Re: "treatment treadmill"
Bigger numbers will not nessecarily save you.
There is a remote part of my country where varroa only got to 3 years ago. I have a friend there who read a lot of treatment free stuff and decided that when varroa got to his area, he was not going to treat. So in preperation he converted 50 of his hives to small cell, did a lot of research and even went to America and attended a Dee Lusby conference plus spent a week or two actually working with Dee on her own bees.
About a couple of years after varroa got to his area he told me of the 50 hives, only 5 where still alive. He was not deterred though, these would be the 5 "survivors" he would breed from. Maybe 6 months later I talked to him again, he had lost every single one.
The standard reasons given when TF beekeepers lose hive did not apply as there is nothing wrong with his beekeeping, and he was not taking bees off a "Treatment Treadmill" the hives had never been treated.
What he did though was not make any increase, as it was not his habit, prior to varroa he rarely lost a hive and did not make much splits or increase.
"We don't need no education" (Pink Floyd) - Yes you do, you just used a double negative.