>I'm not exactly sure I understand what you mean above. Just to be clear, are you saying that these thousands of people you know who are treatment free, do NOT lose their new colonies three years after they have been established?
I am on many forums. My web site gets 4,000 hits a day and those people write me. Often. Dozens of emails a day sometimes. There are 5,352 members on the yahoo Organic Beekeepers group alone. I am not in correspondence with all of those people, but I am in correspondence with probably a couple of thousand people. I get dozens of emails everyday from successful treatment free beekeepers. Do they every lose hives? Of course. But most of the colonies are surviving and they are making up their losses with splits or cutouts.
>Where is the data to prove this? Or is this anecdotal again?
Trying to compile data that would be acceptable to everyone is pretty much impossible. I have bees to keep, a full time job, horses, grandkids...
>Again to be clear:Why would you call this an "erroneous belief"? It's my understanding that this, "three-years-and-it's-over", has been researched and presented.
Not on small cell comb. I know of no study on small cell that has lasted even one year and only one that resembled the protocol that small cell beekeepers are following successfully.http://www.apinews.com/en/technical-articles/beehive-management/item/download/1343http://www.beeuntoothers.com/index.php/beekeeping/articles/66-small-cell-studies
> Edit: My yard was all from swarms and cut outs and I use all foundationless frames. Does that mean my bees should be doing better because they are all on natural cell?
In my experience, yes, they should be doing better. Unfortunately, last winter was hard on everyone, treatment free or not, and I don't think it was Varroa. I don't see more than a hundred or so dead Varroa on any given bottom board on any of my dead hives.
>This is not good logic.
Here is the logic.
There are 8,000 microorganism that have been identified in bee colonies that are either beneficial or benign (but fill some niche in the ecosystem):http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/aug98/bees0898.htm?pf=1
And many kinds of mites that should be living there:http://www.landesmuseum.at/biophp/arti_det.php?litnr=10335&artinr=13954
Some of these microorganisms are necessary for the very life of the bees, in particular the ones that ferment the bee bread. http://www.beeuntoothers.com/index.php/beekeeping/gilliam-archives
Others of them protect the gut of the bee from Nosema and suppress the propagation of AFB and EFB and these are all killed by antibiotics including fumidil and terramycin, but also organic acids will disrupt that is in their gut.http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0033188
Then we have the gestation of the bees on natural cell size. Huber measured natural cells to be 5.08mm (Huber's New Observations on Bees, Volume II Chapter V pg 455 of the X-Star Publishing edition) and lists the gestation time to be as follows:
"The worm of workers passes three days in the egg, five in the vermicular state, and then the bees close up its cell with a wax covering. The worm now begins spinning its cocoon, in which operation thirty-six hours are consumed. In three days, it changes to a nymph, and passes six days in this form. It is only on the twentieth day of its existence, counting from the moment the egg is laid, that it attains the fly state."http://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm#eggtoadult
This is considerably shorter than what is now stated and is consistent with my observations (if not a bit shorter) and this would explain a huge difference in the success of Varroa reproduction on small cell compared to large cell.
>I'm neither advocating nor dismissing. I would just like people to back up what they say with factual evidence. If it's "experience" it should be clearly stated. "I know thousands of people who" is not fact. It's hearsay.
"The bulk of the world’s knowledge is an imaginary construction."--Helen Keller
Yes, it is my experience and the hearsay of thousands of other people.
>Where are the controlled experiments?
1604 "A Counterblaste to Tobacco" is written by King James I of England and he complains about passive smoking and warns of dangers to the lungs.
Many influential and intelligent people pointed out the dangers over the years, but it was not proven that there was a connection between smoking and lung cancer until 1953 when Dr. Ernst L. Wynder uncovers the first definitive biological link between smoking and cancer.
When would you stop smoking? 1604? Or 1953 when controlled experiments finally proved it?http://www.bushfarms.com/beesscientificstudies.htm
I've been not treating for more than a decade. Dee Lusby has been not treating since the Tracheal mites back in the 80's. Plenty of others are not treating and many of them for as long as a decade as well. No that is not a scientific study. We are just beekeepers.
"It will be readily appreciated that in the course of many years and daily contact with bees, the professional bee-keeper will of necessity gain a knowledge and insight into the mysterious ways of the honeybee, usually denied to the scientist in the laboratory and the amateur in possession of a few colonies. Indeed, a limited practical experience will inevitably lead to views and conclusions, which are often completely at variance to the findings of a wide practical nature. The professional bee-keeper is at all times compelled to assess things realistically and to keep an open mind in regard to every problem he may be confronted with. He is also forced to base his methods of management on concrete results and must sharply differentiate between essentials and inessentials."--Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey, Brother Adam