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Author Topic: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.  (Read 1519 times)

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2020, 07:20:39 am »
I have made a test once, 2 years ago, when I observed two 2 frame colonies without queens on how long the foragers live. They live as long as winter bees if they are not caring for brood. Their only activity was bringing honey and storing it. This seemed not to make them getting old fast. Perhaps it's the producing of fluids which tires them out more.
After 4 months I hanged a frame with eggs and they had no problem to raise new bees.

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2020, 09:56:55 am »
Yes, precise words that Ralph state?s in first video:  When bees are not caring for brood, the bees are long lived.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2020, 10:57:54 am »
I plan not to brush off any capped brood frame after caging the queen in a trap comb or restricting her to one or two combs at the side of the hive, an queen excluder used vertically and above.
I will let the bees hatch outside of the trap and take the mites to the queen comb. The mites desperately want to go into new cells with larvae and the bees with phoretic mites on them will sooner or later visit the queens frame because they are nurse bees, drawn by pheromones of the open brood there.
I will freeze the one or two trap frames after they are capped. Before I do that I search for the queen and put her on the empty combs and I will brush off the comb.

15 member, do you recall me speaking about the right time for that procedure? It must be one cycle before the winter bees are bred. The many foragers this managements will produce go back to caring for the new brood the moment the queen lays on the empty comb again and this generation hatching will care for the winter bees. So, under my conditions in Sweden, this must be done end of June start of july, winter bee breeding starting in august.
And it fits, because then flow lessens ( in my area) and starts again in august with heather. It fits too because peak of mite numbers is in June.

August is too late for this management. A trap comb is supposed to be used before the normal treating season with chemicals starts in commercial beekeeping.
I'm not exactly sure about my local timing (just don't have enough experience yet), but my big summer flow is still going on in July, so I don't think that would be the right timing for me.  I know am a little bit late, I would have rather had them in last week or maybe the week before, but my pre-fall dearth doesn't start until August.  I haven't previously been on a treating schedule, but I've had hives crash or almost crash, and that's been more like late September/early October for me. 
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Offline beesnweeds

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2020, 04:38:58 pm »
  Removing all capped brood in my hives during July (in my area) would be tough on honey production.  It would be impossible to remove all capped brood. At that time queens are laying inside to outside of the frames.  A lot a frames aren't just capped or just open brood.  Removing 6 to 8 frames without replacing them with drawn comb would cripple a productive hive, not to mention it could trigger supersedure cells setting a hive back even more. Usually my mite numbers are low in July anyway from winter and spring OA treatments.  I didn't watch the whole video so maybe there is more to it, but honestly it looks like more of a way of just keeping bees than keeping bees for production, expansion or queen rearing.  More like feel good beekeeping.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2020, 11:39:17 pm »
  Removing all capped brood in my hives during July (in my area) would be tough on honey production.  It would be impossible to remove all capped brood. At that time queens are laying inside to outside of the frames.  A lot a frames aren't just capped or just open brood.  Removing 6 to 8 frames without replacing them with drawn comb would cripple a productive hive, not to mention it could trigger supersedure cells setting a hive back even more. Usually my mite numbers are low in July anyway from winter and spring OA treatments.  I didn't watch the whole video so maybe there is more to it, but honestly it looks like more of a way of just keeping bees than keeping bees for production, expansion or queen rearing.  More like feel good beekeeping.

I wonder what it is that Cao is doing? Cao, if you read this, what are you doing being treatment free and yet prospering with steady increases in you colonies? At this time I can not see myself going treatment free in battling these little varmints. lol. 😬
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Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2020, 04:22:56 am »
The results on honey producing are not considered much with this managements.
When I split my colonies though, those with brood brake bring the most honey.
But there are many factors to be considered.
It would be great more people try managements like that on one or two hives out of all, to compare.

In most enterprises of tf commercial beekeepers I know of there are two strategies: having production hives which are treated and having tf queen breeding enterprises besides, not treated.
The queens are bred by selection on tf, resistance to mites, grooming, VSH, honey production and gentleness. Production hives are expanded to max space and brood to have profit and therefore are much more vulnerable to virus, so have to be treated more often. The queens are tested in some production hives or splits.

I think this is not bad. It develops more resistant stock and permits to have fewer treatments or hopefully, some day no treatments. 
My bees come from such a strategy which is performed for many years and led to let's say one third to half the production hives treated by introducing the more and more resistant queens to production colonies.
Treatments went down to one or two thymol treatments and no winter treatment.

The management I and others will do is more for hobbyists, who are not dependent on an income.
IME a commercial does not have the time to do the monitoring to decide about which hive shall be treated( by whatever methods) or not. My mentor does the monitoring with over 200 hives by the alcohol test but for him, capped brood removal or such managements would be impossible to manage.

Online cao

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2020, 10:59:43 am »
I wonder what it is that Cao is doing? Cao, if you read this, what are you doing being treatment free and yet prospering with steady increases in you colonies? At this time I can not see myself going treatment free in battling these little varmints. lol. 😬

If you are asking about mites, I'm doing nothing special.  This year I'm dealing with SHBs.  I used to think that a strong hive could handle the beetles, but this year I have seen strong hives dwindle under the pressure of the beetles. 500-1000 beetles in a hive can cause havoc to a hive.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2020, 01:16:13 pm »
I wonder what it is that Cao is doing? Cao, if you read this, what are you doing being treatment free and yet prospering with steady increases in you colonies? At this time I can not see myself going treatment free in battling these little varmints. lol. 😬

If you are asking about mites, I'm doing nothing special.  This year I'm dealing with SHBs.  I used to think that a strong hive could handle the beetles, but this year I have seen strong hives dwindle under the pressure of the beetles. 500-1000 beetles in a hive can cause havoc to a hive.

I wish they (SHB) had never set foot or wing on this Continent. Oh well, we are stuck with them now. What a mess! I would like to ask you what you are doing in your battle with these awful Pest. Maybe  you can fill me in in. I will start another topic.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2020, 11:17:46 pm by Ben Framed »
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2020, 07:33:20 pm »
I checked on 2 of my hives that I'm trying out this treatment on, and it didn't work.  Something about my QX setup must have not been tight, because on the hives I checked, both the queens were loose.  :sad:  It's too late to try again, so I'll have to treat with FormicPro or something and give it another go next year.  I'll check the other 2 hives this week and see if maybe one of them worked, but I'm not optimistic. 
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Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2020, 12:39:53 am »
The very best way to have no varroa is to not have bees.  Brood is bees on order.  Removing brood is cancelling the bee order.  Keep doing that and shall be definitely on track to being varroa free.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2020, 01:59:09 am »
>Brood is bees on order.

I hope to be successful in beekeeping, when I say successful I mean in every way, hive strength, hive health, honey production, etc.  We know varroa destructor effects all of these. The virus and diseases associated with and carried by Varroa Destructor are several. Each beekeeper must or should weigh the odds when making these decisions.

Food for thought, in a simile consider the attaching tick to humans. They are known to carry Rocky Mountain Spotted
Fever, Lymes, 364D rickettsiosis, Tularemia, Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF), STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness), and many other ailments.
I would not want ticks left untreated in my home if somehow they got in, just as I would not want varroa destructor left to free roam inside my bees home, with at least attempting kill them.

I am not attempting to dissuade anyone from brood break. I am for you whatever you decide. I am just trying to help by putting in my two cents worth, (Opps, :oops:, that may not be wanted), by suggesting doing this with both eyes open.

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« Last Edit: September 07, 2020, 10:50:29 am 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 The15thMember

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2020, 07:30:16 pm »
Update: Today I found that in one of my hives the queen is still successfully trapped!  :grin:  I'll be checking on the progress of the frames that are trapped in with her on Sat., so we'll see how things go from here.  I'm so happy that the experiment didn't fail completely (yet).  :happy: 
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2020, 01:39:46 pm »
So here are my results of testing this out so far.  I attempted the treatment on 4 hives.  In two hives the queens got out of the excluders.  In one the queen was successfully trapped, but I made a mistake in the timing and pulled the trapping combs after only 1 brood cycle instead of 2 (since I'm not doing a brood removal).  I also unfortunately didn't have a reliable pre-treatment mite number from this hive, since I was only able to do a sugar roll with super bees (this hive is kind of nasty, and I was unable to find the queen).  The pre- and post-treatment numbers were about the same, around 1.5%, so that remains inconclusive.  In the final hive, I assumed the queen was successfully trapped, since about a week and a half after I set up the treatment, I found no young brood elsewhere in the hive.  When I went to check on the course of the treatment last week, there was no young brood inside the excluders either and there was a capped queen cell, but there WAS some young brood on the frame just outside the excluder, which I hadn't checked previously.  So not sure what went on there.  It's possible that I can still remove the capped brood in that frame as a treatment, which in conjunction with the brood break, may work well enough.  So in conclusion, the evidence is inconclusive as of yet.  I'll give it another try next year with the aim of working out the kinks, and hopefully then I'll be able to see if the treatment really works for me to reduce mites or not. 
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2020, 05:19:46 pm »
Why not just remove the queen (or cage her) and in three weeks they will be broodless and you can treat with oxalic or something similar?  It's such a waste of resources.  It takes the bees a frame of honey, a frame of pollen, a frame worth of water, and a frame of bees to nurse the brood.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2020, 07:10:37 pm »
Why not just remove the queen (or cage her) and in three weeks they will be broodless and you can treat with oxalic or something similar?  It's such a waste of resources.  It takes the bees a frame of honey, a frame of pollen, a frame worth of water, and a frame of bees to nurse the brood.
The reason I'm doing it (or attempting to do it) is that I'd like to be completely chemical free.   
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2020, 11:01:50 am »
I am adding my opinion. I fully respect and sympathize with the idea of chemical free. There we are in total agreement! When discussing brood break, there are things that I recognize which must or should, be considered. I will express some of these considerations, concerns, and thoughts here, now. Hopefully you can quench these concerns. As I said, I would love to be chemical free also, even though the chemicals that I use are organic.

Wikipedia
>Consequently, female mites living when brood is present in the colony have an average life expectancy of 27 days, yet in the absence of brood, they may live for many months.  <

If that is true, will the mites not return straight bank to the business of breeding and reproducing just as soon as the queen is reintroduced and larva is once again present?

How are these mites able to live many months without brood to feed on and as a tool to multiply?  I will tell you. By attaching to adult bees, kind of like ticks do to humans.  Varroa mites attach On the underside of their host, our bees abdomen If you will.  Feeding on fat bodies causing irreversible damage. Mr Van explained a while back that these fat bodies were similar to the functions of a liver in some creatures. This material that they feed on is discarded as white specs. An obvious indication of the mites feeding on organ material.

Varroa cause many problems in bees. Lessens their immune system, making them more susceptible to the effects of pesticides, virus, and bacteria.  So even if brood is taken away from bees, damage is still being done to existing adult bees by varroa as the adult bees are host to adult varroa, Varroa Destructor.
i.e. (Adult bees which are not being replaced because brood has been taken away.) Considering this and added up, will this mean a weaker hive, less honey and more danger for the hive?

It not only means there are no new bees coming in, (brood has been taken away), but existing, infected, already short lived bees are having their very short life, shortened even faster, (sucked away) literally. As Dr Ramsey has stated, adult varroa destructor move from host to host, meaning bee to bee as one bee after another is damaged and depleted. 
 
Even if bees did not have to contend with the many side effects of varroa, Viruses, bacteria, and a weakened immune system. Just the damage done by Varroa alone to the bees fat body membranes would still be too much to put up with in my opinion. 

Added to this already mentioned, let's not forget mites can live months, bees do not, (Unless during winter). So how can mites live for months if the hive is weakened, even to the point of being wiped out? By hitching a free ride by robber bees to new homes (plural), homes loaded with fresh brood and the vicious cycle cranks up full steam again at brand new mite (hotels). Plural

I do not see how the theory of brood break Treatment holds water, (Not much of a benefit), Especially after hearing the detailed video of Dr Samuel Ramsey, the scientist that discovered varroa live on bee fat body membrane, not bee blood.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 12:41:30 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 The15thMember

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2020, 01:12:26 pm »
I am adding my opinion. I fully respect and sympathize with the idea of chemical free. There we are in total agreement! When discussing brood break, there are things that I recognize which must or should, be considered. I will express some of these considerations, concerns, and thoughts here, now. Hopefully you can quench these concerns. As I said, I would love to be chemical free also, even though the chemicals that I use are organic.

Wikipedia
>Consequently, female mites living when brood is present in the colony have an average life expectancy of 27 days, yet in the absence of brood, they may live for many months.  <

If that is true, will the mites not return straight bank to the business of breeding and reproducing just as soon as the queen is reintroduced and larva is once again present?

How are these mites able to live many months without brood to feed on and as a tool to multiply?  I will tell you. By attaching to adult bees, kind of like ticks do to humans.  Varroa mites attach On the underside of their host, our bees abdomen If you will.  Feeding on fat bodies causing irreversible damage. Mr Van explained a while back that these fat bodies were similar to the functions of a liver in some creatures. This material that they feed on is discarded as white specs. An obvious indication of the mites feeding on organ material.

Varroa cause many problems in bees. Lessens their immune system, making them more susceptible to the effects of pesticides, virus, and bacteria.  So even if brood is taken away from bees, damage is still being done to existing adult bees by varroa as the adult bees are host to adult varroa, Varroa Destructor.
i.e. (Adult bees which are not being replaced because brood has been taken away.) Considering this and added up, will this mean a weaker hive, less honey and more danger for the hive?

It not only means there are no new bees coming in, (brood has been taken away), but existing, infected, already short lived bees are having their very short life, shortened even faster, (sucked away) literally. As Dr Ramsey has stated, adult varroa destructor move from host to host, meaning bee to bee as one bee after another is damaged and depleted. 
 
Even if bees did not have to contend with the many side effects of varroa, Viruses, bacteria, and a weakened immune system. Just the damage done by Varroa alone to the bees fat body membranes would still be too much to put up with in my opinion. 

Added to this already mentioned, let's not forget mites can live months, bees do not, (Unless during winter). So how can mites live for months if the hive is weakened, even to the point of being wiped out? By hitching a free ride by robber bees to new homes (plural), homes loaded with fresh brood and the vicious cycle cranks up full steam again at brand new mite (hotels). Plural

I do not see how the theory of brood break Treatment holds water, (Not much of a benefit), Especially after hearing the detailed video of Dr Samuel Ramsey, the scientist that discovered varroa live on bee fat body membrane, not bee blood.

All your facts are correct the way I understand them, Phillip, but I think you are missing something of the point.  The idea behind this treatment is the same as a chemical treatment: by removing a large portion of the mites, the future bees will be able to develop properly and be healthy and long lived.  And at any given time, there are a large portion of mites reproducing in the capped brood.  It's true that this treatment does nothing to deal with the mites on the bees (which is why some do this in conjunction with OAV or a sugar dust), but what this treatment does do is enable you to remove a large portion of the mite population that is under the capped brood.  It's sort of the opposite of a chemical treatment like OAV which doesn't get to the mites in the capped brood.  The brood break itself doesn't help much, but by limiting the queen's laying area so you can remove all the capped brood easily (and all the mites trapped in it), you are able to lower the mite/bee ratio and as a result the hive will be healthier.  It's just a mechanical way of removing the mites as opposed to a chemical way.  I understand that there is a cost to the hive, but from my personal perspective at least, the cost is worth it.     
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Offline AR Beekeeper

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2020, 01:39:53 pm »
According to Ralph Blucher, their studies in Germany show that the varroa on adult bees are lost at a rate of 1 to 2% per day.  With a brood break of 25 days they figure that 40% of the varroa that are on adult bees during a brood break are lost.  This is about equal the kill that you actually get with a HopGuard treatment.

If your location is such that the nectar flows allow a long break after the main flow, I can see no reason not to try queen caging to cause a break.  Using a trapping comb, or an oxalic acid treatment, would make the break even more effective.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2020, 03:48:00 pm »
Thanks Member and AR.

> All your facts are correct the way I understand them, Phillip, but I think you are missing something of the point.  The idea behind this treatment is the same as a chemical treatment: by removing a large portion of the mites, the future bees will be able to develop properly and be healthy and long lived.  And at any given time, there are a large portion of mites reproducing in the capped brood.  It's true that this treatment does nothing to deal with the mites on the bees (which is why some do this in conjunction with OAV or a sugar dust), but what this treatment does do is enable you to remove a large portion of the mite population that is under the capped brood. It's sort of the opposite of a chemical treatment like OAV which doesn't get to the mites in the capped brood.  The brood break itself doesn't help much, but by limiting the queen's laying area so you can remove all the capped brood easily (and all the mites trapped in it), you are able to lower the mite/bee ratio and as a result the hive will be healthier.  It's just a mechanical way of removing the mites as opposed to a chemical way.  I understand that there is a cost to the hive, but from my personal perspective at least, the cost is worth it.

Actually I had those points, which are highlighted in green, in mind when I posted my above reply. While it is true that we will reduce a large portion of mites which may be beneath capped brood, we do not reduce the number of mites which may be on the outside of capped brood via brood break. Mites left in the hive feeding on workers, after removing brood. If the German Scientist is correct as reported by AR, "1 to 2% per day. With a brood break of 25 days they figure that 40% of the varroa that are on adult bees during a brood break are lost", that means we still have 60% mites ready and available to go back to the business of reproducing when the 25 day time period is up, according to this German Scientist, Ralph Blucher, using his numbers.

Now how long do worker bees live as opposed to the 25 day withholding of brood from this hive? What percent of workers will also be lost each day compared to the percentage loss of mites each day? I suggest if what I have been taught, the number of viable worker bees will be reduced at a much higher percentage rate than that of the of varroa mites lost in this same time frame? Not to mention the Oh So critical
number (of the right age nurse bees) that will mature to the level of worker bee status during this time. 

According to Jack Skinner UT. "workers live 5-6 weeks". Since all bees are not the same age then boom. Doesn't look very promising to me. With all these worker bees lost and even more importantly, the now depleted remaining force of nurse bees dwindled, (because many now are past the age of nurse bees per the 25 day brood break.) and remembering  NO reinforcements of fresh hatching nurse bees (because all eggs, larvae, and brood sources have been removed), there would not be much left to work with? The new brood, (after the brood break) in order to be viable and healthy along with a goodly number, need a good supply of nurse bees feeding the fresh larva. Does this not mean the queen will lay fewer eggs in this hive because of these reasons? As opposed to a hive with high numbers of nurse bees in which such a hive has been allowed to keep "bees on order" quoting Mr HoneyPump?
Starting over again behind the 8 ball, without the force needed, does not seem very promising to me? From what I understand the bees will not raise more larva that the nurse bees can take care of at any given time?

If all the above is true, now where does that leave us? Wouldn't that leave us with fewer larva being raised when the queen is reintroduced? Plus, remember; We still have the 60% of viable remaining fertile mites which are on the remaining bees to deal with, these mites will go right back to housekeeping, full speed ahead laying in the new brood? Would this not leave us worse off than when we started? And to add to this situation I will ask; If we still have the need to go back and use OAV or some other chemical, be it natural and organic or some other more harsh chemical, what have we accomplished?



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« Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 12:13:58 pm by Ben Framed »
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Varroa control via capped brood removal during a dearth.
« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2020, 11:42:12 am »
Thanks Member and AR.

Actually I had those points, which are highlighted in green, in mind when I posted my above reply. While it is true that we will reduce a large portions of female mites which may be beneath capped brood, we do not reduce the number of female mites which may be on the outside of capped brood, left in the hive to feed on workers, after removing brood. If the German Scientist is correct as reported by AR, "1 to 2% per day. With a brood break of 25 days they figure that 40% of the varroa that are on adult bees during a brood break are lost", that means we still have 60% mites ready and available to go back to the business or reproducing when the 25 day time period is up, according to this German Scientist, Ralph Blucher, using his numbers.

Now how long do worker bees live as opposed to the 25 day withholding of brood from this hive? What percent of workers will also be lost each day? I suggest if what I have been taught, the number of viable worker bees will be reduced at a much higher percent than that of the percentage of varroa mites in the same time frame? Not to mention the Oh So critical
number or the right age nurse bees that will mature to the level of worker bee status during this time. 

According to Jack Skinner UT. "workers live 5-6 weeks". Since all bees are not the same age then boom. Doesn't look very promising to me. With all these worker bees lost and even more importantly, the remaining of lack of nurse bees, because many now, are past the age of nurse bees, plus NO reinforcements of fresh hatching nurse bees, there would not be much left to work with? The new brood, to be viable and healthy along with a goodly number, need a good supply of nurse bees feeding the fresh larva.  Wouldn't that mean the queen will lay fewer eggs in this hive than a normal hive with high numbers of nurse bees in a which may have been allowed to keep "bees on order" quoting Mr HoneyPump? Starting over again behind the 8 ball, without the force needed, does not seem very promising to me? From what I understand the bees will not raise more larva that the nurse bees can take care of at any given time?

If all the above is true, now where does that leave us? Wouldn't that leave us with fewer larva being raised when the queen is reintroduced? Plus remembering we still have the 60% of viable remaining fertile mites to deal with, going right back to housekeeping, full speed ahead laying in the new brood? Would this not leave us worse off than when we started? And after all of this, if we still have the need to go back and use OAV or some other chemical, be it natural and organic or some other more harsh chemical, what have we accomplished?
I'm not exactly following all your questions and your entire line of thinking, Phillip, but if, as AR said, 40% of the mites are taken care of just by a brood break AND you are using the trapping comb to get more, that sounds pretty good to me.  I think this number is probably optimistic and relies on everything timing out exactly right, but I believe Bucheler said that you can get as much as a 90% reduction with the trapping comb, because most of the mites on the adult nurse bees will enter the brood to reproduce.  As far as the ages and lifespans of the adult bees, if you do the trapping treatment when it's most effective, which is before the hives raises the first batch of winter bees, it doesn't really matter if the last batch of already short-lived summer workers have shortened lives.  On top of that, remember that the foragers can revert to being nurse bees if need be, so as long as the worker bee population isn't drastically reduced and the hive is already well supplied with stores, there should be enough bees to raise the first crop of winter workers.  That's how I see it anyway. 
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