Top Five Things I Learned at the Treatment Free Bee Conference

Eliese Watson Demonstrates Top Bar

Eliese Watson Demonstrates Top Bar

I was lucky enough to attend two days of presentations and hands-on workshops July 26-28 at the 2013 Pacific Northwest Treatment-Free Beekeeping Conference. Subtitled “Science meets Earth-Friendly Beekeeping”, the conference included both commercial beekeepers, notably Kirk Webster of Champlain Valley Apiaries, and scientists, in particular Dr. Tom Seeley and Dr. Deborah Delaney.

I’ll report in more detail later. Here’s a summary of what I learned:

5. Treatment-free management is mainstream and profitable.
4. Collaboration is the key to success.
3. Varroa and apis mellifera are adapting to each other, as they should – a pest that kills its host is not a successful organism.
2. The Western commercial bee is not genetically diverse.
1. We need more farmers, farmers and beekeepers need to work together, and society needs to pay attention to farmers.

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