monkeyman, there are medications, such as TM and Tylan, actual antibiotics, and treatments, such as Apistan (active engredient Fluvalinate) and Checkmite (choumophaus), just to name a few that kill mites.
There are a number of each of these types of products that are recommended to treat colonies for mites and to prevent AFB.
There are also a number of so called natural medications and natural treatments for different maladys.
Is there something in particular which you want to explore? Or to see how they may fit into your IPM?
I don't recommend using antibiotics to control or combat AFB. I recommend knowing what it looks like and knowing how to identify it and how to burn it so as not to spread it to other colonies.
Just an after thought. IPM means Integrated Pest Management. Are diseases included in most IPM Programs, being as they are diseases and not pests? Would the use of an antibiotic throw off an IPM Program? Just curious.
You might want to look on Randy Olivers web site. It is scientificbeekeeping.com I believe. He has alot of good info on there. I have decided to go with apigard gel to treat for mites this year. Take care and good luck....George B
I guess I mostly think I want to stay away from drugs that mask disease, and only medicate if it truly prevents or will help after the fact, kwim? I don't take abx prophylactically unless there's a true reason (surgery). Just taking it because I *might* get sick doesn't help things along. I'm not out to prop up a colony that wouldn't survive without meds, but I'll treat if it will help clear something up. I think. I don't know! But my heart says I don't medicate my livestock unless they actively need it, so why do it with bees? But bees seem to be different than all the animals I've raised, and in so many ways, that I'm kind of floundering.
There will be plenty of people that will tell you that you don't need to use anything. It will all depend on your tolerance for loss and the area that you live. Try for no meds for now if you want. It is the only way to know if it will work for you.
Cmonkey, this is a very big subject with lots of differing viewpoints. It would be almost impossible for others to answers all your questions in one forum thread here. You will likely get completely opposing advice and then you won't know which advice to follow anyway.
Since you say you know very little about the subject, why not read a couple of easy books about keeping bees both ways? I have read several good beginner beekeeping books so far.
Beekeeping for Dummies is easy reading, and approaches treating with medications as the norm.
I'm now reading The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping (I hate that title!) which supposedly takes a non-medicating approach. There other 'natural' beekeeping books for beginners out there too.
Once you read a book or two then you will know enough to be able to ask more precise questions that folks can answer better.
On one end of the spectrum, some people treat for just about everything, whether they have a problem or not.
Others rely on small cell/natural cell for hive health, although controlled studies cast doubt on whether that really works or is really a live and let die approach with a distraction.
Others don't treat anything and follow a live and let die approach without regard to cell size. That works best if you are raising your own queens and breeding from survivor stock. This is a tough thing to do starting out. If you have 2 hives, its no fun to have both of them crash. I think this is the best long term solution for varroa issues and lots of others.
A middle ground, which is probably the best for beginners, is to:
1. Obtain queens that have genetic resistance to pests;
2. Monitor for pests to keep an eye on what's going on;
3. Try non-chemical controls first, such as sugar dusting and drone comb removal for varroa and traps for beetles. I really think if you can figure out a way to keep varroa at bay, you have licked most of the problems. There is also some evidence that parasitic nematodes do a number on SHB.
4. If that fails, consider using a more soft chemical only as needed (such as formic acid or thymol for mites).
5. Rotate new comb into hives to keep bad things from building up on comb.
I do think that treating for Nosema on a routine basis is a reasonable step, since the treatments, all in all, are not terribly harsh and have a short life and the difficulty diagnosing Nosema before it is a real issue.
On the other extreme, I don't know that treating for traceal mites is necessary, given the natural resistance that seems to have developed. This is a case where good genes should lick the problem.
This is an area where everybody disagrees, and these are just my suggestions.
A forum community dedicated to beekeeping, bee owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about breeding, honey production, health, behavior, hives, housing, adopting, care, classifieds, and more!