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More Mites

Well, those mites are back again. Grrrr. Olive hive (so called due to its fine location under an olive tree – by the way, are three olive trees sufficient to call it a grove? Probably not, I would like any olive grove though, and could tell people in a posh voice “oh, do please join me for a cup of earl grey in the olive grove”, and they would reply “Good God man, I do believe that would be a splendid idea eh what!”, anyway, back to the story.) was not doing very well. A couple of weeks had passed, and there was brood, and there was honey, just not enough of either. On very close inspection I saw mites attached to at least four of the bees, busily sucking the haemolymph from my lovely ladies. I felt very sad. And angry. Since mites were visible, it indicated a very heavy infestation already. I had not planned to treat for mites for another 6-8 weeks – after the the main extraction – but emergency measures must be taken.

The hive sat currently at 2 full depth boxes, and a single 3/4 depth box. I did not want to contaminate any honey with the chemicals used, so I removed the 3/4 honey super from the top (I shook all the bees out, frame by frame, back into the hive). The super was about 1/3 or more full of honey, but too raw to extract. I took a fully capped 3/4 super from Apple hive, and replaced it with the one from Olive. From Olive I also removed 6 full-depth frames filled with honey, shaking the bees back into the hive, as well as putting in 4 strips of ‘Bayverol’ mite killing things. The strips stay in for 6-8 weeks. Hopefully there will be no mites left by then.

I extracted the frames from Olive, and the box from Apple, and two buckets of glorious golden honey came out! On final weighing, there was 23 Kg, as well as another Kg of honey which dripped out of the cappings.

Once extracted, I put the empty 6 full-depth frames back into Olive, to fill it back up again. You may be wondering why I didn’t extract all 10 – the middle four were full of brood, which is not the best thing to spread on your toast. I figure that Olive is too weak to get any more honey for extracting, but that they should be able to fill up the full depth box to live on over winter.

Apple is going well. I am a bit more reluctant to tear into their hive though, given their typical aggressive response to invasion. I will extract from Apple in about 6 weeks, and immediately give them an autumn mite treatment, allowing some overlap where both hives have treatment going – I don’t want those horrid things escaping one hive to infect another.

In the full process of doing the inspections and extractions and such, I lost around a Kg of sweat. I know, not a pretty thought, but it is seriously hot and heavy work. Kudos to the big boys who manage hundreds to thousands of hives, it would keep you fit – provided your back doesn’t blow up.

My daughter peeked deep within the hive, and asked ‘why don’t the bees have little cars to get around in?’ I think she watches too much Bee Movie.

I watched another movie on bees, suggested by a reader (solarbeez), called ‘More than Honey’. It contrasted craft vs large scale beekeeping, and showed what happens in regions of China without bees. Factory beekeeping in the US is a tragic thing to watch, showing no regard to the bees. Much the same as the other factory type farming practices on pigs, cattle, chickens etc. “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”.


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