>>The half that prefer drones.
>A citation to support that exists?
A citation to prove that the ones that, when faced with drone or worker brood, infested the drone brood. That they prefer drones? I'm confused. They sorted themselves out.
>Drone brooding is for a relatively short part of the season, what happens to them when drone brooding ends.
And that is exactly the right question. If they did as they do in cerana, they would do nothing when there was no drone brood.
There would only be selective pressure if there is a genetic basis for mites getting into worker brood. If there is no such genetic link, and it is chance that some mites end up in worker brood, then there is no possibility of selecting for mites who prefer worrker brood. I have no idea whether there is a genetic basis for varroa mites selecting worker vs. drone brood, or whether they all genetically prefer drone brood and some just end up in the less desirable worker brood. I don't know if anybody in the world can answer that question.
Also, it does not necessarily follow that selecting for mites that prefer worker brood would be bad, and it could very well be good. Mites don't reproduce as well in worker brood, so maybe it would be good if we could breed a mite that is not attracted to drone brood. For all I know, that could be the silver bullet to Varro mites (although I doubt it). Once again, I don't know if anybody in the world really knows the answer to this question.
Bottom line, I don't think anybody has any actual knowledge about these factors.
There is evidence that drone removal is effective in the short-term, and it is most certainly chemical-free. I do know one top-notch beekeeper who has been removing dronce comb (and breeding resistant bees) for a lot of years now, and he has very healthy bees, with no sign of breeding nastier mites.
Videos about drone removal as part of hive management:
Presentation of special frames developed by Randy Oliver:
9 months, 12 colonies, TF (so far)
According to Calderone, they tried to select for varroa that preferred worker brood but they were unsuccessful.
37 years - 25 colonies - IPM disciple - naturally skeptic
I think what we need here on the forum is a top notch entomological geneticist who can sift through all this speculation and give a once and for all answer. But something tells me that even then there will be some who think they know more than that person and will disagree.
It is amazing to me that honey bees are probably the most studied insect on Earth, yet we still don't know so very many things that would be very helpful to know. And we know even less about honey bee pests and diseases.
Not all are appreciated, especially when they disagree just for the sake of disagreeing, or maybe a grudge, or envy.
I'm backing Michael Bush's reasoning in this matter based on his results for the past 10 years of beekeeping - treatment-free - and almost 30 years of beekeeping previous to that - probably mostly treatment-free, as well, before the varroa arrived..
www.savebeesflorida.com (Honeybee removals and top bar hives)
I don't see that commercial colonies leave much room for drone production other than between frames. Breaking boxes apart could be considered a subtle form of culling.
The practial (read lazy) beekeeper would skip culling if the bees can thrive without it. Why not?
On the micro-level, will the bees in your apiary become more hygenic or mite-resistant if you keep culling drone cells? --I guess I don't want to bring up the selective breeding argument again, but this seems logical to me. If they're dieing from mites, maybe they should die. There certainly are bees thriving without treatment/culling. That seems like ideal selective breeding to me.
Lastly, I am convinced by those who say that the bees naturally prefer a certain percentage of drones/drone comb in the hive. I don't want my bees spending all their time/resources building new drone comb because I keep cutting it out making them feel unbalanced.
WOW lets remember the Top Bar Hive was attractive as a more "natural" bee driven way to "handle" bees. Overthinking it totally defeats the purpose. If you want to or "have" to save a colony from mites culling the drone brood is by far the best way to DECREASE the "Mite Load" (remember these key terms). WHY because TBH bee handling is suppose to be SIMPLE and FUN. Get back to the basics! Who cares what brood mites prefer.....common sense would dictate and we know they prefer drone brood and some end up in worker brood, again SO WHAT. Its not where they are its the "LOAD" they place on the colony's ability to fight off viruses. Culling drone brood and powdered sugar treatments WORK the best at DECREASING the load and neither one involves harsh chemicals. If its not broke DON'T fix it........NOW my answer is the most effective and selective. Select for STRONGER bees, select to not have the mites........CULL the colony. Just my two cents worth.
"Only large amounts of powdered sugar applied directly to brood cells harms immature honey bees"
Nicholas P. AlianoUniversity of Nebraska - Lincoln
Marion D. Ellis University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Last edited by Phoebee; 02-04-2014 at 06:56 PM. Reason: Added reference
Never saw it harm the brood. The benefit outweighs the risk exponentially anyway. Again overthinking it would be a shame, it takes all the fun out. Remember for every scientific paper that says one thing there are several that say something different. Here is a simple rule to follow. If you hear about something TRY IT FIRST, do your own experimenting and share, share, share your results so that everyone may benefit. The beauty is in the experience, if you want to read journals go to the library. Want to learn about bees go to the apiary!!!!!!