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  1. #1
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    Apr 2011
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    lee county, fl, usa
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    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
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    Garland County, AR
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    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
    5,407

    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
    5,113

    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
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    Garland County, AR
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    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
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    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
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    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.

    The key word is claimed........ Yes mite intergration CAN be a problem. some hives are more susceptable than others, but its a real problem. stay ahead of the mites, do counts. research treatments and find which one works for you.

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

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    This is the treatment-free forum.

    I have personally not yet seen evidence disproving BWeaver's claims. I have however heard from a number of beekeepers happy with the performance of their queens and nucs.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    understood, treatment free... that can be powdered sugar drone removal, queen removal....I consider those also treatment free.

    As to Weavers, I bought 4 last year, so far no differences in mites them seem okay, but there not mite free anymore than some of my other hives.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    5,113

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    Please read Unique Forum Rules at the top of the forum page as to what is considered a treatment in this forum.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
    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?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    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

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    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

  14. #14
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    Jul 2012
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    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
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    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

  15. #15
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    Garland County, AR
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    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    uber, the mite situation improved in the parent hive. I didn't address the new nuc... but that's a good, provocative question which I am not sure of the answer. Your logic seems right to me, however. When I did the cutdown split - my first - my attention was focused on the mite infested hive.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    lee county, fl, usa
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    874

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    I may do a cut down if in a week or two the hive continues to dwindle. The bees do not die until after they emerge, correct? I'm not quite as worried now thank you.

    I also wondered, what if I remove the queen, put her in a cage, then use her for splitting a strong hive, that would accomplish the same thing and eliminate the problem of the queen right nuk having the heavy mite load?
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    This is some great reading on splits. http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm

    Re: pests - the not-fun-but-critical part - here's Bush's section on that: http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: do mites spread to other hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by bevy's honeybees View Post
    I also wondered, what if I remove the queen, put her in a cage, then use her for splitting a strong hive, that would accomplish the same thing and eliminate the problem of the queen right nuk having the heavy mite load?
    You can do that, but the queen is the problem. If her daughters are not good at taking care of mites now, they will be just as not good in any hive to which she is moved.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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