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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Varroa are said to prefer drone brood.

Are they able to determine cell size or is there some other factor they use to determine if a cell will contain a drone?
 

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pheromones! insects communicate and live by pheromones. The varroa can detect the difference in worker from drone brood, which the bees also detect, Drone brood allows an extra life cycle protected within the cell -- 24 vs. 21 days, also why powdered sugar treatment does not work unless done every three days
 

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They not only know if the larvae is drone or worker, they can tell the age of the larvae. They enter the worker cell about 20 hours before it is due to be capped, getting their cue to enter from the larva and from the type of brood food the nurse bees are feeding.
 

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>Are they able to determine cell size or is there some other factor they use to determine if a cell will contain a drone?

The studies quoted by Jennifer Berry at HAS back in about 2004 or so showed that if you put the same kind of brood in both drone and worker cells, the Varroa prefer the larger cells. If you put both drones and workers in the same size cells, they prefer the drones. So it seems to be some of both pheromones and cell size.
 

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The studies quoted by Jennifer Berry at HAS back in about 2004
In the DeJong study that Jennifer Berry refers to, the drone comb, prior to the study, had drone brood in it....i.e. it was 'used' comb. Ms Berry goes to great pains to point out that there was surely residual pheromones in that comb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks..it is really quite amazing.

If you open drone brood and find no varroa is that a good indicator of levels in a hive?
 

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Thanks..it is really quite amazing.

If you open drone brood and find no varroa is that a good indicator of levels in a hive?
From our local beek meeting tonight the presentation said if you open the drone brood and find none that is a good indicator you have little to no varroa.
 

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From our local beek meeting tonight the presentation said if you open the drone brood and find none that is a good indicator you have little to no varroa.
Huh...neat. I think I'll open a few drone brood at my next inspection this Thursday and see if I find any. I have SBB but no sticky boards in so this might be informative.
 

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I bought an IPM board to stick in my Freeman traps for mite counts ... needed cutting down but worked great. But today the same supplier said they don't sell IPM boards separately and suggested I buy a plastic corrugated sign board from Home Depot and make my own. At $7+ each I'm interested in a better source. Plus, I'm not sure my girls can't read and I don't want them to see "FOR SALE" staring up at them from the bottom board.

You guys know of any inexpensive sources of that corrugated plastic board used for IPM boards? Sounds like lilhouse could use one.

Rarely does a day pass recently when I'm not glad I'm not a drone.
 

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The trade name (at least one of them) of the corrugated plastic board is Coroplast. You can get it in various sizes from online shipping supply companies. One such is U-Line, and I am sure there are others.

Local sign printers will also have it in stock as it is the thing used for every political and Going Out of Business roadside sign they print.

But cheaper yet, is to get some unwanted (after the elections, please!) political yard signs, cut to correct size and give them a good coating with a can of spray BIN (white pigmented shellac). Allow to air dry and off-gas very well, and you're in business practically for free. It's very helpful to have extra sticky boards if you want to do an interim reading; just pull one out and pop in another.

Plus old political signs are a never-endingly useful item in an apiary. Just today I made more "visors" for the tops of my hives offering some sunshade. I adjust them constantly to provide wind protection or shade all year-round. When one of my hives is a little too interested in its neighbor's stores, I can provide a measure of visual separation and remind the snoopy one to mind its own beeswax. And a couple of the signs standing together make excellent reorientation barriers, as well. They also make great kneelers when you're working at the base of your hive in wet weather.

Enj.
 

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I bought an IPM board to stick in my Freeman traps for mite counts ... needed cutting down but worked great. But today the same supplier said they don't sell IPM boards separately and suggested I buy a plastic corrugated sign board from Home Depot and make my own. At $7+ each I'm interested in a better source. Plus, I'm not sure my girls can't read and I don't want them to see "FOR SALE" staring up at them from the bottom board.

You guys know of any inexpensive sources of that corrugated plastic board used for IPM boards? Sounds like lilhouse could use one.

Rarely does a day pass recently when I'm not glad I'm not a drone.

What I did, and it won't last forever, but I have a back up plan -- is I placed something on top of the sticky board (I didn't remove the film on the sticky board, I just left it the way it was and put a sheet of contact paper sticky side up).

Contact paper is usually used to line cabinets. For the life of me I don't know why. But my mom use to use it in every rental I lived in as a kid!

I cut a sheet to fit, pulled off the protective film, and set it sticky side up on my corrugated plastic board that came with my SBB.

So, now my original corrugated plastic board is unused and I have what seems like an unlimited supply of sticky paper.

Where this is going to go wrong - the corrugated plastic insert won't last forever. Even though I'm not using it as a sticky trap by itself, it'll bend or break or what have you. So, in the future I'll cut a board to the exact dimensions to use as a pull out drawer and then lay my contact paper on that drawer when I want to do a count.
 

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I was thinking about this....I think you could also use 3M adhesive spray. It is very tacky. Spray the board and use it when you need it. Of course it is a one time shot, but one can would do a lot of boards using cut election signs as the board. That probably is the best use of elections signs - especially here in SC.
 

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So far I've been using the IPM board just for counts when sugar dusting, and I've been spraying it with veggie oil cooking spray for that. It is death to varroa mites and a lot of other unwelcome visitors that find themselves beneath the screen. It wipes off with a paper towel and you spray it again. Why bother with adhesives?

The Freeman beetle traps use vegetable oil in their trays. They are effective, but messy, and the smell of it might be attractive to skunks, bears, etc. This led me to some unconventional choices. Already worried about bears but thinking the Freeman traps sounded otherwise good, we built a veritable fortress around the hives, a cage that would hold a tiger, ringed by a fanny-kicking electric fence. Some people use the Freeman trays with veggie oil spray and say they work just as well, with less mess.

To get back to the varroa question, for sugar dusting to be effective, it needs a SBB so the varroa mites drop out of the colony when they fall off the bees. But an open SBB is awfully drafty, so a sticky board, oiled IPM board, or oil tray under it blocks the draft, and also kills varroa mites and SHB. More to the point, some form of easily cleaned death trap board or tray is essential in mite drop counts. Without some form of determining mite load, and finding out if any measures you take are doing any good, everything else is guesswork.
 
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