Small Hive Beetle Continued

by Jorge

I can't say that I especially want to say anything more about small hive beetles. They don't look like an organism that ought to be able to do a lot of damage. Rather small, hard-bodied little critters that shouldn't bother anything. But then, it's not the adults that are the problem except for the eggs that they lay. And they lay a lot of eggs. It's possible to run across larvae in the thousands.

All of that is just to say it seems proper to put up a couple of pictures that show the beetle itself. The picture in the previous post only shows the larvae.

The first image gives an indication of size. So small yet so nasty (a consistent theme in bee pests apparently).

Note the disc-shaped antennae--they are very obvious when you run across an adult hive beetle.

The End of Harvest

by Jorge

We are basically done with the honey harvest. There might be an odd box that comes in for extracting in the next couple of weeks, but we are essentially finished. The crop turned out much better than seemed to threaten in July, but it is a long way from the 120#-150# crops we've been lucky to get in the past few years. At least it wasn't a total disaster. With a wholesale market that's lingering around $1000 per barrel, we sure don't want to buy all the honey we need to satisfy our customers. So, things could be worse.

On the downside, we had a new visitor to our honey house. Small hive beetles. We had seen a few traces of them in the past year or two, but there had not been any problems. This year we had some honey with some drone brood mixed in it sitting in the building for two or three weeks. The beetles found them and tried to make a mess of things. Hopefully we just have to turn over the boxes more quickly in the future--I knew that letting them sit is an invitation for beetles but we just hadn't experienced any infestation in the equipment until this year. Fortunately, we were moving through the boxes as soon as the larvae started developing, so our losses were very few--just a few burned frames. Still they are nasty little pests that make a disgusting mess of any equipment that they spend much time inhabiting.

I will hope no one else has to deal with images like these very often:

First we have a pile of the small hive beetle larvae collected on a dripboard.

Then one of the irritating varroa mites on the thorax.......

And finally the infamous wax moth damage--one of the larva is visible.


September Swarm

by Jorge

A couple of days ago we went out to clear some yards of honey boxes and put in Apiguard. At one of our locations, a swarm was hanging in the tree next to the hives. September swarms aren't very common in our area, but there are a few of them every fall. I've always been surprised that more of them don't swarm when we break down the hives to two boxes after the honey flow. Here is one that decided two hive bodies and a honey super was not enough space for this fall.

Bees in trees.

Alex got lost in the tree while bee-hunting.

All boxed up.

Fall bees

by Jorge

It's now September, so we're getting serious about getting the boxes off the colonies and getting in the varroa medications. Even if the honey crop didn't average anything particularly high, at least the bees look quite good in terms of population.

The temperature is only in the fifties unfortunately. It looks like fall is arriving rather swiftly. Apiguard vaporizes pretty well in the seventies, but fifty degrees is lower than I would prefer.

Anyway, here are some images of mite treatment with Apiguard before I head off to extract honey today.

One of the nice colonies full of bees--and full of a few too many mites.

Apiguard treatments.

Where we stand

by Jorge

Well, it looks like all of the yards will have produced something this year. Not much, but at least something. Hundreds of our honey supers are on moth crystals instead of hives, but we did not get totally shut out of a crop. We can probably classify it as "fair" rather than very poor. So, now is the time the boxes start coming off and the mites need to get killed. The varroa numbers are climbing, and below I have a couple of images that Alex took the other day when we stripped a few yards.

This is what we don't want to see in the drone brood between boxes--little red devils.

And here are the little uglies, up close and personal.

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