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Discussion Starter #1
The factor to consider is the drone cycle. From egg to emergence of a drone is 24-25 days. Most mites are in drone brood.

Suppose you do a simple split. One half has a queen and all goes on as usual. No mite break.
The queenless half however has several different paths. If it must make a queen from an egg, then it will be about 1 month before the mites have new larvae to infect. The queen cycle is 16 days from egg to emerging from the cell, then a period of maturation, virgin flights and mating, then a while before egg laying starts. 30-40 days at best.

Sounds good, but a drone egg laid the same day of the split will emerge on day 24, eight days AFTER the queen emerged, and just a few days before she starts to lay. Most mites will be on young bees who are not flying, so attrition is low. Unless these bees are very serious about grooming and mite biting, the population of new, young mites is hardly reduced before they have new cells to invade. The older, adult mites are being lost during this period, but every day a new population of young mites is hatching along with the drones that are continuously hatching.

I would call this a 'pause' in mite reproduction, not a highly useful break. The queenright half got no break at all, and those mites are exploding and drift will carry them into the nearby hives.

It is even worse if the bees had a capped queen cell ready when you split, or if they swarmed. The hive left behind by a swarm will have capped queen cells ready to hatch, and the brood break is so short that drones are continuously hatching while the virgin is mating, returns and starts laying. Barely even a mite pause in reproduction.

Based on this I now believe my former thinking on brood breaks was naive and ill-informed. The mites are well-adapted to the bee life cycle and are prepared for normal events like swarms and queen replacements. Brood breaks of normal length will slow the mite cycle a bit, but not stop it. It's a 'better-than-nothing' intervention.

What are my next steps for TF? This year, after finding a badly infested drone comb, I started seriously working to eliminate drone brood after the swarm season. Pluse a second brood break in late July.
 

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AR1 ; Agree. I am pretty isolated from other bees so once mite levels are ~zero I can manage to keep them there with little effort. I cull some drone larvae to look for mites. Usually negative. Not sure how colony cost effective large scale drone production and culling would be in a high mite potential environment.

There was a thread here not so long ago on the cost to the colony of a deliberate brood break. It is a very expensive if not negative benefit mite control measure. I made a quick try to search it up but obviously not the right search parameters.

Though you may not get all mites phoretic several OAV treatments will be somewhat more effective than would be the case if there was no period of even partial brood interruption. Not a good tactic to depend on in a high mite environment.
 

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You two guys are touching on some very important things about brood breaks that many folks miss.
1. Not many mites are "dying of old age" during a brood break. Data indicates they live through 3-8 reproductive cycles and if they feed survive the winter on bees in the cluster.

2. Mel Disselkoen makes a good observation in one of his talks that when a brood break is over some mites are killed as a result of lots of mites entering the first couple days of brood produced and that larvae dying.
Most folks don't see that since the dead brood is removed. The overall result is very negative in bee population and worker age distribution.

3.A timely treatment during the brood break has the possibility to have a much more positive effect on mite reduction.
 

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Mel's concept has never been proven
and simple math shows any efect is minumal...

the mite pop grows (reproduction rate - death rate) at 0.025 a day it dies at 0.009% a day
if you start with 1,000 mites you will have 800 after a 30 day brood break, if you don't do the brood break you will have 2,000 mites.. that a big difference from flattening the curve..

now if you take mels methods, you break the hive in to 4 nucs
now each nuc only has 200 mites
at this point you have also 4x the brood out put as you have 4 laying queens, so you can stay ahead of the mites for a bit. ots4.jpg nuc mites.jpg swarms+waw bar.jpg swarms+was.jpg
 

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Point taken and was understood before hand.
My point was not to say that Mel had the answer, it was to point out that whatever the reduction of mites or mechanism for it, the reduction in bee population since the queen is not laying and the imbalance in worker ages can have a pretty negative overall effect.
30 days at 1000 eggs a day is half the population of a fairly strong hive.
On the plus side since there is no larvae to feed for a while incoming resources can get stored so like lots of things in beekeeping the answer is it depends.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Though you may not get all mites phoretic several OAV treatments will be somewhat more effective than would be the case if there was no period of even partial brood interruption. Not a good tactic to depend on in a high mite environment.
To get really good results you would need to wait 25 days after queen removal, or you will have constantly hatching mites coming out of drone brood. Every treatment will help, some. The question is what does a good job.

This year I am trying brood breaks plus drone removal. Still no chemicals, but that may change as I get into late July and see how things look.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mel's concept has never been proven
and simple math shows any efect is minumal...

the mite pop grows (reproduction rate - death rate) at 0.025 a day it dies at 0.009% a day
if you start with 1,000 mites you will have 800 after a 30 day brood break, if you don't do the brood break you will have 2,000 mites.. that a big difference from flattening the curve..
View attachment 57097 View attachment 57099 View attachment 57101 View attachment 57103
Your first two slides show what I was referring to when I said it was a mite pause more than a break. The upward curve is delayed a few weeks. In the second slide I am assuming the numbers across the bottom are days...? If so that shows increasing mite numbers right up until the last few drones emerge, then declining mite numbers.

I have read that mites prefer young bees, that will stay near brood. Older bees are less likely to be attacked. So, perhaps pulling the queen and doing a flyback split, where all the foragers, old bees, return to the queenright colony, but without brood hatching, so the mites face a more serious decline in numbers. You would have to separate the queen from brood right off the bat to prevent mass reinfection. I'm just rambling here, throwing out ideas.

I could split all my nucs again in late July and probably do Okay. But that would only allow me to have nucs overwinter. That worked fine last winter, but I am hoping to allow a few of these hives to expand and make some honey this fall.

Or, I could pull several of the queens into nucs and combine most of their bees into one queenless super-colony, hoping to get honey off of that. Leave the supercolony queenless for a while. How long? Have to think more. Maybe I'll put a queen in the TOP box with an excluder under it. Then I can easily manage her, and cull drone brood much more easily without having to lift lots of boxes.

So here's what I got:
1. 1st split in May, make up as many nucs as you can. I did that.

2, After the split/swarm season start removing all drone brood. I use a medium frame in my deep boxes to make this easy. Most of the drone brood is placed under the medium with only a few scattered singles or patches of drone brood elsewhere.

3. By end of June all those nucs should be queenright and full of bees. Some of mine were not queenright and got extra frames of brood, so the nucs are full of bees regardless of whether there is a queen present or not.

4. In July pull queens back into new nucs, flyback split style, so they all end up with their forager older bee population and few mites. These will take time to make comb before the queen can lay, so they get something of a brood break and should be mostly mite-free bees to begin with.

5. Combine all the now-queenless nucs into large-population hives. Most or all of the brood will be going into these large hives. Pull out any queen cells they make into small nucs to increase hive numbers. This hive can remain queenless or get a queen added later.
 

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Mel's concept has never been proven
and simple math shows any efect is minumal...
And so Mel should run out of his bees long ago.
Not the case.
How is he still getting by?

Did not take me long to have 100% loss.
Why doesn't Mel report 100% loss?
I very much trust Mel is an honest man.

So, this is a the part of the "logical" # crunching and graph building that just never adds up in the end.
 

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The factor to consider is the drone cycle. From egg to emergence of a drone is 24-25 days. Most mites are in drone brood.

Suppose you do a simple split. One half has a queen and all goes on as usual. No mite break. .
Unless you do a brood-less split.
I don't know why people don't practice brood-less splits.
Brood == mite factory.

This year this is my standard practice.
Being brood-less is an obvious setback but it has benefits - 1)the situation triggers certain swarm-like urgency directed towards the nest reconstruction (very good) and 2)it also provides mite shedding compatible to swarming.
Brood-less split is even more effective when combined with forcing them into complete/partial comb rebuilding - they indeed behave similar to a swarm.
 

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The factor to consider is the drone cycle. From egg to emergence of a drone is 24-25 days. Most mites are in drone brood.

Suppose you do a simple split. One half has a queen and all goes on as usual. No mite break.........
..........

Sounds good, but a drone egg laid the same day of the split will emerge on day 24, eight days AFTER the queen emerged, and just a few days before she starts to lay. Most mites will be on young bees who are not flying, so attrition is low........

I would call this a 'pause' in mite reproduction, not a highly useful break. The queenright half got no break at all, and those mites are exploding and drift will carry them into the nearby hives.
This the experimentation that I did with my May 12th swarm (it was getting ready to swarm, anyway).

A variation of fly-back split but brood-less.

The queen-right unit:
- was left few frames with stores - no brood on them (I simply want them to finish capping the honey - then will remove).
- the bees occupying the honey frames are mostly young bees too but with the least infestation being outside of the brood nest - these honey handlers will easily revert back to the brood tending - so this provides for the reasonably well-balanced unit
- gave few empty combs checker-boarded with blank frames - give them work, but also provide space to immediately enable a new brood nest recreation

The queen-less unit:
- ALL brood was moved into here
- I harvested as much drone brood as was practical (there was good presence of mites in it; easily observed)
- also destroyed some drone brood in place - too old pupae are not harvest-able - just de-capped them with a fork and messed up pretty bad - to be removed by bees
- shook out some bees for my other projects - just a tangential benefit
- yesterday I removed ALL QCs (I hope I did as there were many; the better ones went directly into mating nucs) and introduced brand new eggs from a "superior" genetic line so that they create new QCs from zero again

In short, the queen-right unit was made as mite-free as possible (outside of chemical treatment - it was a perfect chance to use OA if I choose to do it, of course).
The queen-less unit was made as mite free as possible by removing the drone brood (present mite concentration) and the brood break was extended by resetting their QCs back to zero.

In late July/early August I want to try mite testing to get the rough infestation idea.
 

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That is the annual cycle of the original host of the varroa mite, the Cerana bee:

Cerana-cycleYear.jpg

So 3 months of varroa reproduction (in drone cells) – which means a brood break for 9 months.

Also there are "winter mites" and "summer mites": there are long-living and short living varroa mites.

Morphological variation of Varroa destructor (Parasitiformes, Varroidae) in different seasons
V. O. Yevstafieva, L. M. Zaloznaya, O. S. Nazarenko, V. V. Melnychuk, A. G. Sobolta
Biosystems Diversity. Vol 28 No 1 (2020). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15421/012003

https://ecology.dp.ua/index.php/ECO/article/view/1018

The chances are small, that you can influence a species through brood breaks, that is adapted to a 9 month brood break. :scratch:
 

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That is the annual cycle of the original host of the varroa mite, the Cerana bee:

View attachment 57131
Immediately, I can say this cycle of Cerana bees does not represent the Russian Far East.
Drone generation starting in September just makes no sense for that locality.
Rainy season in July/August is clearly meant for some other location - probably Indo-China or similar.
Flora availability in February makes no sense.
This pictured annual cycle is irrelevant for the northern populations of Cerana.
 

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thanks BH... I didn't go there as not to muddy things, but yes summer and winter mites.. summer mites live shorter and are more impacted by the break.. the break also alows grooming behaviors (like treatments) to be more effective as the mites are exposed, and exposed for a longer time.. Ie if the bees bite and kill 6% of the 20% mites that are exposed for an advrage 6 days phortic period (1% a day) they are only killing 0.2 a day, the mite repruction rate is being held back 1.2% but if those mites are exposed for an advrage 20 days the bees kill 20% o the mites, and thats with minimal mite biting


And so Mel should run out of his bees long ago.
Not the case.
How is he still getting by
read the whole post

mell's hypotheses of the mites crowding the 1st cells has not been documented, simple math shows shows any effect form it is likely minuminal with the bulk of the results caused by the brood break and then the division of the mite load in to nucs.

no were am I saying it dosen't work, the math model show that it does!!
its a simple mater of a 4x increase in brood out put shifting the ratio of mites to bees, that is till the mites catch up.. but mixed with a fay back its quite efective

with my stock (except for the yard that takes magor leage mite bombs) I can do a winter bloodless oxliac and a spring fly back split, break the brood in to 4 nucs and get by quite well and still make a crop

Hive CF01, an IPM story

2016 May 12 Caught as a swarm, moved to an out yard with a rabbit brush flow mid sept, nothing to harvest, Nov brood less dribble

2017 7/25 rolled 19 per 300, 8/4 pulled 15#(not bad at all for a top bar in my area) and started a 3x weekly dribble. Followed by a 12/13 brood less dribble.

2018 plan was to split up and requeen to get numbers up in this out yard , but my resistant bees are jerks, and the landowners house was close and my queen rearing was off to a slow start (bees were 3-4 weeks behind last year) and given I was gong to requeen most of the main yard with the queen that had the lowest mite count, I didn't have queen to spare
so on 5/7 I did a fly away split , the brood side was split 4 ways after cells were drawn, 7/10 they had drawn and filled the hive and I pulled 13#, 8/1 rolled 3 per 300.
some people of corce treat the nucs when they go brood less but I don't have to... in the nucs are seeing too much mites you could FBS them again, or in the next year use a traping comb and jettison the 1 comb of brood
 

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no were am I saying it dosen't work, the math model show that it does!!
its a simple mater of a 4x increase in brood out put shifting the ratio of mites to bees, that is till the mites catch up.. but mixed with a fay back its quite efective
All I am suggesting is that the simplistic math models are that - too simplistic (albeit easy to understand as it appears on a 2-D plane, but are they true in a N-dimensional case?). For just one example, I wonder if gww's bees ever read the mite projections graphs. His bees should have dead many years ago by most any math projection.

All the brightest people on Earth (and their super-computers) are trying to figure out the COVID models right now - will probably take many years. AND COVID is a true and pressing high priority (vs. some mite most people still don't know about).
 

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Greg the model and the example hive show the reproduction rate of non resistant stocks, this shows OTS can and does work with "normal" bees.. proping them up the same as treatments

We know there are many modifiers such as resistant stocks lowering the mite reproduction rate and proximity to other beekeepers increasing the immigration rate. You seem to take it in the shorts on both of those, while GWW seems to have at least one in his favor

Bolt Comfort and Webster feel location and management are the top players, followed by genetics.
you can't change your location, so you are taking a hard look at what a management change can do for you and have reached out to get better genetics..
so you are on a good path
modeling both bee hive population growth (linear) and mite pop growth (exponential) is fairly strait forward, that's how we arrive at action thresholds.
it would be a simple matter to do 3 mounthly mite washes on GWWs hives and adjust to what ever mite reproduction rate he has.
Randys model is great for that and has rates form TF stocks as well as a way to adjust the immigration http://scientificbeekeeping.com/randys-varroa-model/
 

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By the way about all the brightest and their Covid rubbish, when an Irish Professor pulls all their theories apart in a Youtube interview it quickly gets censored by Youtube as it does not fit in to their mantra.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Youtube is Google and Google lets you see only what they want you to see. AT least they have not started censoring bee keeping videos, as far as I know anyway.
 

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Quite frankly in my opinion a brood break in a colony is like the 15 minute half time break in a game of rugby where neither of the two sides gets an advantage over the other. The only advantage in the colony is if they receive a treatment of some sort when all mites become phoretic.
 

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Greg the model and the example hive show the reproduction rate of non resistant stocks, this shows OTS can and does work with "normal" bees.. proping them up the same as treatments

We know there are many modifiers such as resistant stocks lowering the mite reproduction rate and proximity to other beekeepers increasing the immigration rate. You seem to take it in the shorts on both of those, while GWW seems to have at least one in his favor

Bolt Comfort and Webster feel location and management are the top players, followed by genetics.
you can't change your location, so you are taking a hard look at what a management change can do for you and have reached out to get better genetics..
so you are on a good path
modeling both bee hive population growth (linear) and mite pop growth (exponential) is fairly strait forward, that's how we arrive at action thresholds.
it would be a simple matter to do 3 mounthly mite washes on GWWs hives and adjust to what ever mite reproduction rate he has.
Randys model is great for that and has rates form TF stocks as well as a way to adjust the immigration http://scientificbeekeeping.com/randys-varroa-model/
OK; sounds reasonable, MSL.
 

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Quite frankly in my opinion a brood break in a colony is like the 15 minute half time break in a game of rugby where neither of the two sides gets an advantage over the other. The only advantage in the colony is if they receive a treatment of some sort when all mites become phoretic.
If your bees are very susceptible - not much you can do, break or no break (I want these bees just to be gone; don't care to own them).
If your bees are resistant to some degree - that is something you can work with (no work needs to be done in the most ideal cases, as this very forum demonstrates).
 
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