Went through a number of hives yesterday, mostly full size hives I haven’t been into in a while. I was worried about queenless mostly, so once I hit eggs and saw solid brood patterns I backed out and felt all was good. I saw no issues yesterday, hives are doing great with large amounts of brood, honey, and pollen. My largest hive and the one that has produced about 110lbs of honey this year must have swarmed, I thought it had but I hadn’t inspected it in a while. During the inspection I noticed a lot of new larva and only a small amount of capped brood, which means to me a break in the brood cycle i.e. swarmed.
The other thing I noticed was the full size hives are actually backifilling a little, not too much to worry about, but it shows we still have some nectar and pollen flowing, I assume due to the rain we have been getting recently. So this is really good as it will keep brood rearing going. However, not enough flow to draw out foundation on their own, so if you have foundation left to draw you need to feed… I was really impressed with the brood patterns and amount of brood in the hive.
I have also been please thus far with my Russians. Brood from corner to corner and fairly gentle. A little runny on the comb, but gentle. So we shall see how the do this fall, winter, and spring.
I also noticed my large honey hive talked about above is having trouble with varroa loads, I am seeing a number of bees with deformed wing virus. I assume what may have happened is that when the hive swarmed the last batch of larva to be capped received very heavy mite loads as they were the last round of brood to be capped so all the mites rushed in. So we will see how the hive recovers as more new brood hatches. However, this hive I have noticed a little more mite issues than others, but in its defense it has been VERY strong and has been the ONLY hive I have not split all year, so its been abnormally large compared to the rest and had more bees so my observation could very well be skewed due to this.
I believe in 2 weeks when I pull honey supers I will do mite samples and see where my mite numbers sit and make a decision from there regarding any possible treatments. I have been thinking about using Oxalic Acid Vaporization to “whiten my frames” using the JB200 from http://www.members.shaw.ca/orioleln/Vaporizer.htm (you know i like pretty frames!). I have a friend in MA that uses it and recommends it and has used it in all temperatures. One side benefit to Oxalic is that not only does it whiten your frames (wood bleach) you also get the side benefit of mite control… BTW its illegal in the USA to use Oxalic Acid for mite control, but using it to whiten your frames is a legal use…
Well not much to do for your bee hives, just enjoy them and make sure nothing is going wrong. Please do inspections and not just assume everything is ok because “the bees are flying”. If you have foundation to draw continue to feed 1:1 syrup and I would add a pollen pattie to help with brood production. When you have 7 out of 10 frames drawn, move those 3 undrawn frames inward staggering them (foundation/comb/foundation/comb) etc in the middle to aid in building comb, then add another box of foundation above and continue feeding doing the same rotation as before.
As the middle o July approaches or maybe later depending on rain (nectar being produced), brood production will slow down due to lack of pollen coming in, so to keep your bees strong feed a ½ pollen pattie per hive per week, once they consume they ½ pattie in one week and its completely gone, add a whole pattie. This constant feed coming in will keep the queen laying and make sure you have a healthy large population of young bees going in to winter…
I hope everyone is enjoying their bees and keep up the good work!