#013 All my Single Ladies – Independent!

Arriving at the hive, I was originally worried that I might find a colony starved of all it’s honey, especially if more robbing went on during the week that passed.

But, oh no! Not these ladies!

I cannot express my pride in my (sweet) small colony being able to ward off the bullies time and time again. Bring on the wasps, bring on the robbers, we will take them on! Beekeeper not required.

On the downside, I inspected the varroa board, as I did last time,  and I did unfortunately find varroa mites that have dropped. The varroa board showed an average of 2 mites per square (this is the measure I decided to go for, it’s not a standard). It is incredible how the mites are visible even to the naked eye. And you can even distinguish whether the dropped mite is a mama mite, a daughter or son. All by naked eye! I will try to get a better photograph of the mite next time.

220818 Varroa Board 2
This is what my varroa board looks like. As it is at the bottom of the hive, all the wax, pollen, some propolis and generally any discarded material within the hive lands on the board. This allows me to check on the activity inside without having to open the hive and disturb the bees.

These mites have come from the Far East and in themselves, are fairly harmless, merely parasites. However, they are primary vessels for viruses – notably the Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). Bees that are infected develop wings that are useless in providing flight and so the bees cannot forage. A colony without foraging bees will very quickly starve and disappear.

You will be happy to hear that I have decided not to follow the common route of treatment for varroa, which includes the use of chemicals. I will be trialing out something called a BeeGym, which (in theory) encourages bees to groom themselves and, in the process, knock the mites off them before they get the chance to reproduce. More on the BeeGym next time.


Inspection Results: Not only did the wasps disappear, the thieving bees have given up as well. This is a sign of a strong colony. Better yet, their honey stores have increase since the last inspection (two weeks ago). Although there are 4 brood frames, only 3 of them seemed to be in use, the other one was empty. Could it be that they are actively reducing, or was I just not able to spot the eggs? The queen i s extremely difficult to spot but the healthy brood pattern persists with all stages of brood seen. Despite all the difficulties, these single ladies are strong and independent!

4 thoughts on “#013 All my Single Ladies – Independent!

  1. linaelwell

    What a relief to know that your wonderful Ladies have proved to be strong and able to, on their own, stand up to and defend their colony against outside dangers as well as anything that might threaten their existence. Bless them, they certainly did you pride 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes khalto, it’s so easy to forget that they were once upon a time wild bees everywhere in the uk. Moments like these remind me of how intelligent and developed bees are compared to a lot of other animals 🐝❤️

      Like

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