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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Palermo, Maine, USA
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    731

    Default Breaking Brood Cycle

    New beekeeper here with a question on mite control.

    Would confining the queen in a hair clip queen catcher for a period of time, perhaps a week or 9 days, so that all of the brood is capped be an effective way of controlling mites?
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    Ralph

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    I don't think that's a long enough time to make a serious dent in the mite breeding cycle. I've read about doing this by taking the queen away and making up a new nuc with her, and letting the main hive raise a new queen from eggs or newly hatched larvae. By the time their new queen is laying, it's been almost a month and that would supposedly seriously crash the mite population. This can be done in the late summer, so Spring honey harvest would not be effected, and you'd then have a low mite population heading into Fall. A fresh new queen can quickly build the bee population up again by Fall.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Canada BC Delta
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    426

    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    I've heard of the 'queen arrest method' where the queen is temporarily confined to a single brood frame or portion thereof. This method is labour intensive, slows down colony development and may only be suitable for the dedicated, small time beekeeper. The confinement time frame is 21 days.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,127

    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    If you confine the queen two weeks before the main flow (or at the latest right AT the main flow) you will actually get more honey than if you don't because there will be no open brood to care for freeing up nurse bees to forage. If you confine the queen earlier it will hurt honey production. If you confine the queen later it will cut into young bees for the winter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    213

    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    Micheal, Not knowing brood production in your area, but I have pictures of a five framer nuc with a queen mated early October and there's three frames of brood and she's still in full laying mode.

    Sorry to the Mods for the shameless plug

    http://orsba.proboards.com/index.cgi...ay&thread=2787

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,994

    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    I've done some experiments with this, as I saw published that mites live 100 days, so tried different length brood breaks to see if it would eradicate or partly eradicate the mites. Didn't work very well, and I've decided that mites must live quite a bit more than 100 days.

    I've read quite often on Beesource that a brood break while they are raising a new queen, which would be around a month, will greatly hit mite numbers. However my own experience is a brood break of a month makes little difference.

    In places like Canada, where they have a long broodless period in winter, the bees can still have quite a few mites when brood raising starts again in spring, relative to what they went into the winter with.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,575

    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    Oldtimer is probably right. What I do is once I get the colony broodless, then I can use powered sugar to knock the mites off. This is probably one of the only times that PS is really effective against mites.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Shoshone County, Idaho
    Posts
    567

    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    Michael Bush hit the nail on the head!
    A lot more honey if all they have to worry about is honey!

    I have been using the http://www.mdasplitter.com/ technique for several years now and only counted
    3 mites in my hives this season.
    Works great and you gain by not using costly meds. and by increasing your colonies.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
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    426

    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    My own thought is there are many aging mites that have reached their final reproduction cycle during the brood less period. That portion of mites die before brood is available to realize their chance to add to the mite population. It's really more about the percentages of mites that are at the back side of the 100 days rather than young mites.
    I think there are also other things going on in the colony during a brood break that may not stand out like increased grooming/cleaning where mites are disposed of outside the hive. What is being accomplished is a mite level that is tolerable for the colony without the use of miticides.
    The other thing to consider is the effectiveness of a brood break when comparing bees that have not had miticide treatments for several generations over bees that are just coming off of treatments. My experience is the later bees don't respond as well.

    To get the very best results out of the brood break it is important that all brood is capped at the start date. You can not get a decent break by just caging the queen when their is open brood of all stages unless you extend the time she is caged.
    Last edited by Delta Bay; 11-19-2011 at 09:48 AM. Reason: added to post

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,235

    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    Just thinking out loud here.....

    If I wanted to significantly reduce the mite load it would seem most efficient to remove frames, shake bees into box and replace ALL brood with drawn comb. This essentially sets the hive back 3 weeks but it is immediately broodless. The removed frames could be frozen and then cleaned out.

    Fuzzy
    Last edited by Barry; 11-29-2011 at 08:40 AM. Reason: off topic

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Shoshone County, Idaho
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    567

    Thumbs Up Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    The good thing about the http://www.mdasplitter.com/ technique is you also gain a nuc and you mock swarming.
    I put the old queen with 2-3frames brood/bees in a nuc box and let the old colony produce a new queen from the existing brood, hence, breaks the mites cycle, I gain a new colony, and the old colony gets a new young vigorous laying queen.
    I did this to 30+ colonies last year and left as is, the remainder of my colonies for "Honey Production".
    The 30 colonies did great and not one of them swarmed (I mark and clip my queens). The remaining honey production colonies swarmed and kept producing swarm cells.
    I only found 3 mites in my colonies last year, when in years past I had high mite counts in my colonies, but since going to Mel's tech. I am almost mite free and have been med free for 3 years!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    858

    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    How long can you confine a queen in a hair clip queen catcher? Have it hang between frames for nursebees to take care of her? I'd like to try this during orange blossom nectar flow in spring--or I may start 4 or 5 nuks with queens from my strongest hives--that might get a higher honey crop from original hive? I am blessed, my bee's honey is selling more than I have harvested so far. I have 8 hives and just finished my second year.

    A side track; I have 2 hives that lost queens somehow and made their own queen, and this happened in October for one and November for the other. I am in SW Fl, is it not a good thing for those colonies come spring?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
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    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post

    To get the very best results out of the brood break it is important that all brood is capped at the start date. You can not get a decent break by just caging the queen when their is open brood of all stages unless you extend the time she is caged.
    Excuse my ignorance, but how does one get to the point of no open brood at the start of a brood break?
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    Default Re: Breaking Brood Cycle

    I generally followed the MDASplitter method this year too, I see the logic in it.
    I'm too small scale to see the results much yet, but so far so good.
    Will be able to test it more next year if I have at least two survivor hives from my 5 colonies.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

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