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.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Apiary inspection 08/09/2011

Upon arrival at the apiary I was happy to see a good flow of Bees coming and going from the hive, many of them looked to be covered in a fine white dust; this is pollen from Balsam flowers. At the moment there are quite a few flowers still out in the area but the main one is Himalayan Balsam in the nearby woodland.

After I got my smoker lit I suited up and headed into the apiary. The first job was to put the comb back into the hive which I harvested the honey from last week. As this comb is already fully drawn out it is ready straight away for the Bees to start storing honey again. There were 4 frames that still had foundation and no stores so these were taken out and 4 frames of fully drawn comb put in there place. At this point I had a slight dilemma, I had 1 frame left to put in but all the frames already in the super had honey in them. In the end I decided that I'd take the fully drawn frame home rather than taking away some honey they had started to store.

After I'd done everything in the super i moved onto the brood chamber. In the first 2 frames there was hardly any brood but loads of honey stored; I thought the super frames were heavy when fully loaded with honey, they were nothing compared to a brood frame covered in Bees and full of honey. A few frames later and there was a good amount of brood at all stages from egg to larva to caped cells. Unfortunately I didn't see the Queen this time but due to there being eggs present it shows she is more than likely there somewhere. I did notice that the amount of brood is reducing, which I presume is because winter is fast approaching so they are winding down.

The second big job for this inspection was to treat for varroa. Each time I have counted the mites there has been a steady increase in amount present in the hive. The treatment I used was APILIFE VAR; this is a treatment made from essential oils from natural ingredients and apparently varroa mites have not built a resistance to it. It works by suffocating the mites with the vapors. To apply the APILIFE VAR I opened the packet and split the bar in half. Using half the packet I then broke it again into quarters and applied a piece to each corner of the brood chamber. The other half will be used in a week from the first day and then another packet it used for the following 2 weeks. In all full treatment takes 4 weeks. Due to the treatment bar being slightly raised I had to remove the Queen excluder otherwise the treatment bar would have been crushed by the excluder; this isn't a problem as long as I make sure the Queen is below the excluder when I put it back on in the spring.

The last task was to take the final varroa count for the time being; this will be the final one for at least a month as there is no point counting the varroa while treatment is in place. Once I'd took the hive debris out of the hive and returned home I began the varroa count. It took me a while to do and in the end there were 91 mites which gives the following results when put into the varroa calculator.

Average Daily Mite Fall = 10.1 varroa mites
Estimated number of adult varroa mites in the colony = 510
Treatment is recommended in about 8 month(s) time (counting from day of first monitoring).

The period that I did the calculation over was mainly in September but slightly into August. If I work out the varroa using the calculator but entering August as my month it gives quite different results with a recommendation to treat immediately. When I first started looking into becoming a Beekeeper I did have the mind that I wouldn't treat the Bees however now I have them and I can see the levels of mite rising so rapidly I have changed my mind; I wouldn't want to loose my Bees in the first year. Maybe when I have more hives and experience I can have a different approach.