Queen cage - varroa management

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gmonag 

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Yes. The rationale is that the winter bees are more important than the late summer bees and will not be affected by varroa.
As I understand it
 

beeno 

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The practice of brood destruction, whether worker or drone, reminds me of the old-fashioned practice of blood-letting. All it does is weaken the patient.
I had the same idea about blood-letting as you and it does weaken the patient, but it is now referred to as Venesection (Phlebotomy) and is still in use for blood disorders such as polycythemia vera.
 
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Phoretic implies relatively harmless, taking a ride.
They are parasitic and cause the bees they are feeding on a lot of harm. You should listen to the whole of his lecture. It’s in the sticky section
Thanks Dani, have seen his lecture when he presented at the BBKA spring conference a couple of years ago, really good piece of work & an inspirational speaker. Need more researchers like him!
 
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Yes proponents of this experiment seem to be ignoring this.
I asked about this on the evening directly to Ralph who advised July / beginning Aug is good timing to start the caging. I plan to start last week of July ahead of winter bee production from later in August though one can’t be specific about the exact timing this starts. Depends on colony genetics and your local climate. Most beekeepers start varroa chemical treatment (certainly in my area) later than this after the flow has finished.
 
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When a new idea comes along on this forum, most people will listen, consider the pros and cons with an open mind. They may even choose to adopt or try the new method, or not. All very good and proper.
Then there are those that dismiss it, usually with a few choice derogatory remarks about the creator. It is always the same ones, those with dogmatic arrogance, who can't stand the fact that "it was not invented here".
I like to keep an open mind and welcome constructive criticism as it helps identify issues I may not have thought of. I do think it would help to deliver concerns in a positive way.
 

drex 

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I had the same idea about blood-letting as you and it does weaken the patient, but it is now referred to as Venesection (Phlebotomy) and is still in use for blood disorders such as polycythemia vera.
Yes, but in polycythaemia, they have too many red blood cells as a result of the disease, so blood letting makes sense, as opposed to destruction of brood
 

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I asked about this on the evening directly to Ralph who advised July / beginning Aug is good timing to start the caging. I plan to start last week of July ahead of winter bee production from later in August though one can’t be specific about the exact timing this starts. Depends on colony genetics and your local climate. Most beekeepers start varroa chemical treatment (certainly in my area) later than this after the flow has finished.
I would suggest observing your colonies, at that time, July/Aug, mine generally go into a brood break.
 
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I asked about this on the evening directly to Ralph who advised July / beginning Aug is good timing to start the caging. I plan to start last week of July ahead of winter bee production from later in August though one can’t be specific about the exact timing this starts. Depends on colony genetics and your local climate. Most beekeepers start varroa chemical treatment (certainly in my area) later than this after the flow has finished.
I really think this is well worth trying on a couple of colonies this summer. I have discovered that the Italian queen cages are available from Thorne but are sold as QCC for £6.50. Saves the hassle of importing from the EU.
 
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I really think this is well worth trying on a couple of colonies this summer. I have discovered that the Italian queen cages are available from Thorne but are sold as QCC for £6.50. Saves the hassle of importing from the EU.
Yes I’m planning on trying on a couple of colonies. Found it v easy to import the cages, the supplier was v efficient and delivery came within a week but min order is 6 and I bought the queen catcher too. Here’s a pic of them in 2 frames. Will ‘acclimatise’ in the hives beforehand so they pick up the hive odours.
 

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Yes I’m planning on trying on a couple of colonies. Found it v easy to import the cages, the supplier was v efficient and delivery came within a week but min order is 6 and I bought the queen catcher too. Here’s a pic of them in 2 frames. Will ‘acclimatise’ in the hives beforehand so they pick up the hive odours.
Hi Elainemary
Did you have to pay additional VAT or Customs charges coming in from Italy?
Thanks, Michael
 
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Hi Elainemary
Did you have to pay additional VAT or Customs charges coming in from Italy?
Thanks, Michael
Hi Michael
Works out about £4.10 a cage if you amortise the delivery charge across the 6 cages and queen catcher. Not sure about Vat, just came in the post & paid in advance via PayPal, as per invoice
Elaine
 
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Plenty of honey 

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Yes I’m planning on trying on a couple of colonies. Found it v easy to import the cages, the supplier was v efficient and delivery came within a week but min order is 6 and I bought the queen catcher too. Here’s a pic of them in 2 frames. Will ‘acclimatise’ in the hives beforehand so they pick up the hive odours.
Bought these (API-MO.BRU) were the cages i bought last spring, used about 140 in caging queens in high summer. Fantastic results for me. All production hives seem just great at the moment. Several precautions to take in to account as to whether the colony is suitable candidate to cage the queen, but i am using this for the foreseeable. buying more cages too. will post a video here on what i did, how and when. I am not technical, just practical so dont expect percentages and mite drop counts. Ive tried the scalvini cages and these are streets ahead. I will explain my reasoning.9AFBAA78-7D16-469D-9924-ABFE14D151A2.jpeg
 
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Bought these (API-MO.BRU) were the cages i bought last spring, used about 140 in caging queens in high summer. Fantastic results for me. All production hives seem just great at the moment. Several precautions to take in to account as to whether the colony is suitable candidate to cage the queen, but i am using this for the foreseeable. buying more cages too. will post a video here on what i did, how and when. I am not technical, just practical so dont expect percentages and mite drop counts. Ive tried the scalvini cages and these are streets ahead. I will explain my reasoning.View attachment 30116
Thanks glad these have worked well for you, look forward to hearing more about your results, thanks for sharing back with us.
 

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He wasn’t advocating complete non use of chemicals - using OA once at the end of the brood break process to remove any phoretic bees, is v effective and there’s lots of other research which shows using it once esp by sublimation, does no harm to the colony and there are no resistance issues. Also timed before winter break production - normally not possible in July / Aug as colonies not broodless. His main argument is against the use of synthetic hard chemicals (Apistan, bayvarol, Amitraz) and repeated use of others. He believes the evolutionary process to VSH bees will take much longer whilst we use those. You’re right in the case of the purist who wants to completely give up any form of chemicals, they would have to destroy the brood.
If the brood frames were transferred without bees on them before the brood is capped they will contain minimal varroa and could be finished off by another (varroa-free) colony.
 

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I have started useing the cages last year as my integrated pest management. Bought more for this season. Seemed to work well. Just need to work out when exactly is the best time to start. Put them in end july last year.
I quess like with anything you have to look at your situation in regard to your time and cash inputs. Chemicals are going push up your production costs if you can get them. With supply chain problems around, who knows if you will get your agri chems from.hopefully oxalic acid production is not impacted with this years possible crop shortages. The cages should last years. So £6 divided by 5 to 10 years equals about 60p to £1 a year plus the oxalic acid. But if you have 100s colonies caging queens could be a mission. But if you are a pro, you likely can do this quick anyway. But at least we have another choice available now.
Thanks Dr Ralph and Plenty of Honey for your videos about it.
 

Plenty of honey 

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Here’s how I caged those queens we were discussing. Pretty simple stuff, common sense approach but lots of work. However the results at this stage look really promising.
 

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I have issues with the brood break management to control varroa. So you cage or remove the queen for a number of weeks. Just how is it that this controls the varroa population? Yes, I agree the varroa population increase might be put on hold, but then what? Color me confused.
It is COLOSS project. The queen is in cage and it lays in July the small excluder cage. Brood are there and mites consentrates in those brood combs. Brood and mites are them removed.
 

Michael Palmer 

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It is COLOSS project. The queen is in cage and it lays in July the small excluder cage. Brood are there and mites consentrates in those brood combs. Brood and mites are them removed.
I guess then all you need is the time to find all those queens in July when the population of the colonies here is at it's peak. I know how difficult it can be and how long it takes to find the old queens we want to replace...in July before we begin harvest. I'd like to see someone catch my 700-1000 queens in a timely fashion, in honey production colonies. Or even in nuclei.
 
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Here’s how I caged those queens we were discussing. Pretty simple stuff, common sense approach but lots of work. However the results at this stage look really promising.
Hi Richard enjoyed watching your video. When I saw Ralph’s videos last winter I felt strongly ‘we’re onto something’, shared it on here and bought the cages with the intention of trying last summer.

My last flow is the heather so more of a challenge re timing, but I reckoned if I caged the queen once she’d laid all the brood for the heather 1st week July (foragers flying mid august) there would still be time for her to make winter bees 3-4 weeks later. Might also make more honey from the last flow as no brood for the colony to rear once she is caged! Maybe you could even bring your timings slightly forward and benefit from this during your last flow??

I bottled it though, as my varrroa was very low in July. I did end up treating end of August to minimise risk to winter bees so wish I’d gone ahead. I will do this season, I felt I was a bit of a lone voice last year so watching you try it has given me confidence to go for it

I also bought the queen catcher device and I hadn’t thought of your good point about using the cages all year round in colonies as a way of caging the queen for other manipulations / inspections, which a hobbyist like me has to the time to do. Just wondered whether the bees would propolise or brace comb if in permanently - did you find this at all?

Pics here like yours from last winter but also showing the size vs a normal jzbz cage. Do like the idea of nurse bees being able to access, look after her and spread her pheromones around for overall colony harmony during the process. Will be interesting how all your queens perform next spring as I think some folk thought the caging might cause premature supersedure or impact her coming back into lay.

Pls keep us updated with varroa and queen performance results. Ralph told me when I made contact it’s his choice of treatment every year now
 

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Plenty of honey 

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I guess then all you need is the time to find all those queens in July when the population of the colonies here is at it's peak. I know how difficult it can be and how long it takes to find the old queens we want to replace...in July before we begin harvest. I'd like to see someone catch my 700-1000 queens in a timely fashion, in honey production colonies. Or even in nuclei.
Couldn't agree more with you Mike, it is a big effort but I feel it is justified. If I am making my last nucs then its pretty much at that time that I am looking for the queen. Judging by my previous years work on varroa control, I had to try something else. my Apivar did not seem to be working properly as mite levels were still far too high post treatment. Our dearth fits in nicely with the operation so ,as I stated in the video your almost working with the bees in the fact that their having a virtual brood break of their own at that time in this region. For me its too good an opportunity to miss, would rather be working my ass off with live bees, rather than working my ass off cleaning out dead losses the following spring, Then having nucs to sell instead of just using them for replacements 🤷‍♂️ yes its a huge amount of work!
 
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