Surprising dead-out

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Most hobby beekeepers in Denmark use drone brood removal during the season, formic acid after the last honey harvest, and then around December oxalic acid dribble.
I use drone brood removal, formic acid in September (140 ml 60% in Nassenheider), and instead of oxalic acid I use lactic acid (15%, 5 ml per side of frame with bees), but that is not common. When I started beekeeping everybody used lactic acid... This year I also used lactic acid in mid-October because the results after the formic acid showed so many mites, and I hadn't seen so many before... The colony that died had around 2.500 mites in the tray after formic acid... It was a large colony. I thought that the extra treatment saved the colony, but it didn't. It died in November/December.
 
It poses the question. How effective really is Formic through brood cappings?
it's been mentioned more than once over the years - by beekeepers with far more knowledge of the stuff than us mere mortals
 
We have big problems with the reinvasion of varroa mites... The formic acid treatment seemed to work well. At least it killed 2,500 mites... But the queen stopped laying eggs for a while. Otherwise, I would have given the colony a new dose of formic acid. I took samples of bees (200-300 bees) from four colonies and sent them (frozen) to the research station, where they washed the bees and counted mites per 100 bees. One week before the formic acid treatment the mite counts were 1.1%, 0.5%, 0.4%, and 5.3%. Three weeks after I started the treatment with formic acid (14 days) the mite counts were 3.6%, 5.0%, 6.1%, and 11.0% (it was 22%, but since the colony was broodless, I divide by two in order to compare with the other numbers, from hives with brood).
 
It may be the same case as one of my colonies. A very late and failed supercedure. I expect my colony to perish soon, although they still seem to be hanging on in there.
I had one nuc raise a new queen in October..... waiting to see if that worked out although they've been flying in decent numbers whenever the sun has been out so i have my fingers crossed....
 
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It also asks the question of how efficient DB removal is and how it's effect may be more detrimental too the colony in labour and resources feeding and rasing it , only for it to destroyed.
With my 8 colonies bar one, varroa has been low in numbers and for DB I encourage it's production by letting the bees draw there own comb by being foundation less.
 
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It also asks the question of how efficant DB removal is and how it's effect may be more detrimental too the colony in labour and resources feeding and rasing it , only for it to destroyed.

I've felt uncomfortable about this for some time. I have no concrete evidence, but I just have this nagging feeling that it's not sensible. Raising far more drones than are desirable seems to me like it would be a behaviour that evolution would weed out. They consume significant resources and need to be mature and ready to go before virgin queens are going out on mating flights so I'd expect that colonies raising excessive numbers of drones would get outcompeted by those that don't. That culling drones early in the season is a recommended IPM practice and that there seem to be increasing numbers of reports of poorly-mated queens may well be (at least partially) related, it seems to me. Clearly there are going to be other possible reasons for the problem as well, but I'd be far happier if I'd seen good evidence that drone culling doesn't cause issues with getting queens mated than just assuming the remaining drones will "take up the slack" somehow.

James
 
It is part of the NBU ipm plan, in my early days I use to integrate it but then started to think things through a bit more. It became apparent it was a waste of their incedible hard work and resources so I stopped it.
We now have other solutions via vaping to aid in reducing numbers without decimating drone numbers and as you have said James having desirabe drones available, more so if your Queens charactaristics /genes are sought after . We know from F2 matings onwards traits can be sketchy but it isn't always the way.
As well as a simple sugar roll to monitor mite loads.

In 2018 I collected a swram locally of quite yellow bees and a queen, very docile and so calm . They ended up in new garden apiary in a village (My wifes late granny's bungalow garden with 1/2 acre garden), since then I have increased from that one Q to 5 colonies and encouraged the drone production by going FL in the BB's. Though I have seen the bees go form yellow in colour to a more amber /brown colour , it is obvious other drone genes have been introduced and the bees /queens have been hybridised even more. However for now they are still a decent bunch of bees and as productive as the first season I placed them there.
 
Seems to be a lot of drones in the pictures for a winter dead out.
 
Never removed drone brood/comb as felt the bees wanted it there or would not have bothered in the first place.
 

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