Friday, January 23, 2009

Apistan Strips

So today's temp was above 50F. I've had the strips for 2 weeks now and have been waiting for just such a day as this to put them in the hives. The girls are buzzing around enjoying a little Winter sun.

As soon as I open Mary's cover I see trouble (again!). There was a small puddle of water resting on the inner cover. We've had no rain for a week or so; so why the water?. Plus the water had saturated the inner cover completely. When I looked underneath at the hive body & frames I saw them covered in a greenish sooty mold. Mind you that the hive is loaded with bees. I do use an entrance feeder. Have been for months. Yet I've never seen this type of problem before.

Yes it's true that both hives are currently made up of two deep hive bodies with a honey super on top. The bees of neither colony did much in the supers before Winter. I was hoping they would draw out the frames and make some honey, or store pollen, for them to use. The super are mostly empty. The bees ball up down in the deep hives.

So, I have one hive with water & mold damage. I don't know if Myrina will be the same. I quickly place the strips where they need to be in both deep hives. I leave the super off and close the covers. Then on to Myrina. Fortunately she is dry on the inside. In go her strips and more sugar syrup for both colonies. Her super comes off too.

I'll scrub, bleach, rinse, dry, then freeze Mary's super & frames. Myrina's will go straight into the deep freeze. Now I must go and find out why There is water in my hive. Maybe condensation, I don't know.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Varroa Mites

Over the Holidays we had many guests show up to visit. As usual I showed off my bees with an inspection one warm afternoon. Each person gets their photo taken holding a deep frame plus a spoonful of honey off that frame. Lots of smiles and frantic laughs (not all are comfortable around bees).

While looking at the images a day or so later I saw them. VARROA MITES on the backs of a few bees. I hate reminders that I've been beekeeping for less that a year. Should have put in strips back in November. Anyway I go to the local Dadant store only to learn they can not sell chemicals anymore; or until they get a pesticide license. So now I must do it online. Fine the order has been made.

However while in the Dadant shop I talked to a guy with 160 hives, he said he was not commercial. He told me of a devise he bought that cleans or disinfects hive with vaporized vinegar. Some machine he bought from its creator in North Carolina. He told me that by pumping the vapor into a hive for 30 seconds just about everything would be cured. He then went on about how we use too much chemicals in our hives as it is. I'll need to research this some more of course.

The practice of using powdered sugar came up as well. I don't think, though, that Mary would survive it.

Anyway the strips will be here soon and the hives will be treated. I'm not big into chemicals but without the experience I'll keep to the tested ways for now. Mary's re-Queening never took. There was a Queen in the hive that I could not find. SO, Mary is still quite weak. Bad brood quantity and patterns all last Fall. Plus she continued with that odd trait off pouring out onto the ground during inspections (hence thumbs down with powdered sugar as the nights are in the 20's). Myrina still seems in good condition.

I am looking forward to next year. I have already though of acquiring 2 more hives.