Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bees Update Febuary 22!

Last Friday I did a hive inspection. The hive looks pretty good for the most part.

The hive has plenty of honey stores almost 10 deep frames of honey. Pollen was less than I expected given the bees have been bringing in non stop on warm days. Surely they must be consuming it for brood production as they get it. Brood was light, no packed frames by any means, this should be OK as it is still winter.

 All stages on the life cycle were observed, eggs, larva and capped brood. The eggs I actually found the next day on some burr comb I had removed. The eggs on the burr comb were drone eggs as the cells were the correct size. No adult drones were noted. Checked for queen cells and did not see any, 3 frames were not checked as I found the queen and stopped the inspection.

As for pests in the hive I saw around 6 Small Hive Beetles and did not find any mites visible to the naked eye. I did find several dead new born bees in their cells , one looked to have been opened by the undertaker bees. Here is the bad part, the bottom of the hive had 300-500 dead bees on the bottom screen. Likely these died of old age or were frozen during the recent 20 degree night we had. Either way the hive is strong with 10,000 plus bees inside. The bees need to get busy removing the dead bees, I have opened the entrance to make that easier for them.

I did see a couple of bees with mildly crumpled wings, I think this might have been a result of the new born bees still pumping fluid into the wings, I have seen butterflies do that many times. If I'm wrong then I might have DWV (Deformed Wing Virus), but from what I have read, the bees barely have any wings at all, mine were nearly complete just not fully expanded. DWV is a result of varroa mites in most cases.

This video is from today February 22, 2012 about mid day.
The clip is 2 minutes you will see a lot of pollen being carried home for just two minutes.

Since the bees tried to raise drone brood in burr comb I have decided we need to get and install some drone frames. From what I have heard it is good to have a frame of drone comb in the hive, let the queen fill it with drone brood then remove it and destroy it to control the varroa mites. Varroa mites prefer drone brood because they take several days longer to grow than workers and this works better for the varroa mite life cycle.  

Setting up hive number 2 on April 14th and helping a friend set up a new hive the following weekend.

Here is a lovely crocus from the garden. We also have lots of Tricolor, Flower Record and a large white crocus in bloom in the garden. Last check we had 4 types of daffodils blooming also.

Meg saw the first yard butterfly on Saturday, a Mourning Cloak. I happened to see it today along our road also. They over winter under debris and come out on warm bright days during the winter here.


Carol said...

It is totally mesmerizing to watch your bee video Randy! I love the sounds and so hope the 'wild' honeybees return this year to the old Rock Maple just outside of the farmhouse. I did not see them last year. I hope you do not have the virus. I too have seen butterflies with only partial wing blow up. Lovely, lovely crocus! Spring seems to really be there for you. I am anxiously awaiting your views on my new butterfly post. I feel sure I must have made a mistake in identifying one of the butterflies.

Kitty said...

Great fun watching them come in with their saddlebags full. Thanks for posting that. :-)

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I think you'd want to be raising drones at time of year, instead of destroying them. But then, I hate to kill anything.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I learn something with each bee posting. Now you are setting up hive number cool.
We have a beekeeper speaker coming to the Master Gardener group next month (April)...looking forward to it.
I have so many pines, started with pine straw for our mulch. Most of the camellias are in the pine straw mulched beds. Think the beds really needed some more organic material (hardwood mulch) to amend the soil. Always evolving.

Andrea said...

Oh great my favorite crocus is there again, i remember your blog mostly for this crocus, the butterflies, the bees and the banana! lol. Imagine me at the other end of the world waiting for your spring to see your purple crocus! But i am also amazed the way you learn so fast the so many things to remember in those beehives, and the meanings of everything you observe. I have basics from entomology subjects but am afraid if i will be able to remember all those things! I am amazed.

Karen said...

Randy, it was wonderful to watch and hear the bees at work. I am on the run here, like usual lately, and had to stop in and see what's going on in your gardens. The hellebores are stunning, even weighted down with snow. Glad to see it melted for you with hopefully little damage. Loved the rainchain video too.

How's the stained glass coming? The lamp we're working on is almost completely cut now, but endless hours of grinding and foiling and, finally, soldering, await. There's over 400 hours in this one. We want to finish a smaller shade before spring gets here, so we have to hustle. And now I have to walk, walk, walk so I'm in good enough shape to garden in a month or two.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Sounds like summer listening to those bees. Hope they are all okay.
Beautiful Crocus!

Bonnie K said...

I'm not good at answering on my own blog, because I figure people don't go back and look. The Gray Crowned Rosy Finch dips down from Alaska and Canada in the winter eh? They are 10 times prettier than the picture in the Smithsonian Handbook of North American Birds.

Lona said...

It is still early so they need that pollen and it is not easily found yet. Well up here anyway. The crocus are so lovely Randy. Looks like spring is getting so close now with those busy bees from your video.

Appalachian Lady said...

The bees sounds like they are doing good. But, I wonder why they didn't take out the dead bees. I've been watching mine do that. But, I haven't done a full inspection--need to do it soon.

Our maples won't bloom until mid-March (if they don't freeze). Now, the bees are gathering a little pollen from the crocuses and heather.