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Discussion Starter #1
I think I am TF as in I haven't used chem's in 5 years. I do however do splits to reduce mite load and breed from my best survivors queen. I only kill queens if they become drone layers or start having a poor brood pattern and if she real mean. I use the alcohol wash method to determine mite load. I also try not to mix broods from different hives in order to keep the mite gene pool shallow. I am just curious where the line is on TF and IPM.
 

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TF means Treatment Free, soo.... no treatments.

IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management.

The general idea behind IPM involves monitoring pests and assessing the risks and benefits of the pest contrasted with the risks and benefits of attempting to curtail the pest.

Lets use application of herbicide to illustrate a point where where IPM and TF might diverge.
Suppose I have a crop of soy beans that will yield 2 tons of soy per acre assuming no weed competition. Lets assume that soy sells for $1,000 per ton. That makes a total gross of $2,000 dollars per acre with no weed competition.

Suppose I notice I have a build up in weed pressure that threatens half my yields.

A treatment free approach would say, don't treat, because we are treatment free.

An IPM approach would say it costs $100/acre to apply an herbicide to ensure maximal yield. Since we are looking at a gross loss of $1,000 dollars let's apply the $100 dollar herbicide to prevent that loss.



Now suppose the weed pressure threatens 5% of the total yield.

Treatment free still won't treat.

IPM would say okay 5% threat to yield means a 5% threat to gross profit - A loss of 2000*.05=$100.00. In this case the IPM approach would be to let it be. Application of an herbicide would not yield any greater net profit. The gains measured through treatment don't outweigh the costs of treating in this instance.


This is of course a simplistic example, but it illustrates the main point. Also not all IPM practitioners consider dollars as the only basis for risk/reward. Others may want to consider the social and environmental impacts of any applications/treatments.

Anyway. Hope that helps.
 

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borncamp pretty much covered it, but let's try it from a philosophical model, as that is where the difference really lies. To get the emotional aspect of bees out of the concept, let's do farmers and soybeans. We have three types of farmers for the sake of this discussion, conventional, IPM and organic.

The crop of soybeans is growing and it's the time of year the aphids are multiplying.

The conventional farmer sprays for aphids because that's what the Extension agent said was the right thing to do.

The IPM farmer calculates the rate of infestation, the likely cost in lost production if he does not spray for aphids. Then he calculates the cost of spraying for aphids. If the loss in production is less than the cost of spraying he doesn't spray. If it's more he does spray.

The Organic farmer became an organic farmer because he considers the impact to the ecology of insects, that will occur if he sprays. It will kill off all of the predators of the aphids along with the aphids and kill many other beneficial insects as well. Plus the runoff into the creeks and rivers, plus the contamination of the ground water. He considers the ecology to be a kind of super organism that needs a balance. Therefore he doesn't spray.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesphilosophy.htm
 

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I must disagree. In farming, a good example of IPM is rotating crops and choosing management practices that will reduce the chances of insect or weed problems thus minimizing the chance that they will have to treat. Traditional farmers are a bit more profit oriented (though not necessarily so), and will choose to spray based on the economic threshold for treating. They are more likely to be single crop farmers. I dont know what an extension agent might say but a farm management expert that dosent calculate an economic threshold before recommending teatment, isnt a very good one. An organic farmer chooses to not treat and hope that the value gained by doing so can be reflected in the higher prices he charges. I think beekeeping is quite similar.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is all good information, I get the impression for the above posts that IPM can be applied according to ones personal philosophy and values and can run the spectrum from maximizing profit only to minimizing environmental impact. Which still places me in the TF group now if this was my lively hood I would likely move more toward middle ground (so called soft chemicals). I also like that everyone is civilized about differences of opinion.
 
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