Treatment for Winter
This treatment follows three months from our last treatment in April when we were preparing the apiary for wintering down. The treatment used at that time was “Api life Var“, which proved reliable and achieved huge male mite fall. For our July treatment, we are using “oxalic acid” which we bought from Paul B from the Auckland Bee Club. Paul B mixed the solution up for members and put in to easy-to-use containers all ready to go – was very easy to apply – just detach the cap and squeeze over the Bees in-between each of the frames.
Please note : I had to wear lots of gear – namely….mask, goggles and two layers of plastic gloves – this is due to the very poisonous nature of the oxalic acid – however, gratefully the risk reduced by Paul B, because he had premixed…thanks Paul : )
There is more information about treatments for varroa in the “Control of Varroa” book by Mark Goodwin & Michelle Taylor … “A Guide for New Zealand Beekeepers”… (MAF and HortResearch and the National Beekeepers Association of New Zealand”. ( page 154 gives direction for oxalic acid treatments).
Unfortunately… I hadn’t had time to do a natural mite fall count due to the fact that indications are that Auckland will be getting rain so decided to go ahead with the treatment anyway while the weather is still dry.
Our strategy is to treat 4 times a year ie: every 3 months.
As part of our wintering down in April this year, we did feed all the hives with sugar syrup, vitamin C and thyme oil.
I feel that all the hives are looking really healthy, no mouldy foundation or pollen – very little wing deformities, no dead or chilled brood – so this indicates to me good housekeeping in all the hives.
I placed polystyrene sheets in-between the flat metal hive roofs and the hive mats – all hive mats are dry.
All our hives are raised 30cm above the ground. We have built some hive stands for 3 of the hives and the rest are on two levels of breeze blocks. Very important for our area so as to make sure the hives are raised enough for coping with heavy rainfall and prevents splash up, into the entrance. This allows good airflow under the mesh boards…..
…all our hives have mesh boards, this contributes to good airflow inside the hives which discourages wax moths – I didn’t see any presence of wax moth.
Winter Honey Supplies
Our hives were formed from one gift nuc from a friend and two purchased nuc’s. The other 5 were from swarms we collected over the Bee season because they still needed to build-up, we decided not to extract honey and leave the capped honey frames in the hive for them over winter.
No queens spotted in any of the 5 hives I treated today also no brood nor any signs of eggs and no chilled brood either.
Overall I feel the girls are looking healthy and behaving well, they are guarding the hives against the (german) wasps (yellow jackets).
A few comments below on my findings…
Glen Eden 2
Started off with this hive – its has two hive levels. First level is a full depth and the top level is a three quarter. The girls were all located on the first level and about three frames with honey and the rest just a bit foundation. The first level was the busiest and I found there was a couple of honey frames and one frame with foundation so removed this one and replaced with a three quarter frame which I scored the cappings to open up access to the honey. Did spot a Bee with a mite on its abdomen. No queen spotted, no brood nor any signs of eggs. I did see some dried pollen but no nectar, all of which appear normal for winter. Reasonable amount of Bees in this hive.
Second one which has two levels as well – and on the top – we left on a sugar feeder….when I took the hive mat off …there was a huge amount of dead bees in the feeder, looked really yucky with lots of little crawling bugs (obviously enjoying a feast) in amongst the dead Bee bodies ! …..you can imagine my decision was to immediately remove the feeder so …have done so ! The girls were mostly located in the bottom hive box – maybe because of the dead – up in the feeder, I don ‘t blame them !
I did see some Bees bringing in pollen into this hive but didn’t see a lot in the hive itself. There were some good amounts of honey in this hive so scored some as well for the girls. Lots of bees in this hive despite the huge amount of bodies.
This hive has two levels – another busy hive.
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