Drones and AHBs - an idea

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Skyhigh, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    In the process of going through every catalog and bee supply website I could find (I'm in need of much stuff :D ), I kept coming across "drone foundation". I know it's been used to help control varroa infestations to some degree and people use it to increase drone populations when they are breeding queens, but here's what was flitting through my mind.

    I'm in an area with Africanized honey bees, so whenever a queen goes to mate, it's always possible that she does so with an Africanized drone. What if hobbyist beekeepers in areas with AHBs made an effort to increase the number of European drones available, by regularly placing a frame of drone foundation in the brood box? Sure there would be that many fewer workers, but wouldn't the trade off be beneficial? Put in a frame, let it hatch. Alternate that with pulling it capped and freezing (to control varroa?)

    Just a thinkin'. :think:
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    They tried flooding the areas with European drones at different places over the years as the AHB were moving north. It didn't work. The AHB drones are said to fly faster and overtake the queens before the European drones can.
     

  3. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    Hmmm... I guess I was thinking of the people in these areas that also raise queens. I'm going to have to read more about that as, I'd kind of assumed that they flooded their local area with Euro-drones in order for the queens to mate properly. But, maybe what they're doing is artificial insemination? That'd be safer/surer. Ah, well! (Nice to know it wasn't a stupid idea, just one already tried. hehe)
     
  4. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    question on this one. Drone frames have been used to control varroa. If you was to allow the drones to mature and come out of the comb. Im thinking it would give mites a bigger foothold on taking over the hive. When the drones hatch so does several new mites
     
  5. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    I was reading about that, too. Why I thought on again off again might be an option. Though...how long do drones live? Maybe do the freeze routine 2 or 3 times, then allow one frame to hatch. Repeating that.

    But, now you've made me wonder. Do many people use the drone foundation regularly and does it really seem to help control varroa?
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    There are enough beeks today that have resistant bees that the tracheal mite is no longer a big concern and the varroa mite is rapidly getting that way. Tecumseh doesn't treat and hasn't for years. Fatbeeman and I are in the same boat. There are many others the same way. As the mites kill off the non-resistant and the resistant continue multiplying, the varroa will slowly sink into the background.
     
  7. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    That is very heartening to hear! :goodpost:
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I for one appreciate your thinking and concern in regards to this problem. Just because you are new to this... don't stop that and don't stop posting these kinds of questions. They do engage the mind at all sorts of levels.

    At last year ABF convention I kind of put Dave Menedez on the hot seat when I asked him about his response to africanized bees in his south Florida locations (basically Fort Myers). Later I chastised myself in that I should have done better is composing my question to Mr Menedez in such a public forum. I am somewhat sensitive to the fact that these kinds of problems can represent a huge cost to folks like Mr Menedez.

    In regards to Africanized bees I think the season for rearing nucs and queens is consideration number one. Secondly having other beekeeper about who feed and manipulate their hives for early spring queen rearing and nuc production is something that has a very positive effect on the number of european drones in an area. Also the state of Florida's 'best practices' is a good place for most hobby folks to begin addressing this problem.

    for myself I don't think drone comb by itself positively on negatively effects varroa population. if you knock down drone comb a hive seems to build about the same quantity back. my thinking is that it is the late summer fall reduction in drones production (the varroa then shifts from drones to worker brood) that is the likely beginning of a hive's varroa collapse.

    my treatmentless approach (genetic remedy) to bee keeping is as much a product of luck and location as anything else. first off I was reared (at the formative part of my life) in a strawberry patch around Plant City Florida at the time when chemical application was just beginning (at about the time DDT was banned) and saw the real intermediate term effect (ie unknow future cost) of this kind of decision. about 10 years ago when I decided to begin building a bit of a bee operation to entertain myself in my retirement years I went down to Navasota Texas and picked up 3 packages from BWeaver (who I had some dealing with in a prior episode of commercial beekeeping)... unknown to me at the time BWeaver had decided to go treatmentless. at that time I knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about varroa. so my entry into treatmentless honeybees was almost totally random in its origin. once you do become determined to go treatmentless having other around you that follow the same policy is definitely a large plus.

    to be perfectly honest I am not a purist is this or any other topic but am at the very center of myself pragmatically driven. I do keep a couple of 'soft' remedies about that I have no problem using if and when the situation requires. treatment of any kind means a individual hive is excluded from any future genetic remedy to this problem.

    hopefully I have not bored you with my long response.....
     
  9. hankdog1

    hankdog1 New Member

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    tecumseh not boring at all. More and more people seem to be swaying to the same line of thought. I myself don't do any kind of treatments and most of the time get told my hives are going to die off all the time. I catch flack from both sides on this subject as being taught under the old school of thought I use regular foundation instead of small cell or natural cell foundation. So far after inital problems with 2 of the 3 originial hives I bought when I got back into beekeeping a few years back the apairy has been steadaly expanding. Last year I went to a meeting where Dr. Rick Fell from Virginia Tech was speaking. He refinforced what I was doing down to the exection I needed to start spring feeding much earlier.

    As for the drone comb subject. Everything I've ever been told about AHB is that africanized drones seem to be much better at mating the queen then the european counterpart. There are certain management practicies that one can do to controll the varroa. Splits will break the brood cycle and therefore reduce mites in the hive. Also you can use the drone brood allow it to be layed and capped then a trip to the freezer overnite. While I have never used the drone comb those that have seem to swear by it. Many different ways to skin a cat in beekeeping though that's for sure.
     
  10. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    Bored?! No! Very interesting, in fact. Everything from your being from Plant City to your stumbling upon the treatmentless beekeeping is interesting! Personally, I would like to operate "treatmentless" as well, but I know for now, if I end up with a situation that seems over-the-top, I'll find something to help. Guaranteed that I'll remember you mentioned 'soft' remedies! :lol: (In the beekeeping course I went to taught by the Florida Extension Service, varroa mites and hive beetles were covered enough to make me feel that it was something needing to be considered at all times. The AHBs, otoh, were lightly touched upon with the "replace queens" admonishment regularly made. This was good until I got my two swarms and the "replace queen" directive suddenly wasn't as easily figured out as it sounded. Which made me think about drones :roll: and drone comb...) Anyway, I need information so when other questions arise, I have somewhere to start in figuring the answer out!

    I wonder if it's obvious I was a journalist? :D I will not draw a conclusion until I have all the available information! (And maybe not even then...)

    I was told that, too, but also that that doesn't mean some of the EHBs aren't successful. I'm going to guess, though, that if increasing drone populations was tried and wasn't found significantly successful, that the AHBs are just that much better.

    I'll have to consider the drone comb approach. Nice to know you know others who are using this and feel it's worthwhile!
     
  11. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Africanized bees produce more drones in the mating seasons. More importantly EHB queens use African semen 90% of the time in a study by DeGrandi-Hoffman. The queens were artificially inseminated with 50-50 EHB AHB semen. You might know the queen can elect to fertilize an egg or not, but now they select “the daddy.†ARS entomologists believe this is the strongest factor of AHB replacing EHB in a region.
    http://americasbeekeeper.org/Africanized_Honey_Bee.htm
     
  12. hankdog1

    hankdog1 New Member

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    Very interesting fact would have never thought that they could select the daddy. Would have seemed to me that after mating the sperm would have been just mixed together giving a 50 50 shot on what was layed. Guess it just goes to show that bees are better at selecting genetics for survival and propigation then we are at breeding it out of them.
     
  13. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    Wowl I agree. Very Interesting! ...now I'm more nervous about my two swarms... :shock:
     
  14. hankdog1

    hankdog1 New Member

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    Wouldn't be too nervous unless they start becomming overly aggressive without any visable signs of stress. Look on the bright side you can always requeen if they were too hot to suit you.
     
  15. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    I posted on my "introduce yourself" thread...I was told by the state (FL) that I have to requeen. Apparently, my little localized area has a high incidence of AHBs. My stress is that if the queens did mate with AHBs, when the brood hatches (sometime around Oct. 12, I'm figuring), will I be in for several months of bee terror? My neighbors are very understanding at this time. But... :(
     
  16. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    Glad to hear that some of you guys stopped using the drone boards. We stopped too, but now would like to know how I can clean the darned thing. I've tried scraping it and spraying it with our highest-powered sprayer, but it needs more cleaning. It still looks gross.