David and I had our first chance to look at all of our 52 new hives today. The hives are on pallets with pairs facing away from each other. The hives looked good and healthy when we picked them up and they seem to have enjoyed the five-hour trip from Jasper, Texas last week because they still looked good and healthy today. I liked the way that they are all about the same strength and very gentle – no stings during today’s inspection. Our plan is to build up these hives in late winter/early spring. We’ll divide each one to make up about 50 nucleus hives to sell. (Already have several orders!) The remaining bees we’ll keep to make honey here in Guadalupe and Gonzales Counties.
These bees (and all of my other hives, too) were due for a mite treatment using a thymol product called Api-Guard. Considered a natural miticide, the thymol is activated by heat and the vapors kill the mites that are attached to the bees. It doesn’t kill the mites in the brood, so it’s best to use in the fall when the colonies have less brood. Getting control over these mites in the fall is the key to having strong colonies in the spring.