Saturday, November 28, 2009

Warre with few varroa

I hefted my warre hives (and my layens) and found one of the warre's to be light. As they were only on two boxes, I decided I would feed them and give them another box. I removed the quilt to find they had all but completely propolised the mosquito mesh I had stapled to the top.

I lifted together both boxes and found they had only built on three of the combs in the bottom box. They didn't need the third box but as I had prepared it, I put it on anyway. In that bottom box I laid on the floor two parcels of a mixture of my own honey and powdered sugar. I mixed in enough sugar until the mix only just flowed. I parceled the mix up in kitchen roll and just laid it on the floor. The bees will tear up the paper and throw it out eventually so no need to open up again to remove anything. This feed is to tide them over. There are flowers out, lavender, rosemary & fennel but the season has been so dry, I don't think they are secreting nectar. When we have some rain that will change.

These bees were quite calm and I give them a 3 out of 10 for temperament.

Whilst adding this extra box, I also changed the floor. I swept all the debris from the old floor and put it into an envelope. I don't normally do mite counts but this was an opportunity to see what 6 months of debris would show. 7 mites is all I found! Yes only 7. I have had more on a 4 day count in the past. I know a lot of mite carcasses would have been turfed out during normal cleaning but in the entrance well, a thick layer of wax flakes and pollen had built up and I had expected to find dozens of mite bodies. Natural methods are working to keep mites at bay I think.

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