Sunday, November 27, 2016

Winter feeding November 27, 2016

I slipped a block of fondant under the top cloth today as well as added an extra cloth to cover all the edges (the fondant pulls the cloth up too much and exposes the open ends of the top bars/comb) and quickly resealed everything.
I took the cork out of the escape hole, in case it snows because the snow can cover the main (lower) entrance and the bees could suffocate without an escape hole.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Drilled the escape hole November 20, 2016

Well the weather did change, winds were gusting up to about 45 mph on Friday and it mainly rained here though by Saturday morning, there was a fine dusting of snow. Out west and up north, there were accumulations up to 24"!!

Low 30s all weekend, so I drilled the escape hole and put a cork in it. The front wall of insulation had blown off in the storm but I found it down by our woods and put it back and rebungee'ed it in front of the hive.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Insulating walls and feeders Thursday November 17, 2016

Today it was unseasonably warm again, around 55 degrees, I believe but supposedly a "rain changing to snow" storm is coming tomorrow, so I took the feeders off now before it gets too cold.

I didn't use a smoker and they were a little irritated but it went smoothly without any stings.

I put the insulating walls around the hive and used bungee straps to hold the walls in place.

The floor is slid in all the way. I still need to drill an escape hole in the top box.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Just over 36 hours later

Less than 20 mites fell off the combs after the powdered sugar treatment - so I don't think there was much of an infestation after all.
Oh well, the local Langstroth beeks can't say I didn't check mine because they keep posting "if beekeepers don't treat for Varroa, it will spread to your neighbor's hives."

That was November 10
Saturday November 12, I refilled the feeders - really?
They were bone dry.

Today, November 13, I checked the feeders and the hive activity and the bees are STILL bringing in pollen. Wow.

It was 63 degrees today. If it cools off, I'll remove the feeders.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Powdered sugar dusting

November 8, 2016 - Election Day
Due to my finding ~20 mites after a 24 hour check of the bottom "sticky" board, I decided to go ahead and treat with powdered sugar.

Got the smoker going and put 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (using a sifter) through the top bars after removing the feeders/cloth and gently smoking the bees down a little bit.

They look so funny all covered in sugar.
I put sticky paper on the bottom board again and will check it tomorrow to see how many mites are on it.
I guess the theory is that the bees clean the powdered sugar off of themselves and dislodge the mites which then cannot climb back up the hive on to the bees.

We'll see.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The first time I've ever seen mites in my hive

It was 73 degrees on Saturday November 5 (also deer hunting opener) and 68 degrees today!
The bees are covered in orange pollen from my marigolds.

When I pulled out my bottom board, I thought I saw some tiny red guys (Varroa destructor mites) so I took them to work to examine under a microscope:

I tried to take a photo through the microscope eyepiece but it wouldn't work, so I video'ed it:

These are a couple of mites on the edge of the cover slip on the microscope stand at work:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sixty degrees on November 1, 2016

What a beautiful day, the bees are bringing in more pollen than last week.
This is amazing.
Or a sign of global warning and thus our demise is on the horizon.

 These are photos of the front of the hive today - see the pollen coming in?