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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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 summer… 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 I’d be surprised if it hasn’t, but a quick web search didn’t show me anything similar.
  • Will this work? I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be at least somewhat effective, but maybe I’m 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 box’s 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.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Personally, I like when people consider novel ways of dealing with issues. As far as potential problems with this particular idea, where does one begin...

Certainly the bees will begin building queen cells in the upper box as soon as the trap is put in place. The bees will need ingress and egress from the top box and there does not appear to be means for that or for ventilation, which will result in a lot of dead bees. The list of potential problems is quite long IMO. Sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply JW. Maybe I'm an optimist, but your list looks pretty short to me actually! I think i can address it in two points:

- I agree, an entrance for the box(es) above the screened trap is necessary.

- Yes, queen cells will be made. This is essentially a modified split. But it would go a couple steps beyond just inducing a brood break in terms of combating mites. 1) It would minimize the number of mites in the queenright box. And 2) it would (hopefully) kill a number of the mites in the queenless box at the same time.
 

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This could be labeled as another variation or use of the Snelgrove board. If you are not aware of, "Swarming and it's Prevention", by L. E. Snelgrove, you might benefit from his work to accomplish the manipulations you are describing and to overcome some of the problems being pointed out.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks Alex. From my limited understanding of Snelgrove boards I agree that using a Snelgrove board could be a good means to institute such a mite trap if one was so inclined. I'm a fan of keeping things simple though, and so I plan on attempting this with simple screened dividers between the boxes for trial number one next summer.
 
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