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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Dayton, OH USA
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    301

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    OK, I raised the question of queen caging for the control of varroa in a different thread a while ago, but I want to get some input from more experienced people on a couple of issues.

    I am thinking about caging the queens as soon as I pull off my supers at the beginning of August and leaving them caged for approx 1 month to clear all cells of varroa. Here are my thoughts and I would like input on them:

    1. August is when the goldenrod comes on here and provides a good flow. I don't want it in my honey so I allow them to put it away themselves for the winter. Not having brood production will commit more workers to nectar collection to help them put away plenty of stores.

    2. I believe brood production normally slows or stops during August, so not much brood would be lost in the process anyway. Could or would this action (caging the queen) instigate supercedure actions by the workers (thinking they have a failing queen)? Do they typically begin supercedure that late in the summer anyway?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,072

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    >I am thinking about caging the queens as soon as I pull off my supers at the beginning of August and leaving them caged for approx 1 month to clear all cells of varroa. Here are my thoughts and I would like input on them:

    Good question Beecron,

    Not sure, but if going to that extreme, start now and cut out or destroy all the drone cells, this is very effective if done in early July, no sense having all those many varroa contained in the drone cells crawling around. This is where the pressure comes from at this time, when drone rearing slows and varroa transfer to worker brood. This is very effective control, and the bees will rebuild them next year if needed.

    >1. August is when the goldenrod comes on here and provides a good flow. I don't want it in my honey so I allow them to put it away themselves for the winter. Not having brood production will commit more workers to nectar collection to help them put away plenty of stores.

    Even with supers on, they will still place what is needed in the broodnest area. Mid August, goldenrod will be blooming and the bees will want to brood up. So an earlier caging time, to coincide with the start of the goldenrod would be preferred, as it would play into the bees natural tendencies to brood up during the start of a flow. Also, Not sure of the recommended time to leave her changed, but one month seems like a long time to me.

    In any event, before the queen is released, if you extract 3 or 4 deep frames of honey and place the empty wets in the center of the bottom deep by mid August. This will provide plenty of laying room for the broodnest to out run the mites. A congested broodnest during August-September adds to varroa pressure becaused of the decreased laying room and subsequent, replacement of varroa damaged bees.

    >2. I believe brood production normally slows or stops during August, so not much brood would be lost in the process anyway. Could or would this action (caging the queen) instigate supercedure actions by the workers (thinking they have a failing queen)? Do they typically begin supercedure that late in the summer anyway?

    More so in the Caucasians, Italians are known to brood right on thru. Concerning superceding, they will do this at any time of the year, but I doubt this will happen with a caged queeen. But then, anything is possible.
    Best wishes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,349

    Post

    I would be hestiant to interupt a complete brood cycle which is what it would take to get all the brood hatched. I would be more in favor of using my treament when brood production slows on its' own. Those bees being hatched in August are the ones you need to raise your winter cluster bees. It would seem to me that any serious diminishing of population would stress the hive and likely reduce the quality and quantitiy of the winter cluster. What treatment are you planning to use and why would you need to do it in August (other than of for threateningly high mite levels?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,349

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Dayton, OH USA
    Posts
    301

    Post

    Joel,
    Actually, I don't plan on using any treatment at all. I have alternated the Apistan/Checkmite annually in the past, but this year, I plan on going cold turkey. Maybe the combination of going cold turkey and caging the queen may be a little bit too much to do at the same time and get an idea of what the results could have been with one versus the other. In other words, maybe since this is my first year going cold turkey, I should just wait a year to see how they do with no interference from me and then try adding the caging next year to see what effect that has.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,451

    Post

    The best time to cage the queen from a production point of view is about two weeks before the main flow hits. Here that's the last day of May. That way you are not raising brood ON the flow but before. That brood cycle is the one you can most afford to miss, in fact, missing it will make much more honey.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
    Posts
    1,998

    Post

    I've had excellent luck caging queens in the fall. I figure out which half of the colonies look worst, and cage the queens until they are broodless. Then I take all of the honey and shake them out or combine with other colonies. In the spring, I make large splits so that I can do it again. I only have a few colonies, but queen caging works well for me, esp. for comb honey from goldenrod.

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