Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Welcome to our busiest time of year! 
So much to do and so many decisions to make.  

I've been making splits and pulling brood frames to interrupt the brood cycles of varroa.  I know that I'm also interrupting the brood cycles of the bees and I wish it weren't so but it may inhibit swarming.  One of my hives had 8 queen cells, they're now in nuc boxes with brood, honey, pollen, nurse bees, foundation and empty frames.  I'll be keeping an eye on that colony, they may still want to swarm.

I've gone through my hives inspecting for healthy laying patterns and for the overall size and temper of each colony.  So far they look good.  The photo above is of an evening grosbeak eating drone larvae that I had first frozen... They and the chickadees are such careful eaters, the comb looks perfect when they're done.

One experiment I'm doing this spring is trying a fungi tea with 3 colonies.  Last October Cindy Conry provided some Northern Berkshire beekeepers with an extract of 3 fungi that grow on dead birch trees.  I saved mine all winter in the fridge (Bruce tasted it but the rest of us stayed away, he said it didn't have much flavor) and this spring I mixed it as 10% of a sugar/honey solution.  I'll let you know if I can figure out if those hives are doing better that the others.  The theory is that they will be healthier and more able to defend against illnesses.

My next task is to do mite count checks of all my hives.  I'll do a sugar roll test, I'm hoping to get really good at it and to get results I can rely on.  I'll then decide if I should do a spring treatment.

Speaking of mite checks... please don't forget to sign up for:
The Bennington Beekeepers Club Workshop: Honey Bee Pest and Pathogen.
Intermediate Workshop, June 16, 6:30 -  8:30PM,
VT Veterans Home,
$6 fee and no potluck supper. Presenters- Samantha Alger and Alex Burnham, UVM.

The workshop will include a slide-show of common bee diseases and pathogens.  There will be several stations where participants will get hands-on experience looking at pathogens under microscopes.  We expect to have examples of Nosema, waxworms, small hive beetles and hopefully foulbrood.  There will be a demonstrations of how to do standardized mite load counts.

The $6 fees will be directly used to help fund Samantha and Alex's research studying pathogens in bumble bees and honey bees. Alex and Samantha are funding all of their own research on small grants. 

Call or email Jeanne (802-823-7955 or or Julie ( 802-447-1194 or to reserve your spot.

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