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Varroa Mites

Varroa mite is a problem for bee colonies and something bee keepers all become aware of really fast. Their actual name is Varroa Destructor which gives you a bit of an idea of just how devastating having Varroa can be. Everywhere in the world, except Australia, has Varroa, and it first appeared in Devon, UK. If colonies have Varroa they will die if you don't treat it.  The mites hide in an uncapped cell and then feed on the brood food and then begin to nibble the larvae itself transferring disease and causing defects. The defects caused are most commonly deformed wings but could also be stunted growth and other problems.
Varroa mites emerge with the new bee, hanging on to its back. The mites then  begin the cycle again by entering a new cell and laying eggs there. 



This is Varroa Mite on a larvae.



This is Varroa Mite on a bee. They look pretty obvious and easy to spot.














I haven't seen any on our bees. However we have bees with deformed wings. This is really worrying so despite …
Recent posts

Feeding the bees

Whilst we were away our apiary manager looked at the bees for us and recommended we feed them a bit more sugar solution. If forage is low we need to make sure that there is food available for the bees to build up for the winter so that they survive.

Winter talk already! I'm only just into Autumn! School term has started, the little one has begun school for the first time and we are shortly to be in the full sway of music practice, swimming, gymnastics, ballet, cubs and rainbows. Luckily the bees don't take much time as they are much less demanding right now. I might live to regret having said that.









Workng, Working, Working

since its summer the busiest bees in the hive are the workers. I didn't realise until recently that there are 5 different types of worker bees. Though knowing this does mean that Bee Movie know makes more sense to me.

It depends on age, different jobs depending on skills and knowledge I guess, the more familiar you are with how things work the greater the opportunities there are. I think when reviewing this structure it also depends on strength and resistance.

Here is how it works


Roaring

Did you know that bees roar?

We opened the hive today after a long break in Scotland, where incidentally beekeeping is limited to mostly the mainland (goodness that sounded a bit like I was wearing an anorak then), and had the now familiar roar from the bees. It is also a bit like a hello now that I have got used to it and it feels friendly.  When I move the frames around sometimes I might knock the bees, I get a little mini roar then. I find it a comforting sound, a bit of interaction.

It isn't at all though, its a warning. It is to alert the bees that something is happening and that they are being disturbed, there might be a threat, and to me, to let me know to just be careful please.

There is another kind of roar that beehives make that is a bit scarier, that is the roar of a queenless hive. This I hope not to hear at all. Lets not think about that one today.


Where are our drones?

Well, its been endoftermitis over here for us! We have been to all the events, end of term concerts, music exams (distinction, so proud), assemblies, sports days, my own assignment results (I passed by the way) and training for Ride London (not me, not on your nelly, thats the hubby).

So we popped up just to check the hive was still there. We should be visiting every week so must up our game.  We decided to give them the sugar solution again as there is slow spreading into the new frames though it is starting to happen. The queen was there and my, there were alot of bees, plenty of eggs and lots of capped cells.

Where are the drones?

Right so, in case we need a recap there are three types of bee in a hive. One queen, lots of workers, and at different times of the year several thousands or several hundreds of drones or none at all.
The job of the drone is to fertilise the queen, when they have done that they are not much help. They spend time in the hive, eating the honey and not doing…

Marking the queen

Well, you might have noticed that the blog is about the bees, mostly, but that there is a fair amount of juggling going on with work, family, etc etc. Alongside my first assignment which has been due ( I am doing a course) we have made a model volcano, tested it with mentos and coke, thats a sticky business, and started the process of term end and every event that goes with it.

The hive is growing which is great and we decided to take the feeder off for now to give the bees more chance to go out and forage. We need them to draw out (so thats making comb and putting honey in for eggs and larvae) around three quarters of the brood box (thats the one the queen lives in) before we put the super (thats the box where the honey will be) back on.

Whilst hubby was there 'just checking' he managed to mark the queen! This is a job that of course I might have liked to be there for but guess it had to be done sometime.

Why do we mark the queen and what does it mean? 

We do it so we can see …

Whats that wormy thing?

We went to see the bees today as we had to move the sugar solution away from them. Too much of that and the honey will taste a bit funny. Though of course this year we are unlikely to taste it ourselves so not sure what we were worrying about. The bees have to have it to see them through the winter since they have only just started this lark and need to build reserves.

They have been busy but I realised today I am not sure what I was looking at. The brood box should have eggs - Yes, saw those, Larvae - Yes, think so and capped cells with larvae growing in them, soon to become bees. Mmmm, I am not sure about those. There was lots of things going on, which I am going to have to investigate.

I am pretty sure there was honey, and capped cells but there were also black cells, bit of a worry and one cell with a funny looking worm thing in it!!!

Hubby tried to photo it but turns out you cannot get an Iphone to take pictures if you are wearing marigolds so think we missed it. We are going to …