I just finished reading a rural magazine up here featuring and article on natural beekeeping. I found myself getting truly annoyed and am wondering if I am out in left field (more so than usual) on this. Disclaimer: I am not trying to open the debate on treatment versus non-treatment, and if this thread starts causing problems it is truly not my intent. Mods. have your way with it if it appears to go awry! The story begins with Mr, X and Y. They take over a 120 hive operation that has 1 hive left alive. One of them has a little experience with keeping bees over 20 years ago, before varroa. They start out by deciding they will go treatment free. Their research has led them to small cell sites, natural cell sites, etc. They start the summer of 09 with the one living hive (strong) and 4 purchased nucs and an observation hive. No losses over winter. Late spring and summer of 2010 they allow bees to draw their own comb. By fall they start seeing lots of mites. "Once or twice we removed some drone brood from some of the hives to give them a little boost". They continue to expand (split) and by fall of 2010 they have 18 hives. By early spring 2011 had lost only 1 small nucleus hive. "Although summer of 2011 was exceptionally wet we were able to split enough hives so that we now have about 30 hives. By the fall of 2011 we saw almost no signs of mites and did not remove any drone brood. Clearly, the bees are overcoming the mites without any treatments". It ends with, "We have learned to love natural beekeeping. It lets the bees live the way nature meant them to be. It propagates strong bees but discourages mites. In 2012, we hope to start selling treatment-free nucleus beehives." It also includes a table titled: Key Elements of Natural Beekeeping include: - giving no treatments of any kind; - locating bees near a good, uncontaminated water source; - moving the hives as little as possible, other than in the spring and late fall; - providing windbreaks year-round; - using only medium-sized hive boxes; - using a top entrance as opposed to a bottom entrnce, and provide ventilation; - useing a screened bottom board; - avoiding the use of a queen excluder; - letting bees raise their own queens; - feeding sugar syrup only as necessary; - taking only excess honey that the bees won't need for winter; - giving bees access to acres of organic pastureland;;- where possible, propagating flowers that bees like. That's it folks, all you need to be succesfull in beekeeping. While I appreciate the intent of these folks, I feel the article paints an unrealistic picture. First, (IMHO) it is simply not as easy as it is being portrayed in this piece. Could the fact that they have obviously split the living beegeebers out of their hives in 2 years, probably disrupting the varroa life cycle have anything to do with it? Will the people buying these "treatment free" nucs have the same success when they take them home and set them in their backyards and find themselves dealing with an uniterrupted explosion of varroa? Looking at the list of "Key Elements of Natural Beekeeping", it does not appear to be much different than what most beeks try to provide for their bees (exception being treatment or not). If all I had to do was stop treating to be succesful (and I am not saying I am succesful by any stretch of the imagination) I would be first in line to do it. I am annoyed that an article featuring a couple of folks having kept bees for a shade more than 2 years is suddenly presented in this fashion. How many people are going to read this and end up dissapointed with their own results? "Clearly, the bees are overcoming mites without any treatments". That is some conclusion to draw after having kept bees for little more than 2 years. Am I being picky when I say I feel annoyed at this article? Is it time for PerryBee to lighten up a little? P.S. If I have offended anybody with this "rant" I apologize in advance, it was not my intent to do so!