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  1. #41
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    George, d00d! <slap!> Snap out of it! <slap!>

    <Oh. Sorry. Read posto-numero-uno:>

    A dog chasing it's tail.
    Its sad to see such a great man waste such a great mind.

    Please come back George we miss you -Earth

    Don't worry, I too am too busy being busy. heheh.

    Jeff
    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

  2. #42
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    Hey thanks! Now, for some hot black coffee.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  3. #43
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    Nov 2004
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    Cooperstown,N.Y.
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    George,I think your on to something.
    I used the green drone frames last year very faithfully and I did see a lower drop count.
    Not enough to NOT see some shriveled up wings though.Maybe the split would tip the scale a little further....
    An aside,by fall,mine were getting packed with honey,so no drone removal in the fall.
    But this year I'm going to use Tarheits suggestion of medium frames(in a deep)and then skip the freezing/returning to minimize some of the labor of trapping,cause I'll just scrape the drone cells off and let them draw more.I bought a small chest freezer for the "bee stuff",and if your as smart as you seem, you will to.
    I don't want to get off the topic but I MAY try extracting some drone brood and deep frying&covering them with chocolate,like they do with catepillers Man they're good.
    Mark

  4. #44
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    >George,I think your on to something.

    Well in the immortal words of Michael Bush, "It's not my idea." but yes, I agree, I think I'm on to something.

    >I used the green drone frames last year very faithfully and I did see a lower drop count.
    Not enough to NOT see some shriveled up wings though.Maybe the split would tip the scale a little further....

    I don't think the trick is in the splitting, that's just icing on the cake and assures that none of the hives will want to swarm, which they might not anyways. You don't have to split if you don't want to- it's more of a "heck, why not?" scenario. It's not a hard split either- 3 hives from 2. You stand a good chance of seeing some surplus from at least 2 of the hives, maybe all 3 if you do it early enough. If you can incorporate the main elements (including the timing with the main flow) of a cutdown split into the equation, you might see a LOT of surplus.

    The trick is in a) getting your hives broodless and then b) giving them some drone brood, all fed and ready to cap. The phoretic mites in the receiving hive think they've died and gone to heaven. Little do they realize...

    The "complicated" part of the method is the juggling of frames to corral your mites where you want them, and timing everything so you've got a frame of drone larvae ready for capping when one of the hives becomes broodless. You want the capped brood to all emerge so ALL your mites are phoretic. That's probably part of the reason why your drone comb experiment last year was so-so instead of Wow. Yes, you got rid of some mites, but there were still plenty reproducing. I figure, if you're going to go to the trouble of culling drone comb, you might as well try to get all the mites you can.

    This is as much as swarm control practice as anything. Plus you get rid of 90% or more of your mites. Plus you make increase. Plus you make honey. Plus you use no chemicals. Plus you got all that drone brood to eat [img]smile.gif[/img]

    It sounds too good to be true.

    >this year I'm going to use Tarheits suggestion of medium frames(in a deep)

    The only problem with that is the bees can take their sweet time to draw out the comb. They're inclined to do it in a hurry in the spring and early summer, but as summer progresses, the bees are less interested in drawing comb and more interested in storing honey and raising drones. You're as likely to end up with honey in your drone comb. I put shallow frames in medium supers mid-summer and the bees didn't bother building any comb at all, drone or otherwise. I couldn't even get them to draw the medium foundation [img]smile.gif[/img]

    >don't want to get off the topic but I MAY try extracting some drone brood and deep frying...

    Ain't off topic. This method generates a good amount of protein that shouldn't go to waste [img]smile.gif[/img] I'll have to give it a try myself.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  5. #45
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    Jun 2005
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    Crown Point , (NW) Indiana
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    Oatmeal Drone Raisin Cookies

    1 Cup of ....

    Hey? they have to be the right stage of development else they will add too much crunch. (humm.. Walnut replacer?)

    Chef buys eggs at $5.00 a dozen, I suppose he'd buy these goofy cookies from us! We just have to call them "organic".
    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

  6. #46
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    Nov 2004
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    Cooperstown,N.Y.
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    George,Bob,& everyone
    I have been reading/rereading the N.Z.info,thanks,I wondered if I download the WHOLE booklet,and printed it(I gotta get some more colored ink)how long does it take(dialup)?
    I'm going to be away for a while and would like to take along some bedtime reading.I got the Dutch version last year.
    And Yeah,your probably right about my drone frame manipulation being only so-so.I had high hopes,but I'm not convinced that it wasn't operator error,and not ready to abandon the idea quite yet.
    Are you going to continue to trap after the spliting?
    I thought it took alot of time,although I also think it gave me a good excuse to get out of certain things.
    Mark Johnson

  7. #47
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    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
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    Mark, it's 127 pages. I'm on dial-up, too, and did download the book awhile back. I don't recall exactly how long it took, but it wasn't a terribly, terribly long time. It's on my computer; I haven't printed it since I had previously bought a bound copy before it was available in PDF.

  8. #48
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    May 2005
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    It's not a huge file, 4-500K I think.

    >I'm not convinced that it wasn't operator error

    See Michael's recent thread on Varroa treatments With, and Without brood. Sums it up nicely. If you've got reproducing mites in your hive, ANY treatment no matter how effective it is, is going to do less than you'd like.

    >Are you going to continue to trap after the spliting?

    Dunno. I'll be monitoring mite fall so I'll have to let you know [img]smile.gif[/img]

    That said, I actually anticipate not having to treat again after these manipulations. If I take 90% or better of the mites out of all 3 hives, that should do it for the season. The Dutch folks using this method claim to have kept 70-odd hives going for 5 years without any additional treatments.

    The problem with the average 90% effective treatment is that unless your hives are broodless BEFORE you treat, even if you treat over a period of weeks, you're not going to be killing anything like 90% of your mites. Not by a long shot. I think, if you actually can remove 90% of the mites in your hive, you're golden- at least for that year.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  9. #49
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    Dec 2005
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    Caledon, Ontario, Canada
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    OK for the newbees here,
    ( and those without 100 year old books )
    what is a count-down split?
    I tried the search and it came up blank
    "hobby farm" is an oxymoron
    Brent Roberts

  10. #50
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Cutdown. Not countdown.

    The basic principle of a cutdown split is to minimize the space, minimize the brood and maximize the foragers in a hive just before the main flow.

    The "cutdown" part is that you remove all but one box of the brood chamber. The open brood you put in the new split. I'd put the old queen there too. You can leave one frame of open brood (and eggs) at the old hive so they can rear a queen or you can give them a new young one. But now all the foragers go back to the old hive and the bees are all crowded up into the supers, because there is only one brood box, and there is no brood to speak of to tie up nurse bees and resources.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #51
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    The cutdown split can create an ideal broodless situation for treating your hives for varroa if you time it right.

    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.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  12. #52
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    May 2005
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    George,

    in all this talk about a cutdown split being used in conjunction with mite treatment, I don't believe anyone has mentioned the fact you're going to be treating the open brood that's providing your queen stock with whatever treatment
    I would think this might be an issue with something like OA

    Dave

  13. #53
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    >you're going to be treating the open brood that's providing your queen stock with whatever treatment

    Well actually within the context of this thread I've been thinking drone comb trapping. This thread wasn't initially about cutdown splits for varroa control, but it seems obvious. Cutdown splits came into the discussion in an attempt to see if the NZ/Dutch method of splitting for varroa control could be combined with a cutdown split to obtain the benefits of both manipulations. Should work. Haven't really figured out how yet. I'm still pondering it.

    With the cutdown split, typically the old queen goes into the split with all the open brood so they're not raising a queen. If you wait for the open brood to be capped before treating, you've missed the boat.

    The old hive is either requeened or given a frame of eggs or a queen cell. My plan would be to leave the old hive queenless for a while- wait for all the capped brood to emerge, develop a whopping big field force, super the daylights out of the hive, and let `em make honey. Somewhere in there I'd requeen, or give them eggs or a cell, but not right off- only after ridding the hive of varroa first.

    >I would think this might be an issue with something like OA

    Any treatment should be used with an eye towards it's affect on open brood and whether you're supered. Powdered sugar, OA vapor, and drone comb trapping all have little if any effect on open brood. OA drip would be harsh. I don't consider any other treatment options.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  14. #54
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    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grass Valley, CA
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    Hi, I'm back in town and I’m signed up to do our Beekeeping Club Program this Monday. While going over my program withy my mentor, he was a bit perturbed to find out that I've been practicing a form of drone brood removal for a couple of years and wasn't mentioning it as part of my IPM program. He knows I have been talking with so many Beekeepers about using Powdered Sugar and screen bottom boards, he feels using drone comb could be why we are beating the mites. We cycle in drone brood (home made, just empty frames that we let the bees fill with drone brood comb, very fragile, will use drone foundation from now on) comb and out when we are reversing our supers in the spring as part of our swarming prevention. We freeze the comb in the freezers, scrape the cappings and let the bees remove the mites. When we go through the hives again in 10-12 days later most of the comb is capped and it always gets removed and frozen. So now I am doing the program on Drone Brood Manipulation, plus queen caging and broodless periods.
    George, you did a great job on simplifying the Dutch method... I couldn't believe my luck that you laid this all out for me. I took some supers and had to practice the 5 week manipulation, but it makes so much sense and I’m going to apply it to our hives this spring. I just finished making 3 cardboard supers to take with me to use in my demonstration. Have you seen Cornell U's version http://www.masterbeekeeper.org/newsletter2.htm where they cycle in drone brood come every 24 days or so? They actually say 28 days because they freeze the comb and feel it takes a few days for the bees to clean out the brood and for the queen to lay eggs. I’m not sure I would wait that long, seeing how quickly they fill up those full frozen combs that I give them. I really don’t even thaw them out.
    Now that I have a good grasp of the timing of bees, brood and mites, I feel I’m ready to explain it to others.
    And just a side note, our bees are in great shape. I dusted with powdered sugar a couple times this winter on nice sunny (Northern California foothills) dry days and found very few mites. Our hives never went entirely broodless this winter. Do you think I should have removed the brood that was there, just a frame or two in each hive with so little mite drop? I just hate the thought of taking away worker brood. We had lots of bees, 6 to 8 frames in each super and really healthy looking.
    Thanks again,
    Janet

  15. #55
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    >So now I am doing the program on Drone Brood Manipulation, plus queen caging and broodless periods.

    Excellent Janet. I've been chewing on a plan to present the same subject this coming year with our beekeepers association. One member in particular is registered organic and drone comb trapping is the only "treatment" he is allowed to use. He's been putting a few medium frames in a deep and cutting off the drone comb the bees build below it. This works to some extent, but he's had less than perfect results with it. One problem is that later in the summer, the bees don't seem too interested in drawing comb. I think you get faster turn around using drawn comb. He's also had a lot of problem with swarming so I think this method of splitting (or not) for varroa AND swarm control could just be his ticket.

    >George, you did a great job on simplifying the Dutch method...

    It sounds horribly complicated at first. It's really not that hard. The method described in the New Zealand manual is essentially the boiled down simplified method- the Dutch article is more of an overview of the scheme with details of several different approaches you can use, together or in any combination. I've thought of rewriting it (the dutch article) in my copious spare time but right now I'm still trying to schuss-out the means of combining the 2 methods (dutch and cutdown splits) so as to obtain varroa control, increase, AND more honey. I don't think it will be that hard, perhaps I too should get some supers out and practice moving some frames around. That might be the trick [img]smile.gif[/img]

    That newsletter link you posted sounded a lot like, and had pictures that looked familiar to what I remember reading earlier this week in an article in the February 2006 Bee Culture, by Nick Calderone. I looked this morning and they are the same pictures. I suggest you check it out if you haven't yet. The BC article goes into a lot more detail about the experiement that was done. We've been discussing it in another thread in relation to the efficacy of treatments with and without brood:

    http://www.beesource.com/cgi-bin/ubb...c;f=3;t=000629

    I think the real potential of drone comb trapping is often not achieved because of the way it's done. You've had good results with it as part of an overall IPM strategy, and a lot of people have too but I think when it's timed properly and utilized in a broodless hive, the results can be amazing.

    I think drone comb trapping can also cause problems. The bees want drones and they're not happy without a sufficient number of drones and if you're culling them out all summer long, you'll be at odds with the bees. I like the idea of whacking the varroa back to manageable levels essentially all at once and then leaving the bees alone to do what they do best.

    >Now that I have a good grasp of the timing of bees, brood and mites, I feel I’m ready to explain it to others.

    You Go Girl [img]smile.gif[/img]

    [size="1"][ February 05, 2006, 07:37 AM: Message edited by: George Fergusson ][/size]
    Dulcius ex asperis

  16. #56
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    Apr 2005
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    Thanks, more great information.
    I would like to dispense with the powdered sugar. It’s almost embarrassing to tell the people at the health food store where we sell our honey that we use powdered sugar as a miticide. They are just so happy we are not using pesticides. It is great; they are really excited about the methods we are promoting. I was amazed at the results I saw last year with powdered sugar. My plan would be to dust the hives when each box gets to that phoretic stage.
    My first method was, to use medium frames in deeps and cut away the drone brood as well. We accidentally ended up with full drone brood frames when making comb honey a few years ago. Our method was to put empty frames in during honey flow, but must have done it too early. My only regret, no wires to hold the brood comb in the frame. I’ve broken up a lot of them, trying to get the drones out. I only have two left (from 8), I never thought about wiring them together like some beekeepers to keep them going and now they are valuable. I own some Dadant Drone Comb now, and need to get them ready.
    I’ll send you a picture of my props as soon as I get them ready. I’m having a lot of fun with this.
    Thanks for the link, those numbers boggle my mind, but I can see the important thing, those mites grow exponentially and we need to do multi- treatments. One or two times a year just doesn’t do it anymore. For people who are not organic, dusting with powdered sugar after you take out the capped drone brood would be perfect for catching those phoretic mites.
    Would this work? Take your capped drone brood out one day earlier on the last sequence of each of the three hives. Since the queen could be laying amongst all the empty comb, now the oldest brood is just 6 days, (the mites enter on the 7to 9th day, right?), you would be able to catch almost all of the phoretic mites at this point. I better go get my props and try this again.
    Do you know the word ‘Phoretic’ is not in any dictionary? I finally found the word in an on-line encyclopedia, and then it was referring to Varroa Mites, and describes it as 'hitch-hiking.'
    Thanks again,
    Janet

  17. #57
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    May 2005
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    >I’ll send you a picture of my props as soon as I get them ready. I’m having a lot of fun with this.

    That would be helpful. Thanks.

    >One or two times a year just doesn’t do it anymore. For people who are not organic, dusting with powdered sugar after you take out the capped drone brood would be perfect for catching those phoretic mites.

    I'm sincerely hoping that the NZ/Dutch method of splitting for varroa control will eliminate the need for additional treatments of any sort. The report is that the Dutch beekeepers have maintained a large number of hives (70+) for some years (5) with no treatments other than the once-per-year drone comb trapping. Never having done it, I can't say from experience but from everything I've read and heard, if you can get rid of 90% your mites or better, once per season, you're all set. Maybe I'm dreaming. In any case, I'll be doing regular mite monitoring so if I have a problem, I'll deal with it.

    I think the people that practice drone comb trapping and still have to apply other treatments at other times of the year are probably not trapping mites as effectively as they could. Like any other treatment, drone comb trapping works best in a broodless hive and making the effort to create or capitalize on that condition is probably worth it. Just trapping any time is fine of course- any mites you remove from your hive help out and as part of an IPM program, it's valid however you choose to do it.

    >Would this work? Take your capped drone brood out one day earlier on the last sequence of each of the three hives. Since the queen could be laying amongst all the empty comb, now the oldest brood is just 6 days,

    Dunno. You mean taking the drone comb out before it's capped? My inclination would be to leave the drone comb in until it's capped.

    The NZ/Dutch method of trapping involves putting an "egged/larvaed" frame of drone comb laid up in one hive and putting it into another, broodless hive, where all the mites have been phoretic long enough for them to be all ready to dive into a cell. This, as opposed to putting a drone comb into a hive, letting the queen lay in it, then removing it when it's capped.

    Clearly, there's more than one way to employ drone comb trapping [img]smile.gif[/img]

    >Do you know the word ‘Phoretic’ is not in any dictionary?

    I tried to look it up once and finally did find it someplace. It's not in my Webster's [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Dulcius ex asperis

  18. #58
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    Mar 2005
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    Hamilton, VA
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    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.

    I am thinking of getting two packages to repopulate the other two. Then after honey flow, I would like to have those two go broodless for about 2 weeks, throw in a frame of drone brood (uncapped) let them cap it and then requeen with a strong new queen so I get a big population going into the winter. I think the two hives I lost over the winter died due to low numbers. They had plenty of stores. All three empty hives have fully built out brood chambers (two deeps) and a super full of honey (I call it a food chamber). I will try to swap out brood frames with small cell foundation this year (may take a couple years though) in an attempt to shift to small cell bees.

    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?

    Thanks in advance,

    Eric

  19. #59
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    Mar 2005
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    Hamilton, VA
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    While I'm on the subject, does anyplace sell plastic small cell foundation?

    Eric

  20. #60
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    Aug 2002
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    Evansville, IN, USA
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    eric101 . . .

    >I think . . . died due to low numbers. They had plenty of stores . . .

    Sounds like my dead-out. Do you monitor V-mites AND T-mites?

    What / how have you been treating for V-mites?

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