No Antibiotics or Pesticides in the Hive

Although we can't control where our bees forage, we can keep their home clean by not using "prophylactic" antibiotics or pesticides in the hive.

To control parasites such as Varroa and Tracheal Mites, and diseases such as Foulbrood, most commercial beekeepers routinely dose their hives with pesticides and antibiotics, even when no signs of infestation or disease are evident. We don't do that.

To control mites, we remove drone comb, dust with powdered sugar, and generally encourage hygienic behavior so the bees can handle the problem on their own.

There's not a good way to deal with Foulbrood and similar disease without antibiotics, so we usually end up losing the hive if it gets infected... but that's not necessarily a bad thing, because a strain of bees that is susceptible to a disease is eliminated when that happens. On the other hand, if we were to use prophylactic treatments, we'd end up with weak bees and, eventually, antibiotic-resistant diseases.