Re: Q's about non-chemical varroa management
It depends what you mean by 'sustainable'. If you mean: does it work the way nature works, by continuously weeding out the vulnerable strains, so the each new generation is better equipped to deal with problems affecting health, then no. In fact *any* active management against varroa (except selection of the best, elimination of the weakest)frustrates the essential process of gaining mite-tolerant characteristics.
Originally Posted by NY_BLUES
If you mean: will it help the local feral population adapt to varroa, so the the natural process will be continually operating around me, sending good strong genes into my future generations through their drones, again no. *Any* active management scheme (except selection of the best, elimination of the weakest) will have the opposite effect. You will be killing off your local ferals by sending inadeqate genes into them
In nature, populations thrive by constantly being made from the fittest parents in each generation, eliminating the more unfit. And any kind of population husbandry has to follow the same rules - or the population cannot help but sicken. The failure to breed properly is modern beekeeping's great error - and the direct cause of our varroa problem.
Don't be afraid of seeing your bees die - just try to make sure you have better ones to replace them. Go hard for survivors, or buy mite tolerant queens, get into breeding, and learn about the various indicators that signal mite tolerance. You don't want to be managing, you want bees that are equipped to manage themselves.
The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet