Posts Tagged ‘mite treatment’

Big Island Queen in a Cage

Thanks go out to Emily of the UK for putting the idea of introducing a queen to a new hive without the cage – an aggressive approach compared to our seven-day slow introduction method with a caged queen that has proven to work quite well in our hives. I came home today and when Mark got home, he surprised me with news that he and Danielle requeened a hive using the cageless introduction technique. Cool! He said while they were out in the bee yard feeding, doing mite treatments and dividing when they came across one of our new Jester Bees hive. That hive had lost its queen and the girls made their own, which Mark does not want here in Texas. So, he decided this was an opportunity to try the more aggressive approach – doesn’t hurt to try and I guess his curiosity had been piqued. First things first, he found and killed that queen the girls made for themselves. In the following picture, he is clearing off the attendant bees from the Big Island queen, as best he can.

Getting bees off the cage

After that, he put a very heavy smoke on the hive itself to really sedate them. Don’t worry, it won’t harm the bees.

Smoking the bee hive

Here he is pushing apart a couple of frames to make sure that when he releases her, she’ll be near or on the brood nest.

Releasing the queen

And there she goes when he pulls back the wire protective screen.

There she goes

After all that, he put some feed into the box for them and now we wait and hope. He will go back and check on them next week some time.

Feeding the bees

I want to thank the wonderful Danielle for taking these pictures for us – we wouldn’t have them if she wasn’t with Mark. Sounds like she had a better out in the yards with Mark, which makes me happy to hear. 🙂


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Deadman Creek Bee Yard

Today was another hot day but a gentle (though hot) breeze did help a bit as we went out to check on the bees at Elm Creek and Deadman Creek yards. First stop was Deadman Creek, which now serves as a nursery yard for us. Despite the extreme heat and drought this summer and the fact that there is ZILCH out there for the poor bees to feed on, we have managed to divide and increase by about eighteen hives from our existing hives. We had hoped to have about fifty more this year and while we didn’t reach that goal, we are thankful that we have fared as well as we have. There are twenty-four hives at our nursery at this time. The picture above is a shot I snapped of the entire collection of hives while Mark dusted for mites and feed the bees pollen patties and some sugar syrup to help sustain them until we (hopefully) get some much needed rain.

Below is a short video of how Mark dusts the hives with powdered sugar in order to treat for mites. He’s tried several different things but has not been completely satisfied with them though this is the best option for now. Dusting the bees knocks the mites off and the mites fall to through the screen bottoms. If he wants to do a count of the mites, he sometimes will also place a grid board under the boxes so that he can catch the mites on there and do a count. Once the count reaches a certain level, he knows to kick in some sort of treatment. I always enjoy watching this method of powdered sugar for several reasons. First, the bees become “ghost bees” for a while and they are easy to spot as they fly around or wandered into another hive. Second, it’s powdered sugar. What’s not to like? Third, I find it fascinating that this simple treatment will help knock those little mites off our poor bees. No matter that the bees freak out for a few minutes because they suddenly have a powder substance on them and they may experience impaired vision and disorientation (see previous post about a ghost bee mistakenly going to a different hive). Finally, I also liked that Mark’s never been stung by a powdered bee and they appear to be welcomed in other hives should they accidentally enter a wrong one. A bee’s life seems so adventurous to me.

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