My oldest hive without brood break is in it's 3rd fall. There was one other hive that was here when I took the yard over last spring, but I culled that hive last fall (after I had already split from each multiple times). The 3 year hive is currently sitting on 1 deep and 3 supers, with 1 super of brood(bottom) and 1/3 brood and 2/3 honey in the deep (no theory there, I'd rather run them on them on two deeps). The other supers are all capped honey, and I have already extracted boxes off this hive.
When I pulled some capped brood frames the other day, I noticed a fair amount of pulled out brood/empty cells. Maybe 15 or so total on the frame. The past week I have noticed workers ejecting underdeveloped bees with deformed wings and white mites. I have not seen a lot of adult bees with small wings actually on frames or at the entrance.
I have noticed other hives discharging young bees with mites but not like this one. It seems to have a vital population, often bearding well out of the hive every night. Last year I culled a hive that showed deformed wings, middling honey production and a limping population in late October.
I am wondering if this hive is showing ramped up hygienic behavior in response to increased mite load. I am wondering how I will be able to predict if their hygienic behavior will keep up with the mites? I do have a screened bottom board... I could do a mite drop, really I don't usually. So I wouldn't really have a frame of reference.