Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lots of dead mites...

My varroa mite counts have been rising to peak at more than 50 mite per day despite my organic treatment methods, so I broke down and put some Apistan Strips in my hive. The strips work. I have never seen so many dead mites on my mite board. It is not a good idea to use the same mite treatment two years in a row, so next season I will try something different. However, I am impressed with the strips.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Heading into fall in good shape…

As the summer draws to a close, my bees are in good shape. They have two deep brood chambers and a medium fully drawn. The medium is almost completely full of sugar syrup, and there is a good bit of honey in the other brood boxes as well. The hive is densely populated with bees, and they have become defensive of their stored food. As a result, my bee photographer has lost interest in hanging around the hive as I paw through it. In fact, the heat (especially when wearing a full bee suit) and the sheer number of bees have made my inspections pretty quick.

The only downer is that my varroa mite population has exploded. I was getting a mite drop of 10-15 mites every 24 hours, but now a 24 hour mite drop typically yields more than 50 mites. The rule of thumb is to treat when a 24 hour mite drop is around 150, so I still have some wiggle room before I need to take any chemical action. I am keeping on top of the sugar dusting, but I broke down and ordered some Apistan Strips (a commercial pesticide for mites) to have on hand in case things get much worse. Since mites develop alongside bee larvae, and brood production will likely shut down this month, mite reproduction should stop as well.

In the meantime, I just need to keep feeding and keep an eye on the mite situation to make sure my bees will survive the winter. I can taste next year’s honey crop already!