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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    833

    Default do mites spread to other hives?

    No more bragging for me--one of my hives has taken a significant dip in population and I went through it today to condense them down because there was too much comb for them to take care of. Now it has 10 frames fully populated and good amount of brood, and 2 medium frames of honey and pollen, and the balance is empty frames in the medium. In combining, there was an errant piece of brood comb which I cut out and it had 5 capped drone cells on it. When I was all done with the hive I checked those 5 drone cells and 3 of 5 had mites.

    The hive is about 3 feet, then 5 feet, 7 feet, from other hives. Do I need to worry about mite spread? In this small area of 5 hives I've noticed starting since last fall they are not doing as well as 5 hives about 50 feet away. The only mite checks I ever do is the drone cell check, which last fall every hive was fine. I don't treat, obviously. Any advice?
    Thanks.
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    From what I've read, yes, mites spread. They catch a ride on other bees, even when the bees are just out foraging. They are known to fall on your bottom board and then reenter the hive on another bee that passes by.

    I have one hive that was loaded last year. Then it improved after I did a cutdown split. Have not done a count this year yet. Am anxious to know what's what. It is an obviously diminished hive however. Oddly, my 2 other hives about 20 feet away were fine. But also younger.
    Last edited by Seymore; 03-14-2013 at 01:24 PM. Reason: changed to CUTDOWN split instead of walkaway
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,325

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    Don't worry about the drones spreading to your other hives, they all have them.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    All hives have mites. All hives share workers and drones (therefore mites) with other nearby hives. So don't worry about it, it's already done. The solution is having bees that can deal with them. If this hive is in bad shape, consider requeening or merging it with another more successful hive.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    Solomon, would merging put the stronger hive dangerously at risk?
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    Seymore, it depends wholly upon the hive. If you have successful mite suppressing bees, it won't be a problem.

    BWeaver's bees have been claimed to clean up a mess of mites just by requeening a hive with one of their queens.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
    I have one hive that was loaded last year. Then it improved after I did a walkway split.
    This is a thought that confuses me a bit, and I'm hoping someone here can help me think about it. I can see that mite counts should drop in the part of the split which goes queenless during a walkaway split, as there will be a fair period of broodlessness. But, how will this help the queenright hive? The queen keeps laying and the mites keep growing. What am I missing?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by ubernerd View Post
    This is a thought that confuses me a bit, and I'm hoping someone here can help me think about it. I can see that mite counts should drop in the part of the split which goes queenless during a walkaway split, as there will be a fair period of broodlessness. But, how will this help the queenright hive? The queen keeps laying and the mites keep growing. What am I missing?
    Uber, in a CUTDOWN split, the parent hive is the one that ends up queenless. It is a form of mite control due to the fact that you remove the queen and start a nuc with her. The parent hive is left to build a new one. During that process, of course, there is a period of broodlessness in the parent hive.
    Last edited by Seymore; 03-15-2013 at 03:14 AM. Reason: Correcting my terminology
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    Yup - cutdown split - NOT walkaway. SORRY! Glad you caught that, uber. Think I'll go edit that right now....
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    Ah, that makes more sense - I think. I'm still a bit puzzled on how the queenright half (the nuc?) would knock down mite levels since the brood cycle isn't broken. That part (if I understand a cut down split right) has the queen and plenty of open brood. Wouldn't that make for excellent mite habitat? Open cells with developing young bees is what they're looking for, right?

    Is the idea that most of the nurse bees stay with the sealed brood and most mites are on nurse bees or in sealed cells, so you just drop the overall population of mites in the queenright hive?

    Sorry if I'm being a bit dense today. I'm just trying to think toward the future to think about how one can use splits to control mites - hopefully without impacting the honey crop too much.
    Last edited by ubernerd; 03-14-2013 at 01:42 PM. Reason: wording clarification

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