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I have been learning here for a while and I have noticed something I've not seen mentioned. Some mite treatments instruct that the chemicals should be placed on the brood boxes, either on top or between them. The stated reason is that the dosage is at a concentration level sufficient to kill the mites and proximity to where the mites are is important. The assumption is that the majority of the mites in situ are in with the worker brood. However it is also said that mites prefer drone brood.

My observations of 4-5 years is that there is often significant drone brood outside of the brood chamber. So my question is: if proximity to various chemical treatments is necessary, then how can those chemicals kill the mites that aren't in the brood chamber. For instance you have a strong hive of 2 deeps for a brood chamber and 5 supers on top with drone brood patches scattered in the supers. Treating the 2 deeps might not kill off the mites in the drone brood which the mites prefer. Also most of the acids used for treating are heavier than air so they would tend to sink to the bottom and exit the hive.

I'm wondering if this in part explains why some hives seem fine for a little while and then suddenly there is a significant jump in mite population. The standard practice is to sample nurse bees on worker comb, for sugar roll or alcohol wash. But if you have a fair number of drone brood elsewhere then isn't it possible that you are getting a false low count? Do drones spend much time hanging around the brood nest? Or do they hang out near open nectar or pollen stores? It seems more probable that mites hatched in drone brood not in the brood chamber, might hitch a ride on worker bees rather than nurse bees.

I am going to attempt to fix drone brood on honey super frames by simply cutting it out close to the foundation and hoping the bees build it back as worker sized cells. I kind of doubt this will work so the other option is to melt those frames down and start over with worker cell foundation. I will also start using drone frames next year in the second brood deep, cycling them through the freezer and back in. Eventually I plan on a mating yard where there will be lots of drone brood. Then again it might be sensible to freeze those late Summer, and replace then with worker cell frames for winter bees.

When I pulled honey this year I had several frames with some drone brood. I de-capped some of these and they were loaded with mites. Hoping it will not be another sorry lesson learned.
 

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I am going to attempt to fix drone brood on honey super frames by simply cutting it out close to the foundation and hoping the bees build it back as worker sized cells. I kind of doubt this will work so the other option is to melt those frames down and start over with worker cell foundation.
the simple solution is to use a QE
 

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Thanks msl, I have those but have never used them. To make a point of your advice, I have never seen that benefit mentioned anywhere for helping battle varroa mites. I am planning on using Queen excluders next year.

So another question has crossed my mind regarding drone brood frames; Would a frame of all drone brood sized cells hold more honey than one of worker brood size? I am wondering if this would be more efficient space wise.

Sorry, I worked as an engineer so my mind is analytical. I suppose I could melt down the wax from one of each and see if the wax volume difference is significant. It doesn't seem like it is anything much to waste time doing, However I have found that answering this type of question sometimes pays big dividends.
 

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There is more wall material in a frame of worker sized comb then drone sized comb. It would technically be more efficient for them to make honey comb out of drone sized comb, but due to their own engineering tendencies and how they build their hives in the wild (starting from the top and build down rather than how most of us keep bees, start from the bottom, and build up), they don't do that. Honey comb is extraordinarily efficient for what it is, and they only use less than a kilogram of wax to store and cap an entire medium super. I'm sure there would be a difference in using worker vs drone sized cells, but I don't think the difference will be significant and the savings will not be justified in the long run.

If you are using plastic or wax foundation (which most commercial operations do, and these treatments are marketed for them, not us hobbyists) there is often VERY little drone brood in the hive. Yes Varroa mites prefer drone brood, but given that there are easily more than 2-3 magnitudes more worker brood then drone brood, the varroa population in the drone brood is negligible compared to the mites in the worker brood.

This is different if you go foundationless. If you go foundationless and let the bees do what they want to do, they will put in on average 20%-25% drone brood. Hives with foundation are more like less than 1%. Drones do not help with honey production or pollination, so why bother? say most operations.

You can intentionally put in foundation that is drone sized and make them raise entire frames of just drones. You can use that drone brood as bait for the mites and when they are capped, you can remove the frames and freeze them to kill everything. Varroa like drone brood, but they will not pass up an opportunity to get into worker if they can.
 

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There is more wall material in a frame of worker sized comb then drone sized comb. It would technically be more efficient for them to make honey comb out of drone sized comb, but due to their own engineering tendencies and how they build their hives in the wild (starting from the top and build down rather than how most of us keep bees, start from the bottom, and build up), they don't do that.
Have you never done a cut out and seen 3" thick combs of large cell honeycombs with no coconnons?

any way they are not in the wild in a long thin cavity, they are in a squat box, with magic space suddenly being added over head

in foundation less frames 1,2 and 9,10 will often be a lot of drone, then back filled with honey come fall just like they will draw bars in a back of a top bar hive will large cell for honey storage, better use of resources, wax is costly... 2 pounds of honey to create a deep frame

foundation is a 2 part tool ... a unverical size for interchangeability between brood and honey.. a compermize for sure as they would like a little smaller brood and a bit bigger honey...
and drone suppression, as a natural level of drone (20% ish) cuts a hives honey production in 1/2... Drones are VERY expensive... Like pro athletes or SF soldiers they take a lot of resources to produce and maintain
 
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