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  Wednesday, 31 July 2013
  2 Replies
  144 Visits
[This was sent to me by Gib Geiger and I thought it worthwhile to share with the group - Kim]

Hi Folks,

Yesterday, I was able to assist Steve Parise on some hive inspections, here in the Mad River Valley. Some hives were doing very well, some hives were mediocre, some were close to starvation. In all cases the queens were laying well, and there was some honey in the honey supers. But when we got down into the brood chambers ( most of these consisted of 2 deeps, and one medium, or one shallow) they were empty of honey, and pollen. There were plenty of bees, and the queen was doing her job, but no food in the brood area. In the hives that were doing things right ( honey and pollen in the brood area) we did find some significant levels of varroa mite damage, such as-bees with deformed wings, and mites on drone brood, and larvae that were just a gooey mess.

My observation, and suggestion, is to check your hives. Take the honey supers off, and get into one of the brood chambers, and remove 3 or 4 frames, and see if the bees are storing nectar in the frames of that brood chamber. If you can, do a 36 hour mite drop check ( if you don't see mite problems when you open up your hive) and if there are more than 9 or 10 mites on the sticky board, treat. Or use the jar, and 1 cup of bees, and powder sugar shake, like I have demonstrated at my workshops. My treatment plan for now is, to use 1 Mite-Away- Quick- Strip (MQS) in between the brood chambers to knock down, what I hope will be, about 70% of the mites, and then later in the season, I will use the new product Apivar, which is left in the hive for 6 weeks, to really knock back several cycles of varroa.

As Steve said, "it's as though the spigot just got shut off" in regards to the nectar flow. I know not all of you will be experiencing this, but you might want to check now, so you are not racing to feed them, come late September. One other thing I am going to do with those hives that have not filled the brood area is, remove any honey supers that they are not filling, and force them to fill that brood chamber area first. Then I will add the honey supers as the Goldenrod, and Knotweed flow starts.

Take care,

8 years ago
That's totally normal and what we see most August months. They won't draw out unless there is a flow on, and with a dearth you might see them eating up stores of honey (a good reason to resist the urge to extract earlier in the year). I recently pulled off extra supers on my hives that aren't full in order to encourage them to pack the deeps with honey and started feeding sugar water and a pollen patty. When you dig down in, you might see (like we did) that the supers are full but the deeps are empty. Gotta get those deeps full to get through the winter.
8 years ago
With the "spigot turned off" as Steve said is it normal for the bees to stop drawing out frames? We have two hives that were doing great, but they haven't touched the second honey supers we added two+ weeks ago. Weather permitting we'll check on the queen this weekend. Thanks, Jeff.
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