Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Good News. Just got finished checking the mite board and only found 4 mites on the whole board in a 3 day period. That's just 1.3 mites per 24 hour period well below the acceptable 60-190 mites for this area at this time of year. The mite board is a white plastic sheet that you smear with petroleum jelly and place under the hive. Leave it in for 1 to 3 days and the jelly traps the Varroa mites that fall from the hive. You can then calculate the number of mites fallen in a 24 hour period and assess the mite population and pest management needed for your hive. Varroa are a very nasty pest that can lead to the death of a colony.

On another note here is a photo of a local sheriff's car recently covered in a swarm of bees.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Taking Care of Bees-ness

I ordered the menthol yesterday. Hopefully it will take take of any possible mite issue without the use of some rather nasty chemicals. Along with it I also ordered a frame perch, an entrance reducer and a couple of Imrie shims. Though it's a way off I have started thinking about the winter.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Long Time Gone

Well, it's been a long time since I have posted anything. The hive has had ups and downs. Lately it seems to be mostly downs. I had to re-queen last week. I don't know where the first lady went but it was obvious she was no longer home. I examined the hive last Monday, August 8, to find it in disarray. No real pattern to comb development, aggressive bees, one maybe two queen cells, and seemingly a reduced population. Also very little brood with no eggs in evidence. Don't know if the first lady swarmed off or died. Haven't been able to get in to look regularly due to when the weather cooperated with my days off.
Anyway, I ordered a new queen on Monday, August 9th, and installed her on Tues the 10th. Went back in today. She is out and hopefully doing her job. The bees are less aggressive at least. Didn't see many eggs but I didn't poke around too much. Don't want to disturb them any more than necessary right now.
I am also worried about trachael mites. I think I have seen several bees with the tell tale K wing deformation which indicates this might be a possibility. Not an expert yet but there are a couple of things I can do which won't harm the bees and are fairly simple. I have given them grease patties, which are a mix of crisco, sugar and honey. The bees will eat the sugar and be lightly coated with the grease which, though it won't harm the bees, will make it harder for the mites to hitch a ride. I am also going to order some menthol packets which, when placed in the hive, act as mite repellent. Fingers crossed.