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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,205

    Default Scratching drone brood versus cutting it out?

    I am contemplating scratching out drone brood for mite control in my production colonies this year or cutting it out. I was wondering what those that do think of each method, and how they do it? My initial thoughts were that putting in a couple of foundationless frames in positions 2 and 9 in the brood nest may be the way to go and giving them a space would stop them reworking decent worker comb into drone comb. I would cut it out drone comb when sealed.
    Then what about just scratching the sealed drone comb? I remember seeing that some folks do that, and I wonder, does it kill the mites or just liberate them? If I am reading Huang's article correctly from ABJ October 2012 p983. "Indeed, Martin (1994,1995) calculated the effective rate (i.e. the number of vial/mature daughters per invading mother) as 1.3-1.45 in a single infested worker brood, while for drone brood it was 2.2 -2.6." So I could see that if you liberated the mite and she was able to go on again into worker brood - presumably the only medium if the drones are scratched out - the mite reproduction rate would be slower than allowing the drone-fed mites to emerge.
    Anyone have any thoughts on this, or a system that seems to be working?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,000

    Default Re: Scratching drone brood versus cutting it out?

    I guess I just hate the mites too much to allow the foundress to live. I smash the patches of drone brood on the face and cut out the sacrifice foudationless frames and burr comb between boxes as often as I make it in the hive and find sealed drone brood. Roland says it is his only mite control and is pursued on a scheduled and relentless basis.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,205

    Default Re: Scratching drone brood versus cutting it out?

    Are you using 2 foundationless per colony?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,000

    Default Re: Scratching drone brood versus cutting it out?

    I use two, though they are seldom sealed at the same time. Chickens like the cutouts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,035

    Default Re: Scratching drone brood versus cutting it out?

    If you're going to go to the effort of scratching, cull the drone comb IMO. Kills the mites with no risk of running a mite breeding program, a little swarm prevention benefit, and less work.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,545

    Default Re: Scratching drone brood versus cutting it out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    So I could see that if you liberated the mite and she was able to go on again into worker brood
    This is what needs to be answered by the knowledgeable forum and then you will have your culling vs. scratching question answered.

    There is a lot of energy consumed in raising brood. I have heard that some bees consume brood in some fashion so it is a resource that you would not want to remove if that is the case. So anyone know, once a mite has entered a cell and begun to breed can it leave the cell and make it to another in time?

    The first mite to emerge is male so can it produce another one in a different cell?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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