Winter wasn’t too bad this year, no dumps of snow, no extended frosts or rains, only that last flood. Some rain, some shine, some cold, some warm – pretty good balance. The girls are now busy flying, bringing back loads of pollen and nectar.
Unfortunately, I noticed a couple of bees walking to work. Bees with damaged wings means varroa mite. I thought I had killed all the sodding things after harvest, but they are back with vengeance. Treatment time.
I opened up olive hive first. Things I noticed: lots of brood, that is, baby bees. The top box had heaps. There was drone comb – larger cells, filled with pupating boy bees. I opened some up, and felt quite ill at the sight of three to five mites per drone cell. I chopped some out, and gave it to the chooks, mmmmm.
The top box was about 15 kg, plenty of honey, and the bottom has the queen, somewhere, laying eggs. No queen cells, so no swarming anytime soon.
I treated with Bayvarol, which will stay in for 6 weeks.
Overall, Olive hive was doing very well, apart from the mites, and as soon as I dropped the scraped out drones on the hive, workers cleaned it up, so they are behaving normally.
Apple hive, on the other hand, is still as grumpy as always. The moment I opened it up, a bunch of girls leapt out and went straight for my face. I put the lid down and went for my smoker, trailed by angry bees. The smoke placated them somewhat, but it was still intimidating being around them, with a few determined to get me. I am as gentle as I can be, but there is no way I would do gloves off with that hive. Apple hive was not quite as strong as Olive, but not as infected either.
My helpers today were A and D, with photos taken by E. We bought a new suit for the kids, as the old one was nearly castrating poor D when he wore them. Growing like weeds.
Overall, all looking good for a big harvest or possibly splitting the hives. I had another box ready for a split, but had to use it for dad’s hive, as the box was so rotten and the mud he was patching it with kept getting spat out by the bees.
Beloved was very brave today, preparing the garden next to the hive. The veil helped so no bees could get hair bound on descent. I am looking forward to having the garden growing again, now the chooks are back in their run.