I'll never stop treating my bees.
I may not ever use chemicals.
But going chemical free, requires a certain amount of beekeeper intervention, which I call treatments.
Nobody keeps bees, that could be considered "untreated" or completely void from the effects of beekeeper influence. That may range from the impacts of where you place your bees, the equipment you place them in, etc.
Way too many beekeepers are sold the bill of goods that stopping from the use of chemicals, means completely doing NOTHING for the bees. That is false.
To be chemical free, I have found that a complete IPM approach of the right genetics, and the right management, is required to maintain hive health, have productive hives, etc.
Treatment free is impossible. Chemical free should be your goal. They are two separate issues.
Just for the record Mike I am not opposed to doing treatments especially in the case where antibiotics are needed, but I happen to oppose treatment with chemicals for mites, not that I have ever needed to treat for them. And no, I haven't actually used antibiotics in my hives but know others that have.
In their case, something needed to be done as it was difficult to pinpoint exactly what the problem was they were dealing with. Too many variables involved.
Sometimes I believe we do have to step in from time to time.
I do have one hive that has trouble with mites, I have not treated them. They have been surviving three yrs now without treatment.
Lately, I'm thinking of either requeening them or allowing them to make a queen from different stock, because this hive albeit is surviving, they just have not evolved to a super strong colony.
I'd rather do this than treat them with chemicals, my choice.