Hive Inspection – 20171026

 

Overview

All three hives have good stores. Hive 1 has healthy brood cluster, but several bees with DWV seen (and removed). Also saw several dead pupae on the bottom screen. Hive 2 has healthy winter brood cluster. Queen found, but she is not marked. So either this is a new queen or they have superseded. Hive three is dying. No uncapped brood or sign of a queen. Worker population decimated. Could be due to pesticides.

Photos

Hive 3 Brood Frame 1
Hive 3 Brood Frame 1
Hive 3 Brood Frame 2
Hive 3 Brood Frame 2
Hive 3 Recessed Cappings Close-up
Hive 3 Recessed Dark Cappings Close-up
Hive 3 Brood Frame 3
Hive 3 Brood Frame 3

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. Hive had initial infestation of SHB that came in with them. Now seeing DWV, and dead pupae on bottom.

Observations

  • 11 frames of honey almost all capped.
  • 5 frames of brood
  • Lots of pollen.
  • No burr comb to speak of.
  • No drone cells.
  • Eggs seen.
  • Uncapped and capped brood of various ages..
  • Queen not seen.
  • No phoretic mites seen.
  • Three bees with DWV removed.
  • Several dead white pupae seen on bottom screen.
  • No SHB adults seen.
  • No sign of wax moth damage .
  • Some backfilling of the outside frames of the brood area as expected for autumn drawdown.

Frames

  • 5 Brood.
  • 11 Honey.
  • 1 Empty – removed.

 Actions

  • Removed bees seen with DWV.
  • Removed dead pupae from bottom screen.
  • Removed one empty frame.
  • Checked oil traps.

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 strong. The tendency to build drone-cell burr comb is greatly reduced. Removed one previously-inserted empty frame from middle of brood area.

Observations

  • 12 frames of honey.
  • Queen seen but she is unmarked. The queen from Allen Johnson was marked white. She has either had her marking removed, or this hive has re-queened.
  • Saw plenty of pollen on frames.
  • No eggs seen.
  • Some uncapped larvae of various ages, and capped worker brood seen.
  • No adult drones seen.
  • No phoretic mites seen.
  • No DWV seen.
  • No SHB adults  seen.
  • No sign of wax moth damage or larvae.
  • About 10 SHB larvae in oil traps.

Frames

  • 4 Brood.
  • 12 Honey.

 Actions

  • Removed last empty frame.
  • Checked oil traps.

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 20 dead bees on the bottom screen in the open area to the left of the follower board again this inspection.

No eggs or uncapped brood seen. No queen seen. Some capped brood still present, but only on a very small area of two frames. Worker be population is very low.

Observations

  • Good stores of honey and pollen.
  • No burr comb to speak of.
  • No drone cells.
  • No queen cups or cells.
  • No eggs seen.
  • No uncapped brood seen.
  • Very little capped brood.
  • Brood pattern spotty.
  • Population on the frames is very low.
  • Queen not seen.
  • No phoretic mites seen.
  • No DWV seen.
  • No SHB adults or larvae seen.
  • No sign of wax moth damage or larvae.
  • Had about 20 dead bees on the screen bottom in the open area outside the follower board again. Removed.

Frames

  • 2 Brood very sparse.
  • 9 Honey.

 Actions

  • Removed dead bees from empty zone.
  • Removed one empty frame.
  • Checked oil traps.

Plan of Action

  • Get advice from Megan Pearson WRT Hive 3. Unless she advises otherwise, will allow this hive to die (possibly dump bees into hive 1, and take the honey stores for overwintering of other hives.
  • Rebuild Hive 3 box as ventilated box with cover boards per Dr. Leo’s newest horizontal Langstroth plans.
  • Continue to monitor over winter whenever weather permits.
  • Reduce entrances.

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