What is treatment free?
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  1. #1
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    Default What is treatment free?

    I have read a little and am confused, can someone please explain what treatment free beekeeping means?

    I haven't heard of anyone here doing treatment free, but I live in one of the few countries that does not yet have varroa. Is treatment free just about not treating for varroa mites? Do people usually treat for other things but not in treatment free? Does treatment free mean not feeding? To be clear, I am not trying to start an argument, I would genuinely like someone to explain it to me.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    My suggestion is to read the treatment free sub forum heading which is this:
    Forum: Treatment-Free Beekeeping

    Discussing and formulating honeybee management methods that cooperate as much as possible with natural bee biology without resorting to the use of chemicals and drugs.
    There have been many side discussions on all the other things like feeding sugar and such but most times, I stick to the above when I talk treatment free. Basically in my mind, all things are game and considered management items except the adding of chemicals to control disease and I don't count sugar as a chemical even though it is one. My take of the above is mite/disease not being addressed with medicine. The rest is just management. There have been discussions here that that is not enough of a definition but I am comfortable that you have to start somewhere in a discussion and the above is a good starting place and you can add or take away from there during the discussion. When I talk of doing nothing for my bees, I am doing it from the stand point of doing nothing for mites with chemicals and in my mind also no antibiotics till my bees are sick and I change my mind.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  4. #3
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    TF means different things to different people. For most of us, it means not treating the bees for varroa with hope of obtaining resistant bees. To some it means no chemicals, so powdered sugar dusting and drone brood removal is ok. To others that is considered a form of treatment and they won't do it. There are several treatment-free chronicle threads. My advice would be to spend a few hours and read through them. Even the true TF folks don't seem to agree on the best way to be TF.

    My sole concession so far is to switch to using OA, a naturally occuring chemical in plants, and giving up the use of Apivar, which is synthetic.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleSpider View Post
    I have read a little and am confused, can someone please explain what treatment free beekeeping means?
    You have every right to be confused. 'Treatment-Free' is an umbrella term which is often used to mean 'Chemical-Free' rather than 'Treatment-Free', and it's this lack of precision of use which renders the term 'Treatment-Free' devoid of meaning, imo.

    There's a perfect example of this confusion in Greg's recent post (sorry, Greg), regarding Cuba being 'Treatment-Free' - only they're not, they're 'Chemical-Free'. The author of the article specifically states that: "The only treatment permitted is drone-comb trapping to reduce the mite population. All beekeepers are trained and urged to practice this mite-control technique." And so that author clearly recognises that a physical intervention such as drone-comb trapping constitutes a 'treatment'.

    Likewise, in the world of human medicine, Physiotherapy and Surgery are both common forms of 'Treatment' - but neither are based upon the primary use of Medication. And yet within so many TF threads we witness people using one term in order to describe the other (perhaps, or perhaps not ?) - and so people may be effectively 'talking past each other' believing erroneously that they are discussing exactly the same thing - or maybe they're not ... Confused ? Of course.

    I've mentioned this lack of precise definition before, but there doesn't seem to any enthusiasm to clarify the terminology being used. I used to wonder why this was - but have since lost interest in this issue.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    For most people claiming to be treatment free, it means they don't use chemicals to control varroa mites. So in Ozzy, you will be treatment free, unless you are using some chemical to control foul brood disease, which for a new hobbyist is unlikely.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  7. #6
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    oldtimer
    For most people claiming to be treatment free, it means they don't use chemicals to control varroa mites. So in Ozzy, you will be treatment free, unless you are using some chemical to control foul brood disease, which for a new hobbyist is unlikely.
    Wish I had the talent to use fewer words then I do to get a point across.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  8. #7
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    ....
    There's a perfect example of this confusion in Greg's recent post (sorry, Greg), ....
    LJ
    You are correct, LJ - the topic name is a .... flop.

    I am not confused, I just fall into a trap of loosely using the term sometimes (which I should not be).

    Anyways, I am a CF (chem-free) as my sig says.

    I split aggressively and chase swarms.
    I feed sugar too (pretty much required with an aggressive nuc program and with captured late swarms).
    I harvest drones from low-quality colonies (for food supplement purposes - why I have bees anyway) - incidentally, that happens to be a treatment.
    High-quality bees get to produce as much drone as they want - I want the drone production (so - no treatments here).
    One reason I practice no chems whatsoever - I also harvest perga from old brood combs (food supplement) - the combs must be clean (else, why even do this?).
    I run "darwinian-style" smaller hives across several distributed yards (which can be a hassle, but that's the population management program).
    No foundation used whatsoever - bees build whatever the hack they want (oops - did use frames I got for free with foundation in the honey supers this summer - because I already had them).

    So, here you go - CF and be done with it.
    I will just keep using the CF term on forward because it is accurate and yet no-one is really using it (the term).
    Should though.
    Moving along.
    Last edited by GregV; 09-28-2019 at 09:40 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    I harvest drones from low-quality colonies (for food supplement purposes - why I have bees anyway).....
    I also harvest perga from old brood combs (food supplement)
    As in, you eat them?
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  10. #9
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    For most people claiming to be treatment free, it means they don't use chemicals to control varroa mites. So in Ozzy, you will be treatment free, unless you are using some chemical to control foul brood disease, which for a new hobbyist is unlikely.
    I thought this may be the case. Thank you all for the replies!

  11. #10
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    As in, you eat them?
    Honey bee brood the larvae and pupae of drones has great potential as a food source. It is already eaten as a delicacy in many countries, including Mexico, Thailand and Australia. It has a nutty flavor with a crunchy texture when eaten cooked or dried, and is a versatile ingredient used in soups and egg dishes.Nov 28, 2016
    Science Daily releases 2016/11
    To each their own. I'll pass for now.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    As in, you eat them?
    OT, I have repeated this many times - yes.
    Even posted many details (mostly to just irk the local US people, as it turned out, so not posting anymore).

    Pressed drone/honey mix at ~50/50.
    Not my invention - this is a staple East Euro food-supplement/medication (known in West Euro, but to a lesser degree).
    A sought out product - the beeks sell and even specialize in the production.
    OK; enough.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    OK, I don't actually read everything on Beesource so was not aware.

    I haved eaten larvae out of curiosity, but to me taste pretty nasty, much like royal jelly. However it is probably pretty healthy.

    What is perga?
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  14. #13
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    As has already been said it means different things to different people.

    > Even the true TF folks don't seem to agree on the best way to be TF.

    Even the treaters don't seem to agree on the best way to keep bees with treatments....

    Personally I think not feeding is wrong thinking. You are going to steal the bees' food supply but if they come up short you're not willing to help them out? They aren't coming up short because of bad planning, they are coming up short because you stole their food...

    Anyway, the obvious answer is that treatment free means you don't use treatments for anything. The obvious first reason would be to not have chemicals in your honey. The next would be to have a healthy ecology in the colony.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursimplesteps.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    OK, I don't actually read everything on Beesource so was not aware.

    I haved eaten larvae out of curiosity, but to me taste pretty nasty, much like royal jelly. However it is probably pretty healthy.

    What is perga?
    Drones:

    You don't need to cook/eat drones; I would not.
    Nor I want to get into the hassle of separating the larva from comb - hugely unproductive time waste.
    Unsure why people immediately assume frying the larva, those bug-food blogs I guess...


    Like I have been saying - you simply C&S the freshly harvested drone brood - exact same process as C&S honey.
    Mix the pressed liquid with honey and freeze mix (it will stay a thick liquid in a freezer).
    Eat 1-2 spoons daily as-if the honey. Use it on you toast or cereal or whatever - no difference.
    Trivial, good for you, and tastes the same as honey (while being very, very nutritious).
    It is really a waste to toss such a great product of limited availability which is impossible to buy in the US (and partly why I got into this bee running hassle; which is lot of hassle, indeed).
    People who are in the know are begging for it.
    My home version:
    20190813_100126.jpg

    Here is entire process of drone production at some scale (as usually, non-English; but watch and learn and replicate).
    Conveniently, this also has mite removal side-effect (i.e. "treatment" - which in this case is not even the point but rather coincidence).
    BTW, the video author made a great show of how to attach the starter strip; I just loved that part.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea4WyKnT2KY&t=2s

    Perga (aka fermented bee bread - another great supplement and more nutritious than raw pollen)
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...-Eating-pollen
    Last edited by GregV; 10-01-2019 at 01:34 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    ....The obvious first reason would be to not have chemicals in your honey....
    And by extension, if you take a wider view and consider OTHER bee products for human consumption (e.g. brood, perga/bee bread, queen jelly, propolis) - you certainly don't want to contaminate those. These products are actually more valuable than the honey itself (just a natural sweetener; now days the sweeteners are not in short supply).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Thanks Greg, very interesting.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  18. #17
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Unsure why people immediately assume frying the larva, those bug-food blogs I guess...
    Probably because that's how wasp larvae are eaten in some Asian countries.

    I know a lady who was born in Vietnam, her parents were arrested by the communists and as a young girl she was left to fend for herself. She knew how to collect wasp larvae from the forest so she did that and cooked and sold them on the side of the road. Somehow survived and eventually made her way to a refugee camp in Thailand then eventually to New Zealand.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  19. #18
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Probably because that's how wasp larvae are eaten in some Asian countries.....
    Right.
    Compared to many foods, the bee/wasp larvae are very nutritious.
    https://slism.com/calorie/111244/

    In any case, I enjoyed fried crickets and grass-hoppers a co-worker brought from Mexico.
    Crunch and spice was fine as for me.
    I finished them off mostly by myself.

    Bee larvae, being conveniently compacted into the combs and "juicy", are just asking for C&S technology to be applied.
    Very efficient.
    Last edited by GregV; 10-01-2019 at 06:55 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    What kind of money does that larvae juice fetch.

    Price of honey here has tanked, looking at all options.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  21. #20
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    Default Re: What is treatment free?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    What kind of money does that larvae juice fetch.

    Price of honey here has tanked, looking at all options.
    I don't know OT.
    Market in the US does not exist.

    Very quick Google of Russian market; first hit of many; the price in Rubles (convert as needed)
    https://tiu.ru/Trutnevyj-gomogenat.html
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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