I have been keeping bees for some time now. Where I live we have the local bees that are not hybridized or grown for certain traits. These bees are VERY aggressive. I have learned to protect myself heavily to avoid getting stung. I sometimes get attacked if I get too close. Hives vary in progressiveness but they all will attack during inspection. However... I do not use medication on these bees. I do not worry about mites. They are left alone for long periods of time and failures tend to happen when I make mistakes... not the bees. Last year I got a colony that occupied a small box. I put this box on top of a deep and they have built on top of it. This colony is working very well and is actually highly productive... till now.
Now... when I decided to go for calmer bees I got two imported queens. These were larger than local bees. They were lighter in color. They were supposed to be more productive and they were definitely calm. I left them for some time until the new generation came and the old died so that all the bees were from the new queens. Then came trouble. I opened the hives to find a lot of dead larvae at the bottom. There was a thick layer of dead bees that looked like they were infested with a fungal infection or something like it. This was the first time I ever saw this in a bee colony. In addition, I started to see mites on bees. I would have bees crawling in front of the hives and upon inspection would find mites clinging to them. Needless to say, these bees did not survive the winter and I got rid of the hives.
Here's the thing... We try to control nature in the way we see fit and it comes back to haunt us. We want bees to be like cows... produce a lot and be very passive about it. The problem is that naturally occurring things are there because they have adapted to the environment. Like I said at the beginning... I keep bees with minimal interference. They do their thing and I come at the end and take some honey. I rely on the bees' ability to survive naturally without the use of medication. Colonies that survive are my source for new colonies. Those that die were just not fit enough. If I have to live with their aggressiveness... so be it. I do not worry about diseases. I have not seen hive beetles and I hope I never do.
It appears... from my experience... that bees' aggressiveness, among other traits, is part of its natural defense against the elements. Possibly, more aggressive bees are less tolerant of mites and will clean them off more readily. I will not go into the science of it as that will need research... but the idea is that bees were better off before we started interfering in their traits. We favored the weaker ones and then started introducing medicines to treat the weaknesses we created. The more we did it the weaker they became and the more chemicals we had to use. And the further we go the weaker they will get.
The reason I am writing this in the CCD forum is that it is my opinion that the solution for the problem is not in research that will lead us to more 'conditioning' of the bees. It is in actually going back using 'natural' bees. We should look for native bees that have adapted to the environment and use those. Want more honey? get more hives... not less bees that produce more at a cost to their health and continuity. I was watching a documentary, I think it was "More Than Honey", and one beekeeper mentioned growing Africanized Bees and actually saying they had the same experience I have with my bees: no medicine and better health of bees. We are so scared of being stung that any aggressive bee colony becomes a monster to us. For them... they are defending their home.
Anyway... I had this on my mind for some time. I thought I might write it down.
Hope this helps someone.