that was envisaged by its original proponents and creators, and allow conversations to remain focussed on the only substantial alternative to 'orthodox' beekeeping.
The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet