January apiary visit

Visited the apiary for a quick check on the hives today. I also found something else I have been waiting for…

Snowdrop shoots peeking out from the ground. I also saw crocus leaves. Spring is coming!

There was not much beekeeping to do, only a quick check of the entrances to make sure dead bees were not blocking them, a peek at the fondant slabs to make sure they weren’t eaten through, and a look at the varroa monitoring boards.

Rosemary's varroa board

Rosemary’s board. I gave up counting but reckon there was a couple of hundred at least on there, in the space of a week. Hopefully that means the oxalic treatment worked. The mites are the shiny dark brown oval shaped things. It can be quite hard to see them amongst all the pollen and wax cappings at first.

Lavender's monitoring board

Lavender’s board had far fewer mites on it, probably because she has a smaller colony. Judging by the debris on the boards, both colonies are on the first few frames by the entrance. I’ve left the boards out now for ventilation purposes.

The light was beautiful today. I love taking photos at about 4pm in the winter, as everything gets softer. I’ve yet to notice the days doing much lengthening.

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper who has recently moved from London to windswept, wet Cornwall. I first started keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary in 2008, when I created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully! - future successes.
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6 Responses to January apiary visit

  1. Chris Slade says:

    It’s worth looking at the mites through a lens to make an intelligent guess as to whether they died of old age, were ripped untimely from the cell, were torn limb from limb, or just lost their footing. Once upon a time I did this and kept a record and showed that, over several months, the proportion of damaged mites increased from about 10% to about 40%.


    • Emily Heath says:

      Thanks Chris. I got a microscope recently, so that is a possibility, though I am not sure how accurate my intelligent guesses would be! More of the guessing and less of the intelligence would probably be involved.

      These particular mites probably died due to the oxalic acid corroding their probosis and other body parts.


  2. karcuri13 says:

    Hoping your girls have an uneventful winter and start off strong in Spring.


  3. beatingthebounds says:

    The light is fabulous isn’t it. Your traveller’s joy looks great. We have snowdrops flowering, which is a bit odd – perhaps it’s the sheltered coastal location and the gulf stream which are to blame?


    • Emily Heath says:

      Spring has definitely come early this year, I’ve seen photos of Welsh daffodils already in someone’s blog. Don’t think it’ll be long till our snowdrops get going too, despite being in a shady location.


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