No, our conditions are completely different and no, I do not agree with feeding except in emergencies.
I am using a method to regress my bees because I have been told they will not survive without continually being treated by the calendar and by the book- Apistan/Apivar and Bavarol and that they do not/ will not regress down to smaller size on there own here.
I do not know if this is true or not, but from what I have seen on our local forum, this appears to be the acceptable truth.
This is not a quick process and While I am doing it, I am also not too sure that it is the only thing I need to address.
I also think there may very well be a problem with the bees immune system- just like our own suffering from sheer chemical overload....but i have a sneaky plan I want to try this year, a la Murrell.
The first step was to give them starter strips to build out from, then go onto small cell frames with the shoulders not shaved down and now bit by bit introducing the shaved down frames.
Will it work? I dont know, as I said earlier, I have all the questions, not the answers.
I will keep trying, knowing that others have done similar and are now happily keeping bees not fighting mites- thats the end goal.
Catch 22. Damned if I do and damned if I dont.
If I leave my bees as is, they will die. If I treat as most do here with bought chemical treatments, they will may not die, but they will not be healthy in the long term and already, I am hearing murmurings that these treatments are not as effective as they once were. I have been told to keep the Apivar in for longer than the package states and will do so simply because i had to use this sh-stuff and do have to make sure it is in long enough to do its job. Hopefully this will be the last time I ever have to use it.
Does this make me a hypocrite?
Probably in the eyes of some, but as I have said elsewhere, i am treating my bees as I do myself and as I also treated my kids= if I have/had to use meds. I use them as recommended, no short cuts.
I prefer to use food, homegrown is obviously the best and dietary supplements and have even gone out of my way to do my best for my bees in this regard as well, in spite of being told that i simply cannot grow enough to meet their needs.
I disagree, every little bit we do makes a difference and if every beek grew season specific plants for both native and honey bees, we will all be better off than if we sat on on hands and did nothing.
I am seeing beeks here, saying that it now takes less varroa to cause hives to fail. This tells me that our bees are compromised and/or varroa along the associated viral infections are more toxic.
Our (NZ) gene pool is, from what I have read so far, has always been seriously limited.
To me, every hive is valuable and needs to be allowed to reproduce itself as it sees fit. I let them produce as much drone as they like, I do not use and refuse point blank, to use Queen excluders.
I maybe wrong, but that these points may one day, may be a key factor in changing things for the better.
We just do not know.
As I have also said elsewhere and maybe here, cant remember,....we need to look at a broader picture and change alot more of our actions and behaviours.
Stop using pesticides, herbicides, fungicides. Stop planting pretty fashionable hybrid plants and turn back to locally natives.
Failing that, grow your own herbs, fruit and vegetables. Let the wild weeds grow- dandelions, sow thistles etc....
Like us, bees need diversity.
It is no longer just about us or just about our bees, it has got to the point where it is about our whole eco system.