As of this year i have been treatment free on my 6 hives and as of today all 6 have made it threw the winter. I bought a bunch of equipment from http://www.mikesbeesandhoney.com/ and he swore by smoking the hives once a week with black walnut shavings for the control of mites. He sold me a big bag of them for a few dollars and ever sense the beginning of the year i have been doing that and nothing else to manage them so i feel it must be working rather well. I bought 5 hives this year from a local beekeeper in Newark Ohio that were from a survivor stock and was able to split the 5 into 8 but lost 2 of the hives in a cold snap during late July I think it happened from the queens being in a introduction cage and the bees not huddling together as it got cold. The year before i had Georgia bought nucs for my first year. Needless to say i was never impressed by them and the first few days it hit zero they all froze. That was during the year with the drought and they never did seem to build up to there full potential. With that said i feel there is no reason to not be able to keep honeybees and not be treatment free with a good plan. This has been the worst winter we have had and there doing great. If they can make it threw this winter doing so well hopefully they will be able to make it threw any.