Hive Inspection- Varroa Mites

After two weeks (which were spent on vacation, by the way), it was time to check the hive. It is still the season of pests and honey flow, so it was a busy inspection!

We suited up, lit our smoker, and entered the hive. The bees had quickly moved up into our honey super and almost have drawn out most of the frames with beeswax. In the brood box under the honey super, we found our marked queen. We also saw some larva and eggs, but it looks like the queen is running out of room to lay eggs. We will add a brood box in 2 weeks. On one of the frames we found a big area of drone brood. Some of this brood was dead before it hatched, so we had to cut the brood off of the frame because it had a disease. This is called "culling the drone". Look in the middle row of pictures - the photo on the left shows the culled drones. The photo on the far right shows where they were in the frame before they were culled.

In the second brood box, we just happened to see a small little mite running along the top of a frame. This means that we probably have an infestation. It is very hard to see mites, so just seeing one means that there are most likely 100+. Mites bite the bodies of the bees and are like ticks on a human. They can easily kill a colony if the beekeeper doesn't spot them. They are treated by "sugar dusting". Sugar dusting a hive means that you completely coat the entire inside of the hive in powdered sugar (which does not effect the bees). This causes the mites to fall off and fall to the bottom board, so the beekeeper can kill them.

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Arlington, Virginia

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