This is a real hot topic here in Canada. To open the boarder to package bees or not.
Well, Im going to state my opinion on the whole issue right here,
The beekeeping industry in Canada has to figure something out! We can not manage our bees like this anymore. Chemical treatments spring, leading to chemical treatments in fall, leading to more chemical treatments the following year!
Alternative treatments and management practices help delay treatments, but they are all weather dependant. If you know anything about the Canadian Prairies, We can trust the weather about as much as we can trust our politicians!
What "I" think has to happen is a resumed Canada/ US trade in package bees. The way I see it, we need those imports.
And I would then practice more of a kill off in fall, buy in spring type of beekeeping management.
I wouldn't shift completely, but would then use the US packages to lean on in the spring. I would sift and consolidate all my fall hives, killing off the sick and dieing, keeping the strong and populous, winter them as I now do. I would take all the remaining equipment, scrape and clean during the winter, and ready them for re population in the spring.
One factor I don't know is the cost of the US package, if trade resumes. That cost will depend alot on if the US bee industry will consider a shift towards Canadian beekeepers again, away from the Almond fields. Another factor will be political. Open and free trade needs to take place in order to get a true value on packages available.
Just a few rambling thoughts,
not meant to start an arguement,