Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mite Count

I put a couple of home made sticky boards (Correx board and Vaseline) under the OMF (Open Mesh Floors, or Screened Bottom Boards for my US friends) on Friday afternoon and pulled them on Monday afternoon i.e. 3 day counts.

Now here's the interesting bit...

The swarm hive I caught last year and combined with another swarm a few weeks ago had a 3-day count of 133.  I noticed several bees with DWV in this hive so was expecting some mites and a daily count of about 45 is a bit high. The following link is quite useful.

National Bee Unit - Varroa Calculator

The older established hive (that Dave has never treated or done anything with - EVER) had a 3-day count of just 13.  Wow!  There's something in this hive!   Bees with good strong genetic traits perhaps?  I know Dave thought of them as aggressive and I have heard anecdotal reports that aggressive bees (particularly Africanised bees) have greater resistance to Varroa.  Well these bees aren't Africanised, but I can hope their behavior promotes some good mite control!  I can but hope.

So what to do?  Well I have some MAQS I can use to treat, but the weather looks a bit on the chill side for treating over the next couple of days.  So I may just wait until Thursday and then treat just the swarm hive.  The other I will leave alone.

If I am unlucky with the MAQS (I have lost queens in the past, but then the treatment was done in some very hot weather) I can think of worse things to do than take a frame of eggs and larvae from the established hive and pop this in the swarm hive!  With luck I'll get their good genes passed on.

STOP PRESS:  I added MAQS to the swarm hive on Wednesday evening.  It wasn't too cold and the next few days seem to be good in respect of day time temperatures.  I wanted to treat sooner rather than later.

Friday, April 22, 2016


I dropped in to the apiary on my way to an appointment yesterday - something was going on!

One hive was really active - lots of training flights and foraging going on and the noise they were making was just wonderful!

Monday, April 18, 2016

A visitor

I was at the apiary on Sunday morning enjoying the sun and the peaceful surroundings.  Seems I wasn't the only one!

I think he's a Roe Deer, but I'm not certain.

The bees are ok.  I went through both hives in detail.  Some queen cups but no signs of real queen cells.  Some good solid brood also, but there is still plenty of space.

I started to feed the old hive that is in one deep.  This hive is starting to draw out comb in the second upper deep so I thought some 2:1 would encourage more  building.

The other "swarm" hive is in a stronger state, brood in both deeps but I must do a mite count/treatment. I spotted a few bees with DWV.  A bit worrying!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Things are taking off

After a cold early morning it had warmed up sufficiently by 11.00am to take a look inside the hives.

When I arrived at the apiary it was cold and there was little activity. I procrastinated but decided not to open them.  Instead, I sat in the car for an hour listening to the Archers, but that's another story altogether...

By the time that had finished there was a lot of flying activity outside; it had warmed up and the cold wind had abated, bees were bringing in pollen.  So I suited up for a look.

The "United" hive was in great shape.  Lots of brood, eggs and larvae in both deeps. So I think Spring has finally arrived! I kept the super in place as this has some capped honey/sugar syrup in place.

The other older established hive was still only in one deep but there was nevertheless significant brood in it.  This hive is in old equipment and was "listing" badly.  I moved it onto a new stand and baseboard, swapped the old second deep (that contained old drawn comb) with a new deep of undrawn foundation and swapped the old cover for a new one.  The bees seemed pleased!!

Now I need to think about splitting both hives, at least in a month or so; in the meantime I'll need to locate a couple of queens!