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Hello all. Newbee here from Southern Indiana. I live on a large property and have been getting more and more into homesteading. Honey bees seem like a natural progression.

I started a Langstroth Hive this year with a package of bees, and things seem to be humming along nicely. I hope to have several hives when it's all said and done. I'm specifically interested in an organic management strategy, and if I'm honest I'm interested in learning more about doing no treatments. I've heard mixed reviews as to whether that's possible. Some saying it can be done others saying it's nearly impossible.

I don't really know anyone in beekeeping; so outside of some serious Googling I have no one to turn to when confused. That said, I have done quite a bit of reading and watched a lot of the University of Guelph videos on YouTube. I would highly recommend them to anyone just starting out like myself. Reading is helpful but seeing really fills in the gaps.

Other than that, I'm just doing my best hoping my mistakes don't kill off my hive. Hope to get to know everyone soon and I'm excited about this journey.
 

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Hello all. Newbee here from Southern Indiana. I live on a large property and have been getting more and more into homesteading. Honey bees seem like a natural progression.

I started a Langstroth Hive this year with a package of bees, and things seem to be humming along nicely. I hope to have several hives when it's all said and done. I'm specifically interested in an organic management strategy, and if I'm honest I'm interested in learning more about doing no treatments. I've heard mixed reviews as to whether that's possible. Some saying it can be done others saying it's nearly impossible.

I don't really know anyone in beekeeping; so outside of some serious Googling I have no one to turn to when confused. That said, I have done quite a bit of reading and watched a lot of the University of Guelph videos on YouTube. I would highly recommend them to anyone just starting out like myself. Reading is helpful but seeing really fills in the gaps.

Other than that, I'm just doing my best hoping my mistakes don't kill off my hive. Hope to get to know everyone soon and I'm excited about this journey.
 

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Welcome!

As to whether treatment free beekeeping is possible, it's a hard question. A lot depends on your location. If there are other beekeepers in the vicinity, and especially large commercial beekeepers, then I'd say probably no, or with great difficulty.

If you are quite isolated from other beekeepers, then perhaps yes. It's like organic farming. It can be done, but it takes a lot more labor and knowledge to make a crop.

I am 5 years into beekeeping and have been mostly treatment free. It has not been particularly successful. Treatment free (TF) hives tend to last a year or two then die of viral diseases carried by the varroa mite. Sometimes you can easily see that the bees are sick, other times the hive just dwindles down and disappears, or dies over the winter.

My honest advice for a new beekeeper just starting out with no background, is to treat, at least for the first year or two as you learn to care for the bees. Once you have the basics down, you can experiment with TF. You will know what a healthy, disease-free hive looks like and can compare it with how your TF hives are doing. You can invest in varieties of bees that are supposed to be more resistant to mites.

Buy a product like Apivar and use it according to the directions. It should be applied BEFORE you can visually see that there is a problem, usually in July or August. As you work with the bees you can learn to easily do mite counts and so know whether a treatment is needed or not, but the fact is most hives do need treatments of some kind, whether that is intensive TF management or some kind of chemical.


There is a huge forum on TF beekeeping on this website where you can get advice from people who have been doing it for years, some successfully, and others less successfully.
 

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Welcome!

As to whether treatment free beekeeping is possible, it's a hard question. A lot depends on your location. If there are other beekeepers in the vicinity, and especially large commercial beekeepers, then I'd say probably no, or with great difficulty.

If you are quite isolated from other beekeepers, then perhaps yes. It's like organic farming. It can be done, but it takes a lot more labor and knowledge to make a crop.

I am 5 years into beekeeping and have been mostly treatment free. It has not been particularly successful. Treatment free (TF) hives tend to last a year or two then die of viral diseases carried by the varroa mite. Sometimes you can easily see that the bees are sick, other times the hive just dwindles down and disappears, or dies over the winter.

My honest advice for a new beekeeper just starting out with no background, is to treat, at least for the first year or two as you learn to care for the bees. Once you have the basics down, you can experiment with TF. You will know what a healthy, disease-free hive looks like and can compare it with how your TF hives are doing. You can invest in varieties of bees that are supposed to be more resistant to mites.

Buy a product like Apivar and use it according to the directions. It should be applied BEFORE you can visually see that there is a problem, usually in July or August. As you work with the bees you can learn to easily do mite counts and so know whether a treatment is needed or not, but the fact is most hives do need treatments of some kind, whether that is intensive TF management or some kind of chemical.


There is a huge forum on TF beekeeping on this website where you can get advice from people who have been doing it for years, some successfully, and others less successfully.
Definitely going to take your advice into account. Thanks for the tip on the TF forum! Thank you!
 
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