A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Apiary inspection 19/07/2011

Today I have checked the varroa levels in my hive for the first time. On the 13th I added a varroa board to the hive; this is basically a bright coloured board that collects the debris that falls from the hive, including varroa mites. Before starting my full inspection I removed the varroa board and scraped the debris into a container and placed the container in my car. I then replaced the varroa board back into the hive. I will be monitoring for varroa each time I inspect the hive from now.

The varroa board prior to removing the debris.

I then moved back to the apiary to do my inspection. Inside the brood body there were 2 full frames of food stored with plenty more stores around the brood frames, along with plenty of pollen stores. There were 9 frames with brood although 1 frame only had a small patch of eggs and the rest of the frame was stores. On the 7th frame in I saw the Queen. There were a couple of Queen cups present but they weren't fully formed Queen cells so nothing to worry about. After the brood I checked the super. At the moment only 3 frames have been drawn out and the Bees have started storing nectar in there, which in time will be honey. I only took 1 photo while at the hive which shows weeds growing outside the hive, these will need to removed before it gets too overgrown! 

After I had finished my inspection I returned home and emptied the debris from the varroa board onto a sheet of white paper. I then spread the debris about so I had a better chance of seeing any varroa mites that had fallen; I found 3 dead mites and 1 live one. Using the calculator found on Beebase, I found that the levels of varroa are acceptable but I will keep a close eye on them. The calculator said I have roughly 35 mites in the hive and upto 1000 is a acceptable level. 

The mites are the tiny shiny things. I have placed some wax comb next to it give a idea of size

These are different pieces of pollen, demonstrating the variety of colours of pollen