But what does organic really mean? Many years ago, beekeepers were placing Hall's Metholyptus Cough Drops in the hive to combat tracheal mites. They claimed they did not need the chemical treatment. Now, was this organic?
What about dusting a hive with powdered sugar, a recent idea to remove the phoretic varroa mites from adult honey bees. Is this organic?
The problem of what constitutes organic agriculture caused a lot of confusion. Strolling through the farmer's markets, a sign reads, "Organic Beets." But what does that mean? Then some farmers advertised their product as, "organic," gaining a marketing advantage, but their produce was raised conventionally with synthetic chemicals, and not organically, despite what this sign advertised. What gives? Where is the accountability to hold producers to how they grow their crops.
The 1990 Farm Bill had a provision for the National Organic Production Act which established the National Organic Program, or NOP. The NOP laid out very specific regulations and rules for the producer who wanted to use the word, "organic." Organic farmers were required to keep records and have those records inspected for accuracy, then verified and certified.
Any producer who fails to comply with the regulations cannot use the word, "organic." But many still do, which only adds to the many reasons why the USDA had to step in and regulate the organic industry.
Organic beekeeping is next to impossible to achieve, yet you see any number of beekeepers selling organic hives, organic bees, organically-produced honey, etc. Any beekeeper desiring to raise their bees organically must follow the regulations, which I've published in my book. But it is next to impossible to comply with the rules, such that no beekeeper can really call their apiary, "organic."
You can find my book, Organic Beekeeping, here