>I am going to try a cut down split (my first split) of the one hive I have to repopulate one of my dead hives. Then (if I can figure out timing) put a frame of drone comb with uncapped eggs/brood in the original hive to get the mites. Not sure what to do with the split out hive as those bees will have mites as they emerge.
From a previous message in this thread (I said it once and can't think of a better way to put it):
"With only open brood, the new hive (the split) is ripe for an immediate mite treatment as all of the mites are phoretic- at least those that haven't already entered cells prior to capping."
"After the capped brood in the old hive emerges, it too is ready for mite treatment. Giving them a frame of eggs so they could raise a queen would tie up house bees and trap some mites. I think I'd rather wait a week or so and then give them a a new queen or queen cell."
Some of the timing issues involving a cutdown split and drone comb trapping still have me scratching my head. I figure I'll just have to sort it out as I go.
>Does this make sense? Does anyone have any comments or suggestions? I am really at a loss here. I don't want to do splits on all my hives each year (too much $$ in woodenware) - I like having 4 hives. What do you think the best way to go broodless would be?
Sounds to me like a lot of unnecessary manipulations for a new package. You want them to build up quickly and steadily with as few interruptions as necessary.
In subsequent years if you don't want to make increase, you can still arrange a broodless period and utilize drone comb trapping for varroa control, and likely prevent swarming as well if you're lucky and time it right. Either caging the queen or requeening would be a reasonable way to obtain a broodless condition.