Re: Is the division 'Treatment Free' adequate to the task?
at one time i questioned the usefulness of the 'unique forum rules' and was made of aware of the forum history to which i was not privy.
mike, as relative newcomers you and may fail to appreciate the purpose and necessity of having these rules in place. the problem with them is the same problem as defining 'treatment free' in the first place. i tried to point out to you in an earlier thread that these considerations are arbitrary and with so much overlap in management philosophies among beekeepers it's a fool's quest to arrive at a set of guidelines that will be acceptable.
as an aside, here is an interesting post by randy oliver on another forum that describes how it is possible to use selection along with 'soft' treatments and make progress toward breeding mite resistance and less dependence on treatments:
"We are in the middle of selecting breeders this spring (selected about 10
yesterday). Every year for the past 5 years, the percentage of our
breeders that score zero mites in a wash of ~300 bees from a brood frame
has increased. We perform this test after almonds. All colonies were
treated with an oxalic dribble in November, and all went into the winter
with mites (I don't use any high-efficacy synthetic miticides). By
selection time in March, all have gone through 3-5 varroa reproductive
cycles, at least one with abundant drone brood (the colonies are full of
Of the strong, productive colonies selected as potential breeders, most
score in the range of 0-6 mites, with a few having much more (this season
one had 15, and one nearly 30). We generally only breed from those scoring
zero or 1 mite (I selected one with 2 mites yesterday, since it was the
best honey producer we have found this spring).
That said, for reality check, none of last year's breeders would have
survived 'til winter without treatment of some sort. I will run the same
test again this season. I am not out to make extravagant claims or to
pitch anything--I simply tell it like it is. We are happy with the
progress of this program, as we can see progress on the mite front each
year. We're not treatment free yet, but we run a profitable operation
using only low-efficacy "natural" treatments."
journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives