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  1. #1
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    I ran across this management technique in the New Zealand manual for Varroa control. I thought I'd post it here, in it's entirety, for review and comment. As it says in the last paragraph, this method is reported to be 83.4% to 93.4% effective in removing mites from the colonies involved in the manipulation, without chemicals, plus you end up with an extra hive. Sounds too good to be true, eh?

    This method of varroa control using hive splitting was developed by Dutch researchers, and is based on both the theoretical model of varroa population growth and techniques for biotechnical control of varroa that originated in Vietnam (see 12.6). The method should be used during swarm control in the late spring/early summer, or when making ‘autumn’ splits in the late summer while the honey flow is on.

    Step 1
    • Choose two colonies.
    • Place a comb with empty drone cells in the centre of the brood nest of one colony (colony A).

    Step 2 (one week later)
    • In colony A, shake all the bees off the combs with brood except the drone comb, and put the brood in the other colony (B), after first checking for AFB.
    • Put a second, empty drone comb in the centre of the brood nest of colony A.
    • Put the queen in colony B above a queen excluder in a further super with empty combs.

    Colony A now only has a single frame of uncapped drone larvae and an empty drone brood comb, while colony B has a two super brood nest plus a third super containing the queen.

    Step 3 (one week later)
    • Remove the comb that now has capped drone brood (and mites) from colony A (the comb that contained uncapped drone larvae the week before). The comb can be uncapped with a knife or cappings scratcher and the drone pupae can be removed from the comb in a small hand extractor, washed out with a hand spray nozzle attached to a garden hose, or simply shaken out on the ground. Drone pupae make excellent chicken feed.
    • Put this cleaned comb (or another clean drone comb) into the centre of the brood nest of colony A.
    • Shake all the bees off the new brood that has been produced above the excluder in colony B. The brood is all too young to contain any mites. Move the brood to colony A, after first checking for AFB.
    • Take the bees and queen from the excluded box in colony B and make a broodless split (colony C). Shake all the bees off the second drone comb in colony A (now containing uncapped larvae), and put it in the centre of the super of colony C.
    • Put a protected queen cell in colony B.

    Step 4 (one week later)
    • Shake the bees from the drone comb containing uncapped drone larvae from colony A, and place it in the centre of the brood nest of colony B.
    • Remove the comb that now has capped drone brood (and mites) from colony C and destroy the pupae (see Step 3).

    Step 5 (one week later)
    • Remove the comb that now has capped drone brood (and mites) from colony B and destroy the pupae (see Step 3).
    • Check colony B for a new laying queen.

    According to the field trials carried out by the Dutch researchers, on average this method is 83.4 to 93.4% effective in removing mites from all three colonies (depending on the amount of drone brood available for trapping). The researchers have managed 70 colonies using this method for 5 years in Holland without using any additional, chemical control.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  2. #2
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    Sep 2004
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    That was written up, just slightly different, over on Digital Dialogue, Elements of Beekeeping, or one of the other places on BeeSource at one time. I was looking for it the other day and could no longer find it. Thanks George.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2003
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    New Zealand
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    George & Dick
    These are the graphics to go with your quote George.Reference to pages 58 & 59 in "Control of Varroa - A guide for New Zealand Beekeepers" by Mark Goodwin and Cliff Van Eaton.

    http://tinyurl.com/ds433

    Sorry my scanner is out of action so have used the digital camera.
    Bob.
    New Zealand.
    BOB

  4. #4
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    Thanks Bob. I've got that little book myself. Great reference for the various mite treatments. I think it's still available as a free download in PDF off the internet isn't it?

  5. #5
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    Dick
    Yes the control of varroa booklet is still a free download.This will take anyone interested directly to it.

    http://tinyurl.com/dpo3z
    BOB

  6. #6
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    You're welcome Dick. I'd have posted this sooner had I known you was looking! I've been meaning to for a while now, I just got a round tuit.

    Bob, thanks for those pictures! Pictures always help, but they're not in the manual I downloaded about a month ago. Wassup with that?

    Do you know anyone who's done this manipulation, or have you done it?

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    http://www.xs4all.nl/~jtemp/dronemethod.html

    You can get to it from the Beesource POV section under Jan Templeton.

    http://www.beesource.com/pov/index.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
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    (stupid double posts)

    [size="1"][ January 08, 2006, 05:51 PM: Message edited by: Michael Bush ][/size]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    Since we all seem to be polite and thankful to one another in this thread:

    Thanks Mike. I knew I'd seen that somewhere over there before, but for the life of me I couldn't find it a while back.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Michael, I'd seen that here on Beesource, hadn't read it completely, and didn't make the connection between it and what I've been reading in the NZ manual.

    So does anyone have any experience with this approach?
    Dulcius ex asperis

  11. #11
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    Not me. It seems very labor intensive. Putting in a frame of drone and pulling two weeks later is pretty simple as long as you don't forget it. [img]smile.gif[/img] But I haven't done that one either. It was my intent as a fallback if small cell didn't work out.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
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    >Not me. It seems very labor intensive.

    Well it does, sort of. Certainly timing sensitive, but that's no different from a lot of beekeeping manipulations.

    I think I'll give it a try this spring. I've got a number of hives that are still large cell and probably won't last long enough to make it to small cell without treatments, if they even make it to spring. Those that do come through will do so no doubt with healthy varroa populations. Given that I also want to make increase from what survives, this seems like a reasonable approach. I've got nothing to lose really.

    It's certainly easier to toss in some strips than it is to take non-chemical management measures to control varroa, eh?
    Dulcius ex asperis

  13. #13
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    If you tried to time it with a cutdown split, you might get double duty out of the labor.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
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    That's actually exactly what I was thinking about.. and referring back to previous threads about caging queens and breaking brood cycles and the affect it has on varroa populations. Making increase, bees, honey, and whacking varroa all in one swell foop, albeit a carefully executed and well-timed one, sounds almost too good to be true [img]smile.gif[/img]

    If being labor-intensive is the only real downside.. well time and labor I got. Money, chemicals, and the desire to use chemicals, I ain't got.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  15. #15
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    George:

    Keep us updated on your results. It sounds like alot of extra work, but it might be worth it. Thanks for posting the article, it is interesting to see how the rest of the world deals with these pesky little varmits. LOL
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  16. #16
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    George
    Thats correct the pictures (diagrams) are not in the booklet.These were published in New Zealand Beekeeper magazine under an article titled February varroa update by Dr R.M.Goodwin HortResearch Ruakura New Zealand Vol 10 N0.1 February 2002 pages 18-19.The article states that the method is reasonably complicated so he developed a series of diagrams to make it clearer.The photos I posted here are taken directly from a handout as in the article.
    BOB

  17. #17
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    Heh. Yes, I will and it is interesting how the rest of the world deals with varroa.

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around this process.. I need to read it over and over and over again until I really understand the nuances of the method. It's really not that hard, I'm just feeling slow. It's winter, and my brain is in hibernation mode.

    To be honest, I'm surprised so few people (um.. like zero) here on Beesource have tried the method despite it's having been around a while. Why is that? Perhaps everyone's looking for that silver bullet. I am reminded of what Jim F. says: "The price of honey is eternal vigilance".

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  18. #18
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    George it is not surprising at least to me why nobody around here is using this method. Painfully complicated, to the point where you yourself need to read the who to over and over again. Keep in mind that a large Dutch beekeeper has 50 hives. This could be O.K. for small hive numbers. How many researchers does it take to manipulate the 70 research hives? How much time is involved? Keep in mind that someday you may wish to increase your hive numbers and this will happen if you let it. At that point I'm not sure that this method would be very practical.

    Jean-Marc

    Jean-Marc

  19. #19
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    Why not do this method discussed in previous threads instead:

    Pull all the brood and eggs at the beggining of the honey flow and create a split with it. Let them raise a new queen from eggs. You get the advantage of a break in the brood cycle for the parent hive, a reduction in population to consume nectar, creating more honey, and a new hive that will also have a break in the brood cycle while it raises a queen.

    The New Zeland method may reduce mites moreso than this since it trapes drones, But will the New Zeland method reduce mites more than this method to the degree that will make it worth the extra time?

  20. #20
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    Dunno Michael. I agree with Jean-marc, it's labor intensive (and complicated) and that probably explains why it's not in wider use.

    I'm going to try it, anyways. I like Michael Bush's idea of combining it with a cut-down split but to ponder that, I've got to understand this method better. Guess I'll go to bed and read.
    Dulcius ex asperis

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