June 24, 2012
The sun is out today! We’ve had almost a whole month of gloomy weather that many on the island have dubbed the month “June-u-ary!” Perhaps the next few weeks will be warmer and the overcast skies will clear.
Last week when I checked my hive, I noticed I had the dreaded varroa mites. My new queen is doing fine though and the bees have cleared out all of the old drone brood that was the result of my first queen. I have no idea what became of her, but the operation in place now looks healthy…except for those mites!
My day today is a full one. I have been baking and preparing food for my daughter’s high school graduation potluck supper this evening. While in the kitchen though, I thought I’d take care of some bee hive tasks as well. Since the jar of sugar syrup I have inside the hive was looking low, I made up a new batch. This one I made with a teaspoon of Honey B Healthy, a feeding stimulant that contains essential oils that “helps your hives to thrive!” Did I mention that the lemongrass oil in it made my kitchen smell ten times better than the brownies I was baking? No wonder my friend and bee mentor, Colleen, who recommended it, said that it makes the bees go crazy. This stuff smells so good I’d take a bath in it if I could! Maybe I’m turning into a bee? They say you end up looking like your pets. I suppose I might look like a bee when I get my new glasses!
I also got something called Hopguard from Colleen as well. Hopguard is a miticide made from organic acids in the hop plant, Humulus lupulus. It contains 16% potassium salt of hop beta acids and comes in these long gooey strips that are made from food-grade products. It is safe for my bees and the bee brood, so I don’t have to worry about dangerous chemicals. All you do is take a sticky strip and hang it over one of your frames draped like this:
I only hung one strip in my hive since I only have about 5 frames that have been drawn out. I plan to put in a new strip in about ten days, as the one I put in today won’t work as well as it dries out. You can read more and watch a video about controlling varroa mites with Hopguard when you visit these sites:
I also put a sheet of sticky paper under the screen in my bottom board. The mites will fall off the bees and stick to the paper. It has a grid that makes it easier to count the number of mites, so I can see how heavily infested my bees are as well as an idea of how well the Hopguard strips are working. I will try a quick check perhaps tomorrow and then again before I put in a new strip.
Bee back soon with an update!