I started keeping bees last year. I have bees from at least 2 and maybe from 3 sources. I can't access my notes on HiveTracks at the moment. My first hive came from a swarm, cast from a 100% treatment free, no intervention practiced of any sort, beekeeper. I then purchased 2 packages of bees and fed them the antibiotics as instructed by the beekeeper who sold them to me. One of them killed the queen and turned LW, and I killed them off. I know I requeened the other hive early summer with a TF queen. My other 2 hives are from nucs that I bought from a beekeeper about 20 miles from me. He said he has never treated, never sugar dusted, never done anything to his hives. The queen that I requeened my package bees with came from him also. The only hive that I can't remember the genetics from is a swarm that I caught last May. I don't think I requeened that hive, but I cannot remember 100%. I lost one hive this winter and it was a swarm that I caught late last spring.
The first beekeeper has been keeping bees for 20 years or so. The guy I got my nucs from got his bees from a feral hive 18 years ago. He breeds his own. The first guy just catches his own swarms to expand with. I don't know about this year, but I know that the first guy didn't lose a single hive winter of 12-13.
So, now to me. Is it POSSIBLE that I have bee genetics that are Varroa resistant enough to survive without any intervention, or am I blissfully walking around waiting on something bad to happen? I consider losing one hive out of 6 to be acceptable for my first winter. Is the 2nd winter when all heck breaks loose? Is that when the hives reach critical mass on varroa counts?
I did nothing to the bees from mid summer of last year until a couple weeks ago, due to buying a business. The 5 remaining hives are flourishing. I couldn't say that I have any that are behind, but I do have one that is stronger than the other 4. It is a hive that came from one of the nucs that I bought. I intend to attempt my first splits from that hive and try to breed for the early strong spring buildup that hive has. I will try to control swarming in the other 4 hives and get my honey from them. I would like to have 10 hives and 10 nucs by fall, but I've got to get past the ignorance of doing my first split in order to get there. I tried a split last year but chickened out and recombined them. LOL