Tuesday, April 13, 2010

kill the drones, save the hive

I'm experimenting with a new mite management technique; centralizing drone brood on a specially sized frame (drone cells are distinctly larger than worker cells), and then freezing it.

it's like a trap; varroa mites love the longer incubation period of drone brood, so by concentrating it on a single frame, the theory is that you can dramatically reduce the mite population in a hive by freezing the entire frame once it's capped.

here you can see the drone comb almost drawn:

and fully capped, ready for the freezer:

generally, honeybees produce an excess of drones, so the death of such a large portion of the drone population is not necessarily a loss for the hive...at least in terms of honey production.

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