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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bees Blooming in Bermuda

Today I got an email that a friend in my bee club has ordered two queens who will be arriving this weekend - she probably doesn't need them and wanted to know if anyone wanted them. I called her right away thinking that requeening Bermuda may help its recovery. She wondered why the hive was weak and I proferred my theory that the varroa mite had taken its toll over the winter. She wondered about unhealthy brood or what else might be wrong. She's coming to look at my hives on Saturday so she can help me think about the problem.

Meanwhile I had a 2 1/2 hour break in the middle of the day and came home to look at Bermuda. The number of bees in the hive has definitely increased since my last inspection of the brood area about 10 days ago. I took some pictures. In the first picture you can see well-capped brood and larvae uncapped in various stages of development. In the upper right quadrant you can see a bee with bright yellow pollen on her legs. She's at about 3:00 on the brood edge.

















I saw this larvae below with a definite Varroa mite on the larvae. See the little orange thing on the left of the C-shape of the larvae? That's a Varroa mite, happily developing with the bee.















I saw the queen (below with the white dot in the center of the picture). She is in the act of laying in this picture.

















If you click on the picture below, you can see in the lower part of the frame, brood in many stages of development. I do think this means that Bermuda is well on the way back. Granted, the queen is not covering the frames with brood - maybe an argument for requeening - but she is laying a good pattern and the bees are coming back. Currently the bees are all in one medium frame box.
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2 comments:

  1. I came across a post on BeeSource (http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=208609) that ended up talking about k-wing. I don't yet have any bees, so I don't know how common it is or at what level you should start to take notice of it. I noticed two bees in your first picture that may have a k-wing. I can't seem to find much more info about it except that it may be a sign of Tracheal Mites. It may also be completely normal, I don't know. Hopefully someone with more knowledge than me will chime in.

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  2. I see the bees to which you refer and have seen others - only a couple - with severely ragged and thus deformed wings. I have attributed it to Deformed Wing Virus carried by the Varroa mite. I didn't, however, treat for trachael mites because I have small hive beetles and the grease patty used to treat the trachael mite causes and explosion in the small hive beetles population. I'm hoping that the wing issue is a Varroa problem and that I will be able to address it both by moving to small cell as I will for this hive in the next box and by continuing 10 day powdered sugar shakes to groom the mites off of the bees.

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