The vision of Easy Bees is to raise strong honey bee colonies without the use of pesticides to control pests.

This does not mean this is a treatment free operation. Easy Bees believes the best approach against varroa mites, or any other bee pest, is to facilitate the development of natural control measures by the bees themselves. However, honey bees in the US are not yet up to this task, but there is hope! By using organic treatments, such as thymol, formic, or oxalic based treatments, mites can be kept under a dangerous threshold. There has been research suggesting that the popular (and effective) treatment amitraz (legally sold in the US under the name Apivar, illegally used under other names such as Taktic or Bovitraz) can compromise the immune response of honey bees, potentially leaving them vulnerable to viruses and disease (often spread by varroa mites). Whether this may or may not be accurate, the risk is too great when there are other viable and effective options available.

Another avenue worth exploring, and a path which Easy Bees is very excited to embark on, is the use of fungal extracts to stimulate bee health. The research is in its infancy, and there is not yet conclusive evidence that feeding fungal extracts to honey bees is efficacious. Yet, my current experience is that it has not killed my hives! More to come on that subject. On the subject of bee health, one indirect way to combat the effects of the varroa mite are to reduce the damage done by viruses and diseases. It has been demonstrated that healthy bees are better able to recover from mites and other ailments. It is also a personal view of Easy Bees that viruses and disease is more detrimental than mites alone, and a good goal may be to encourage bees to coexist with mites rather than eradicating them altogether. By encouraging good health, we can better facilitate adaptation towards just that. It remains to be seen, but I am optimistic.

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