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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Littlerock, California, USA
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    949

    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
    2,213

    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
    949

    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
    2,213

    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
    949

    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
    1,068

    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,213

    Default Re: How to break brood cycle

    ccar, your method might work, it just sounds drastic. If I were to do it I would attempt it when there was the least amount of brood to deal with as the bees will have to clean those frames.
    I agree with you about chasing and catching the queen, my fingers are just too clumsy for it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: How to break brood cycle

    As far as catching the queen, here's a few tips.

    1. Just do it.
    2. She's not as fragile as you might think, as long as you're not holding her by the abdomen.
    3. Try holding with more than just two fingers. More fingers means each needs less pressure. Pinching her between thumb and first finger is not the best way to go.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: How to break brood cycle

    I do this a lot! almost every hive once a year..... works great, normaly july or early AUG. Here is how I do it,

    Find the queen and one frame of brood and nurse bees. put in that frame and a frame of food in a nuc. Leave her out of the other hive until your happy, I personaly use the on the spot method and let the have start a new queen cell or two. the day before those hatch, I remove teh queen cells and put the old queen (by herself) back. the cells go into that nuc for hatching, mateing. by the time shes mated and laying both hives are good. If you don't want the nuc, recombine with strong hive.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: How to break brood cycle

    I usually just pull the queen and frame of bees she is on and put her in a nuc for Winter - letting the old hive re-queen itself. Sometimes I split up the old hive into a bunch of nucs. Depends on the bees and the hive. Some of my bees don't need it - they seem to handle mites pretty well without my help if I remove the queen around Midsummer.

    I am horrible at spotting queens due to vision problems. I usually have to strain them through an excluder, so anything I can do to avoid this is a good thing. My young son is my queen spotter. He is sharp as a tack when it comes to finding them.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,163

    Default Re: How to break brood cycle

    I like to remove the queen with a frame of honey, frame of brood, & bees. Put them in a nuc then let the hive raise a new queen.
    If the hive doesn't raise a new queen you can always re-combine them after a month.

    Looks like Paul & I had the same idea at the same time
    Dan

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