Re: "treatment treadmill"
BTW, Solomon is right about letting nature take its course with the bees....as long as you have lots of hives and expect at least some to make it through the winter and the mites. But I have ONE hive this winter. And am unlikely to ever have more than 10-20. I am not in a position to run on from survivors at this point, although that is certainly my aim, and I am on the hunt for hardier bees.
I was at a local beekeeping meeting a few days ago and the chapter president mentioned that here in Canada, the vast majority (I believe it was somewhere around 95%, am checking on that) of beekeepers have 5 hives or less. And in this country, the availability of treatment free bees is very limited, thanks to the prohibition against cross border bee and queen shipping.
The pressure of small holding beekeepers to treat so as not to lose all their bees is overwhelming. Ironically that is similar to the pressure on big operators to treat to stay profitable. We need to gather and use all the good information we can to learn to do chemical/treatment free beekeeping while we shepherd our small, ever improving flocks ever onward.
This is part of why I am so affronted by the endless dogmatic and nasty arguing in club meetings and forums...it doesn't speak to me, and it doesn't help me, nor I would think the majority of beekeepers, or even new beekeepers.