Because of last winters losses and the probable varroa mite infestation, I did mite counts this summer. If the mite count was high, above threshold, greater than two mites per 100 bees, I treated. I used the oxalic dribble (medium strength) per guidelines on Scientific Beekeeping website. I did the dribble while there was no capped brood in the hive, that window where all the brood from the old queen had emerged and the new queen had not started laying or was just beginning to lay. Treating during this window of time means there are no mites hiding beneath the capping and all mites should be phoretic, hitchhiking on the bees in the hive. So all the mites in the hive are exposed to the oxalic acid.
I didn't want to treat, but I do not wish to lose my bees again either. The brood breaks are an excellent way to knock back varroa and keep there numbers to a manageable level, BUT even if your bees are "clean," drones carrying varroa mites from any hives in your surrounding areas can enter your hives uncontested and re-infest your hives. Many beekeepers have done mite counts in July and August and find them to be below threshold and then suddenly in September their hives are inundated with mites. Beekeepers call this a Varroa Bomb. Getting nailed with drones infested by Varroa or your strong hive robs a neighboring weak hive that is full of Varroa and your bees unknowingly carry Varroa back to your "clean" hive. It is a sad state of affairs and one must remain vigilant.
This summer was so busy with the bees, my son's graduation open house and a trip out west, I didn't get many "in the hive" pictures but I did manage to catch them foraging here and there. Enjoy the images of summer 2016.
|Honeybee on Anise Hyssop|
|Honeybees water color at hive entrance|
|Honeybee on Lemon Queen sunflower|
|Home Apiary with splits|
|Honeybee on Basswood bloom. Right in my own back yard! The smell of this tree in bloom is intoxicating. Love standing underneath it and listening to the happy hum of busy bees!|
|Honeybee alighting onto Basswood bloom.|
|Honeybee on Sunflower bloom|
|Honeybee on Buckwheat bloom|
|Honey bee gathering nectar from Buckwheat bloom|
|Buckwheat blooming in my backyard.|
|Honeybees on top of frame|
|Honeybee on Anemone bloom|
|Honeybee on Japanese Anemone bloom|
|Honeybee on Anise Hyssop bloom. See the pollen she has started gathering in her "pollen basket" on her leg?|
|Honeybees on Japanese Anemone bloom|
|Honeybee on Zinnia bloom|