I drove 30 miles to buy some wax from a local guy in Phoenix. He was nice enough to let me dialog about bees for 1/2 an hour. The more I talk about a concept the more it sticks. He has kept 40 hives on a farm on the north west side of Phoenix for many years and was knowledgeable. I told him I had a single hive of Italians and he said something surprising to me. He said, "you have to treat them for Varroa".
The surprise wasn't the need to treat but the subjective nature of his comment. I probed and found out why. His hives have Africanized genes; All of his hives. As we continue to discuss the subject I found that he has never treated for Varroa. He also told me that many of them are not too aggressive; another subjective phrase as he never works without a full suit. He added that he often has protection under his suit as well. Each year he generally loses 1 hive over winter.
I found something he said to be interesting. He believes that the most gentle bees to be the victims of Varroa. It must be possible to train a trait of gentleness into bees by selective breading. I wonder this trait would weaken them...
Although i have no plans to ever bring any scutellata around the family that lets me use their 3.5 acres of land, I have read through our forums enough to find the predominate feeling is that if you don't treat they die. Apparently this man's bees want to kill him just enough that they wont allow any little bee tick to impact their survival instincts.