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Nigel

NZBF Do autumn splits work as a means of varroa control?

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Hi,

I am considering undertaking a split in late feb/early march in auckland as a means of varroa control. From what I have calculated the new queen should be laying in april and may as part of the winter buildup. I figure that by not laying for one cycle the varroa count will drop and this I may not have to treat in autumn. Has anyone ever tried this form of varroa control??

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I haven't done any maths but as far as autumn treatment that didn't work goes, been there done that, wasn't good the following spring. If I were you I wouldn't even think that by splitting I'd get away without any other treatment. Winter bees have to be healthy bees.

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Considering varroa numbers are usually highest around that time of year, I think not treating would be a very bad idea. They need to be strong and healthy going into winter.

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Varroa increase fast as bee numbers drop going into winter.

For me, varroa do their most damage, by far, heading into, and during winter .

What is worse than varroa during winter, is the viruses that varroa pass around. The bees waste their resources feeding and rearing bees with DWV which quickly collapses the colony in winter.

So in conclusion, where ever you have capped brood, you need to carefully think about when to treat and what with

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splitting as a varroa treatment works if you give away all your mites to other beeks.

splitting does reduce your total number of mites in a hive, but you would still need treatment. how many mites go where and the effect of the bee/mite ratio will depend on how the splitting is done.

if you shift all the brood to the split then it would get the bulk of the mites and the bee number drop drastically. not good.

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Does work, timing critical, but other ways than splitting like brood break queen cage etc, I am new at this but working for me while transfer to small cell. Saw two bees kill a mite the other day with my own eyes in my own hive, amazing. I will be treating once this autumn as I am not ready for it yet not enough on small cell. May get there this year time will tell. I tried robbing all brood frames to new hive last season and that hive came thru best.

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Does work, timing critical, but other ways than splitting like brood break queen cage etc, I am new at this but working for me while transfer to small cell. Saw two bees kill a mite the other day with my own eyes in my own hive, amazing. I will be treating once this autumn as I am not ready for it yet not enough on small cell. May get there this year time will tell. I tried robbing all brood frames to new hive last season and that hive came thru best.

That's interesting I didn't consider confining the queen

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If brood breaks or small cell hives work, why wouldn't commercials with hundreds if not thousands of hives be using them and saving the labour and material cost - lets be honest, they have the skills and experience!

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just as well you dont need to think then isn't it. :rolleyes:

.

Learn from others mistakes, much easier that way, then I only need to decide who is talking silly stuff. Do the same thing, get same result, change what and how u do it, you might get a better result, write it down to remember for next time. No need for a personal attack, just pointed out a fact. How can many thousands of people doing it be all wrong, if it works for them might just work for me?

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Well there you go then, carry on doing what you are doing.

 

No personal attack it was you who told me you didn't need to think.

.

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Well there you go then, carry on doing what you are doing.

 

No personal attack it was you who told me you didn't need to think.

.

Lol Frazz, pick your battles. Matthew says he is new at this, so he can tell us next spring how it's gone.

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@Nigel and @Matthew Brajkovich just so I understand you both, are you proposing a brood break as a sole means of treatment or in combination with a treatment to knock back the phoretic mites?

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For me, it is not sole yet and probably never will be, treatment with chemicals are a last use for me, mid flow if u see signs of disease from mite a forced brood break can be a good idea. I have way more important things to do thru the season in prepping the hive for winter and allowing the hive to do a natural brood break cycle. I may be new at this but not lost a hive yet and I neglected one to prove a point to myself and my mentor that what I suggest will work, and it did, thanks to dad for making all the stuff I wanted, that hive is still alive and only just now growing. Traditional methods used here in my opinion can no longer work, ie two fixed brood boxes and then honey super, it is not that one, two or three boxes is the answer it is how they are worked and so many people do not understand that, as all they want is honey, the commercial guys fully understand, the new people from what I have seen have not been given the info on how bees, work and grow. If u want a hive to get honey you need two hives or more. Ps I do not sugar feed at all and do not treat in spring. Hope that helps. Not interested in personal attacks as what works for me may not work for others.

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I'm concerned @Matthew Brajkovich that you have twice mentioned personal attacks.

No personal attack it was you who told me you didn't need to think.

 

Having read through the topic, I agree with this statement. A difference of opinion in what to do is not a personal attack and getting defensive like this is more likely to lead to them. So let's keep your posts on topic and without prejudice please.

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@Nigel , the MPI control of varroa document has a 'Dutch' method of splitting which supposedly can reduce varroa numbers:

 

The hive splitting varroa control method

This method of varroa control using hive splitting was developed by Dutch researchers, and is based on both the theoretical model of varroa population growth and techniques for biotechnical control of varroa that originated in Vietnam (see 12.6). The method should be used during swarm control in the late spring/early summer, or when making ‘autumn’ splits in the late summer while the honey flow is still on.

Step 1

• Choose two colonies.

 

• Place a comb with empty drone cells in the centre of the brood nest of one colony (colony A).

Step 2 (one week later)

• In colony A, shake all the bees off the combs with brood except the drone comb, and put the brood in the other colony (B), after first checking for AFB.

 

• Put a second, empty drone comb in the centre of the brood nest of colony A.

 

• Put the queen in colony B above a queen excluder in a further super with empty combs. Colony A now only has a single frame of uncapped drone larvae and an empty drone brood comb, while colony B has a two super brood nest plus a third super containing the queen.

Step 3 (one week later)

• Remove the comb that now has capped drone brood (and mites) from colony A (the comb that contained uncapped drone larvae the week before). The comb can be uncapped with a knife or cappings scratcher and the drone pupae can be removed from the comb in a small hand extractor, washed out with a hand spray nozzle attached to a garden hose, or simply shaken out on the ground. Drone pupae make excellent chicken feed.

 

• Put this cleaned comb (or another clean drone comb) into the centre of the brood nest of colony A.

 

• Shake all the bees off the new brood that has been produced above the excluder in colony B. The brood is all too young to contain any mites. Move the brood to colony A, after first checking for AFB.

 

• Take the bees and queen from the excluded box in colony B and make a broodless split (colony C). Shake all the bees off the second drone comb in colony A (now containing uncapped larvae), and put it in the centre of the super of colony C.

 

• Put a protected queen cell in colony B.

Step 4 (one week later)

• Shake the bees from the drone comb containing uncapped drone larvae from colony A, and place it in the centre of the brood nest of colony B.

 

• Remove the comb that now has capped drone brood (and mites) from colony C and destroy the pupae (see Step 3).

Step 5 (one week later)

• Remove the comb that now has capped drone brood (and mites) from colony B and destroy the pupae (see Step 3).

 

• Check colony B for a new laying queen.

 

According to the field trials carried out by the Dutch researchers, on average this method is 83.4 to 93.4% effective in removing mites from all three colonies (depending on the amount of drone brood available for trapping). The researchers have managed 70 colonies using this method for 5 years in Holland without using any additional, chemical control.

 

The researchers found that the time required to carry out colony management was not much more than to manage the colonies they ran as controls in the experiment. The extra time was limited to having to manage the placement and extraction of drone combs.

 

http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files/pests/varroa/control-of-varroa-guide.pdf

 

I also recently read the transcript of an interview @Kiwimana did with Randy Oliver from Scientific Beekeeping and he splits his hives 4 ways in Spring after almond pollination and sells 3 as nucs. They stated that the drop in mite count more than much up for the lower bee numbers during the honey flow.

 

Saw two bees kill a mite the other day with my own eyes in my own hive, amazing.

 

Are you seeing a lot of phoretic mites in the hive? I have read that if you are actively seeing mites on the bees or running across the comb you are already in trouble, as 2/3s of the mites are in the brood - and those on the bees tend to sit on the underside of the bee fitting themselves between the joints on the bees body. Additionally mites are pretty much invisible to other bees in the darkness of the hive, if they are taking advantage of the light during an inspection to remove mites they must be pretty annoyed by them.

 

Have you done a recent mite count?

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Have you done a recent mite count?

 

No, I do not do counts, not really interested in that data for myself yet, but do observe drops with dad's hives. Thanks for the info and confirmation it can be done but involved and as I mentioned and time critical. Not seeing any mites to speak of in the hive only last season a couple on girls and a few on drones. This is the first mite I have seen running and it was on a new large 10 frame Nuc, no sign of disease or mites otherwise in this colony one other has some I think but not seen any, they have just finished a double re queen by themselves. Some colonies already have kicked out the drones this year about 6-7 weeks ago and then made more, while some have only just started making drones, had no obvious diseases and no mites on them just girls said see ya to them, I collected while still alive to inspect, that hive is still my biggest and she is one crazy queen, she kills swarm cells eats them out if she lays in them and most she never lays in. Ps never seen that queen.

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I'm surprised you are not doing regular mite counts if you looking to transition from a low to no treatment beekeeper.

 

Are those PF100 frames in your profile pic? Imported from Mann Lake?

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Big difference in doing spring splits rather than autumn brood breaks or splits.

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I'm surprised you are not doing regular mite counts if you looking to transition from a low to no treatment beekeeper.

 

Are those PF100 frames in your profile pic? Imported from Mann Lake?

@Jezza you run the risk of derailing this thread. Autumn splits - varroa control? But since you asked here I'll answer here.

 

I monitor mite numbers to determine whether my treatment has succeeded in eliminating mites. But I'm not treatment free. Treatment free is not about eliminating mites, it's about breeding bees that are mite-tolerant. So a mite count would only confirm what @Matthew Brajkovich already knows - there are mites present. Treatment free beeks look at the colony as a whole to determine whether they are succeeding in spite of whatever mites may be present. So please be careful with you phrasing. Whether you mean to or not you're post comes across rather critical.

 

Big difference in doing spring splits rather than autumn brood breaks or splits.

Thanks Frazz for bringing it back to topic.

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I'm surprised you are not doing regular mite counts if you looking to transition from a low to no treatment beekeeper.

 

Are those PF100 frames in your profile pic? Imported from Mann Lake?

Yep, got them from ecrotek.

 

Edit: Sorry, to clarify think they are 201 small cell will check.

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@Jezza you run the risk of derailing this thread. Autumn splits - varroa control? But since you asked here I'll answer here.

 

Hi Rob, not really sure how asking Matthew if he monitoring mite levels is derailing the thread, it is a thread about using splits for mite control, a technique Matthew has advised he uses - surely counting mites falls under that heading?

 

But since you asked here I'll answer here. I monitor mite numbers to determine whether my treatment has succeeded in eliminating mites. But I'm not treatment free. Treatment free is not about eliminating mites, it's about breeding bees that are mite-tolerant. So a mite count would only confirm what @Matthew Brajkovich already knows - there are mites present. Treatment free beeks look at the colony as a whole to determine whether they are succeeding in spite of whatever mites may be present. So please be careful with you phrasing. Whether you mean to or not you're post comes across rather critical.

 

I was asking Matthew, as he has stated before that he is using minimal treatments at the moment but hopes to use none in the future, so I am trying to understand what criteria he is using to determine what progress he is making.

 

I've been pretty open since joining this forum about my complete lack of practical experience in beekeeping. I post from that point of view, my posts are not critical at all - I'm here to learn from other more experienced people - and to add some references to things I've read that may be relevant to see the feedback of practical experience versus the reference.

 

As regards this thread I would love to hear if anyone has tried the split method outlined above and their thoughts about it.

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Hi Rob, not really sure how asking Matthew if he monitoring mite levels is derailing the thread, it is a thread about using splits for mite control, a technique Matthew has advised he uses - surely counting mites falls under that heading?

 

 

 

I was asking Matthew, as he has stated before that he is using minimal treatments at the moment but hopes to use none in the future, so I am trying to understand what criteria he is using to determine what progress he is making.

 

I've been pretty open since joining this forum about my complete lack of practical experience in beekeeping. I post from that point of view, my posts are not critical at all - I'm here to learn from other more experienced people - and to add some references to things I've read that may be relevant to see the feedback of practical experience versus the reference.

 

As regards this thread I would love to hear if anyone has tried the split method outlined above and their thoughts about it.

 

No I have not tried that exact method, my own hybrid, that allows very similar effect in my opinion, but saying that I am to new to actually openly state and confirm what and why the bees survived DWV, like thousands died mid season in one hive, and the bees replaced the queen themselves and this year that hive is a rock star with no diseases yet, I did not treat that hive when the DWV was present treated in April, but I did help them with frames and boxes and insulation. Other colonies I did splits and brood robbing in two others and they are massive hives this year so all I can comment is that part of the method worked for me and I made three hives out of one in feb march and they are rock stars, the one hive I did not rob brood or split has done the worst out of all. As for caging the queen not yet I will be this year as have more hives I can play with. Final comment, way more important things in my opinion that can lead you to a better hive but this method is one I work towards and use if needed. Understanding why bees do things I find the hardest, like why so much pollen stored and never used.

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