Re: Beginning Beekeeping Treatment Free
the nice thing about catching swarms is that you don't have to buy bees. in most cases however it is difficult if not impossible to know from where the swarms originate. a swarm caught from nonresistant stock is no more likely to have success off treatments that a package produced from the same stock.
Originally Posted by Jovian
depending on where you are located in madison county there may or may not be a surviving feral population present in your immediate location. chances are better for that if you happen to be near heavily wooded areas or near the river and it's associated tributaries.
the eastern part of the county around gurley looks pretty good. the outskirts of the bankhead forest might be a good place to set swarm traps if you can acquire some spots to do so.
an overwintered cut out at gives you a colony that has survived at least one winter. a swarm of unknown origin especially in an area with other managed bees present is a bit of a crap shoot.
either way i would recommend including mite monitoring into your management, the use of robber screens if you are unable to watch the hives on a daily basis, and the possibility of having to treat for mites if it comes to that.
my thread is provided mainly for informational purposes. i'm flattered that others have found it helpful and inspiring. my hope is that sharing our experiences may add to the knowledge base and move the ball forward on mite resistance for all of us.
but as i have posted in the past it is not my mission in life to convert the whole world to treatment free. my opinion is that unless beginning beekeepers have someone in their area already demonstrating success off treatments from whom they can get bees and advice...
the responsible approach is to proceed with careful monitoring and be prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to avoid collapse and the spreading of mites to nearby colonies.
at the same time i don't mean to discourage the pursuit of keeping bees off treatments. i have just made the case for the importance of location and pedigree of bees. the other consideration is hive count. my opinion is that it takes more than just one or two hives to be sustainable.
it is not my intent to throw a wet blanket over your beekeeping plans jovian. on the other hand i tend to agree with those who are critical of the admonition for everyone everywhere to ignore varroa and proceed blindly off treatments.
these are just my frank and honest opinions shared for what it's worth. i am glad you started this thread, i wish you much luck, and we are looking forward to your updates.
journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives