Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mite Check, and the Bee Inspector

On Saturday I sprayed down the white plastic corrugated boards with cooking spray (to make them sticky) and slid them under the beehives. On Sunday I took them out to see the results (they say you should leave them in for 3 days, but I was anxious). You can see the results in these pictures (click for large versions).

Brown Hive

There was a lot of pollen on the board (sometimes it falls off the bees legs and falls through the screen), but I did see a couple of what I thought could be mite bodies. It wasn't anything too severe, but I'll treat with a sugar shake anyway.

Green Hive

Wow! You can see a line of "junk" on the board - this is mostly garbage relating to the chalkbrood problem I was having. The pieces the bees removed from the comb fell through and made that mess. It looks to be centered on a single frame (which was horizontal with respect to the picture of the board) - that frame was one which came from the nuc. I talked with the beekeeper from whom I got the nuc, and she suggested I move that frame to the outside (nearest the edge of the hive) so the bees will use it for honey storage once the brood is born. I also have the option of removing the frame - I may do that.

Wednesday afternoon I got a urgent call at work from my wife: "The Bee Inspector is here!!" It turns out that Ken Warchol, the Worcester County Bee Inspector, was making his rounds and made it to my humble bee yard. I didn't need to be there, because there is probably nobody better at working with hives than Ken, so I told her to let him do his thing.

He guessed (correctly) that I had a swarm earlier in the year in the brown hive, since it wasn't as strong as it should be. He told me I should be feeding 2:1 syrup (a more concentrated form) to the green hive. He found some mites (like almost all hives have), but otherwise I passed with flying colors! He said I could call him in October and he'll come out and see if we need to combine both hives for strength (I hope not - it would kind of make the nuc I bought a waste of money). He also moved a couple frames from the brown to the green hive to strengthen the green one.

So this coming Saturday I'm going to do the sugar shake for mites.

1 comment:

  1. Steven: I did the three-day test and it was hard for me to differentiate mites from the crap that falls through the screened bottom board. However, on closer inspection, I found what I believe to be 20 mites. So if that's accurate, my hive is fine, but like you, just to be sure, I'm doing sugar dustings once a month. I figure it can't hurt anything, plus my girls seem to like it!


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