forced brood break
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  1. #1
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    Default forced brood break

    I hope my bees take a brood break this summer, but if not, is there a good way to convince them to do so? Is this something that can be bred for? I like the idea of a brood break for varroa control. How long does the break need to be to knock down the varroa numbers?
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    You can trap her in a push-in cage for 14 days within the hive. This will allow a very brief brood break.

    Another method: If you have a honey super that is full of honey and/or capped frames, put her in the honey super on a single frame of drawn comb above a queen excluder. At the end of 14 days, remove the excluder and the frame of drawn comb she has been laying in. I would put the frame of drawn comb in the freezer in order to kill the mites that have migrated to that single frame. This may work better with a drawn frame of drone comb, as mites seem to prefer drone comb.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    psm When do you usually time it?

    What are the chances that the girls will draw out queen cells in the brood box when the queen is moved to the supers?
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  5. #4
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    Quote Originally Posted by Jadeguppy View Post
    psm When do you usually time it? I do it about now. When the nectar flow comes to an end and I am waiting on the bees to cap off the frames. In full disclosure, I do this in conjunction with an OAV treatment after the 14 day sequestration of the queen. I release her back to the brood box and pull the honey supers off before I OAV. I realize that this is the TF forum, but wanted to give you the full picture of what I am doing when you ask about timing.

    What are the chances that the girls will draw out queen cells in the brood box when the queen is moved to the supers? That could happen, but it has not happened to me or to another beekeeper I know well who does this much more than I do. I keep the queen on the super that sits on top of the brood nest (separated only by the excluder). If you put her in an upper super, when more than one super was on, that may cause enough separation from her and the brood nest to encourage queen cells. A check of the brood nest for QCs after the first week of sequestration should ease your mind about that.
    nm

  6. #5
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    there is a utube presentation by Ralph Buchler at The National Honey Show on sustainable Mite control by caging the Queen for a 30 day brood break. He explains how Italian beekeepers use a variety of ways and timing to do it. Similar to OTS except they're doing it for mite control with honey production. Quite interesting
    Jerry

  7. #6
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    Unfortunately the "brood break" is not a timed, coordinated effort amongst beekeepers. I executed a brood break in late September. OAV'ed the hive and killed 291 Varroa as verified by counting a dead drop, post treatment count. I then watched over 1000 mites migrate into the hive over a 3 week period as well as in all my other hives except one. This big hives as well as most of my other hives were robbing from weak hives in unknown locations. It is a good idea but it has to be regional and timed. In a densely populated area with the well known diversity of opinons in beekeeping, newbies with packages, how do you get everyone to brood break and treat at the same time?

    I am rethinking and giving consideration to a brood break in late November followed by a 2X OAV around Dec. 1 to 15. This should get me zero to near zero Varroa residents for wintering and spring-summer but does not protect development of my winter brood/bees from Varroa Bombs. I stink at finding queens and it has to be quick in Nov. Anybody use RFID tags on queens??

  8. #7
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    Everyone doing brood breaks at the same time would be a hard concept to convince everybody to do. I do see that beekeepers who live in areas that don't have an extended cooler period would have a tougher time utilizing brood breaks for mite control. I know RI has some winter. How did you get a brood break done in Sept. Did the new queen have time to lay enough brood for winter bees.
    You might want to look at Mel Dissoelkoens OTS method. It utilizes 2 brood breaks a year in Spring and summer. Finding queens can be trying but a hive in the Spring with low bee numbers can help.Brood breaks are not really brood breaks unless they go 30 days without a Queen. Good luck!

  9. #8
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    We have real winters but not this year. More often some good cold spells including below 0, sometimes deep snow, occasionally snow for 4 months but almost always a long cold, frosty spring. Inland warms up a lot faster then by the ocean but Falls are nice and long.

    Winter bees / brood break (and in this case queen replacement): On a strong hive, after removing supers, install QE's to isolated queen to one box ( I can never find her- old eyes); my standard brood chamber is a medium+deep+medium with a QE on top when supering. Wait a week or more after QE installation, determine which box she is in and move the brood box / queen out as a new colony - next door (foragers leave and go home, nurse bees stay behind). Verify no eggs or larva and add a new drawn-out replacement box to the hive. OAV once or twice ( 4 day cycle), and then install a mated queen to the treated hive; original queen or new mated queen or merge a nuc. Undesired queen can be pinched with bees merged to a weaker hive or setup in a nuc, OAV'ed and fed syrup for winter; if necessary give her a frame and use as a brood resource come Spring. Still learning and evaluating brood break but Fall Varroa migration here is a killer.

    Why 30 days for a brood break versus 14 or 21? I do not see how brood breaks in Spring and summer stop the primary problem of the Fall Varroa invasion. Winter OAV in Dec. - Jan when near brood-less or brood-less with low Varroa counts really cleans the house. Clean until September as verified by checking capped drones and worker cells.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Holcombe View Post
    Unfortunately the "brood break" is not a timed, coordinated effort amongst beekeepers. I executed a brood break in late September.
    A brood break in September, where do I start. Lets start with some simple bee biology arithmetic. 20 days from egg to emerge, call it 3 weeks for easy figuring. Summer bees live 42 days on average.

    When you stop the queen from laying, for the first 3 weeks you will see no difference in bee population, brood is emerging and bees still die off, population is stable. 3 weeks after you stop the queen from laying, things change. No more replacements emerging, but old ones still die off. Now here is the problem, those bees that _should_ be emerging in late September and early October are the ones that would be your long lived winter bees. If your break was 3 weeks, then queen starts laying again in late September, and another problem shows itself. As you move farther and farther into the round of brood being laid up, there are no more correct age nurse bees, so those larvae are being fed by older bees forced to revert or remain nursing, leaving you with a rapidly declining forager population. So as we reach the point of 6 weeks past the time you stopped the queen from laying you now have a colony with a population roughly half of what it should be, and to top it off, they are all older bees a population completely out of wack with the normal population distribution in a bee colony. So there is a round of brood emerging that's been fed in a sub standard way because there weren't correct age nurse bees to nurture them as larva, and to top it all off, now winter has arrived.

    IMHO, a brood break in September is a fabulous way to end up with a weak / poor colony in mid to late October, and blaming other folks for the demise of that colony is a sure sign of somebody that doesn't really understand how bee colony populations progress thru the season.

    The reason you will never get a co-ordinated brood break amongst beekeepers is those that have been doing this for years full well understand, there is no more effective way to weaken a colony than stopping the queen from laying for a period of time. You want a strong colony for the spring, you need a fresh young queen laying up sheets of winter bees in early September, and the time to prepare for that is in July.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    Good rebuttal to the whole brood break idea. Not in that camp at all as a means of mite control unless combined with a treatment once all the mites are phoretic. (See psm1212's post above.) Look at the life cycle of the mite, not the bee, and one can see why. The foundress mite lives through two breeding cycles so a 15 day break will have almost zero impact on mite deaths, and only a very short term affect on total mite numbers. Once the brood break is over, all the mites (now living on the bees) will invade the new brood "en masse" and begin the reproductive cycle once again. Any observed decrease in mite infestation is, in my opinion, due to the mites migrating to someone else's hives that are not, as the mite would see it, dying. Overall, I think drone comb removal would.have a better impact for those wishing to remain totally TF as it physically removes mites from the hive and kills them.

    Are there any scientific studies in an isolated area that prove that a brood break is effective at actually reducing total mite numbers as opposed to simply redistributing them to neighboring apiaries?
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 02-08-2020 at 11:00 AM.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    I agree Sept brood break - a disaster. There is no time for the proper numbers of winter bees to be raised
    1st- An Ots method of a brood break has a new queen being raised after the old queen has been removed. She will be laying 25- 30 days from when the old queen was removed. This is done in May and in July. The new July Queen will be laying the beginnng of the winter bees.
    2nd- Now how does this remove mites? Three weeks after The original queen was removed all the mites are on the bees. there are no mites under caps. the new queen starts laying. On the 8th day the mites go bonkers. All the mites in hive try to get into cells before they're capped on the 9th day. They literally pack into those 8 day larvae cells, killing the larvae but also killing themselves. After 2-3 days a high percentage of the mites will be dead. Proof is easily seen by looking at those frames where that new queen was laying will show a round area in the frame where the 1st laying took place where the larvae is all dead and full of mites. After 2-3 days the new queen will continue to lay and brood will be normal.Mite counts have shown these results
    Now this doesn't stop mite migration from happening in the Fall. - but it does stop the mites from migrating from your hives

  13. #12
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    Beekeeping is regional. A September brood break is not the same as those expressing concern. You are in the northern regions. We don't even go a week during the winter without flying days most winters. The concept of winter bee needs here are a bit different than up there. One reason I have my hardiness zone in my signature is to help adjusting for regional differences. We don't even get snow. In fact, I can drive half way up the county and am in a different growing zone. Gulf winds are amazing at regulating our weather.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  14. #13
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    Sounds like someone is bragging .Good to see you back on the boards Heather.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    Once the brood break is over, all the mites (now living on the bees) will invade the new brood "en masse" and begin the reproductive cycle once again. Any observed decrease in mite infestation is, in my opinion, due to the mites migrating to someone else's hives that are not, as the mite would see it, dying.
    what would make you say that??
    Of corce they are dieing, every day.. and every day they are not reproducing means a day the population is declining in stead of growing, and every day they are on the bees gives the bees a chance at grooming.

    we see this all the time in cold climates, lots and lots of mites die over the winter brood break. Ross conrads's sare study showed this well https://projects.sare.org/project-reports/fne16-840/
    but it also impacts the bee population, so done at the wrong time, you lose crop


    here is the impact on the mites 60 days after you remove the queen and let a hive re-queen its self
    pinch.jpg

    Overall, I think drone comb removal would.have a better impact for those wishing to remain totally TF as it physically removes mites from the hive and kills them.
    confining the queen to one comb post brood break will trap the vast majority of the remaining mites... drone brood traping can help, but 1st year hives fighting with mites aren't going to make much drone limiting its eftivness
    chemical free perhaps, but having the same drawbacks in turms of propping up sustibul stocks
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  16. #15
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    So the supposed brood break mite levels diverge from the non brood break mite levels at day 23. Count forward the approximately 35 days it takes to get an E queen mated and laying, and you are back at the same mite level as before. Only now you have lost 50% of your bees. Sure there are not as many total mites as there would have been, but the mite load per bee has actually doubled. About the same as if you had not done the brood break at all. Besides that, stopping the graph at day 61 seems highly suspect as the first mites from the new brood would just be emerging (day 56). My guess is that the data from that point on was inconvenient.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    dup
    Last edited by msl; 02-16-2020 at 04:44 PM.
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  18. #17
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    Besides that, stopping the graph at day 61 seems highly suspect as the first mites from the new brood would just be emerging (day 56). My guess is that the data from that point on was inconvenient.
    sure, I manipulated the computer model just to pull the wool over your eyes
    Plenty of studys out there on brood breaks, haven't found one yet to support your view, please pass it on if you find one.

    here is 120 for you from a thread about 3 years back
    ots2.jpgswarms+was.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by msl; 02-16-2020 at 05:06 PM.
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  19. #18
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    "Good rebuttal to the whole brood break idea. Not in that camp at all as a means of mite control unless combined with a treatment once all the mites are phoretic." I missed all this discussion following my comment until now. I have trouble understanding the direction of the discussion about brood breaks without treatments. Creating a brood break and treating is precisely what was planned and completed - so I get confused. Second, my weather and flow supported a 14 day September break. Foraging continued for a couple more weeks, brood rearing restarts almost immediately after 14 days and OAV treatments - a 300 Varroa dead drop count is not chicken feed but actually a good number for mid-September. Having a hive with the second lowest level of dead mites out of nine hives for the yer is also not chicken feed. Winter bees are not all created in a two week period. To top it off the brood -break hive seems to be doing well today with about 4 weeks to go before Spring pollen shows up here. BTW, Jennifer Berry proposed this concept, Italians and others do this every late summer in a drought / no flow period. I ran a test. It seems to be working but had no benefit against the Fall Varroa Invasion. The idea of coordinated treatments, as done in Wales, apparently works well. So, I am left confused or I simply missed something.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    Robert, this thread is in the treatment free forum so care must taken not to advocate for treatments, even as part of a brood break. Msl is also discussing a much longer brood break than what I was adressing, 35 days vs the 14, so there may very well be mite deaths in significant numbers over that period of time without the use of treatments. I am not sure the benefit of that is worth the cost in hive population when done soley as a means of mite control. If one is making splits, entiry different story.

    The additional graphs provided are a much clearer representation of the data. The first was so narrow as to not relfect the exponential growth of the mite.
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 02-17-2020 at 04:51 AM.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: forced brood break

    JwP Guess I "really" missed the big picture and for intruding.

    Spring is coming - in a few more weeks

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