AHBs as Pests -- Pros and Cons
I had already been keeping, for several years, what I believe were AHB's (and they probably were), then I found out about mites, Varroa and tracheal, also Nosema ceranae. I also heard how I could expect to lose colonies, if I didn't use treatments to kill Varroa mites and reduce their population. Word was, that after two or three years my colonies would expire if not treated to reduce Varroa mite populations. I've never 'treated' - then or now. It had already been at least five years, and I hadn't lost a single hive, yet. It's been more than twenty years now, I still haven't treated, or lost any hives.
Sure makes me think that the need for Varroa treatments is overrated - to say the least. I know this suggestion may be highly controversial, but perhaps the interaction(s) between bees, treatments, and mites, are what results in lost colonies, it may not simply be colonies reacting to the presence of mites, but the presence of mites and toxic mite treatment compounds (maybe a backlash effect). Might some losses commonly attributed to Varroa, be partially the result of backlash from earlier mite treatments and toxic chemicals present in the combs. My bees had and still have Varroa mites, and now that they've been EHB for more than a decade, apparently it isn't only AHB that can tolerate/resist mites.
Some, who have heard me relate these experiences, somehow believe that AHB genetics may somehow be responsible for this Varroa tolerance. This may be true, but using EHB bees with the Cordovan color trait, I endeavor to keep AHB genetics out of my hives. If AHB genetics are nevertheless responsible for what I experience, perhaps I should plan to somehow market these bees.