the place from which i ordered my bees, chose to go with Russians. they are supposed to be resistant to mites, varroa and tracheal. they are also supposed to winter better.
my varroa mite problem seems to be minimal. 4 or 5 a day found during treatment.
no one around here is using small cell. 2 reasons given: 1. no proof that it is effective, and 2. unnaturally reducing cell size seen as unhealthy for bee development.
after getting into hive and finding it to be very clean and healthy, i have decided to skip fall oxytetracycline treatment. will consider doing it in spring.