Friday, February 2, 2018

The Challenge of Treatment-Free Beekeeping

Humans are strange creatures.  Psychologists say that one of the interesting drives we have is to find things to do and do them.  In fact, we actually like to find hard, but not impossible things and to conquer them.  To find a challenge and to meet it.
Since the very beginning of my beekeeping experience, I have been told by people that keeping bees treatment-free was impossible.  Yet, I knew it was possible, because I had seen that at least one person was able to do it.  If there is something that most people say is impossible, yet you see one person doing it, that's a challenge.  You know not every one can do it, or they would be. You know it can be done, but you might not know how, and your inner drive as a human compels you to try.  
Or at least that's how it happened for me.
And I want to put that challenge in front of you.
Perhaps that's what's lacking in the decades long word fight between treating beekeepers and treatment-free beekeepers.  You can't do it, you can do it, you're doing it wrong, you're an idiot, so's your mother, etc. This fight is pointless and goes back and forth forever, not because one side is right and the other is deluded, but because there are two sides.  And debate doesn't serve to change anybody's mind on either side.  It only entrenches.  It creates and maintains tribes.  Neither tribe will be able to look at any subject objectively.  And they will lob grenades at each other's respective trenches and no one will go anywhere until the whole system is reframed. 
So here it is.  Treatment-free beekeeping is hard.  Not everybody can do it.  In fact, the vast majority can't.  They haven't figured it out.  And many of them never will.  As Max Planck said:  "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."  You have a limited time here on this earth.  Stop wasting it.  Get it done.  I'm here to tell you it is possible.  Now you figure it out.  Do you accept the challenge?


  1. Interesting!! I never considered it that way. I came across this site as of late which I suppose it will be an incredible utilization of new plans and informations.
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  2. All of my Varroa treatment-free trial colonies are still alive, clustered nicely, and eating their food, which is pretty exciting. They are not isolated but rather in one of my commercially operated apiary sites and they actually had mites visible on them when I checked back in December.
    Info for those of you who don't have bees: Varroa destructor mite is an invasive parasite that causes bee hive collapse. Varroa mites typically kill any commercially-operated bee colony every 6 to 12 months if not carefully managed. As a bee queen breeder I try to select for genetic lines of bees that are able to naturally survive the mites.
    Regards, Emily