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I would lean towards the latter, because according to SiWolKe he is claiming that creating an artificial swarm mid summer is as good as any treatment.
If you look at Seeley's work on swarming you will see how that works. All though he is working with small colonies it still applies to larger colonies if varroa has not had free rein up to the summer artificial swarm. Splitting a colony early spring with all open brood and the queen in one half on the original stand. The other half, being mostly capped brood and producing it's own queen, will reduce the mite numbers enough. Recombine those after the new queen is laying if you choose. Timing is important and you would have to see if it would give you the desired results in your location. Being this is a TF, treatment discussion, you could use a flash formic or oxalic dribble during the open brood or/broodless period.
 

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Delta Bay, where do all those mites go, perhaps migrate to another colony? The only way you will reduce mites in the open brood half is if the bees groom them off and most bees do not do a good job of that which I have seen with my own eyes. Those little mites are so mobile that one bee grooming another can not catch the phoretic mite as it scoots away from where the bee is being groomed. Also bear in mind that only a max of 40% of the mites could be phoretic so maybe 20% in each half of the split so the open brood half still has 20% and the other half 80% so what have you really gained unless you treat those hives. The open brood half immediately and the other half after 24 days if there is drone brood.
Johno
 

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Delta Bay, where do all those mites go, perhaps migrate to another colony?
Whether you want to believe it or not mites do have a expected life span. Some will die on their own. The main purpose of the early spring split is to disrupt the mite population to get to the summer artificial swarm. If one half of the split has only open brood all mites are phoretic. The other half with minimal open brood produces a queen from an egg or very young larva which allows all brood to emerge leaving all mites phoretic. even drone brood. Many of those mites will miss their final chance to reproduce because of the length of the brood break.

I've been doing this for over a decade and it works pretty darn good with out chemical treatments. If someone chooses to treat while managing in this way it offers them ideal conditions to use the so called softer treatments like an oxalic dribble or a 24 hour flash formic.
 

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Delta Bay, where do all those mites go, perhaps migrate to another colony? The only way you will reduce mites in the open brood half is if the bees groom them off and most bees do not do a good job of that which I have seen with my own eyes. Those little mites are so mobile that one bee grooming another can not catch the phoretic mite as it scoots away from where the bee is being groomed. Also bear in mind that only a max of 40% of the mites could be phoretic so maybe 20% in each half of the split so the open brood half still has 20% and the other half 80% so what have you really gained unless you treat those hives. The open brood half immediately and the other half after 24 days if there is drone brood.
Johno
There is a theory that after a brood break, when the first larvae become mature enough for varroa to infest, that the initial rush tends to overpopulate those first larvae resulting in less than ideal breeding conditions. I cant vouch for this nor have I seen research documenting it but it remains an interesting theory. Perhaps all we really see happen with brood breaks and divisions is that it results in a hive that can outgrow varroa for a number of months. All I know for sure is that splits using cells and a well timed OA treatment results in some wonderfully productive hives with very low varroa numbers and don't believe the notion that OA reduces brood volume in this scenario.
 

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There is a theory that after a brood break, when the first larvae become mature enough for varroa to infest, that the initial rush tends to overpopulate those first larvae resulting in less than ideal breeding conditions.
It is in the literature Jim. I'm surprized you haven't come across it. It states that when brood is infested with multiple foundress mites, they do not mate very well and some appear not to at all. It's the same observation in both worker and drone brood.
 

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Perhaps all we really see happen with brood breaks and divisions is that it results in a hive that can outgrow varroa for a number of months.
Yes.
Months being the operative word, which has been left out of the exponential growth rate discussion.
The time variable.
 

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Most of these theories put forward here are mostly speculation, firstly I do not have mite problems in the early spring. I have mite problems in the late summer at which time I am going to split all my colonies and OAV the half with open brood and the old queen, then give queen cells to the other half of capped brood and OAV them after 24 days and I know I will no longer have mite problems. By the way this is not a TF thread, it is basically a " treating vs not treating opinion thread " I believe there has never been any research done on brood breaks as a means of mite control without treatment of some kind. A swarm from a heavily infested colony would probably have a reduced mite load and therefore multiple swarming will allow bees to survive varoa, as is the case with scutelata when left to their own devices however according to a South American commercial beekeeper they do not thrive multiply and produce much honey unless mites are controlled. My next problem is how am I going to dispose of all those splits in late summer.
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There is a theory that after a brood break, when the first larvae become mature enough for varroa to infest, that the initial rush tends to overpopulate those first larvae resulting in less than ideal breeding conditions. I cant vouch for this nor have I seen research documenting it but it remains an interesting theory. Perhaps all we really see happen with brood breaks and divisions is that it results in a hive that can outgrow varroa for a number of months. All I know for sure is that splits using cells and a well timed OA treatment results in some wonderfully productive hives with very low varroa numbers and don't believe the notion that OA reduces brood volume in this scenario.
When I started beekeeping, I only had one location, so I had to learn to make splits within one yard and allow for flyback. This was just one of the ways I used it to my advantage instead of trying to fight the bees to relocate by confining them, etc.

When I started doing what I call 'fly back' swarms, I'd move an entire colony onto my cart, place a new box on the bottom board in the original location, find the queen and place her on one or two frames of Open brood right in the center. Surrounding that center frame with new undrawn frames and a good interior feeder. (Keep that feeder full of feed while they are drawing new frames) Letting all the foragers fly back to the old location and allowing them to rebuild new comb. It works wonderfully with an older very large overwintered hive early spring.

All mites are phoretic until that frame of open brood is capped. (The reason I use a frame of brood is to keep them from considering absconding) Removing that frame of brood once capped would be a good way to remove a lot of mites from the colony. Using a frame of open DRONE brood for the 'anchor' frame would make some sense and you wouldn't have any problem removing that, opposed to a full frame of worker brood.

Back then OAV was not legal and I'd never tried it with the method. But now, combined with the phoretic period when assembled, it would be amazing way to refreshing an older colony.
(You take all the frames of brood, feed and bees from that original large overwintered colony and break them up into nucs and give them a queen cell.)
I loved this method, one of the things I did when I mentioned I had so many hives I had the resources to experiment when I was pretty inexperienced. I have not done it in a couple years because...it results in a LOT of new colonies! I am already selling nucs and spending more time working bees than I intended. Of course you could recombine the hive once the virgin queens have been run through the older frames and they are cleaned up. Harvest your mated queens & Reassemble or combine the nucs right before your main flow for a larger production colony.
There are other options other than keeping all the nucs separate.


I did this for a few years without treatments and it worked pretty darn well for me. With an OA hit, it would work beautifully. There is no empty comb to contaminate with the OAV crystals except for the center anchor/bait frame. All the frames are new and not yet drawn. A dribble would also be effective at this point. But those frames will soon be drawn in just a few days with all those bees, an established queen with no where to lay and no brood to feed. If you've never seen a colony grab a gear, be prepared to be amazed.

Here are a couple photos of the process after assembly:
This one was done 4-2-14 from a triple deep hive with 2nd year queen

1/2 hour after separation:

Table Soil

One hour after separation:
Bee Product Membrane-winged insect Honeybee Wood

3 hours:

Bee Honeybee Beehive Insect Membrane-winged insect

9 days after separation:
Furniture Table

Bee Honeycomb Honeybee Beehive Insect


There are particulars you should know about this method I did not mention here, possible imbalance of bee ages for one and how to allow for that, what to expect, etc. You can shake in some nurse bees if your spring temps are not so cool you have to be concerned about chilled brood with the brood frames that are left and broken up into nucs. Once all your bees that were inclined to fly back to the old location have done so ( overnight) you can judge the brood frame/nurse bee population easily before you break them up into nucs. Once all foragers have rebuilt these frames and they are full of brood and feed, they will have worked themselves to death and leave only the queen, brood and newly emerged young bees. There is , what I call, a 'mentor gap' when older bee have died and there are no foragers to pass on information about location of resources, etc. It is interesting to see how much the bees learn from each other and the impact of an imbalance of ages. It's not just the ability to do a job, it's the communication disruption within the whole colony.

If you are not careful, you'll start out with a box of senior citizens and end up with a box of kindergartners with no teachers. It is important to feed them, especially at this point.
If you've timed it right, the very young bees will be maturing right before your main flow when resources are typically scarce, so having few foragers are really not a big issue since there is not much available to collect. If you time it right, your young bees will have matured to foraging age right as your main flow starts. New frames are all drawn, ready to be filled.

But the mites do take a hard hit. Especially if you combine with a treatment. Thing is, with that broodless window, it is most effective with the least amount of exposures. If you use Apivar, that can mean just a couple days instead of 6-8 weeks of exposure time. That's a big difference.
A big difference in exposures, residual accumulative exposures and over all costs because that Apivar strip can treat several nucs/ colonies instead of just one.

It all sounds complicated, but it's not. It just takes some time. Once you do it, and get your organization down, you'll want to do it to all your large hives early spring especially if they seem inclined to swarm. It stops THAT right in the bud..I call it 'freshening' a hive.

All this also can be done AFTER the main flow when a hive is sitting back doing a whole bunch of nothing, but allowing mites to begin to reproduce late summer. It works great at that time too, maybe even better than spring timing depending on the hives condition coming out of winter .
 

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I agree with much of Johno last post. I am hard pressed to find a mite in the spring. In the mid-summer, they are in the drone brood (and do not affect the worker bees). In late August, the drone brood is gone, and the mites migrate into the worker brood (which is also declining in extent). If I do not control mites in August, by October the colony is mite-ridden with weak crawling bees, and the hive crashes. Much of the "triumphal" claims about mite-free colonies is based on the earliest spring inspections. --- Removed a reference to an example of this early spring inspections producing low mite counts --
 

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lauri
I did your fly back split using a queen cell for the old bees cause I did not have a queen. It is amazing how much honey they put in the hive before the queen was laying. I figured that losing the old bees would not hurt due to all the stores for the young to use untill they became foragers. I know your post was on bee learning but thought you might like to hear my experiance anyway.
Cheers
gww
 

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johno In deltas example there are no/very few mites in the open brood do to mite live life cycle, they only move in the the brood just before capping so the bulk of the mites are under the capped brood and on the nurse bees

The key here is this split alows you to behaviorally sort the mites.

The brood break in the side with the capped brood knocks back the mites by 40% or so.. When I did this this year I then broke the capped brood up in to nucs after that side drew cells, and again after they grew out. and then treated the yard 1X broodless OAD, I am not sure if the brood break realistically gives enuff knock down for that side to remain intact and untreated in most areas, but as it will go broodless its prime for a shot of OAV.

Iin my experiment the queen right side of the split did remove enuf of the mites to remain untreated till Oct, Per Lori's instructions I only moved a comb of very young larve and eggs, this limits the nurse bees moved . Come late fall broodless it had 1/2 the mites of a hive headed by a sister queen that swarmed and its sisters hive that had the queen pulled at the start of the flow and it had 1/3 the mites of hives started with packages. Splits/swarms matter

splitting my hives 4 ways to control mites according to your suggested method
Not realy suggesting, just showing how splits can lower the load with common example, however I am a huge fan of the above flyback split as it has huge impulactions for bolth sides of the debate.

such as puting in a vertical excluder by the entrance to restrict the new queen to lay on one frame, when they start to cap that frames let her out, later cull that frame and most of the mites go with it.... OA during the brood break would be faster/more effective but every one wants to mange differently...

I see the flyback split as an IPM bridge between the 2 cultures, that can be useful from the guy with 1 hive in the back yard to the sideliner. Bolth sides would do well to develop it further.
It's funny.... whisper blue shop towel, fogger, or lithium chloride and people line up wanting to try it.... Talk about a simple, easy way to make OA much more effective and or kill mites with out the OA and every turns there nose up, even tho some top beekeepers have recommended it...
don't take anyone's world for it, try a fly back split this spring and see for your self

There is a theory that after a brood break, when the first larvae become mature enough for varroa to infest, that the initial rush tends to overpopulate those first larvae resulting in less than ideal breeding conditions
hypothesis not theroy, I haven't see any work on it. when you crunch the numbers based on standard varroa birth and death rates it seems you can acount for most of the effects in the devide and the brood break causing less reproduction days

here is a simple mite model I put together last year before randy's came out. Mites reproduce at rate of 0.03409 and die at a rate of 0.00909 per day giving you a population increase of 0.025 a day when they are reproducing and a pop decrease of 0.00909 when they are not

It shows what happens with pure division of the mite load and the the breaks causing less reproduction days.. No too many mites per cell, no extra mortality do to longer phoric period (grooming, simple falling off, ageing before reproduction, etc )

Text Line Parallel Font Slope

edit Lauri and a bunch of outhers posted while I was typing
be prepared to be amazed.
it results in a LOT of new colonies!
Agreed, I had had concerns on the lack of veglin, age of forgers, etc.. I was blown away by the performance. I had planed on cuting strips/grafting last year, but never got around to it as the yard filled up rapidly
 

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If you look at Seeley's work on swarming you will see how that works. All though he is working with small colonies it still applies to larger colonies if varroa has not had free rein up to the summer artificial swarm. Splitting a colony early spring with all open brood and the queen in one half on the original stand. The other half, being mostly capped brood and producing it's own queen, will reduce the mite numbers enough. Recombine those after the new queen is laying if you choose. Timing is important and you would have to see if it would give you the desired results in your location. Being this is a TF, treatment discussion, you could use a flash formic or oxalic dribble during the open brood or/broodless period.
I did this last season and see it´s not sufficient in my location, only the more resistant queen genetics will have success and this means "live and let die" again. But my colony numbers are not high enough to use this strategy. It worked when two colonies superseded after the first virgin was mated and laying. But they shifted the queens so had double brood brake.

So when I do this I still have to cull one or two capped brood combs before winter breeding to bring down the mite numbers. More so if the bees reduce brood frames.

All mites are phoretic until that frame of open brood is capped. (The reason I use a frame of brood is to keep them from considering absconding) Removing that frame of brood once capped would be a good way to remove a lot of mites from the colony.
Lauri,
we did an artificial strong swarm in spring and culled the first capped comb to give them a good start. This was a local mutt treated hive before I got them. But in late summer when they reduced brood amount the mite numbers suddenly rose. They are not high, so I left them be, but now I think I should have culled a comb once more. They are weak.

So all this differs from location to location and depends on reinvasion through drift or robbing, the more resistant stock ( a breeders queen) will probably only need one culling or one brood brake.
I have a F1 queen of such stock now and her descendants and will have some pure bred queens this year. I´m curious how much impact the genetics have and how much other managements.
 

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When I started doing what I call 'fly back' swarms, I'd move an entire colony onto my cart, place a new box on the bottom board in the original location, find the queen and place her on one or two frames of Open brood right in the center.
This is one of the strategies I use as well other than I only ever use one comb of open brood. Mostly in the summer near the end of my main flow and removal of honey. Sometimes I will remove the comb of brood once it has been capped and place back in the queenless half.
 

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I did this last season and see it´s not sufficient in my location, only the more resistant queen genetics will have success and this means "live and let die" again. But my colony numbers are not high enough to use this strategy. It worked when two colonies superseded after the first virgin was mated and laying. But they shifted the queens so had double brood brake.
It seems you miss understood my posts? There are two brood breaks. One in the spring and then again in the summer. If you have bees that have some mite resistance you may be able to get away with a single brood break with or without a single treatment a year using a summer(what Lauri calls a fly back swarm) brood break. Depends on the mite numbers you've got. All bees are not equal.
 

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As usual people want to blame the other group for their problems and then they resort to name calling.

>one particularly egregious example of this fraud were the mite counts Michael Bush put on his website, based on May inspections of nucs

You not only accuse me of fraud but of a "particularly egregious example of fraud". Where is the fraud? What about it is "particularly egregious"? The dates are on the inspections. They are not "nucs". I posted them both because I was selling queens and because they are a third party inspecting my hives and I think people may be curious about the results. The University of Nebraska has inspected them for APHIS/BIP in July the last couple of years with similar results. If you wish to respectfully explain what you think those inspections mean, that is one thing. To accuse someone of fraud, is quite another. You might try being respectful rather than insulting. I think you might find people more willing to hear what you have to say. Name calling is not a rational argument.
 

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delta would you expand more on your management? what box get the supers, etc
I am sure the 1st question will be from many (and rightly so)is how does it impact the honey crop... does it lower it or does freeing up the hive(s) of brood increase your forage work force.
In Italy its common to create a brood less period after peak flow, (when the egg layed will emerge too late to impact the field force and the hive is curtailing broodrearing anyway to focus on the flow) , pull supers , TX broodless and then the winter bees are razed in very good conditions... but if you cage the queen early season you can loose over 1/2 your crop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #198 ·
i sampled a handful colonies for mites using alcohol wash back in the late summers of 2015 and 2016.

the results came in between about 8% and 14% infestation with no outward signs of dwv or crawlers.

those colonies went on to survive winter and produce a good honey crop the next season.

my interpretation was that there may be some 'tolerance' going on as well as 'resistance'.

another possibility is less virulent viruses. samples were sent to dr. martin in england at the end of 2016 as part of the collaboration with randy oliver but we don't have the results back yet.
 

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...I feel so lost as a new beek, when only a few months ago I was so self assured of my 3 years worth of research. I don't mean to sound like whiny 3 year old. My head is just spinning with all of these theories.
:) Bee14me, you aren't alone being lost and being ignored! I guess the only theory that should be applied here is The Inevitable Internet Entropy Theory.

One would expect that this thread starts with the definition of "treatment-free" beekeeping but it hasn't, probably because this isn't the 101 forum.

While (the best book on beekeeping) "Beekeeping for Dummies" doesn't define this term either, it speaks about three approaches to beekeeping: Medicated beekeeping, Natural beekeeping, and Organic beekeeping, which is a good start.

I try to learn more about it, so this is my current (beginner's) summary about "treatment-free" beekeeping:

(a) TF means no treatment whatsoever, not even sugar powder;
(b) TF is not the same as maintenance-free. It's quite opposite;
(c) TF is not for someone with fewer than a dozen or two hives;
(d) TF is not for someone with just one bee yard;
(d) TF is not for a mentor-less beginner;
(e) a TF beekeeper is okay with and expects to be losing 50% or even more (some years 100%) of the hives every fall/winter;
(f) because of losing hives all the time a TF beekeeper has to run a queen raising operation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #200 ·
civility remains the rule and personal attacks will be deleted.
...one particularly egregious example of this fraud...
before i could get the eraser out the target of this personal attack responded so we'll let it stay as an example of what will not be tolerated.

overall i am seeing a lot of meaningful back and forth so far on what undoubtedly is a topic for which most everyone has a strong opinion about. good job folks.
 
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