My Garden Colony
On the varroa front I checked the 'fall' of mites onto the sticky board and counted 64 over 4 days. Hopefully this is the MAQS working and as well as the external mites the ones lurking under the protection of wax in the brood cells are also being killed. Time will tell.
There were some dead bees outside the hive and I sincerely hope that I have not lost brood or the queen which the manufacturers warn can happen. I also trust that not disturbing the colony last week to check for queen cells was wise. The MAQS instructions advise leaving any queen cells in case the queen dies .................... What on Earth am I going to find?
On Saturday I set up for my weekly check. I lifted off the top super that weighed a ton - full of maturing nectar. I then saw to my horror that the workers had filled the newly added super with 'freeform wax which was full of nectar. When I added the super on Sunday I left a space in the middle to allow ventilation for the potent formic acid fumes of the MAQS. The bees had ignored the frames with foundation and done their own thing. I had to remove the wax dripping with nectar and brush off the busy cluster of bees from each piece. I then took it into the house away from robber bees. It started to rain. Another abandoned plan . Hm leaving the space had seemed a good idea at the time!
Back in the house I tried some of the immature honey gathered yesterday. Flowery, delicate and totally magic. Let us hope that I will have a few pots to share at the end of the season in addition to 30lbs left for bee winter feed.
My hive survives but is a bit puny. I marked the queen who is now laying. This was a bit fraught as she was running around and I had to capture her in a spikey ring without stabbing her and then hold her still by pressing the ring down. The pen was dry, the other bees crawled everywhere and I had to press down to stop her getting away but without damaging her legs or abdomen ..................... seemed OK but we will see next time!
My little apidea with a new 'laying queen' was introduced into another queenless hive using the 'Artificial Swarm' technique. Too much to detail here but yet another great learning opportunity, Lets hope I remember and can apply this knowledge when I have to do this on my own.