Summary of bees from each year
Bees survived the winter after treating them with the formic acid treatment. They were growing like gangbusters in the winter/spring, and I needed to put more boxes on so there were 5 total, but then they started dying out front. When checking with a bottom board, they had a lot of mites (see picture), so I treated with formic acid on 4/24/2020.
Bees from BeeKind again (pickup date?
hived them with 1 box of comb from the previous year (top box)
They did well and drew 3 more boxes of comb very quickly, then stopped.
Checked for mites around July? saw a few on the bottom board after leaving it in overnight, so I put in a Formic acid strip (1) in the feeder cavity (so I wouldn’t disrupt things too much). No huge mite drop, but the bees seemed to do well for another month.
Forgot to check on them for a few weeks in October (apple season), and eventually checked on them on Oct 12. Found the colony MUCH smaller, and put the bottom board in place to check on the mites. Also noticed some mites on bees inside. Next day, found some mites on the board, so pulled the bottom empty box and 1 with just comb. Then took off the feeder box from the top and placed 1 formic acid strip on the top bars under the bee escape board (for spacing). Next morning, noticed some dead bees and larvae on the bottom screen, but HUGE amounts of varroa on the bottom board. Scraped it off, and got that much the next day too (picture from 2nd day).
Ordered a local queen and bees from BeeKind in Sebastopol. When talking to the beekeeper, he said that people often say that their bees used to die for many years, but once they tried these local bees, they survive the winter. He also mentioned that the queens are from his local Warre hive that’s been doing great.
10/7: Noticed that the colony seemed to be decreasing in size. No harvest yet. 5 boxes total, top 3 seem full. No clear pollen being brought into the hive. No drones seen coming in either.
10/8: Planning to Harvest top box. Added bee escape board under top box. Did a mite check after adding some powdered sugar, though, and found that there’s lots of mites, but no deformed wings yet. EEK. Need to treat for Varroa asap. Ordered some “Mite Away Quick Strips”, should arrive next week.
10/9: Harvested top box, moved bee escape down one level. Small amounts of uncapped older cells seen in the bottom of the next box down. Added 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to the next box down (just under the bee escape board).
10/19: Only a few bees left in the box. 1-2 visible in window, but no robbing yet. Removed empty bottom box and added some pollen just below quilt. Ordered “Mite Away Quick Strips” (Formic Acid), but order was cancelled, so had to order again, and it’s still not here. Lots of varroa on bottom board- assume colony won’t make it :-(.
10/20: Just checked the hive Saturday morning. 3 boxes on, 2 half full of honey. Found queen, and she seems ok, but only 10 bees visible elsewhere. Several bees had mites on them. Hive declared gone and harvested…
Same bees as the previous years, and kept the hive in the same location, in the SE corner of the yard, 1 level up from the lowest garden level. Not sure why they died this year.
Same bees as previous years. We had a huge mite infestation. Tried powdered sugar, but I think it was too late.
Same bees as the previous year. Not sure why they died at the end of the summer. 5 gallons of honey harvest, though!
Rob gave us our first hive! 2-3 Warre boxes. I think I bought an additional one with a window. He had bees in it already, so we just let them do their thing. They died in the late summer, and we harvested the honey.