I just went into my hives today....the Buckfast hive did great, exactly how yours did; minimal usage of honey, hardly touched the candy board and they weren't interested in the pollen pattie.
I used the screened bottom board for mite counts and treated with MAQS in the fall. They were very gentle and had a good sized cluster. I am very happy with them and can't wait for the queens to come in June.
I would like to keep both overwintered queens here at my home yard where I can keep a close eye on them but when I take the Buckfast queen out and the new queens are mated I could take that original colony (minus the original queen and a few bars) to a remote location. Would that be enough to minimize the potential problem?
Would it be better if when I remove her I release her in a nuc made from my colony with the better mite count and no sign of viruses? Then I could take the whole colony with their newly mated daughter queen to the remote location.
Right now the Buckfast colony is building better than the MNH Mutts but the mutts are catching up fast (they were 3 brood bars to 5 a few weeks ago) and seeing 4 DWV bees and having such a high mite count I think the Buckfast will start falling behind in the next month or so.