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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Mammoth Cave, KY
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    149

    Default Is winter considered a brood break?

    As the title asks, do bees benefit during the winter broodless period in overcoming mite loads in a treatment free plan?
    Poppy's Bees, Queens, and Honey
    Mammoth Cave, KY

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
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    110

    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    Quote Originally Posted by A'sPOPPY View Post
    As the title asks, do bees benefit during the winter broodless period in overcoming mite loads in a treatment free plan?
    Kinda but not really. The bees wont produce a great deal of brood so the mite populations "shouldnt" significantly rise. However, the effects of the mites will be felt greatly on the winter bees simply because the mites have longer to feed off them (4 months). If you're thinking they die off, the mites also have a longer lifespan in winter. Come spring depending on the health/populations of bees vs. varroa, the mites will typically have the higher ground (if you have any bees left). Conversely, in brood rearing months you will have more bees with shorter lifespans, more active and capable to groom, but the mite populations will also be higher. Its a constant battle. Thats how it was explained to me anyway. If you want a great understanding of how the population dynamics work check out http://scientificbeekeeping.com as Randy Oliver has done alot of work in that area.

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

    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    Yes, broodless periods are a big help in a treatment free plan.
    MDAsplitter.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
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    110

    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    Brood breaks yeah, but as it relates to the natural brood break in winter? Seems to me alot of winter die off has to do with the varroas long term stay with the bees.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    I think I understand your point. I wouldn't consider that winter's broodless period by itself will knock down Varroa. It needs to be combined with something else, in MDAsplitter's case that something else is the broodless period in which a queencell matures, emerges, and does the deed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
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    110

    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    I think I understand your point. I wouldn't consider that winter's broodless period by itself will knock down Varroa. It needs to be combined with something else, in MDAsplitter's case that something else is the broodless period in which a queencell matures, emerges, and does the deed.
    I find here anyway, most first year beekeepers wont experience Varroa problems (I didnt). The reason for that is that most start from nucs, and they begin with a low varroa population. Probably be better with packages (we dont have them here). If you read varroa population dynamics you will see http://scientificbeekeeping.com/ipm-...tion-dynamics/ that indeed the mite levels will decrease in winter with the broodless period, however come their second spring the mite population will be much higher and later that fall will no doubt rear its ugly head.

    If you look here http://scientificbeekeeping.com/sick...o-brass-tacks/ you will find that swarming actually increased mite loads in the parent colony, because you lost your adult bee population but the mites on the nurse bees and in the brood remained actually increasing their mite load per bee. Splitting helped. This explains why Soloman Parkers "expansion" idea works, you essentially outrun the mites. If you want to have large production colonies for honey, chances are they will run into a mite problem; If you simply want to sell nucs well you're already essentially doing a mite control by doing these brood breaks.

    I plan on using brood breaks/splits/nucs as a form of mite control next season but I am also trying to expand. Using winter as a "brood break" though could be a dangerous idea. My question would be what/when would be the best time for a brood break for a honey production colony?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    2,384

    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    At 40 Degrees I think it is a brood break.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
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    110

    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    Quote Originally Posted by EastSideBuzz View Post
    At 40 Degrees I think it is a brood break.
    You got it easy its -8F here!

    It is a brood break, but it dosent work the same as a brood break it works during the season. Per 100 or so bees you actually have MORE mites.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
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    398

    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    Winter is a brood break. IT also is a time you need bees that are young, populous, and not stressed out by mites or disease. Varroa spreads disease and stresses to a unhealthy level.

    Mites if not controlled thru IPM's (like brood breaks / drone removal), chemical treatment, or very resistant bees (with some brood breaks) it will be too late by winter and your bees will be weak and........

    1. Die or

    2. Come out of winter to weak to make a crop....and most likely die.

    Yes they benefit a little but not much due to them not raising bees either.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamon Reynolds View Post
    Mites if not controlled thru IPM's (like brood breaks / drone removal), chemical treatment, or very resistant bees (with some brood breaks) it will be too late by winter and your bees will be weak and........
    Brood breaks are not necessary with very resistant bees. If they need brood breaks, they aren't very resistant bees.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Bonn, Germany
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    122

    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    Quote Originally Posted by honeydrunkapiaries View Post
    You got it easy its -8F here!

    It is a brood break, but it dosent work the same as a brood break it works during the season. Per 100 or so bees you actually have MORE mites.
    Contrary to expectations and the temperature of -8F, I predict, there will be a brood patch at the heat center of the bee cluster. The test will be not easy. Go, tear them apart and see.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Little Rock, AR
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    109

    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    Quote Originally Posted by sjj View Post
    Contrary to expectations and the temperature of -8F, I predict, there will be a brood patch at the heat center of the bee cluster. The test will be not easy. Go, tear them apart and see.
    Tear them apart at -8???!
    Zone 7B. 8fr meds. 5 hives. 4 years. Still a beginner.
    (hr south of LR)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    To post #6, winter is an enforced brood break. There is no way around it here in the northern US.

    When is the best time for a brood break in a honey production colony? I would say that if you are prepared to forgo the fall honey I would do it just after the main flow. I am contemplating seeing what would happen by cutting off honey production on August 1st and inducing a brood break or making more splits. A compromise between honey production and bee production. If you are able to cut drone comb all summer, lifting off all those boxes is good exercise. The mite load will be lower than if you hadn't and the bees will be better off going into the fall and winter.

    If I were in the south I might very well be pinning my hopes on resistant bees, but that is not the route I am taking.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    >When is the best time for a brood break in a honey production colony?

    Two weeks before the main flow will have the most positive effect on the honey crop and the least detriment to the colony and is a fine time for them to rear a new queen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Is winter considered a brood break?

    Wow, all this talk of brood breaks makes me feel exhausted. So much work.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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