Time to smite some mites

This weekend it was time to replace our first lot of Apiguard treatment and put the second round of trays on. Can you guess which of our colonies had cleaned every last inch of their Apiguard tray empty and shining after two weeks?


Our new queen Melissa’s of course (Melissa being our old favourite Myrtle’s daughter). These bees truly are perfection – gentle, productive honey makers, hygienic.


A worrying sight in Chilli’s hive – a couple of piles of dead bees. Had they met a sudden end, perhaps in a fight with a wasp or robber bee? We helped their surviving sisters clean up by cremating the dead in our smoker.

Pollen supplement

Queen Stella’s allotment bees are doing well – above they’re enjoying a Nektapoll pollen patty treat. All yellow and squidgy. As soon as I wedge it in-between the bars they start nibbling away at it.

Last week I turned up in time to see one of the workers fly into a big spider’s web behind my hive. I felt like it was a beekeeper’s job to rescue bees from hungry spiders, so I fished her out before the spider pounced. Further drama ensued as upon putting her on the hive roof I noticed a varroa mite on her thorax! It’s pretty difficult trying to dislodge a mite a couple of millimetres long from a moving bee which doesn’t want you touching her back. I tried my best and the mite disappeared, but to be honest I think it just hid somewhere else on the bee’s body. Still, she had been saved by death by spider!

Varroa mites

Hopefully the mite is now on that there varroa monitoring board above, knocked out by Apiguard. I have put on some arrows pointing to the mites, which are brown and shiny. Observant eyes at the right angles can spot the ends of their legs pointing out. There are a lot more than two on there, but I didn’t fancy doing an arrow for every mite.

And obviously you can never have too many monitoring boards, so here’s another! Pretty orange pollen and wax flakes on this one. The lines match up with the gaps between the frames.

Varroa monitoring board

I had left some space in the hive and the allotment bees had built some spectacular comb – big, drone cell sized but so far completely empty. I couldn’t really let them keep it as it would have created a lot of mess, so I trimmed it off, brought it home and how have it on display in my window.

Empty honey comb

Honeycomb held up to the light

Magnificent engineering. Finally, here’s a couple of photos from my walks through London recently…

Painter by the Shard

I ate my lunch while watching this painter doing a bridge and boats scene along the Thames. In the background is the Shard. It was quite hard to take a photo of him without tourists looking over his shoulder.

View of the Southbank

Looking at the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday night from Hungerford Bridge. St Paul’s Cathedral is in the distance. I think the red building all lit up is the Queen Elizabeth Hall, but I could be wrong. London’s pretty at night, as long as you have a nice warm bed to go home to.

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.
This entry was posted in Disease prevention, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Time to smite some mites

  1. I like having the glimpses of London you give us from time to time. Do you keep monitoring boards on the hives all the time? Amelia


    • Emily Scott says:

      Nope, usually the monitoring boards are only left on the hives for a week each month, so that the hives have ventilation. But while the Apiguard is on we tape the board up so that the vapour stays in and circulates round the hive.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was in London recently and was surprised to see how much the skyline had changed (the Shard etc.) and how much building was going on. The view as the train comes in to Waterloo is now like something out of Blade Runner.


  3. P&B says:

    I have a lot of robbing going on now too, especially after feeding them. I think some feral bees that looking for easy food have hit the hive. So far reducing the entrance helps.


  4. Talking With Bees says:

    How is the varroa count? I just added oxalic acid over Christmas and plan a count at the start of February.
    Another pest to keep our eye out for is the Asian Hornet. I have written a guide for beekeepers.


    • Emily Scott says:

      It’s a great guide Roger, very interesting comments on there too.

      Just checked the varroa boards today. After two weeks, the lowest count was about a hundred and the highest probably around three hundred. Worth doing I think.


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