This is my second year in treatment free beekeeping. I only have 1 hive setup. First year they survived the spring and then died out in the following 4-5 weeks. Looked like dysentery with brown splotches on box. I did no treatments at all and only saw a minimum of varroa.
2nd year I got 3 lb package and queen from Dadant and all was well, except I became allergic to bees and got hives, so now I carry epi-pens. I did mite counts and had excessive varroa so I purchased screened bottom board and treated twice with the double-powdered sugar treatments per Country Rubes Method. Then I got small hive beetles and used the small oil trap to capture as many as I could (hive is under a Spruce tree, so this may attract the beetles?) This spring the bees survived and did a cleansing flight at the first 40 degree day and left brown spots all over box, so I know they had some dysentery issues. I started to continue reading "Natural Beekeeping" by Ross Conrad and the "Beekeeping for Dummies" by Blackiston and decided to treat for varroa and tracheal mites by making grease patties per both books recipes (these did use white sugar...) and organic wintergreen essential oils. I only got the chance to place one patty and then 2 weeks later, NOW, they are dead.
I live in Chicago-area and I ventilate the hive with popsicle sticks, upper holes in hive boxes and in winter I leave upper hole open. I do not restrict lower opening.
I am just wondering if there is advice for me: Did I do something wrong in not treating or treating? Why do my bees survive winter and then die out?
Thank you for any advice you have to give. I have another beekeeper friend where this identical die-out occurred.