Hive Inspection – 20171002

Overview

The bees in all three hives were calm. No sign of any significant infestations. Population in all three hives was sparse. Attribute to early fall foraging, in the middle of a sunny, warm, but not hot day, or possibly due to Autumn draw-down. About 50 dead bees on the bottom screen of Hive 3, but none in death throes like last inspection. All hives seem to be okay in terms of stores. All three hives’ brood clustered at entrance end, with one frame of honey between entrance end wall and brood – textbook behavior per Dr. Leo. No queens seen, but eggs and brood of all ages found in all three hives.

Hive 1

This is our strongest hive by far. They are putting up plenty of honey and pollen. This hive requeened itself (after assumed but unobserved swarm) in June. No problems with this hive after the initial infestation of SHB that came in with them.

Observations

  • About 8 frames of honey.
  • Lots of pollen – mostly as bee bread, mostly yellow and light orange.
  • No burr comb to speak of.
  • No drone cells.
  • Eggs seen.
  • Uncapped and capped brood of various ages. Good solid pattern.
  • Queen not seen.
  • No phoretic mites seen.
  • No DWV seen.
  • No SHB adults seen.
  • One dead wax moth larva about 1 inch long in oil pan 1-1. Leftover from previous inspection. Removed.
  • No sign of wax moth damage .
  • Some backfilling of the outside frames of the brood area as expected for autumn drawdown.

Frames

  • 5 Brood.
  • 8 Honey.
  • 2 Empty.

 Actions

  • Removed one empty frame.
  • Removed dead wax moth larva (leftover from last inspection) from right-hand oil pan trap.

Hive 2

This hive is strong, but has had issues. They requeened themselves (after presumed but unobserved swarm) in June. The new virgin queen was seen, but the new queen did not mate successfully (disappeared). The hive subsequently developed laying worker syndrome, but was requeened successfully with a mated queen from Allen Johnson. Since the laying worker period, the hive has shown a very strong propensity to build drone cells. In late July, we began seeing some DWV in the hive, and examination of the cutout drone brood showed a strong infestation of Varroa Destructor Mites. We enforced a 24-day brood break in this hive starting August 22nd, 2017, leaving the caged queen in the hive.

Population in this hive is sparse as expected due to brood break. The tendency to build drone-cell burr comb is greatly reduced. Removed one previously-inserted empty frame from middle of brood area. Left the other one in between the brood area and the honey frames.

Observations

  • About 13 frames of honey. Two frames at end away from entrance are just being drawn (very slowly).
  • Queen not seen.
  • Hive population is low as expected following August/September brood break, and with oncoming Autumn.
  • Saw plenty of pollen coming in and on frames.
  • Two frames had empty drone-cell burr comb. Removed.
  • Eggs, uncapped larvae of various ages, and capped worker brood seen with a good solid pattern.
  • No adult drones seen.
  • No phoretic mites seen.
  • No DWV seen.
  • No SHB adults or larvae seen.
  • No sign of wax moth damage or larvae.
  • Considerable backfilling of outer brood frames seen, as expected during autumn drawdown.

Frames

  • 3 Brood.
  • 13 Honey.
  • 2 Empty.

 Actions

  • Removed one empty frame.
  • Removed open burr comb.

Hive 3

This hive was established in June 2017 from a nuc given to us by a friend. The nuc was raised from her own stock using eggs from one of her own hives. The stock has a strongly Russian genetic background, but is not purebred. This is our smallest colony, due to having started late, and the Russian characteristic of building slowly. They have also been slow to put up stores, and we have supplemented them with honey frames from the other hives. We may need to continue that in order to help them overwinter.

We observed a significant die-off in progress on September 19th and 20th. No further evidence of that outside the hive since then, but about 50 dead bees on the bottom screen in the open area to the left of the follower board again this inspection. The population does seem low, but we have seen dense bearding over the last two weeks of hot days, and see very active foraging with lots of pollen coming in.

The brood pattern is still a little spotty. This hive may need to be requeened once more next spring. Will possibly just allow a swarm and see how the new queen does.

Observations

  • Good stores of honey (about five frames). Looks like they may be able to overwinter without supplement.
  • Lots of pollen – mostly yellow and light orange.
  • No burr comb to speak of.
  • No drone cells.
  • One queen cup (left in place).
  • Eggs seen.
  • Uncapped and capped brood of various ages seen.
  • Brood pattern spotty.
  • Population on the frames is low – probably due to die-off observed on September.
  • Couldn’t find queen, but she must be present (eggs).
  • No phoretic mites seen.
  • No DWV seen.
  • No SHB adults or larvae seen.
  • No sign of wax moth damage or larvae.
  • Had about 50 dead bees on the screen bottom in the open area outside the follower board again. Removed.
  • One perfectly formed dead white larva with eyes and legs fell out of one of the brood frames while I was examining it for eggs.
  • No bees seen in death throes as seen during last inspection.

Frames

  • 3 Brood.
  • 5 Honey.
  • 2 Empty.

 Actions

  • Removed dead bees from empty zone.
  • Removed one empty frame.

Plan of Action

  • Continue to monitor populations, stores, and pan traps in all three hives.
  • Requeen Hive 2 in early spring.

1 thought on “Hive Inspection – 20171002”

  1. Forgot to mention – While I was inspecting a brood frame from Hive 3, a perfectly formed, but dead white larva with eyes and legs fell out onto the tray we use to scrape propolis and burr come onto during inspections. I’m not sure whether this was just a fluke, a sign of hygienic behavior against Varroa mites, or due to the suspected pesticide exposure we saw during the last inspection ten days ago.

    Reply

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