I had a couple hives last fall that had the same symptoms as you have described. They also acted depressed they just sat around like they were sick. Brood production had dropped alot because of being in the fall. I used HopGuard and I really was impressed. In a week they were like a totally different hive. Now I would rather not treat my hives. I would like to be able to say that I have bees that need no treatment. My thinking was to go ahead and save the hives but requeen with something better and not treat again and see how it turns out. I had 8 hives last fall came out this spring with 8 hives. Now I have 25 hives I have not treated since that time. I have not seen any symptoms or signs of high mite counts since. One hive that I got from catching a swarm has a few mites, but nothing bad yet. Most of my bees are tolerant to mites, but they are prone to swarm. All of my bees have came from wild caught swarms except for two hives and some have came from cutouts. I plan on raising some queens out of a Glenn Apiaries Breeder Queen that I have and improve on my wild caught strains. In my opinion not treating and just letting the hive struggle and probably not making it through the winter would be a waste of time and money. Save the colony and requeen it with something better is going to be my system.
One thing about the HopGuard though is that it will not kill the mites in the cells MAQS will and MAQS will get tracheal mites too.
I also started off with natural comb I just used a guide to get the bees started, but I would not recommend it. I found that If I did not inspect at least once a week the comb got really messed up sometimes. So I changed over to the Mann Lake Standard plastic frames with the small cell foundation. I had read a million horror stories about plastic foundation, but I can tell you there is nothing wrong with the stuff Im using. I just coated them good with 1-1 sugar water and dropped them in. They draw them out just fine. Only thing is I wish I could get that foundation in sheets and put it in a wood frame, but Mann Lake does not make that foundation like that.