What does our Treatment-Free label really mean?

As I understand it, there was a bit of discussion at the last meeting over the use of the label “treatment-free”. Since there is no FDA definition of this term, it does have slight variations in meaning. So, let me clarify what it means, specifically, when SVB uses it.

Firstly, it refers to the colonies that produce the honey, not the honey itself. Treatment-free honey comes from a treatment-free colony.

After doing a little bit of research, the definition of Treatment voted on by the members of beesource.com (in the treatment-free section; click here for link) matches what comes to my mind when the term is used. The honey we’ve sold with “treatment-free” labels also matches this use of the term. So, here it is in all of its glory.


Treatment: A substance introduced by the beekeeper into the hive with the intent of killing, repelling, or inhibiting a pest or disease afflicting the bees.

Treatments include but are not limited to:
Apiguard (thymol)
Mite-away II (formic acid)
Apistan (fluvalinate)
Sucrocide (sucrose octanoate esters)
Mite-A-Thol (menthol)
Terramycin/Tetra-B (antibiotic)
Tylan (antibiotic)
Gardstar (permethrin)
Fumagilin (antibiotic)
Paramoth (p-dichlorobenzene)
Checkmite (coumaphos)
Oxalic Acid (dicarboxylic acid)
Formic Acid (carboxylic acid)
Mineral Oil (food grade mineral oil, FGMO)
Sugar Dusting (sucrose)
HBH (essential oils)
MegaBee (diet formula)
Honey Bee Healthy (feeding stimulant)
Bt Aizawai (bacteria)
Thymol (crystals, feed, or fogging)
Essential oils (in general)
Grease patties (Crisco etc.)

Treatments do not include items considered to be manipulations, which include but are not limited to the following:
Frequent queen replacement
Systematic splitting
Frequent replacement of comb/foundation
Small cell foundation
Drone comb removal
Screened bottom boards
Brood breaks

The definition of the term “treatment” also does not include feeding items such as:
Sugar syrup
Dry granulated sugar
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
Pollen substitutes

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