Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Swarm in September is worth.... fill in the blank?  "To hive or not to hive" that swarm in September....?  I grabbed 'em.  My thinking is their chances (though EXTREMELY SLIM)...are better with me than in the wild...or wherever they decided to take up residence.  Besides the fact that they're probably a swarm from one of my hives anyway. ?!?!

Late swarms like this are EXTREMELY PRECARIOUS for both mother and daughter!  There's so little time for either of them to get their home in order and pantry filled before winter.  I cross my fingers and hope they know best....

Honey harvest was down from last year in overall quantity - however UP considering only TWO HIVES were producing!!!  last year, 4 hives made about 100# each.  this year, 2 hives made 150# each.

Supers are cleaned up and off the hives.  MEDICATION is in!  APIGUARD was my choice again this year.  (I have screened bottom boards with "sticky" boards for monitoring).  All year long, the varroa mite load was LOW - until about 30 days ago....the two big hives producing had the MOST (probably because of the most population) Keep in mind when the bee inspector came and did the mite test this summer - one of these very hives got a big old ZERO MITES in the check.  I think this shows that...the mites become an "issue" in the fall - so again - very important to get mite loads down before winter.  I'm also noting "comparatively" (from sticky board debris)....THE RUSSIAN hive is "naturally" very low in mites.

ALSO - the two biggest hives have a HIVE BEETLE PROBLEM.  The strongest hive is the worst.  PERHAPS another good reason to keep a screened bottom board and REMOVABLE sticky board....I can slide out the sticky board and scrape off hive beetle larvae.  It's so bad - I should probably clean every other day.  I don't know if the larvae just "naturally" falls to the bottom?  or they like all the debris that settles to the bottom?  I can't even imagine what it would be like in a regular non-screened bottom board'd have to dismantle the hive to get them out....  (and you wouldn't know until it's a real mess)

so I'll be "monitoring" the apiguard for two weeks.  I noticed last year that "it's hard on the bees".  There were some dead adults being removed this morning.  AND...translucent bee parts will start appearing in the debris.  I really HATE putting "things" into the hives, but equally - they can't carry that mite load into winter.   ...which brings me to a potential topic for discussion: FALL REQUEENING.  any time you get a break in the brood cycle - you get a break in the mite cycle....

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