Do "Strong Hives" Die from Mite loads?
In the thread about Live and Let Die, Stonefly7 wrote:
"...I don't do mite counts either, not interested. The weak ones are weak for a reason."
This made me think about the parasite/host relationship, and the idea that in many instances, an imbalance in which the parasite overwhelms the host is caused by weakness in the host - that the parasite serves the purpose of weeding out weakness. I find with my houseplants, that the appearance of a parasite is often the sign that I have over-watered, or the plant isn't getting enough light, and that my error has made it weak, allowing the parasite to gain the upper hand.
I said in the same thread that I do not believe that all colonies who have mites will ultimately die because of them, but that is a theory at this point.
Many would suggest perhaps, that the situation we are seeing now - with so many bees dying from mite-related issues - is due to the overwhelming strength of the parasite, in contrast to a host which is not accustomed to the pest.
But is this really the case?
My questions are aimed primarily at those of you who have had enough experience with treatment free colonies I guess, but I'm interested in all perspectives.
• Will a truly strong colony succumb to mite-related issues?
• Or do these strong colonies tend to find a balance and maintain lower mite loads?
• Or does it really appear to be random? Do you find really strong, thriving, productive colonies that just nose-dive and die due to mite issues?
• Do Treatment free failures tend to be "total", where all colonies meet a similar fate, or do the failures just tend to be cumulative, or of too-high-a-percentage for the individual beekeeper to tolerate?