It was sunny and in the 30s today, so I headed out and checked a few hives today. I always check on them sometime in February or early March, and a few still hadn’t received any attention in 2013. There is snow on the ground again, so a fair amount of walking occurred before I got to discover their general condition. Here is the current condition of a nicely protected yard near Swisher (the lonely hive is a swarm I caught last APRIL; it is still alive):
The bees look quite good at this location. All of them were alive. It is a yard where I used Apiguard–the treatment that has successfully managed varroa in our system for the past few years. Here is one of the strong hives I encountered:
Things got better when I revisited a yard that I knew had run short on feed. This spot is very exposed but had hives with giant winter clusters. They burned feed with reckless abandon (despite their Carniolan genetics). I gave them another box of food to get them through the next month.
All told, I have a good number of excellent hives, and a sad number of devastated hives. Apiguard worked well and Hopguard didn’t work well in Varroa control. This is why we experiment. I’m going to work on an article for the next Buzz newsletter to reflect on my methods and outcomes with these two medications going into the winter of 2012-13.
In other news, our package trucks are just about sold out. Contact us soon if you’re looking for replacement hives now that the temperature is rising and people are inspecting their winter survival rates. Good luck as spring approaches!!!!