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GaSteve
12-02-2004, 06:48 AM
I know there are as many cures for mites as there are for hiccups, but this is one of the strangest I've ever seen. It's called the Konya Rotating Hive. There was an ad for it in this month's Bee Culture. I searched for it on this forum and found nothing. I did find one article that gives a brief description.
http://www.beekeeping.com/articles/us/rotating_broodnest.htm

This link worked yesterday, but it currently doesn't.

Apparently the brood frames are round (like giant Ross Rounds) and are stacked horizontally in the brood boxes. Then you rotate them 180 degrees once a day. The theory is that this somehow interrupts mite reproduction in the cell. I would think it would wreak havoc on the bees, but obviously they claim it doesn't.

They also list two other advantages. First any nectar that runs out of the brood nest onto the bottom board, the bees will gather up and store in the supers (which are placed on top of this thing as usual) -- more laying space for the queen. Voila, no more honey bound brood boxes. Secondly, the bees will not be able to finish queen cells because they can't extend the cell downward since the "down" direction changes everyday. Voila, no new queens for the swarming process.

Not sure if it works, but it would be interesting to see one in action and the effects on things like comb building and brood rearing.

jfischer
12-02-2004, 10:06 AM
Well, if one were to spin the combs fast
enough, the centripetal acceleration and
angular acceleration would certainly toss
the mites around in, if not out of, an
uncapped cell... http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif

One problem would be the "brood food" issue.
Comb is built by bees with a slight slant
downwards, so that nectar does not drip out.
Brood food also can drip out if comb is
inverted, so when one rotates the round comb
180 degrees, everything that was "rightside
up" is now "upside down".

It would be interesting to track a single
brood cell as it is rotated, to see if
there are any negative implications for
the bee in the egg and/or larval stages.

I'm wondering how the bees would build the
comb if it were rotated while they were
building it. Which way would the slant
go? Its an interesting, but "useless"
question. I guess I'll have to go flip
a few brood chambers upside down next
spring and see what happens.

[This message has been edited by jfischer (edited December 02, 2004).]

db_land
12-02-2004, 10:51 AM
I tried the link and it works ok. Very interesting. I'll bet the bees build 1/2 of the comb without any rotation, then the comb is rotated 180 and the bees allowed to build the other half. Rotating 180 causes the cells in the top hemisphere to slope downward (not upside down). I guess the queen wouldn't lay in the downward sloping cells.

If a wise beekeeper happens to have hives with the brood chamber in two mediums, he could test the theory (esp the effect on varroa) by flipping alternate halves (ie one whole medium) of the brood chamber over every day.

The Honey House
12-02-2004, 05:33 PM
Notice that the brood area is in the center of the circular frames. Probable little to no slope on these cells.

Michael Bush
12-03-2004, 08:55 AM
>One problem would be the "brood food" issue.
Comb is built by bees with a slight slant
downwards, so that nectar does not drip out.
Brood food also can drip out if comb is
inverted, so when one rotates the round comb
180 degrees, everything that was "rightside
up" is now "upside down".

But the queen cell IS upside down and it stays in. I've flipped comb updside down to get the bees to abandon it and it it didn't really work. They raised all the brood that was in it and filled it with honey (which was an improvement over brood), but it didn't seem to hurt them raising the brood and it didn't stop them from filling it with honey. I've watched them fill the burr comb in my observation hive and the burr often has a cell or two that is sloped 45 degrees down and they still fill it with honey and cap it. The surface tension of the honey holds the honey in. The slope of the cells is just helpful, but apparently not necessary.

I think the queen's willingness to LAY in the cells would be what I would be worried about.

>It would be interesting to track a single
brood cell as it is rotated, to see if
there are any negative implications for
the bee in the egg and/or larval stages.

I agree. Who knows what the implications are.

>I'm wondering how the bees would build the
comb if it were rotated while they were
building it. Which way would the slant
go?

I was wondering the same thing. If it rotated while they were buidling it, who knows what they would do? Apparently the guy with the hive should know.

> Its an interesting, but "useless"
question. I guess I'll have to go flip
a few brood chambers upside down next
spring and see what happens.

Maybe you'll get a lot less mites. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif

It does make one wonder, if rotating it slowly disrupts the reproduction of mites (apparently the mating of mites) then how small of a change in other ways will disrupt this?

GaSteve
12-03-2004, 02:12 PM
Well I got bored last night and did some heavy reading on mite reproduction that may (or may not) shed a little light on this. Apparently the mites drop off worker bees into brood cells between 0 and 18 hours prior to capping. How the mites know when that is is anybody's guess. By that time the larvae are very plump and fill the cells out tight to the cell walls. The mite has to crawl behind the larva. If it stays exposed for very long in the cell, workers will carry it out of the hive. So the mite squeezes behind the larva (out of immediate danger) and settles into the jelly-like brood food. Maybe that's another reason why small cell is effective is that the mites can't fit themselves through the tighter fit of the larva and the cell wall before they're pulled out by workers.

At this point, the mite immerses itself in the brood food and breathes through two tubes between their last two pairs of legs. In this stage they claim the mites look quite dead. The first day or two after capping, the larva consumes all the brood food and the mite "wakes up" and attaches itself to the larva to feed. If the mite "wakes up" too late, the larva spins its cocoon and traps the mite at the bottom of the cell where it dies. This "early cocooning" is allegedly one of the traits that make SMR bees effective in suppressing mite reproduction.

My point to all this is that if the mite does go into a "sleep" mode in the brood food, turning the combs may reorient the mite in the brood food where the tubes plug and the mite drowns.

Another article claimed that mites might be effectively controlled by turning the foundation 90 degrees. The theory is that the only way mites can squeeze around the larva is to go over the top instead of going under the weight of the larva. Currently foundation is oriented with a corner of the hexagonal cell at the top giving the mites extra room to fit through. If the foundation were turned, there would be a horizontal wall at the top denying the mites the extra space. They try to back this up with the claim that most all feral hives that aren't killed off by mites have their cells oriented this way.

All this falls into the category of "if it's that easy someone would have tried it by now", so I'm curious to see what folks here think of the idea.