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The Bee Institute in 'Kirchhain'

The bee institute in Kirchhain, Germany, is part of the Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen (www.llh.hessen.de). It serves as a public training and research center for the beekeeping industry in the central part of Germany. The projects of the institute focus on an integrated management of honey bee diseases and a selection of bees resistant to Varroa.


Erlenstrasse 9, 35274 Kirchhain, Germany


Contact person: 
Ralph Büchler
++49 6422 9406 0, Fax: ++49 6422 940633

Technologies from The Bee Institute in 'Kirchhain'


Strategy for integrated varroa management: healthier colonies through brood removal

This technology describes a technique developed by Dr Ralph Büchler to control varroa populations in bee colonies. It proposes an alternative approach for keeping varroa under control and is based on the natural swarming behaviour of the bees. Swarming is nature’s way to deal with diseases in the hive and keep the colony healthy. During swarming, bees leave the hive with old combs behind to make a “fresh new start” in a new place, where they build new combs. In the colony that is left behind, the brood production is interrupted for 3 – 4 weeks until the new queen starts laying eggs. In both cases, the varroa development cycle is interrupted, and the bee population is renewed which favours the health of the bees.
The brood removal technique has been tested in Germany since 2007 and positive results were obtained in terms of colony development, disease management and honey yield. No significant differences were observed in terms of colony strength before the winter and similar yields were obtained compared to the control group. In terms of colony health, an effective reduction of Varroa infestation was observed, and less Nosema and other bee viruses were detected in the samples of the hives where comb was removed with respect to the control group.