Laying Workers And Mites

I opened the bees on the 29th to see how things were going, but didn’t have time to post about it until now. My life is a little crazy at the moment (I think I’ll post about that on my personal blog when I’m done with this), so I wasn’t able to get to the computer and collect my thoughts until now. The 50/50 has completely failed. They have no queen or superseder cells, and the workers have started laying. I saw a couple of cells with multiple eggs laid at the bottom. On top of that, they have mites. I found two bees with mites on them while I was looking through the hive, so I removed them and squished all of the drone brood I could find. Given that they have mites, I think I will be leaving the hive alone and just wait for them to die out. Combining them with the other hive is no longer an option, and buying a queen to head a sickly hive seems backwards to me. I considered shaking out the bees and burning them and scorching the equipment, but that seems rather cruel and beyond me.

The hive consisting of only langstroth boxes was doing rather well, though the brood was slightly spotty. There was 4 full frames of capped brood, and a half frame of pollen to one side of the cluster. Honey was ripening on both sides of the cluster, with a relatively unused frame on the side farthest from the main entrance. I moved this into the middle of the brood to help the queen find more space to lay eggs. There seems to be plenty of honey and pollen available at the moment, so I’m not too worried about them. The spotty brood does bother me a little bit, but hopefully the queen is able to make it through the winter and all will be fine. Next year I may end up buying a package of bees even if Trunchen Hive does overwinter at my aunts. 

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4 responses to “Laying Workers And Mites”

  1. Emily Heath says :

    I think you should consider treating both hives, otherwise bees in the infested hive will be likely to drift over to the stronger hive, taking mites with them. It’s best to treat healthy hives a couple of times a year anyway. Here in the UK, I’d use a thymol based treatment called Apiguard, but I don’t know what treatments are used locally to you.

    • willowbatel says :

      I know, but I really don’t like the idea of treating them. All that does is breed stronger mites and weaker bees. The bees are going to have to be allowed to evolve with the mites at some point, and treating the mites only puts off that necessary evil.
      Given the lack of brood in the hive, the mites shouldn’t last too much longer, right? I don’t know how long adults survive. And more than likely the other hive already has it, especially since they’ve had lots of brood. I’ll open the bees tomorrow and will be sure to look closely for mites. I can also check the floor of the hive for any dead mites. Oh! I’ll bring some powered sugar to encourage the bees to start cleaning each other. I forgot about that option. I don’t like feeding the bees sugar, but I’d much rather do that than treat them.

      • Emily Heath says :

        The thing is, European honey bees aren’t going to be able to evolve to cope with the mites in our lifetime. So you are going to keep having hives die off if you don’t treat. The mites overwinter on adult bees without any brood, so they can last without brood for something like four months.

        • willowbatel says :

          Oh, I didn’t know that. I think I’m going to have to take some classes, because I feel like I don’t know all that much about beekeeping anymore, and my hives haven’t done well as a result. There seems to be a dearth currently, as neither of the hives have very much honey. the colony with a queen has 7 frames of brood, and I only saw one frame of nectar that’s ripening. There wasn’t any honey on the tops or edges of the frames with brood. I may end up feeding them (which I really hate doing). I just don’t know.

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