When you only have a couple of hives it does take longer to become proficient
experience yes, when you have hundreds/thousands of hives you get to see things most hobbyist would never see.
skills, not necessarily so. there is plenty of long term and even commercial beekeepers who make rookie mistakes.
a lot of it comes down to the bad habits they where originally taught and thats very very hard to undo.
for eg i saw a social media post the other day from a local beek and they said one of the most basic beginners misinformation.
but these guys are 25 year beeks and are currently commercial beeks.
this is why i tend to push hard on people doing things right from day one. otherwise you end up like those guys getting it wrong 25 years later.
like storing honey frames. you get away with it until afb hits and then it all goes to custard and everyone else ends up with it and having to clean up the mess.
beekeeping is a long game. i know 50 year beeks who say they are still learning new things. we all have to keep improving.
I alternate with Apivar and Bayvarol but am considering oxalic strips/Apivar next, then reintroduce Bayvarol in a few years then do the same with Apivar....what else can one do if there is chemical resistance!?
if you swap out bayvarol you really need to not use it for around 4 years. we had resistance 12 years ago or so, apivar is the only thing that worked for a long time. but the catch today is that is it also depends on what everyone else is using around you. if everyone else around you only uses bayvarol then when you switch back your no better off.
alterative treatments come with risks. unfortunately way to many beginners are jumping boots in and ending up with dead hives.
you need good beekeeping skills and experience first, otherwise your just rolling the dice.
one of the classic failures i've seen over the years is people trying it on all their hives at once. a smart person would use it one/few hives first to get the kinks worked out before applying it on all of them.
I try and winter down late February and jam them in as you recommend, particularly as at this time, each year, someone's bees are hungry and come looking, they were sniffing around the other day too.
this is why you always want good strength hives going into winter. they will defend against robbers and wasps just fine.