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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Is it for extended queen caging in varroa control methods?
Varroa control mid-summer/late-summer - to create brood-less windows for treatments (without colony splitting).
Also for managing the flow harvest - the same, to create brood-less windows.
Also for multi-queen projects (including wintering).
Many uses if you think about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
If it was predictable, it would be a neat way to winter a few extra queens? Is that queen excluder dimension or small enough to keep workers out?
Standard queen excluder is used to make the cage - thus the workers are free to go in/out.

For the wintering - this particular cage is used when outside of the frame - because then you have options to move it around to ensure that cluster is covering the cage.
As pictured - it is most useful during the warm season.
But people reportedly use the same for queen wintering just as well.

Here is just one video of many - how to make the cage.
There are bigger cages demonstrated too - more suitable for queen wintering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It would be easy to model, but something like this seems within the abilities of most beekeepers:

View attachment 66235

I'm not sure you'd need the queen excluder, would you? I understood the nurse bees would feed the queen through the screen.
Unsure how and if the free in/out bee access is important.
However, the people in the practical know do use the queen excluder.
I want to think it took some practical trials to select the best solution.
Purhaps the physical contact of the bees and the queen is imporant - so to distribute the queen-is-here pheromon around the colony better.

Also, about the pictured - one needs to be able to easily dump the contents out (e.g. a dead queen).
How do you easily do that with the pictured?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
What am I missing?
You are not missing anything, LBussy.
The construction of these things is rather trivial and really is a non-issue.
It is really is not even the point and I don't even care to dwell on this.
I know how to make such a cage if I need one.
But do I know how and why use it?

What is really missing - methodology of these things.
They are not being used when they could be.
This is what I am learning about at the moment.

One of the key points is this - continuous brood presence over the season is not necessarily a good thing. In fact, brood interruptions are rather normal in nature - but NOT in current conventional beekeeping. That is a very deep point to think about.

Pretty much ALL bee parasites and deceases are rooted in brood.
Why do we need so much brood?
Why do we need to have brood continuously?

Because the current conventional teaching says so.
Well, I have identified people now that demonstrated that one needs not to have so much brood at all (all the while general production is not sacrificed).
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Does not more brood the more worker bees and the more honey production?
You see - this is statement needs qualification.
But people take it virtually as if "true" at all times and in all conditions.

But indeed this statement is ONLY true if it is very well timed in anticipation of 1)good flow conditions or 2)pre-winter build up.
Otherwise it is actually counter-productive because brood production is very expensive in all resources (all the while directly correlated with the pest infestation).

Now, if you are in package/queen production and/or pollination business - you have totally different program dynamics.
But you, Black Bear, are neither in package sales or in pollination business.
You don't migrate either.
Why should you care about their priorities? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
caging the queen is not magically a plus.
Caging a queen very much a location-dependent (AND business model dependent) technique.
But it seems to work if done properly.
I keep track of two beekeepers who have been caging for many years with good results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
No, I do not do either, nor do I care about their priorities. I was just offering the standard defence against brood interruption that I am given by local beekeepers regardless if they are hobby or commercial. The aim seems to be to get as much honey as they can and while I understand that from a commercial point I don't so much understand it from a hobby perspective.

I do have a great brood break for the winter. I am going to do one this summer, if my bees survive, and see how it works.
Yes - that "standard" defense. :)
Heard that before.

One needs not be caging the queen either.
Standard splitting techniques can do the same.

But in late summer (August-ish) the splitting maybe less desirable/feasible - but queen caging is a fine option.
For example, in my location, first 3 weeks in August could be a good time for this technique so to implement a very effective mite control (brood-less treatment). After that the queen is released to generate a batch of healthy winter bees (post-treatment).

Basic premise here is that in some specific locations at some specific times certain cohorts of bees are more liability than asset.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
GregV - I am close to you, and on multiple occasions seen the queens shut down laying for the year the last week of August. Please explain to me how you get enough winter bees if you caged her for the first three weeks?

Crazy Roland
My queens kept laying straight into October (including three second year queens).
So I don't know about your queens but I have no such problems.
Possibly this has to do with my particular ways (all Layens-modified equipment).

Sounds like this is not for you (like I already said). :)
For sure this method does not scale well if you are a big boy - that is given.

BTW, the beeks who practice caging are saying that after the break queens just resume.
I have not done this method myself but very well just might try out as a mite-control technique.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 · (Edited)
This is one of those beeks I mentioned about.
He only has his queen3 free for about 4 months out the whole year (long winter break and short-mid summer break).
This amounts to queen working for about 3 months in spring and 1 month in later summer.
Eastern Ukraine; about USDA zone 5.
Lack of bees is never an issue - this is indeed about long living bees.

Regarding:
They are your bees, so do as you wish. I can not afford to take that risk, and instead use a different non chemical method that does not require another piece of equipment.
Clearly - you don't switch things globally until you tested them out on a small scale.
As well as the queen isolation is a hassle in itself and may not be worth it to you.

A bigger point is this - mite control is the most effective on brood-less bees.
However you achieve this is your own choice under your own circumstances (if you even care).
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I know that swarming reduces the honey production level of a hive and so would this process, especially if you caged the queen for 2 weeks.
Not so.
Consider:
  • swarming means loosing the immediate workforce in random fashion;
  • caging means loosing some of the future workforce in pre-planned fashion.

Loosing some of the future workforce timed so that the loss is directed to limit the future workforce when is actually a liability (NOT an asset) actually increases overall output (through savings).

So the idea of shaving off the future, excessive workforce must be understood.
Excessive workforce during the not favorite time results in honey being burned and bees raising (expensively!) extra rounds of brood (progressively mite-infested too).

Here is an approximate quote from one of local emails here that illustrates -
"I opened my hive in August and found it full of bees and no honey left. Where did all the honey go????"
The author of this email annually complains how her only good flow is locust and nothing after that for the rest of the summer.
Mid-summer caging could be a good option for her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
14 days to eliminate drone brood.
No need to wait this long.
Drone brood can be butchered at any time at will - as soon as they are capped (UNLESS you want them for some reason).
And the unhatched worker brood can be moved away IF it gets in the way.

But I agree - cage the queen for 2 weeks/14 days/ 2 weekends apart - just for the logistical convenience of it and to add few extra days so not worry too much..
That would be my approach, for the mite control purposes.

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