It looks like I am going to lose my one and only hive (first year hobby beek) to tracheal mites. I attributed all of the symptoms to other problems and I took no action to address TM. Now I am fairly sure, but still not 100%, from what I read over the last couple of days that the symptoms I have been seeing are due to TM. I thought that what I was seeing (bees "fighting" on the landing board, bees walking on hive and on ground in front of hive unable to fly when disturbed, lots of dead bees on ground in front of hive, dead or departed queen a few weeks ago) was the result of a persistent robbing effort and/or my clumsyness. I have a call in to the person I got my bees from to see if he has heard of other beeks having problems with their packages. I am pretty sure that there was some robbing that took place during our dearth so perhaps that is how/when the mites were introduced (???).
I really did not plan to use chemical treatments on my bees and anyway it's too late for anything other than menthol paper towels to control the level of the infestation. I have decided not to do that either and just let winter seal their fate if it is indeed TM.
So finally, here are my questions...
- Come spring, if they have survived in decent numbers do I take that as a sign of strength and resistance and just go with it? ...perhaps re-queen from a good (bred for mite resistance) source?
- If there are only small numbers that survive do I need to isolate them and let that colony die completely or can I combine them with a nuc from a good source?
- If I can't just combine, can I still re-use all of my comb (assuming there is no brood) or do I need to start over?
Thanks for the help!