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Author Topic: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping  (Read 699 times)

Online The15thMember

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Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« on: June 01, 2020, 10:27:38 am »
I was talking with a beekeeper friend of mine the other day and we got on the subject of drone trapping.  She was talking about how instead of cutting out her drone comb, she leaves it in, which draws the mites into the drone brood instead of into the worker brood.  She said if you leave the drone brood in, then it doesn't matter if they are infested with mites, because you'd rather have sickly drones than sickly workers.  This seems to be a different train of thought to what I usually hear on drone trapping, where you cut out the comb because the mites breed more in the drone brood.  What are your thoughts on these opposing philosophies?       
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Offline jimineycricket

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2020, 10:39:48 am »
I do not think you want the mites in the drone cells getting out and spreading to the rest of the brood cells. So yes cut them out.
 
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2020, 09:07:01 am »
She said if you leave the drone brood in, then it doesn't matter if they are infested with mites, because you'd rather have sickly drones than sickly workers.
I don't cull drone brood but that is an incorrect conclusion.  If the drones are infested with varroa then the hive is infested with varroa and will likely not do well.  It really only works if the bees are pulling infected cells because it is a matter of critical timing.
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Online The15thMember

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2020, 11:20:46 am »
Thanks both of you.  I guess the other issue is that the drones don't just stay in one colony, and they could easily spread mites between colonies as well. 
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2020, 05:13:53 pm »

What are your thoughts on these opposing philosophies?

> I do not think you want the mites in the drone cells getting out

> If the drones are infested with varroa then the hive is infested with varroa and will likely not do well.

>  I guess the other issue is that the drones don't just stay in one colony, and they could easily spread         
     mites between colonies as well.

All three above taken from your replies sound accurate to me.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2020, 03:44:07 pm »
I have about 20% drone comb all the time.  I never cull drone comb or do "drone trapping"  If I did I would be selecting for mites that prefer workers.  Not what I want.  I want mites that prefer drones...
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Online The15thMember

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2020, 06:34:49 pm »
I have about 20% drone comb all the time.  I never cull drone comb or do "drone trapping"  If I did I would be selecting for mites that prefer workers.  Not what I want.  I want mites that prefer drones...
Thanks for your reply Michael.  So you would agree that if there are always drones the mites will stay mostly in the drones? 
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Online TheHoneyPump

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Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2020, 01:01:07 am »
IMHO.  If mites are present, they are in brood.  All brood.  The main difference between worker vs drone is the extra time of drones to develop.  The drone brood is longer, enough for the mites to get extra reproductive cycles done.  In other words, drone brood produces more mites than worker brood.  It may appear mites prefer drones because more mites (count per cell) will be observed in drone.  I have formed a loose opinion that the observation is more of a factor of the length of development time than it is of mite preference for fat juicy drone brood. Yes, there are more mites in drone brood, in part just because of development time.
I do use drone combs. For purpose of raising drones. I do not cull drone. The bees expend an incredible amount of energy and resources to raise drones. The beekeeper can be more helpful and less harmful to the colony by controlling mites by methods that are much less taxing.
My stance:  culling brood, any brood, in effort of mite control is a deception. Brood is bees.  Cull and kill the brood, you are killing the bees - making you just as bad and no better for the bees than the mite you are trying to get rid of.  Bee friendly, more consideration to other methods (eg caging, brood bank + treat)
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 12:45:19 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2020, 02:23:41 pm »
IMHO.  If mites are present, they are in brood.  All brood.  The main difference between worker vs drone is the extra time of drones to develop.  The drone brood is longer, enough for the mites to get extra reproductive cycles done.  In other words, drone brood produces more mites than worker brood.  It may appear mites prefer drones because more mites (count per cell) will be observed in drone.  I have formed a loose opinion that the observation is more of a factor of the length of development time than it is of mite preference for fat juicy drone brood. Yes, there are more mites in drone brood, in part just because of development time.
I do use drone combs. For purpose of raising drones. I do not cull drone. The bees expend an incredible amount of energy and resources to raise drones. The beekeeper can be more helpful and less harmful to the colony by controlling mites by methods that are much less taxing.
My stance:  culling brood, any brood, in effort of mite control is a deception. Brood is bees.  Cull and kill the brood, you are killing the bees - making you just as bad and no better for the bees than the mite you are trying to get rid of.  Bee friendly, more consideration to other methods (eg caging, brood bank + treat)

Good post.
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Online The15thMember

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2020, 02:33:42 pm »
IMHO.  If mites are present, they are in brood.  All brood.  The main difference between worker vs drone is the extra time of drones to develop.  The drone brood is longer, enough for the mites to get extra reproductive cycles done.  In other words, drone brood produces more mites than worker brood.  It may appear mites prefer drones because more mites (count per cell) will be observed in drone.  I have formed a loose opinion that the observation is more of a factor of the length of development time than it is of mite preference for fat juicy drone brood. Yes, there are more mites in drone brood, in part just because of development time.
I do use drone combs. For purpose of raising drones. I do not cull drone. The bees expend an incredible amount of energy and resources to raise drones. The beekeeper can be more helpful and less harmful to the colony by controlling mites by methods that are much less taxing.
My stance:  culling brood, any brood, in effort of mite control is a deception. Brood is bees.  Cull and kill the brood, you are killing the bees - making you just as bad and no better for the bees than the mite you are trying to get rid of.  Bee friendly, more consideration to other methods (eg caging, brood bank + treat)

Good post.
Agreed.  Always good to hear your thoughts on things, HP. 
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2020, 12:06:33 pm »
>Thanks for your reply Michael.  So you would agree that if there are always drones the mites will stay mostly in the drones? 

On small cell, yes.  On large cell, they will be in both but still there is a preference for drones, just not as strong.
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Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2020, 02:36:26 am »
After culling drone frames the bees just raise more drones to compensate. They spend energy on drone breeding when they must spend energy on fighting mites and breeding more workers.
Especially in times they have the swarming urge. IMO bees want to have a special number of drones, depending on the state the colony is in. More healthy, more drones.
 
Yes, there are mites in worker and drone brood, but three times more in drone brood as I saw opening cells and counting.
And what about having only one mother mite in drone brood cell and three in worker cells? Who ever counted and compared by research?

But it all depends on how bee stock is triggered to fight mites, if beekeepers eliminate all mites all the time, the bees will never learn to fight. That's why in countries where people have no money to treat, bees became resistant in few years.

In late summer, when the bees kill drones, I see a lot of drone pupa in front of the hives, pulled and meanwhile kill mite babies in this process.
It all evens out if natural process is allowed.

I`m not sure about the drifting. I've had golden drones from buckfast and elgon and black ones from AMM and carniolan. They went back to the mother colonies. Not much mixing there but I place my hives apart by some m.

And I still have never seen evidence that normal constant drifting mite bombs hives. In my colonies the mite infestation always stayed the same, bad or good. If the hive was good, it had no problems with constant low drift, if there was such.   But I have seen that a mite infested , non resistant hive crashed and the surviving bees beg into other colonies spreading virus and maybe mites. Once.

A real high danger is bees robbing honey from weak non resistant hives with no defending watchers present. You can recognize problems when you see wasps going in and out. So I try to treat with non chemical treatments when a colony starts to get into a real bad bad condition.




Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2020, 02:39:52 am »
Ihm not sure, small cells make such a difference. It's the same on natural cells IMHO but the next years will show me because I'm changing to natural comb.
My bees were not good building small cells, they built bigger cells on small cell foundation often. Diversity in cell size might be better. Might be.
The difference between worker and drone cells size is still well to be seen, though.

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2020, 05:33:14 am »
Something else:

In germany bee colonies are treated with oxalic in winter. That must make them come out of winter with low mite numbers.
Now the drones are culled in spring. I have yet to meet a beekeeper who examines how many mites he killed with this management. Could be many mite empty cells.
Asking them about it they tell me it's not the mites which are a problem that time of year, but they don't want the drones to eat the spring honey.

So what are the motives?

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2020, 08:12:55 am »
> That's why in countries where people have no money to treat, bees became resistant in few years.

In what countries are you speaking of, where bees have become resistant by treatment free? In France Richard Noel and others in his world wide Group, (if I remember correctly) are part of a program that is seeking to develop such a mite resistant bee as you described. This news will save these folks years in research, breeding, and development.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 11:56:31 pm by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2020, 12:11:01 pm »
In Africa for example, but I don't think people will want to hear about the " Africanized Bees."
Native people use them for years, they bring a lot of honey and learned to live with the mites very fast. Apis scutellata, for example.

In Europe there are some areas, in UK, Poland, Norway, where native bees are kept treatment free or just protected from commercial breeding ... and near my German area they found wild honeybees, descendants from escaped swarms, in a forest.
It happens everywhere. Ask Mr. Bush about his bees, for example.

When I took part at the Austrian tf bee conference I met people being tf for years. The problem is, that to develop a mite resistant bee for most beekeepers means a mite resistant "commercial" bee.
And they don't believe treatment free bees bring the same amount of honey, so they are not cooperative or interested.
To breeders the resistance trait could mean a very good income, but so far I have no knowledge about VSH or grooming lines which are 100% not treated or what you can call "resistant".

I offered my colonies to be observed to associations in Germany which do research for resistance but they were not interested. Everyone cooks his own soup.
This is off topic though.

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2020, 01:12:04 pm »
Dan Weaver, is he still there?

I wonder if he culls drones. I will ask my mentor, he met him last year, if I'm not wrong.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2020, 06:36:36 pm »
> That's why in countries where people have no money to treat, bees became resistant in few years.

In what countries are you speaking of, where bees have become resistant by treatment free? In France Richard Noel and others in his world wide Group, (if I remember correctly) are part of a program that is seeking to develop such a mite resistant bee as you described. This news will save these folks years in research, breeding, and development.

> In Africa for example, but I don't think people will want to hear about the " Africanized Bees."
Native people use them for years, they bring a lot of honey and learned to live with the mites very fast. Apis scutellata, for example.

If I am not mistaken the African bee is a different strain of bee than what is found in Europe and the American Continent?  You had my attention for a moment.  It would have been great news if our bees (became resistant in a few years). Richard Noel along with many others including Sue Colby are striving for such a bee. You might be interested in watching the video if you have not already. I posted it here on one of the topics under this heading.


I do not know if the Africans use drone comb for mites. I am thinking they do not. Their bee is self sufficient in that respect Who would want the vicious African Bee just to be able to claim TF. Certainly not me lol. I hope they are never allowed in my county. The good news, as I mentioned to someone else here. Our very own Cao does not treat for mites and is doing well in that respect. I do not know if Cao culls drone comb?


« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 11:57:12 pm by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2020, 01:27:50 am »
>Asking them about it they tell me it's not the mites which are a problem that time of year, but they don't want the drones to eat the spring honey.

In ABJ October 2017 pg 1095 Keith Delaplane quotes a study by Page & Metcalf that showed that the more drones the colony raises the more honey they produce.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Differing Opinions on Drone Trapping
« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2020, 07:14:01 am »
>Asking them about it they tell me it's not the mites which are a problem that time of year, but they don't want the drones to eat the spring honey.

In ABJ October 2017 pg 1095 Keith Delaplane quotes a study by Page & Metcalf that showed that the more drones the colony raises the more honey they produce.

Enlightening information, Bob Binnie, though not treatment free, is a strong commercial beekeeper and a proponent of drones also. Being honey is one objective, I suppose drones and more honey are something he already knew?  Good information Mr Bush.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2020, 01:05:41 pm by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.