Ick!

This is just rude….and wrong. Spring seems to be here early this year. This is good. Varro Mites, bad. While making splits in the spring we keep an eye out for signs of Varroa Mites. Usually this means checking any drone brood that breaks between the upper and lower hivebody. If we see mites just riding on top of a bee or two it is a cause for concern and investigation. Varroa Mites prefer to stay hidden, so if they are visible while looking at a frame of brood, this can indicate a higher level of mite load than we want to start with in spring.

This however was a first. I have seen mites hitching a ride on the back of workers before, but never on the Queen. This mite was promptly removed, and the hive was given a mite treatment.

Varroa

This is a sight nobody wants to see. Early spring or fall, the Varroa Mites should just leave the Queen alone.

 

On a brighter note, this is a picture of the first 12 splits of the year. This is how we make up for our winter losses. Each split is made up of three frames of brood that were set over a Queen excluder on top of the parent colony. The bees are originally shaken from the brood frame into the parent colony. The worker(nurse) bees crawl through the excluder and cover the brood. Usually the next day enough bees have crawled into the split to take it away to another yard and give them a new Queen.

It’s nice to be finding good brood frames in mid April. Even if you only get a couple of weeks of an early start, that is still 2/3 of a brood cycle to build that population up for the summer. A summer we hope all those bees will have a lot of nectar to gather.

Bee

When spring arrives it’s time to start splitting the strong hives to make up for the winter death loss.

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