Last night's class with Sonoma County beekeeper Serge Labesque was fascinating. His thesis was that medically treating bees defeats natural selection, and keeps bad traits in the gene pool, which is bad for the entire species. He advocates a no-chemical approach, and careful hive management. When he says "no chemicals," he means nothing -- not even the "natural" chemicals, like essential oils and powdered sugar that organic beekeepers use to control parasitic mites.
This man knows his bees.
He has not used chemical treatments for over a decade, and his hives thrive. He takes a very analytical approach, based on very keen observations. His diagrams of the month-to-month interior structure of the hive (location of the cluster of bees, the broodnest, and the stores of nectar and pollen) were the most thorough that I had ever seen.
This man is a beekeeping iconoclast.
And I find myself in agreement with what he was teaching.