hmm... 17 hives going in.. 14 coming out...
Two hives lost were southern VSH queens.. BOOMING going into fall.. wintered like the rest of the hives.. early march they were dead.. stuffed into the cells inches from honey... not happy about it.. one hive was weak. did not build up well from a feral swarm.. tried to overwinter them anyhow, and it didnt work. I have a similar hive going into this winter.. late June cut out that just never took off. I HOPE they make it and build up well in the spring.. I like the survivor stock and try to proliferate from them.
Mostly natural cell, some PF 120's. I have four hives left still on rite cell. Mite counts in those hives ARE higher than in the other hives.. BUT.. the bees in the rite cell hives are Italians and Carnys commercially acquired, and they sit about 130 yards from the other hives. Regression starting on them if they make THIS winter
I did NOT treat the feral hives, I DID treat the rite cell hives (Hopguard only)
So... not sure what that means as far as percentage.. Will know a lot more once I get the number of hives built up. I will be separating them to different yards, and working the yard about 4 miles away toward pure survivors with no treatments at all. I also intend to buy VSH (northern) if I can find them to add to that yard..
Weather natural cell, or small cell works doesnt really matter. I am hoping it helps, but the fact is, I build my own frames, and use all mediums so it is cheaper and easier for me to go that route. if there is some small "aid" in varoa control somewhere in there, so much the better. It is my goal to eventually be treatment free on all hives.. first, for better hardier bees, second, to save me work and money.. If I live to be 70 (20 years from now) I hope to still be using the genetics I pull out of this yard in the next few years.
While I do not strictly adhere to any philosophy other than my own.. I agree with Mr. Bush that we will NOT get better bees until we stop treating...
Having said that... there ARE times that you KNOW you have to treat if you want to keep hives alive... It is easier to treat, and keep a strong hive that I can requeen with a survivor than it is to start a hive from scratch... If I find that a hive is being overwhelmed, and the signs point toward the end, I prefer to treat to save it, and try a different queen later. Eventually it will all come together.