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Discussion Starter #41
Sadly true. If the bees are not doing it themselves, all these manipulations and treatments are just scratching the edges of the problem. I am simply trying to keep some hives alive through next winter and go forward from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
A few days ago I did a complete, all frames inspection of a hive. This hive is from a small swarm I caught and put into a 5-frame nuc in June. It is now filling a 10-deep box with no supers. Good population.

I cut out large amounts of drone comb from the lower edges of 4 medium frames in the deep box. Relating back to the earlier discussion of Mel's ideas, that mites swarm into brood when given the chance, the youngest drone brood was essentially mite free. However, the older drone brood was mite-infested, some with multiple mites. There were also large numbers of dead drone larvae. It looks like the older drone brood 'caught' most of the mites. Interesting, many of the older drones were perfectly healthy-looking and had no mites.

Drone-culling is limited by the time the beekeeper has to manage the hive. I plan to continue doing it, but it's too time intense for anyone who had to make a living off their bees. It's also time-sensitive. If you miss a cull, you have just released a large population of mites back into your hive. Drones take about 23-24 days to emerge, so it's basically a monthly activity.

I need to break out the alcohol wash kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Thinking of swarms and brood breaks. The swarm gets it's break, but the hive left behind is worse off than ever. It's like a hive in late fall, egg laying has stopped and the last brood is hatching into a hive with decreasing numbers of bees, piling mites onto decreasing bees. A month after a swarm, in the original hive, the new queen starts laying and those cells are going to be swarmed with mites.

Same with splits. If you pull a queen from a hive with lots of infested brood, the queenless half is going to suffer high mite counts.

This is all probably obvious to the experienced folks here, but it helps me to write it down while thinking about it.
 

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Thinking of swarms and brood breaks. The swarm gets it's break, but the hive left behind is worse off than ever. It's like a hive in late fall, egg laying has stopped and the last brood is hatching into a hive with decreasing numbers of bees, piling mites onto decreasing bees. A month after a swarm, in the original hive, the new queen starts laying and those cells are going to be swarmed with mites.

Same with splits. If you pull a queen from a hive with lots of infested brood, the queenless half is going to suffer high mite counts.

This is all probably obvious to the experienced folks here, but it helps me to write it down while thinking about it.
Well, yes - to the mites swarming the new brood.
Well, not really to the mite count (as the overall estimates don't really change); the measured #'s maybe higher for obvious reasons - more phoretic mites.

But that was one main point of the Mel D's OTS method.
The over-whelmed brood gets killed by 2-3 mites in each cell (which in turn is supposed to be killing off mites or disrupting their normal life cycle - ???).
How the theory goes...

I posted a picture of how highly infested brood looks like (including a damaged queen).

Anyway, I have several hives this season that got double-brood breaks.
Is it bad? Or is it good?
Remains to be seen.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Well, yes - to the mites swarming the new brood.
Well, not really to the mite count (as the overall estimates don't really change); the measured #'s maybe higher for obvious reasons - more phoretic mites.

But that was one main point of the Mel D's OTS method.
The over-whelmed brood gets killed by 2-3 mites in each cell (which in turn is supposed to be killing off mites or disrupting their normal life cycle - ???).
How the theory goes...

I posted a picture of how highly infested brood looks like (including a damaged queen).

Anyway, I have several hives this season that got double-brood breaks.
Is it bad? Or is it good?
Remains to be seen.
Yes, I have seen what appears to be this happening, with multiple mites per cell. It is still a harsh situation for the left behind hive.

I'd have to think back but most of my hives have given themselves a double brood break. After I split the original hive they then swarmed and swarmed again. Some of them look ready to swarm again, though at this point I hope they don't. Not much equipment to put them in. I am down to 5 frames not in use. I still have a few deep nucs not in use so I could at least box them up, but what a mess that's letting me in for later.
 
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