Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by John Davis View Post
    Yes psm1212, that is the assumption.
    Brood breaks are often a part of the minimal/tf process.
    Your though of eliminating most of the mites while broodless is a way of giving the bees a leg up.
    I was thinking about it the opposite way. I'm new at beekeeping (but old at science & farming...judge accordingly) - but any time I have a brood break (winter brood break, following a split, or after capturing a swarm...if that ever happens) I treat with OAD. This is a great window to knock down varroa levels, as most/all of them should be exposed to treatment.

    My comments in this thread upto this point have been predicated on that assumption - e.g. that a brood break was being created as part of a larger pest management plan, most likely paired with a chemical treatment of some sort to kill the exposed varroa.

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  3. #42
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    psm1212, my only response would be to pay attention to the natural brood break designed into hives and generally happens each year. Specifically, I am talking about a hive swarming, and naturally causing the brood break. My suspicion is the closer you come to causing a similar brood break and during similar timing, will net you the greatest natural result re mites.

  4. #43
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Dr. Ramsey has done an amazing job with this research and is a great bee ambassador. He mentioned last month that his paper was still being peer reviewed and will most likely be published, soon. Just listened to the podcast. Great stuff, as always. But it’s probably best to take a step back for a moment and remember that brood break or not - the brood that is already there will eventually emerge into adult form. The way the podcast came across was like an alarm bell at the possible negative impact of brood breaks releasing a “food gate” of doom in our colonies. Kim Flottum even wonders aloud in the podcast that “brood breaks might be the worst thing we can do”. I love Mr. Flottum and everything he does for bees. However, it is necessary that we keep things grounded before jumping the gun on this one. It is a scientific fact that in nature: Varrora mites only reproduce in brood cells. Implimenting a forced brood break is, therefore, an absolutely viable means of IPM and a natural function of bee populations that have shown tolerance, e.g. the excessive swarming of A. scutellata or the queen shut-down during dearth as seen in “Russian bees”. Using a soft chemical organic acid like oxalic during full emergence will achieve effective mite kill within one treatment (rather than several treatments spread over weeks to chase emerging bees). The crux of the research is that fat bodies fuel mites. We know that lipophillic chemicals build into wax over time and can be deleterious to colony health. So, where the rubber hits the road is when we find out what Dr. Ramsey means by “weaponizing” this information.

  5. #44
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    good post matt.

    that colonies seemingly doing alright going into winter fail to make it through to spring,

    during what is arguably the longest brood break of them all,

    supports the contention that mites depleting the adult bees of their vitellogenin stores could be involved with over-winter collapse.

  6. #45
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Anybody done mite counts on the bottom board during the duration of the brood break to see how many mites the brood break has killed? Bearing in mind if the mites do diminish they have to go somewhere, so I would hazard a guess if they are not on your bottom boards they will be in your surrounding hives. If that is correct what will a brood break accomplish but spread your mites around.
    Johno

  7. #46
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    According to https://articles.extension.org/pages...uctive-biology a forager causes a drop in success over nurse bees as a host. Baffled by the math but a shift in available young hosts factors in somewhere.
    It is hard to design a safety net that some will not use as a hammock.

  8. #47
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    Anybody done mite counts on the bottom board during the duration of the brood break to see how many mites the brood break has killed? Bearing in mind if the mites do diminish they have to go somewhere, so I would hazard a guess if they are not on your bottom boards they will be in your surrounding hives. If that is correct what will a brood break accomplish but spread your mites around.
    Johno
    If not medicating, I would assume you get somewhat of a slow down in the otherwise exponential growth. This slow down could be beneficial if you cannot/will not otherwise treat while honey supers are in place. It is an IPM strategy that could help you get to the end of a season for a "hard" treatment when your supers are off.

    If introducing OA into the forced brood break process, then you should be getting a significant reduction in mite populations.

    As to mite migration, the OA will put a damper on that. If not treating, I would think you would do a forced brood break in all hives in your yard at the same time.

    I have often thought of going into my hives around the end of May or beginning of June and killing all my queens. This would time up well so I would have broodless hives when I pull my supers off for the season. Also encourage early promotion of nurse bees to foragers to work my nectar flow. Treat and have a new queen headed into Fall.
    Last edited by psm1212; 11-16-2018 at 09:55 AM.

  9. #48
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Thank you Squarepeg. Was thinking the same. It seems likely that depletion contributes to winter loss.

  10. #49
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    I have always gone against this so called conventional wisdom that brood breaks diminish mite infestations due to the fact that mite lifespans are greater than summer bee lifespans so in fact we have a zero sum game or in other words half time is called and both sides can take a rest. I have seen no evidence of any trials which would support the theory of brood break as a mite treatment and what is more if there are brood filled colonies any where near the broodless colonies there would be a good chance of some mite migration from the broodless to the brood filled so at best you end up shuffling your mites around Of course it may help some in treating not just the broodless colony but all colonies at that time. JMHO.
    Johno
    I'm with you on the brood breaks, Johno. It seems to me that Ramsey's work shows us how much we can take for granted with little or no evidence to support our assumptions. How long have we taken for granted that mites fed on hemolymph? How many people hang much of their IPM on the effectiveness of brood breaks? The assumptions are important to challenge. I'm glad Ramsey's asking, and causing us to discuss further.

  11. #50
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    I'm with you on the brood breaks, Johno.
    As am I.

  12. #51
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Good point, Johno. We do know from studies that mites prefer nurse bees over foragers and that nurse bees are able to make the temporal jump to forage when colony dynamics change. It is probable that robbing during this time would present an opportunity for the mites to offload and that a drop in mite load from a treated colony would mean a direct increase in mite load to other colonies not given the treatment. (This brings up the broader question as to timing of treatments by all beekeepers in forage zones that overlap. If treatments are staggered, the mites could simply be caught to vector in “musical chairs”) This is all speculation; however, we should also consider behaviors such as allogrooming and altruistic sacrifice that may increase or possibly be more effective when the mites are exposed in much the same way that many chemical treatments work better when mites are exposed. It could result in zero sum gain if the bees do not posses behaviors found in stock with mite tolerance and / or the beekeeper does not use the break as a management strategy to increase efficacy of treatments. Dr. Ramsey has suggested formic acid being a possible work around with available commercial treatments since it barrels down into brood. This works for many beekeepers. However, personally, I am trigger shy having had queen issues with formic and prefer to use the break in conjunction with OAV. Dr. Ramsey is working to “weaponize” his research and if not take a chemical approach, then, is it genetic? Perhaps, a novel method to interrupt expression of larval pheromone that triggers the foundress to oviposit? Whatever it is, I’m certain Dr. Ramsey is going to find something beneficial to beekeepers and that is exciting.

  13. #52
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    "In addition, when we compared the fecundity of mites hosted by bees with different ages, we found a significant negative relationship between mite fertility and the age of nurses (Fig. 4)."

    That is working in favor of brood break , migration or not. There would be a time lag in any mite count impact until the 2nd generation.

    For the chem free the introduction of a sacrificial drone brood frame as a mite vacuum at the optimum time(whatever that is, post emerge ,prior to migration) would be well worth the hassle. Almost make maintaining a LW hive worth it.
    It is hard to design a safety net that some will not use as a hammock.

  14. #53
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Salty, there is no problem getting a frame of drone drawn; at least not in my neck of the woods. This one was 100% drone both sides in 6 days! That could soak up a lot of mites if it was timed ready to catch the surge.
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  15. #54
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Drone foundation or just lucky?
    It is hard to design a safety net that some will not use as a hammock.

  16. #55
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    Drone foundation or just lucky?
    Foundationless; 10th of June. Just before my spring flow starts.
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  17. #56
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    As am I.
    Me 3

  18. #57
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Ramsey's work certainly is cause to rethink everything concerning Varroa, but keep in mind that "Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees" is merely a thought experiment. Observations would seem to contradict this view. I don't do forced brood breaks but many have observed positive results and brood breaks are the typical explanation for why feral bees are surviving. The thought experiment is interesting but let's look at real world results and decide from that.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  19. #58
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    Thumbs Up Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by SuiGeneris View Post
    ...snip... My comments in this thread up to this point have been predicated on that assumption - e.g. that a brood break was being created as part of a larger pest management plan, most likely paired with a chemical treatment of some sort to kill the exposed varroa.
    I agree with the quote above, and assume the max benefit from a brood break would be had with a well timed mite treatment(s). Although, apis cerana's brood breaks have been attributed to one of it's defenses against these mites...Nature is already doing the brood breaks in the mite's native habitats.
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  20. #59
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    "Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees" is merely a thought experiment.
    Well, if it's just a meandering thought experiment, lets put some numbers to the thoughts. If a queen is laying 1500 eggs a day, total bee population will stabilize around 60,000 bees. 20 days egg to emerge, then 42 day average lifespan. 42 x 1500 = 63,000. So now we go thru the process of forced brood break, easiest way to do that, kill the queen. For the next 20 days, bees continue to emerge and older bees continue to die off. After the last brood has emerged, older bees continue to die off, no young bees coming along to replace them. The 'bee math' page tells me, average 28 days for a queen to start laying, and if we assume bees started with a 3 day larvae, then we carry on to day 25 with older bees dieing off, and no replacements in the pipline, so the population is down by 7500 once the queen starts to lay. Now we have another 20 days from when she starts laying till the first replacements emerge. 20 x 1500 = 30,000 bees die off of age during this process, so the total die-off amounts to 37,500, which is more than half the peak population of 63,000, and left us with 25,500 bees tending 30,000 brood.

    From my perspective, a forced brood break of this style is a great way to take a healthy thriving colony that's at peak population for summer flows, and turn it into a nucleus colony struggling to regain it's footing and rebuild in time for the winter. the population low point happens about 7 weeks after killing queen, then it takes another 6 weeks to fully recover.

  21. #60
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    Default Re: Ramsey: Forced Brood Breaks Could Be Harmful to Bees

    Grozzie:

    Good post re: population decline after forced brood break. A couple more things to consider, if you are attempting to maximize your forager-force during a nectar flow and time your brood break (and OAV) accordingly. I have a six week nectar flow (generally May 15 to July 1). If I kill my queen on May 15 I don't believe this will impact my workforce during the flow. In fact, it could be that with an idle broodnest, nurse bees will be promoted early to work the nectar flow, creating more foragers for the flow. If I had allowed the queen to live, the eggs she laid on May 16 will not become foragers during the flow (42 days until foraging according to "Bee Math").

    In your climate, I assume it would be extremely risky to be entering August with only 30,000 bees. But in mine, I will still have many brood cycles before my 2 weeks of "winter." The remaining population will forage the goldenrod and asters in September and October. Six weeks for recovery is ample in my case.

    Edit: Also, killing the queen on May 15 helps control swarming during my flow, which is a frequent problem for me. Nothing like losing 50 to 70% of your workforce just when the nectar flow starts.
    Last edited by psm1212; 11-21-2018 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Additional Thought

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