Monday, October 18, 2010

Inspection 10/17/10

72 f

Mary had the same crystallized sugar in her HTF as did Myrina.  Not to much but it was there.  The bees seemed calm when I started.  A good bit of bur comb too.
 Almost looks drone sized
The frames are Plasticell from 2008.  I've not cycled any of them out yet.  Maybe next year if the comb is dark enough.  The Nosema stains are from when Mary was in the ICU last Winter.  I scraped it off along with all the propolis on the frame rests.

Top Box Frames:
10. Full capped honey - 2008 Plasticell
 9.  Full capped honey - 2008 Plasticell
 8.  Full capped honey - 2008 Plasticell
 7.  Full capped honey, drawn out oversized - 2008 Plasticell
 6.  1/2 capped honey, drawn out undersized -  2009 Plasticell
 5.  1/2 honey, 1/2 brood (back filling w/honey) -  2008 Plasticell
 4.  Full capped honey (back filling w/honey) -  2008 Plasticell
 3.  Eggs, 3/4 back filled honey, queen cup - 2008 Plasticell
 2.  Capped brood, 3/4 back filled honey - 2008 Plasticell
 1.  Full capped honey - 2008 Plasticell

Bottom Box Frames:
10. 9/10 capped honey - 2008 Plasticell
 9.  9/10 capped honey - 2008 Plasticell
 8.  9/10 capped honey - 2008 Plasticell
 7.  9/10 capped honey - 2008 Plasticell
 6.  1/2 capped honey, 1/2 pollen - 2008 Plasticell
 5.  Eggs, larva, pollen, honey, CHALKBROOD - 2008 Plasticell
 4.  Larva, pollen, honey - 2008 Plasticell
 3.  Larva, pollen, honey - 2008 Plasticell
 2.  Pollen, honey, brood - 2008 Plasticell
 1.  Pollen, honey, brood - 2008 Plasticell

Spotty pattern but it's the end of the season

After pulling all the frames & scraping all the propolis I felt the bees needed even more agitation.  So I pulled off the bottom box and dumped and cleaned the solid BB.  The bees temperament was fine, until then.  They didn't come after me but they did take to the air with a vengeance.  Well, of course they did, their hive looked like the Scarecrow after a fight with the Flying Monkeys!  After I put it all back together it took an hour before they had calmed down.  And yet not a single headbutt or found stinger in the jacket.

Incidentally, under the BB was a huge Black Widow and her egg case; which was as big as a golf ball.  She got mashed and the eggs were thrown into the woods.

The Chalkbrood was very minor; only a few cells.  This queen seems strong enough so I'm not inclined to worry about it.  If i see it again in Spring I'll requeen.  Interestingly enough Mary never received a screened bottom board this year.  I left the solid BB on in Spring when her population was critical; she needed heat to brood up.  I never got around to fabricating her one this Summer and now here we are.  I can't say if they're related but I wonder why this hive has always had Chalkbrood in it, and through the reign of 3 queens now.  Quite suspicious.

So for once Mary looks good.  What a turn around after last winter.  Her stores are looking good, she still has plenty of brood, and her population looks great.  All of this from the 2 cups worth of bees that survived last Winter.  My options then were to let the colony die and use their hive for a new package or take extreme measures to aid them.  I'm glad I did what I did.  I now know how to bring back a colony from the population brink.  Think of it, originally not enough bees to cover half a deep frame!  And now...
...Here is just 1 of her pollen frames

The decision whether to requeen every year has not been made.  Ideally I would use queens I reared.  I was hoping to rear queens this year but we couldn't even produce enough honey.  I will feel better about making my own queens once the bees & I have had a truly productive and successful year.  If I need to requeen I'll get more queens from Bobby again, or someone local.

I'll do a Varroa check this week to see where that population is going.  The whole year I've not seen a mite except in blown-up photos.  My neighbor did a 24 hour drop check in her 2 hives and counted only 11 & 13 mites Total!  I believe mine will be near the same. 

I'll feed the bees a few more times before Winter.  Include in that a Fumagillin treatment.  We'll see about the Apistan treatment.  If I can avoid it I will.

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