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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Littlerock, California, USA
    Posts
    951

    Default How to break brood cycle

    If I wanted to break the brood cycle of a hive in order to reduce their mite load, what is the proper technique? Do I just shake the bees into a foundation only hive body? And what do I do with the currently active frames of brood, stores, etc... can they be reused at some time?
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,271

    Default Re: How to break brood cycle

    Ccar, catch the queen, cage her and leave her in there for a week. I've never done it, but I think Michael Bush has something on it on his site.
    I have achieved my brood breaks by splitting the hive in the spring. The bees that don't have a queen get a brood break as they raise their own queen. Here is a good resource for more info on the advantages of brood breaks. http://www.mdasplitter.com/
    You could do it as you suggested, but it would be very stressful on the bees, and you would have to feed them a lot of syrup and pollen patties.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Littlerock, California, USA
    Posts
    951

    Default Re: How to break brood cycle

    Just a random thought... What if I put the queen in a hive body with foundation only and put her either on top or below the current brood box separated by an excluder?
    The current set up is a single deep with a medium above that is pretty empty. Would that break the brood cycle without stressing out the workers? I own a hive top feeder so I could feed them syrup to build comb with. I am just guessing at this point.
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,271

    Default Re: How to break brood cycle

    Hey, that might work. But then again, the brood break might only be a matter of hours as the bees will build comb, and feeding encourages the queen to lay...
    The brood break needs to be long enough that all the brood (and mites) have emerged before the next brood is ready.
    Do you have a 5 frame box? Are there drones in Little rock this time of year? If so take the queen and two frames of brood and a frame or two of honey and put them in the 5 frame box on a new site more than 3 feet from the old one.
    Notch a few cells (MDA splitter reference) on a frame or two of young larva at the old site. Feed the old hive, and reduce the entrance to keep out robbers. The old hive will have a brood break and make a new queen. It is very interesting. If it doesn't work you still have the old queen.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Littlerock, California, USA
    Posts
    951

    Default Re: How to break brood cycle

    I do have a five frame nuc box that I could set up as described, creating a split, but then would I still have the issue of high mite population in the new split, or not?

    There are drone cells in the hive, that is where I noticed the mites, do you reference the drones as some kind of timing event or so the virgin queen might have a chance to mate before winter comes? One issue is that I am in the AHB zone and typically mail order queens so I don't end up with an aggressive hive, I am not ready for that.

    I am also a bit intimidated about catching the queen and caging her without loosing or otherwise damaging her. I had one fly away on me once but it may be worth a try if it will break the brood cycle and ultimately reduce the mite load. I might still be able to mail order a new queen which would break the brood cycle if I have any mishaps too.

    I think it would be easier for me to shake the queen into a deep box of foundation only and set it on top of an excluder over the mostly empty medium that has no brood in it. Typically when I buy a package and put it on foundation only I have some capped brood within twenty days. Will that be long enough to break the brood cycle?

    Since I would like to ultimately end up with a double deep brood nest anyways. I can move the medium up and then off later.

    Thanks for your input. I am forever learning about this most interesting hobby
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,073

    Default Re: How to break brood cycle

    To break the broods cyc you have to have the hive broodless beyond the life cyc of the mites.
    That means all brood must emerge and then you need several weeks for the mites to find no brood.
    Then when the Queen returns to laying the first brood she lays attracts almost all the mites.
    Those mites are too many for those cells of larva and they all die because they have overloaded the number of mites that can reproduce in a cell.
    Then the bees clean those cells out and the mite load is greatly reduced.

    The only way to kill all the mites is to kill all the bees.
    Old Guy in Alabama

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