Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pre-Japan inspection

We leave for Japan tomorrow, and I wanted to check on the hives before we leave. I was worried about them, but I am a little encouraged now   I decided to treat them for Varroa, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. I bought two different kinds of treatments, but neither seemed right. I finally read about Oxalic Acid dribble on the Honey Bee Suite site, and that seemed doable to me. I did an Oxalic Acid dribble treatment on October 18th, but I didn't realize that you needed to open up the bars so the dribble could go in!  Doh! So I did it again on the 19th and opened the bars up. I feel very comfortable with the OA dribble as a treatment process. I am less comfortable with the sugar shake mite test, mainly because I am not confident about getting enough bees in the cup! At any rate, I finally treated. Unfortunately, I treated pretty late in the season and they were probably dealing with the mites for too long   I have been worried about Lone Star, because there just aren't very many bees. I had sort of resigned myself to losing that hive  but I inspected them today, and I am a little encouraged. There was a respectable amount of capped honey in there, there was pollen, and brood, and I saw some larvae! I saw the queen, too! There weren't very many bees, but maybe, just maybe, there will be enough to get through the winter! I hope so, because they are gentle, lovely bees   I also inspected Raven, and they were very strong. Lots of (hopefully enough!!) capped honey, good amount of pollen, brood and larvae  and I saw the queen! Lots more bees in Raven, all very purposeful   I am not worried about Raven.  Raven has always been more aggressive than Lone Star, and I wonder if they may have some Africanized genetic material. That might account for their strength against Varroa mites (since I treated so late) and their nasty demeanor. Maybe.   We have a garden box outside the kitchen window, and there is lots of basil and other herbs planted there  every day I can look outside and see the bees diving into the flowering basil. At least they are getting something to eat! It is so nice being able to see whether they have come out in the morning or are sleeping in! We will plant more bee plants next year   But on the whole, I am encouraged. I inspected both hives bare handed today. I think they calm down this time of year   I am taking honey as gifts to family in Japan, and I printed some photos of the hives and the bees and the comb to give as well.  Just looking at the pictures made me realize how much I have come to appreciate the fuzzy little beasties.