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Author Topic: Interrupting the mite cycle  (Read 1231 times)

Offline beepro

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Interrupting the mite cycle
« on: May 30, 2018, 04:52:25 am »
Hi, All!

 
I've completely break down a production hive to transfer all the cap brood frames into a queen less hives to interrupt the varroa mite
cycle.   Our main flow is not on yet.   On the last mite count, I found 12 free running mites on that particular new bees hatch cycle.  For the queen less hives they are allow to make new QCs as I'm trying to make some more new queens around the time of the flow. 

This will give them a temporarily brood break so that the mite cycle can be interrupted.  To be effective at this process, all the cap broods must emerged from the
cells in order for the new mites to be exposed.  The longer you leave the mites without new broods the more effective it is.   A final clean up when there are no more cap broods is to put in a frame of larvae about to be cap from the production hive into each queen less hive.   This way the remaining free running mites will go inside these cap broods.   You might not have 100 hives to tend to but running 4 hives should not be an issue to interrupt the mite cycle this way.  Repeat this process by removing the cap broods from the other remaining queen less hives.   Into a new nuc box they go and give them a cap QC.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2018, 08:23:55 am »
A mite can live 2 months in flying season and 5-6 months in winter.  How long do you plan on keeping the hive queenless?
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2018, 04:50:44 pm »
Why and how a brood break helps with Varroa is not clear.  But it is clear that it works.  Mel Disselkoen speculates that in desperation when there is brood again, the Varroa infest each cell with multiple mites causing the brood, and therefore the mites, to perish.
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Offline beepro

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2018, 04:52:50 am »
Ace, it will be almost a month for the virgin to get mated.  Then it will be a queen right laying hive again.
My suspicion that a brood less state will work because the older bees will groom off the mites.  Also without new
hosts to infect the mites are starving at the same time further weakling them.   A frame of larvae about to be cap will clean up this hive just in
time for the new queen to lay.    Take this cap brood frame out to another queen less hive for a month then give it
another laying queen.   Repeat this cycle if you see a high mite count without any treatment like I did.  So far so good!

Offline ed/La.

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2018, 05:58:48 pm »
I also like brood break but chose to treat during break.  I use OA fog. Another brood break option is to remove queen from strong production hive at the start of flow. Leave the brood. Let production hive  make the queen You get brood break, new queen right nuc and more honey because many of the nurse bees become forager bees.Resourses used to rear brood will be shifted to honey production.  For treatment free people use powdered sugar dusting during break. . I have in the past and probably will in the future. After brood break if needed give some brood from a hive with low mite count. That way you have some fresh nurse bees to help  get hive up to speed.

Offline beepro

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2018, 07:37:41 pm »
Ed, what you outlined, I already tried all of them before.  So I come up with a
more efficient method.   That is to give the brood break at the highest mite
level right after the honey flow.   This will take almost 2 months (after all the
cap broods are emerged) to bring the hives back to a normal low mite level again.  This will correspond to our summer dearth when the queens are laying less.  Now with less broods and less mites, I can manage it this way without the need to treat. 

Right after our summer dearth is the mini Autumn flow where the hives will be expanding again in preparation for the winter.  With feeding, patty subs and honey water, the hives will be very strong comes this winter.  So summer time is the best time to get rid of the mites.  With 10 hives using my method is not an issue with time or work input. 

As long as there are cap broods, making a new queen will not give them the needed mite management efficiency within a month.  This is because the mites can live for 2-3 months at the free running stage overlapping the new queen's laying time.   So the answer is to have all cap broods emerged without a laying queen via the cap broods removal IPM method.  This is how I clean up the mites from all of my hives without the need to treat.  It can be done if you staged it right!
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 08:24:20 pm by beepro »

Offline Duane

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2018, 08:14:08 pm »
I'm not sure I fully understand the process.  Maybe say whether you are cleaning up the production hive or the queenless hive or both at the same time.  I'm not completely following which one is the goal.  That is, is one a sacrificial hive?

You have a production hive with all stages of brood.
You take out all the capped brood and place in an empty hive, without the queen.

What about any progressively capped brood in the original box with the queen?  She is still laying eggs and should be a lot of capped brood in it.  But you did say less laying.
You do move 1 frame of about to be capped brood as a final cleanup in the queenless hive.  What about any other brood frames in the original hive? 
Once the final cleanup frame is capped, what do you do with it?
I didn't follow your last part about not letting them make a new queen as you need 2-3 months to remove the mites.  What do you do to prevent that and keep them from having laying workers.  Will the about to be capped frame good enough to prevent that for a month?

Offline beepro

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2018, 08:48:10 am »
Duane, not to point finger at Ed.   I've tried his method which is more of a traditional way of giving a
brood break that does not get rid off the mites entirely.  The new queen made overlap the long lifespan of
the free running mites.    My method of IPM got rid of the mites entirely.   Because this is a detailed method that someone
already wrote a book about it, though I have not read his book, I would like to explain this method in PMs with you.   If not then there will
be many questions from different angles of members which will result in a big confusion in the end for all here.   I'm very detail in explanation but don't want to write a book posting here.  Actually a very simple process but long to write about.
Any questions you have I will answer after showing you the IPM process step-by-step.  By then you should be more clear of the entire process.    Happy to explain it to you!   When you are clear then you can answer some of the question others might have here.

Offline beepro

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2018, 09:18:56 pm »
Inspected all hives today.  Only saw 2 mites on this bee emergence cycle in one particular hive.  The hive C that I'm trying to
clean up.   Then saw 2 queen cups from hive D with 2 viable eggs in them deposited by the newly mated July queen.  So she's still
trying to learn how to lay properly in the cells.   

And decided to take the queen in hive C out to hive D with a QE on.  Then moved hive D's 2 queen cups on a frame to hive C which is
queen less now.  With luck this will be my last mite management (IPM) and with the possibility of making one last round of new queens this
season from my #1  breeder queen.  She will be my next season's breeder if her daughters are good healthy queens.  Pic below!

Yet another Cordovan queen:   https://tinyurl.com/y8ohq66k

Offline beepro

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2018, 09:44:07 pm »
An update on the mites:


Well, the August bee emergence cycle overlap the Sept. cycle.  So I inspected all the hives last weekend.  I only saw
2 free running mites in one of the hives (hive C) on the newly emerged young bees.  Not much of the DWV present on the bees either.
What this means is that they will have a healthy winter bee population.   Let's see how many hives will be successfully over wintered. 

Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2018, 02:48:43 am »
An update on the mites:


Well, the August bee emergence cycle overlap the Sept. cycle.  So I inspected all the hives last weekend.  I only saw
2 free running mites in one of the hives (hive C) on the newly emerged young bees.  Not much of the DWV present on the bees either.
What this means is that they will have a healthy winter bee population.   Let's see how many hives will be successfully over wintered.

is that the way mite-population is evaluated in the US?

I am one of the very few who also judge on the inspection, but I do rely a lot on the board under the screen.
If I had mites running free and deformed bees, I?d be treating more.

Offline beepro

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2018, 06:40:19 pm »
So far I haven't been able to find anyone here using this IPM process to manage the mites without the
need to treat every Spring and Autumn.  I also look at the number of DWV and crawlers.  On every bee emergence cycle the healthy bees would
drag the deformed bees out of the hives.   For the free running mites I have to crush them with a pair of small tweezers when I
see them on hive inspection that correspond to the bee emergence cycle. 

Now all hives are healthy just in time for our mini-Autumn flow that is just starting.   Lots of healthy bees emerged from the Sept cycle. 
These are the bees that will sustain the big fat winter bees later on.  And they are all strong hives bringing in resources mainly from the
mustard patch and some orange looking pollen.  I also plan to use this IPM process to manage the mites in early Spring.  This should give me
plenty of new early Spring queens.

IPM process clean bees:  https://tinyurl.com/yapl756y  and   https://tinyurl.com/ych2893o

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2018, 03:37:36 am »
: * So far I haven't been able to find anyone here using this IPM process to manage the mites without the need to treat every Spring and Autumn. * :

Perhaps that is because it does not work?  It is difficult to sort and understand the rationale of your method described in the thread here.  It just sounds like you are moving infested brood from one hive into setting up another infested hive. Or taking good brood from one hive and putting it into another to be infested. You are also raising queens in mite infested, and thus virus infested hives.  All the while, weakening and stressing the colonies as well as spreading mites to other hives in your apiary and ultimately to your neighbours hives as the bees drift. It appears your process has this going on for months on end. I am concerned.  I am not convinced this significantly reduces mites overall. I am convinced all this accomplishes is spread the mites across more colonies.  While initially it may appear they are reduced, reality is all that has been accomplished is having spread them out and given them more nest space.  Take apart a colony that has 1000 mites.  Break it up and setup 10 more colonies-nucs.  You now have 10 colonies that have 100 mites.  Yay, the mite numbers have been cut by factor of ten.  No, actually you still have 1000 mites in your apiary which are now brooding across 10 queens instead of 1 queen.  You have actually just increased your mite production by a factor of 10.
You have to monitor mite levels regularly. When they reach the threshold level needing action you really have only two options. Treat it or Terminate it. Be prompt, expedient, practical, and pragmatic about it.
If you do not wish treat nor terminate, the question to be answered is what are you hoping to save?  Save the bees?  At high mite loads the bees are already dead. They just do not know it yet.  Meanwhile they are still walking around freely infesting other bees and other colonies with mites and viruses vectored by the mite.  Save the queen?  This is easy to do. Remove the good queen and promptly kill the infested hive in entirety. To terminate does not mean breakup the hive. It means kill all bees and all brood in it. Freeze all the frames to kill the hidden under cap mites. Then reassemble the hive, restock it with a few frames of bees from a healthy hive, then put the queen back in or place new mated queen. You can easily do all of that in two days. 100% effective, efficient, stops the threat stops the spread, and is much more expedient than what has been described. Also a lot less stressful on all the bees in your apiary.

You cannot control mites by moving frames around or squishing the ones you see. You may be able to delay their effect for a time, but ultimately they will be overwhelming. For every mite you see and pinch there are thousands that you do not. The point is when you discover a mite level needing action, it is not a casual thing. It must be all out and full on war on them. You must kill them in mass numbers in any one of various ways that fits your preference.  If you are not prepared to do that, then your bees, the rest of your apiary, and your neighbouring beekeeping community will all be much better off if you promptly kill the hive and just stop beekeeping altogether.  If mites are high in a hive, treat it or kill it.
You can treat in a multitude of ways either organically or inorganically that suits you. If you are a no treatment at all type and want a brood break, please kill the hive and restock as already described. (There is your brood break). Prefer to let survivors survive and the weak die off. Please kill the hive and restock with your good bees strain. (There is your natural selection).  End the bees suffering and stop the mite bomb sources from festering and propagating to other colonies and to your neighbours.  Upon discovering a high mite load, to do anything other than promptly treating it or terminating it, is irresponsible.  A source of propagation of the problem.

If you are actually seeing free running mites in the hive and you are catching them with tweezers ....... it may be suggesting that the mite load is very much higher than you believe it to be. No, I do not believe your hives are at all healthy based on what is posted and read here.  You should be quite concerned about your bees and your methods.

Do you sample mite load by alcohol wash?  What are the numbers?  Show the data ...
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 02:43:30 am by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2018, 08:51:50 am »

is that the way mite-population is evaluated in the US?


Not at all.  Most people treat in the spring and in the fall.  Some people measure by an acceptable method and then treat, mostly hobbyist.  Those that don't treat go through a lot of gyrations in an effort to minimize mite load because they want to avoid chemicals.  I just let the bees deal with the parasite.  The weak colonies die and the strong colonies live.  Pretty much the same no matter what you do.  The northern beekeepers have two advantages.  First the broodless period in the winter and second the culling of hives in a period of no flying so when a hive dies because of mite load the mites die too.  Spring is a fresh start.
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Offline beepro

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2018, 09:19:35 pm »
"You cannot control mites by moving frames around or squishing the ones you see. You may be able to delay their effect for a time, but ultimately they will be overwhelming."

Unfortunately, the nuc hives got a sudden queen disappearance issue on another failed little bee experiment over this winter.  So I'm forced to put the remaining mite infested cap brood frames into my homemade small fridge incubator to get rid of them now.   From Sept, Oct and Nov., the mite population continued to decline because of the winter brood reduction.  With the reduced in brood nest during the winter there aren't that many mites inside the remaining hive after the bees combine.  I'm looking at 12 free running mites per new bees emergence cycle in a 5 frame nuc hives.   I will do another incubator cap broods hatching at the end of Dec. if they hold out.   

I do have another method to try using the mite cap brood frames from the nuc hives to increase honey harvest without treating the production hives comes next Spring.  This method should allow all the nucs to be 95% free of the mites.    It is the time to change over to the mite biting/mauling bees once I have 12  established stable hives using the mite cap brood frames removal method.  I already have arrangement for a mite biting breeder queen on agreement with the seller.  This method is not over yet as I come up with new strategy of dealing with the mites. 

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Interrupting the mite cycle
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2018, 06:11:28 am »
They say the swarming trait makes a hive more healthy and rids it of some mites.

My monitoring said there must have been many phoretic mites leaving the hive with the bees and start fresh. A strategy of the mite to coquer other areas?

I did not see any difference with splits done, swarming or the pulling of broodcomb.

But I see big difference in genetic traits. I have given low mite hives mite infested broodcombs while splitting. The mated queen had the numbers decrease in no time, pupa pulled out.

I?m still starting that kind of hobby reseach, so I can?t give you any results with respect to survivability right now.

I have had colonies that could not bear 5 mites in a week droppin and I have two survivors which had 200/300 mites dropping every day in 2017 and 30 mites dropping in 2018.

One I keep as "ferals" never checking and the other always was my strongest colony and donated many brood-and honeycombs and brought the highest harvest.

What are the factors of resistance or tolerance?  I don?t know yet. I monitored for mite biting too with a microscope. I will see next spring the results.

But: I have a woodpecker at my hives, trying to scare it off. If he is sucessfull, he will kill all colonies.