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Personal Beekeeping Philosophy
A lot of decisions on equipment or methods, depend on your personal philosophy of life and your personal philosophy of beekeeping. Some people have more faith in Nature or the Creator to work things out. Some are more interested in keeping their bees healthy with chemicals and treatments. You'll have to decide where you stand on these kinds of things.
If you're the type to take an herbal remedy before you run to the doctor, you probably fall into this category. True organic would be no treatments whatsoever. Some will say this can't be done, but there are many people including me doing it. Many are online and help each other through it. After that there are "soft" treatments like essential oils and FGMO, and then slightly "harder" treatments like Formic Acid and Oxalic acid for Varroa.
If you're the type who runs to the doctor for antibiotics the second you get a sniffle this is probably more your style. Some in this group treat for prevention. IMO the wiser ones treat only when necessary. Most of the recent research shows that treating for prevention has caused resistance to the chemicals on the part of the pests and has done little to help the hive and often hurt them. Chemical buildup in the wax from Cumaphos (Check Mite) and Fluvalinate (Apistan) used for Varroa mites, is suspected to be the cause of high supersedure rates, and known to be the cause of infertility in drones and queens.
Science vs Art
"Those who are accustomed to judge by feeling do not understand the process of reasoning, for they would understand at first sight and are not used to seek for principles. And others, on the contrary, who are accustomed to reason from principles, do not at all understand matters of feeling, seeking principles and being unable to see at a glance."--Blaise Pascal
If you see beekeeping as an art or you see it as a science it will change your perspective a lot. I think it's a bit of both, but since bees are quite capable of surviving on their own and since we really can't coerce them into doing anything, I see it as more of an art where you work with the bees natural tendencies to help them and yourself.
Part of this is also the ability to see intuitively the whole picture instead of seeing each individual piece as if it stands alone.
This is another thing that changes your philosophy on many things. When you have time to spend with the hives and the hives are in your backyard, then methods that require you to do something every week are not a big problem. For instance, when I requeen in my own yard, I don't mind if it takes three trips to the hive to get it done if that improves acceptance. But if it's at an outyard 60 miles away, I want to do something one time and be done. The same is true of the number of hives. If you have only two hives to deal with on a certain issue, you may not mind how complicated it is. When you have hundreds of hives to deal with, you have to have a streamlined system.
Reasons for Beekeeping
A lot of your decisions will be guided by this. If you have bees as pets you have a different agenda than if you have them solely to make a living.
Copyright 2006 by Michael Bush