I was hoping to get constructive feedback on a mite control technique I am planning on testing next summer. If anyone has tried or seen something similar, or has any thoughts please share. Thanks!
The idea is to split a hive where (See the attached picture which is a crude diagram):
All the brood and most/all nurse bees are placed above a mite trap
The queen, empty comb and/or foundation, and foragers (via the existing entrance) are placed below.
The mite trap could be perhaps a sticky board or a basin full of water?
My thought being that once all of the capped brood in the upper box hatches all of the mites there will hopefully make their way down to the trap attracted by the new brood in the bottom box.
(I believe I saw this in action in double nucs of mine this summerÖ a number of lively mites were on a shared sticky board beneath the nucs after one of them was queenless for a while.)
Questions I have:
- Has this been tried before? It seems like a pretty simple idea, so Iíd be surprised if it hasnít, but a quick web search didnít show me anything similar.
- Will this work? I donít see any reason why it wouldnít be at least somewhat effective, but maybe Iím missing something?
- If it does work, what % of mite kill mite be expected?
- Will the bees treat this as a split? My thought is that sometimes they will but not necessarily always?
- What time of season would be best? Similar to a split I assume during a flow would be best, and perhaps later in the season to knock back more mites?
- How long would such a trap need to be in place?
- (My bee math: all drones emerged from top box in ~25 days + most mites mature in ~10-14 days = 35-40 days. Could be decreased by not putting eggs/young larvae in top box and/or culling drone brood? Sacrifice simplicity and top boxís ability to raise a queen though.)
- Can mites swim?
And to help direct comments/criticisms my goals (as a backyard hobbyist) are:
- To reduce the mite load through a chemical free method.
- I am less concerned about decreased honey yield and the amount of work required for this to work. Suggestions that might help with either of those aspects are welcome though.
- I am open to this being a split that I either recombine or keep as a separate colony.