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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    I had a chance at lunch to make the first split of the season up. Took the queen and a few frames of brood, some honey and pollen and moved them into a nuc.
    This hive had about 8 frames or so of capped / open brood between 2 boxes. Saw a few drones, and was able to open and inspect about 100 drones cells between the boxes.
    I did not find a single mite on any of this drone brood.
    This hive is from a Russian line. I have allowed them to re-queen themselves in the pastand that is what they are doing this year as well. This is their 4th season. SBB, oils in feed (spring/fall), and (2) OA trickle treatments between last Dec and this March.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    Over the last week I have gone through almost all of my hives and split 8 hives so far. I have looked at hundreds of drone cells so far, and have yet find a mite.
    The hive split done at lunch today was a Russian line started last year that had almost 2 deeps worth of brood going. The space between the boxes was packed with drones and not a mite.
    All hives have been treated as above.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
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    2,838

    Post

    Greetings MountainCamp:

    Are any of your hives showing a "drop" w/ SBBs?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    Dave, sorry for taking so long to respond.
    I must admit that I do not do any real monitoring of mites. My mite checks consist of checking drone brood when I do inspections, divides and splits. I do check bottom boards when I clean them for mites, but have never found more than a dozen or so on any hive’s bottom board.
    Mites for me have never seemed to be the problem that they are for others. I can not explain why either as my mite treatments have been minimal at best over the last 7 years.
    Most of my losses over the years have been minimal and are due to late winter / early spring weather and not mites.
    I lost (1) out of (22) hives this winter and that was in January. I tried something new and they just starved.
    Of the remaining (21) hives I have already divided (8), I have (6) more divides to make up from very strong hives. (4) Hives went into winter under-strength but they made it and they are building. (2) hives are in good shape and building, and I gave a hive to a friend.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
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    2,838

    Post

    MountainCamp, thanx.

    During last couple inspections, I have examined 3 or 4 patches (approx 1x4" ea) of drone brood and have NOT seen a single mite. My SBB counts have been high (16 on 2/4, 25 on 3/4) as 52 on 3/29.

    Why, no mites in drone brood?????

    I'll just bet, they are ALL falling out! [img]smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    Dave have you been doing any types of treatment?

    I would have to say that I have looked at almost a 1,000 drone cells so far this season, all mite free.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    98

    Post

    Mountain Camp,

    I was considering splitting a few of my hives with a nuc this year also (typically I do the "Side by Side" split into full depth brood boxes). I noticed in your post that you put the old queen in the nuc, and let the hive raise a new queen. Is this the way you always do it? I had guessed it would be the other way around, with the queen in the old hive (so as not to disrupt that hive) and let the nuc raise their own queen (so if your split fails, at least you didn't lose much). Also, it seemed as if letting the old hive raise a new queen might encourage swarming. Please let me know if this is completely faulty thinking as I was planning on making my split this evening.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    Usually yes. What I do is leave the capped brood and a frame with eggs at the old hive site. All of the foragers have to do something so, I add supers and let the bees work the supers.
    The queen, open brood, nurse bees , etc go to a new spot usually a few feet away.
    Depending on hive strength, I may put the queen into a nuc or full hive body.
    I usually allow my hives to raise their own queens. I have been happy with the queens I get, the colonies that I have seem to do well here.
    I may be giving up some production by allowing them to raise their own queens, but I average about 100# per over wintered hive, even after the splits / divides.
    As for allowing the old hive to raise their own queen, encouraging swarming, it has not. Swarming is a response to several factors old queen, poor hive communications, over population, over crowding, etc.
    When you move the laying queen, with the young open brood, to a new hive, you break the brood cycle of the old hive. The old hive will raise a new queen as a emergency replacement. Since there is little capped brood and no open brood in the hive when this queen emerges, and there is no over population condition, the brood nest is open, they tend not to swarm.
    Also, by making the split / divide, the hive has “swarmed” as far as they are concerning.
    As for your split failing, there is no reason for it to fail. If they don't get a good queen, just give them another frame with eggs and allow them to raise another. If the queen has problems, they will supercede her. The other options is you can then purchase a queen and install her.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    98

    Post

    Thanks MountainCamp,
    This is a new method of splitting for me, and I am excited to try it. Thanks also for your quick response. I'm going to try it tonight.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    Good luck, I have made (11) divides, splits, or nucs up so far this season.
    I have (3) more hives to do.
    I have to remove (1) colony from a wall in the next week or so. I hope to be able to make a colony or two from them.
    I also have (5) packages coming in a few weeks.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
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    2,838

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    MountainCamp, I have been using Sucrocide.

    My "natural fall" BEFORE first application (3/4/05) was 25.0. After 5 applications, (3/4, 3/21, 3/25, 3/29, 4/5) count was 23.8 (4/22).

    I do NOT see (from the numbers) any "GOOOD" coming from the Sucrocide.

    How much of your "lack of mites" do you feel are from RUSSIAN breeding?

    Dave W
    -------------------------------
    Sorry I cant always reply within seconds [img]smile.gif[/img] .
    Its a long walk to the "lyberie" and sometimes when I get here, all the computers (3) are being used.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    Dave, I think that there are a number of reasons that mites haven’t been a major issue for me. Most of my hives are Russian, or Russian hive raised - locally breed queens, and local swarms / removals. But, I do have some carni hives as well.
    There is not a high concentration of beekeepers around my yards.
    I have been doing splits and divides to increase my colony numbers over the years and I allow my hives to raise their own queens. So there are breaks in the brood cycles and a hive’s mite load is cut when divided.
    I feed in spring and fall with spearmint and wintergreen oils. When I fall feed, I feed a lite syrup with the oils. I get young bees for winter and the oils are supposed to interrupt and inhibit mite reproduction.
    When I smoke a hive, I use sumac as my fuel. Sumac is supposed to have some effect on the mites.
    I have SBB on about ½ my hives. Yet the hives on regular BB are doing well also.
    I will have to do some mites drop checks and try to get a handle on what is going on. Do these hives have mites and they are taking care of them. Do these hives have so few mites and the minimal measures that I have taken, along with the bees keeps them in check. Are these bees mite tolerant. Or is it a combination of everything and maybe something that I do, that I have not realized is affecting the mites.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
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    3,401

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    I agree with MountainCamp - my more isolated yards
    (surrounded by large swaths of national forest)
    show much lower incidence of pests and diseases
    than my yards near other beekeepers.

    This is not to say that other nearby beekeepers
    are not vigilant about their own disease and
    pest problems, but it does strongly suggest the
    need for coordinated treatment schedules among
    beekeepers close to each other.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    I have a yard in Catskill, NY down on the river almost across the river from a commercial orchard operation. So, maybe a 1/2 - 3/4 of a mile fly.
    This yard was started in the spring of 2002. I moved (6) hives that had over wintered in Round Top for (2) seasons of Russian stock.
    Winter of 2002 -03: Lost 3of 6 hives from moisture. I wrapped and did not take into consideration the added moisture from the river.
    Split remaining hives used bought Russian queens. (3rd season for 3 hives, 1st for 3 hives)
    Winter of 2003-04: Lost 2 of 6 hives, (1) cold Starved, (1) moisture a mouse had blocked off the air flow. No wrapping.
    Split (1) hive allowed to raise it’s own queen. (4th season for 3 hives, 2nd for 1 hive, 1st for 1 hive)
    Put all (5) hives on SBB.
    Winter of 2004-05: Lost 0 of 5 hives. Wrapped all w/ open SBB all winter. Empty box w/ paper and granulated sugar on top bars.
    (5th season for 3 hives, 3rd for 1 hive, 2nd for 1 hive)
    Outside of the (3) Russian queens bought in 2003, these hives have raised their own queens when ever needed.
    Mite treatments for these hives:
    2000: Wintergreen & Spearmint oils in spring and fall syrup (at Round Top)
    2001: Wintergreen & Spearmint oils in spring and fall syrup (at Round Top)
    2002: Wintergreen & Spearmint oils in spring and fall syrup
    2003: Wintergreen & Spearmint oils in spring and fall syrup
    2004: Wintergreen & Spearmint oils in spring and fall syrup; December 04 OA Trickle method
    2005: Wintergreen & Spearmint oils in spring syrup; Feb 05 OA Trickle method

    These hives are not as isolated as my Round Top hives, but I also think that once the orchard’s bloom season is over, there are not many kept colonies around this yard.

    I would have to say that it is not the Russian stock alone. I know a commercial keeper who keeps only Russians, and many of my hives are of the same stock. He has had 30% - 40% loses with no treatments at all over the last two seasons.

    So maybe it is a combination of small yards (low overall mites population), so that there is not a pool of mites to migrate to other hives from robbing etc. The minimal treatments and their timing, wrapping, etc that makes the difference.

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