The last posting explained how we lost two hives over the winter. I can now report we have lost a third. The last hive is trying very hard to survive and now that the weather has improved, the bees are showing a good sign by bringing in nectar. This, in theory, means the queen is alive, laying eggs and the worker bees are bringing in nourishment for the new population. The small colony will be checked fully in a few weeks but in the meantime, it was reduced to one box, cleaned and given a plentiful supply of honey. We remain hopeful.
Some of you will be wondering about Varroa and what it means to a hive. I will refer you to another website where there is extensive information on all aspects of these nasty little critters. There are numerous, thousands of websites about Varroa. Why re-invent the wheel, so to speak. Rusty Burlew has a wonderful blog and her research and practical information will help many beekeepers, not just about Varroa, but all in aspects of hive management. Recommended!
We have learnt that our neighbour has lost all four hives this winter. Since they were not treated for Varroa last fall it is easy to see them by looking through the bottom board debris. If you look to the right of the dead bee in the following photo you will easily spot the dead Varroa. Small brown/reddish coloured dots that show the top or sometimes overturned and displaying the small legs attached. These mites are equivalent to having a football sized parasite permanently attached to the back of your body. They then slowly suck your blood all day and then decide to reproduce in your child’s bed, continually. You get the idea…
In the next image which displays just a few square inches of hive area, I counted over 60 varroa. Yes, of course, you can count them.
Great job! Now let’s see how you go with the next photo…
Great job, well done! Your prize is in the mail.
We will update soon with photos of our new hive location and the plans to build a new “old style” beehive.