we found this mite hiding out in a capped cell as we performed inspections over the weekend. the girls had built some comb in some dead space and the queen laid in it. as we lifted the top off the comb pulled apart exposing this tiny brown honeybee demon.
outside of man & beekeeper error, the varroa destructor mite is probably the single most destructive thing for honeybees. this little mite is responsible for massive hive collapse around the world. the first large reports in the us were in the late 1980s around 87. spotted in flordia and wisconsin it then spread rapidly across the states. varroa is on every continent except australia.
they breed rapidly and after summer solstice when the queen honeybees slow down egg laying for winter the varroa will quickly out breed the honeybee colony and more than likely creating a colony collapse/failure. when these colony die off they get robbed by neighboring colonies, mites become hitchhikers on the robber bees and carried back to their colony and the cycle repeats. it is stated that every bee colony has mites or will develop mites.
the mites alone cause some mortality by feeding off the larvae and adults fat, but the main reason they are so destructive is the amount of viruses they spread. they are basically disease vectors, spreading similar to that of mosquitoes. the transfer of b****y fluids from host to host.
there are a few ways of combating these mites and a good integrated pest management (ipm) system should be incorporated into bee keeping. while the majority of beekeepers use pesticides/miticides both in organic and synthetic forms, we choose to take a different route, one away from mainstream and the use of pesticides/miticides rather hard or soft. we implement the use of vsh (varroa sensitive hygiene) and continue to seek out better strains to implement into our queen rearing. we also use thermal treatments to combat the mites. these extra steps, while time consuming on our part, we feel are better for our honeybees, honeybee populations as a whole, and to our consumers of our products. we run a pesticide free operation. the only way pesticides enter our hives is if the bees bring it in.
I’m dreaming of warmer weather this morning. it’s about that time where i start to feel like i need my hands in the soil and the sun on my face.
i checked the bees yesterday and they are still buzzing around in there. my earliest bloomers are threatening to open. the chickens are thiiis close to laying their first eggs. but the hard icy snow layer won’t quit. is it spring yet? seriously tho, can it just be spring? #isitspringyet#growyourown#backyardbees#backyardchickens#cabinfever
Few shots from today’s spring inspection. it was so fun getting back into the hive! last pic shows how it looked after i’d moved the nest and added fresh frames. love my bees 🐝🥰🐝 #beekeeping#beekeeper#backyardbees#apiculture #🐝
And here’s what i got up to in the bee yard today - inspecting each frame to make sure everything looks good and shifting the nest over so the queen will move it back to the entrance and thus onto fresher comb. these little buzzers are doing great right now so hopefully they’ll go from strength to strength and the spring nectar flow gets into full swing! #bees#honeybees#apiary#beekeeping#beekeeper#backyardbees#horizontalhive#longhive
19 hours ago
Inspected the green hive and found the queen. she is doing great. there are 8 frames of brood from edge to edge. all my hives have the queen separator, so the queen is limited to the power box only. nectar is flowing. a lots of drones around. no sign of queen cells yet, thankfully. i don’t want any swarms. .
Took a quick peak in my three hives - only one is currently showing life. 2 weeks ago, i had observed traffic from both hives on a really warm winter day. here is to hoping this one survives the rest of the winter and that for some reason the other 2 come back to “life”.
In my beehive today: more honey ready to be robbed from the bees. i'm finally starting to feel as though i know what i'm doing with this beekeeping lark, to the point where i can pause to take photos during a hive inspection. phew!
frames are probably the largest job outside the hive i have. i prefer to let the bees draw what they want in the brood chamber. so i run mainly foundationless in brood chambers. i do use foundation in the honey supers, mainly because i run deeps and find it holds better in the extractor. i'm not worried about drone comb, i raise all my own queens so i need drones around. healthy strong colonies will make and have drones around. the smaller weaker colonies will not. they will build worker cells because that is what is needed.
starting out you can't just put empty frames in a hive. the bees will build what is called or referred to as "crazy comb", and it can get all sorts of crazy if not managed. what i find for beginning on foundationless is simply checkerboading the frames. when you get drawn comb built up then you simply checkerboard with the drawn comb and continue the cycle.
i use 2 different types of wiring the frames up. with no rhythm or reason, i guess it just depends on the mood. i find both are just fine and hold very well. one is 4 lines just ran across. the other is a double x. the double x probably has a little more strength to it especially for the center of the frame. i use fishing line that is 30lbs and find this works just fine. the bees are not as prone to chew through the line as they are with smaller fishing lines. #bees#apismellifera#honey#pollinators#kidswithbees#sustainable#backyardbees#backyardhoney#honeybees#localhoney#oklahoma#oklahomahoney#mio#beekeeper#beekeeperlife#savethebees#beelife#beehive#beesandkids #bees🐝 #beehives#carniolanqueen#italianqueen#beeframes#beehive#beehivebuilding