While on a recent trip through the Balkans I stopped by a small beekeeping store Zagreb, Croatia. In the store, Košnica, I came across an intriguing local invention for controlling Varroa mites. The owner explained to me that they had invented a patented system for using a single frame queen isolator to control mite levels in a hive in a treatment free way. Below are two articles about the invention that he shared with me. Please keep in mind that I have no knowledge of Croatian and am sharing this information for other curious beekeepers like myself. I used Google Translate and then edited the content for clarity.
Have you read the article yourself? It is not a treatment-free method.
To save others from the pain of reading Google-translated nonsense:
The method is one of those based on broodless period/split forming ways. It does not require a frame isolator. However, I understand why a beekeeping supply shop recommends using it.
Here is the same thing without mucking around with the isolator. Late in spring, form a split and move all capped brood frames there with some bees sitting on such frames. Add a couple of frames with one-day-old eggs to form walk away split. Otherwise, a queen is needed. 2-3 days later move more frames with capped brood from the original hive to the split. At this stage approx. 95% of mites were removed from the original hive. After 15-16 days from workers and queen hatching, treat the split with your favourite chemical.
The difference the article authors offer is to lock the queen to one frame and then remove them one by one as they get filled.
Based on this, invent your own method and sell, say, a varroa management hive tool with it
Yep read the article after google translating it from Croatian and fixing the most glaring translation errors to make it a bit easier to understand. Thank you for sharing your approach to this type of mite management!
About glaring translation errors. Osnovna zajednica here is not a basic community, but rather the main hive/colony or something like that.
To understand the fault of the method, there is no need to read the article further than the second sentence.
Osnovna zajednica se tokom vremena 3×9 dana, u potpunosti očisti od varoe, pa nema potrebe za bilo kakvim tretmanom.
The complete disappearance of varroa from a colony within 27 days of broodless period is wishful thinking at best. 27 days is just an indicative average lifespan of female varroa mite in presence of brood in a colony. They can live longer than that. In a broodless colony way longer.
This method is not completely useless though. At the light level of infestation, it allows a significant reduction of varroa presence in the colony and to postpone treatment till autumn. The “plague barrack” split still needs urgent treatment, but it is possible to treat it separately from frames with honey or syrup. However, as I mentioned above, the frame isolator is an unnecessary thing for this purpose.