Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)
Sygdom, give it your best shot, but to be straight up, if there was 4 mites on one bee, you've probably left it too long. Are your bees on large cell or small cell? If they are on small cell there is some debate about the way the mite cycle works and some unknowns.
If your bees are on large cell, for next season, the way the mite cycle works is like this. The hive, assuming it had a low enough mite count to survive the winter, starts off in spring with a lowish amount of brood, and a lowish amount of mites. The mites start breeding in the brood, but the brood nest keeps getting larger so there are still plenty of healthy bees emerging.
Once the brood nest reaches maximum size, the mite numbers continue increasing and greater amounts of larvae are affected, producing weak bees. As summer comes to an end, the queen slows her laying, reducing the size of the brood nest. There is an ever increasing number of mites laying eggs an a smaller and smaller number of larvae. In bad cases, all larvae are affected.
Many of these larvae, if more than one mite laid eggs on them, will die in the cell, this is known as parasitic mite syndrome (pms). The larvae that do hatch, will look reasonably normal. But they are not normal there are two major defects. One is they don't live very long. The other, is that the gland they use to make brood food, doesn't work properly. They can't feed brood. At that point, the hive can still look relatively normal to an untrained observer. But in fact without intervention, the hive is doomed. New larvae are hit by a double whammy. They are not fed properly and they are being infected by large numbers of mites.
That is why the majority of hives that die of mites, die in winter.
Maybe some treatment free people can tell you how to save your hive. But if not, ask in a different forum, where treatment options can be discussed.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).