- Remove the honey from White Hive
- Perform a powdered sugar roll mite sampling
- Combine the two hives into one
Step 1 - Remove the honey: Since I have only ever had one hive that I need to remove honey from, I use a simple method of doing so. Get an empty hive box and cover it with a damp cloth. Remove a frame with honey on it. Shake the frame with a sharp jerking motion until most of the bees are removed and brush the rest off. Put the bee-free frame into the empty box and drape the damp cloth back over the box so bees don't get back onto the frames. Someday if I have 5 hives all with multiple boxes of honey on them, then I may have to change my methodology. Until then, this works just fine.
Step 2 - Perform mite sampling: We live in a time when our European honey bees are plagued by an aptly named mite called Varroa Destructor. This mite is a parasite of the Asian honey bee but was introduced here in the 1980's. Our honey bees had no real resistance to them and they have been a huge problem ever since. I won't treat my colonies with chemicals but it is a good idea to know if you have a really bad infestation of mites or not. One of the methods of determining your mite level is called a powdered sugar roll. First you take a jar with a mesh screened lid and get a 1/2 cup of bees in it (approximately 300 bees) from a brood frame.
|Selecting a brood frame for mite sampling|
|Where did this sugar blizzard come from?|
|Stunned "ghost" bees poured back into the hive|
Here are a few of the microscope photos of these nasty little buggers.
|Varroa mite (top)|
|Varroa mite (bottom)|
|Mite with extended forelegs|
Step 3 - Combine the hives: With Green Hive queenless and no hope of replacing her this late in the season, I did a "newspaper combine" of the two hives into one. You just lay a sheet of newspaper over the top of one hive and stack the boxes from the other hive on top of the newspaper. This allows the scents of one hive to mingle with the other before the bees are blended together. This reduces or eliminates any fighting between the two colonies.
|Newspaper combine of White and Green hives|
This will be my last major beekeeping task for the year. I did decide to buy some winter wraps and I will be putting them on the hive before the first "Polar Vortex" gets here. I will also be placing a mouse guard on the entrance to prevent any unwanted residents during the Winter months.
As twilight descends on this inspection, it also descends on this beekeeping season. I did not achieve most of my goals this year but I am hopeful that the bees will come through this Winter will flying colors. I'm sure they will be eagerly awaiting Spring as much as I will be!
Until next time, thank you always for reading!