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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Honolulu County, Hawaii

    Default Drone Brood Frames. Do they help control varroa?

    I am trying some new frames from pierco that have larger cells on them that are supposed to encourage bees to build and lay Drone brood therefore controlling where the varroa mites reside. you just remove the frame when its full and dispose of the brood as you see fit then put it back in. Has anyone tried this and does it work?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Boone County, West Virginia, USA


    after it has capped drone brood, you can freeze the drone brood frame for 24 hours and reintroduce it into the hive after scratching the cappings off. your bees will remove the dead larva and varroa. you can also use wax foundation for drone brood as well. if you wish to dispose of the drone brood, the wax foundation would be more economical than the pierco. next year i plan on having five deep hive bodies filled with wax foundation for drone brood production over queen excluders. after harvesting honey from them they will be used for ipm.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    DuPage County, Illinois USA


    Just better make sure you get them out at the right time or you'll be in the business of raising mites!

    - Barry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Cleveland, Texas


    I put a frame of drone comb in an SMR colony on HSC, more as a way to see how the bees were handling mites than as a mite trap. I found 2 mites in the entire frame of sealed drone brood. Guess there were not many mites to trap.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Evansville, IN, USA


    EFFECTIVENESS – A fully capped frame removed monthly will generally keep mite levels below threshold [ABJ, 5/07, p402]; 2 frames monthly will delay it for a year [ABJ, 5/07, p400]. Drone brood removal will dramatically suppress the growth of V-mites population during brood-rearing season and ensure that you have strong, health colonies going into Winter [BC 2/06, p19]. According to European field studies, the mite population in heavily infested colony can be reduced from 16,000 mites to about 1750 (89%) provided there is no re-invasion from other colonies. Drone brood removal can at least temporarily halt the growth of mite population in colony. [ – p 58, Accessed 8/1/05]. Trapping in conjunction w/ queen restriction can nearly completely eliminate Varroa from a colony (Calis, 1999) [ABJ, 5/07, p401].
    • Drone brood removal will NOT completely eliminate the need for miticides [BC 2/06, p21]. This biotechnical measure allows the deferral of acaricide treatments until end of summer and is only one measure in a system [].
    • It is important to realize that drone brood removal will NOT halt the population development of V-mites. Female mites will still enter worker brood cells and reproduce. Reproduction rate will just be slower in worker brood. [ – p 63, Accessed 8/1/05].
    • Removing drone comb 2 or 3 times reduces V-mite population by about half [ - p4, Accessed 7/14/06].
    • Nick Calderone study of 2003, showed between a 5-fold and a 10-fold reduction (4 exchanges, Jun 16, Jul 16, Aug 16, Sep 16) [BC 2/06, p21].
    • Reduces mite levels up to 10-fold and maintains strong population during summer and early fall preventing “fall collapse” [ - Accessed 7/18/05].
    • Varroa in test hives were 3.5 times less than control hives [].
    • Removing drone brood 2 or 3 times, reduces mite population by 50% [ - Accessed 8/21/04].
    • There will be 3 to 4 times fewer mites [].
    • Used April to July can remove up to 70% of mites. [].
    • Can reduce the Varroa load to almost 1/4 of its strength [ABJ, 11/07, p956].
    • Trapping mites in drone frames removes 95% of Varroa from hive - Accessed 1/5/05.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Yes hunter it works. But it's not a cure in itself. You need to think of it as a past of your IPM system. Integrated Pest Management means you have more than one trick. Drone comb works well enough to use it with something like powdered sugar if you choose to bee chem free.

    But keep in mind you're getting advice from a guy who keeps bees at 7,000 ft in Colorado. I've never been to Hawaii. Do you have seasons? Do you overwinter? How?

    Do you count mites?



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