I have seen several people state that "my hive died due to mites" or some variation on such. How do they tell? I have mites in my hives, like most people. I know that mites help transmit viruses and cause other problems. My question is: HOW do they know mites caused the crash? Is there some diagnostic test I have never read about in the magazines or books? What are the determining criteria?

I have had many hives die over the years. Some looked real strong and I don't know why they died. Some were weak and I expected them to die. And, there were several cases of the exact opposite of those two scenarios. But, when a hive dies, I find it very difficult to determine exactly WHY they died. So I am curious how these folks can make such definite statements?

I approach the mite and bee survival by breeding better bee lines for my area. I work hard at tracking my genetic lines, keeping notes and measuring how each hive perfoms so that I can do solid comparasions to determine which lines to continue to breed. My bees survive for years without mite treatments. My marked queens live for 3-4 years (my oldest just died after 4 1/2 years and she was still outproducing the younger queens. Why they superceded her when she was doing so well is a mystery).

I do a lot of cut-outs so I get to see a lot of feral beehives. It has been very educational to see how these bees cope with mites and SHB (I've only seen 2 cut-outs where there were not SHB). The cut-outs also provide me with a wide range of genetic material to work with. Ok, now I'm just rambling.......

Please respond with SPECIFIC CRITERIA/EVIDENCE that helps you make a COD determination. I'm looking for something more than a lot of non-specific responses or "I read this once in a book" type of answers.