Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?
I fully understand MikeJ's "applied half-a-treatment and then stopped." It is the very natural assumption of "linearity of response" that causes many other errors in this decidedly non-linear world. His previous low count with a sugar roll seemed to be corroborated by the half-treatment count of 1 mite (I think that's what he said, maybe 3). That pitfall is often called "confirmatin bias." Now he knows that half of a full treatment may not give half of a full response. (I can make such mistakes without even recognizing them. You, gentle reader, probably do, too.)
My own history with bees has some interesting relationship with MikeJ's. My daughter and son-in-law kept bees in my yard for a couple of years. Third year, they relocated out of beekeeper range, and my wife and I took up the mantle in Fall, feeding the bees to keep them over winter with neither assessment nor treatment of mites. All three colonies died out. Next spring we re-established them, 2 purchases plus an incoming swarm. Halfway through the summer I counted three colonies and found it eerily familiar, remembering the previous summer having three colonies that died. In order to prevent another perfect storm, with all three dying out again, I bought some queens did some splits in summer to bring the count up to 8 or 9 (or so). Six survived to spring and we currently have a few more than that. But once again, three of the going into winter colonies died. This time, however, they weren't the only three colonies we had.
Neither on my kids' watch nor mine have we treated for mites. I have not as yet done any formal mite count. But I expect to do both. I have an OA vaporizer in hand, along with some formic acid strips. I've been relying on some IPM techniques rather than applying anti-mite chemicals, but I have nothing against said chemicals. Hey, distilled water is toxic in large quantities, and we won't even mention di-hydrogen monoxide (oh, darn....slipped out).
MikeJ: I actively insulated myself against total loss by multiplying colony count by 3 through queen purchase (~$40 each) and supplying boxes/frames for some 3-box nuc stacks. It worked for me, so far. It hasn't been that far, yet. We live and learn.
Michael (another one)
"I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself