Re: Treatment Free "Thriving" vs. Treated "Thriving" - Is it Fair to Compare?
As to what is the natural size, the majority of wild hives I've seen are something around the size of one deep, some even smaller.
However bees are versatile, and give them a bigger box, they are quite capable of using it. A hive could be "big", ie, several boxes boiling with bees and this is still quite within what is natural to them.
To the other matter, in theory anyway, it is not reasonable to expect a non treated hive to do as well as a treated one. This is simply because an untreated hive has only these options. Die, struggle against mites and survive but barely, or deal with the mites and do well. But in a treated hive, dealing with the mites is taken care of, the bees do not have to expend energy on it, those resources can be spent on other things.
Of course the argument will come up that some treated hives die of mites anyway etc. But for our purposes we are talking about a hive where treatment is carried out effectively.
Each mite in a hive represents one bee that was raised with a mite family sucking on it through it's pupation. The bee, at a quick glance, may seem normal. But the research is that it will function poorly and die young. That is a cost to the hive, whether we notice it or not.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).