The storm clouds have parted and the sun has come out!
This is exactly what you want to see on a sunny February morning:
Bees are buzzing in and out. Some have large loads of pollen. I can tell that some appear to be young bees, which means that healthy brood is hatching. It’s also been said that the continued collecting of pollen means that the Queen is alive and healthy. Ahhhhh GOOD!
Now by stark contrast, this is not the best thing to see:
You can see by comparison how small the activity is in this hive. I don’t like to compare my children, but these girls are really struggling. Ahhhh BAD. On the bright side they are still there and I see some pollen pants going in.
Now this is just sad to see:
There are a lot of girls scurrying around the ground, who will soon die. They have what is call Deformed Wing Virus. Deformed Wing Virus is one of the viral diseases associated with Varroa mite infestations.
I’m not calling this sweet bee ugly, rather this is one of the UGLY sides to beekeeping.
We know we have a mite infestation in both hives. The hive we purchased seems to be struggling with it, while the swarm catch seems to be handling it fairly well. We may explore treating the mite infestation with a powder sugar dusting. It’s said that the powder sugar stimulates the bees grooming habits. The bees are capable of grooming the mites off each other. The mites then fall through the screened bottom of the hive and die. Unfortunately this can not be done until the weather warms up because it requires opening up the whole hive.
Until then we wait for spring!