This year things have been far too busy to consistently interfere with swarming. I don’t even want to count the number of swarms and after swarms I have had. It’s humbling – last year I was so proud of having none at all. Leave it to the bees to put us in our places, right?
Many of the swarms were lost but others volunteered themselves for a little bit of experimentation. Why are you raising an eyebrow? They were completely willing. Really!
Yesterday I happened upon a most unfortunate sight: a beautiful, well-developed queen crawling on the ground. This is not where one would expect to find a honey been queen! She was obviously unable to fly, despite several attempts. A closer look revealed the problem: one set of wings was malformed. If you are thinking deformed wing virus, you are right!
If you have just returned from the Oregon State Beekeeper’s Conference, your post-Halloween nightmares are probably haunted by Varroa mites. The industry is making strides towards slaying this foe but we’re still an awful long way from safety. That’s why it’s so heartening to hear of new weapons that hold promise for being not only effective, but harmless towards the bees we’re trying so hard to protect.
As Morris Ostrofsky noted in his speech to the LBBA this month, protein supplementation is one of the best things you can do to help your bee colony survive the winter and thrive during the next active season.