I won't put a flashy title on it this time, but how are your bees doing treatment-free?
The reason I ask is that around the forums, I've been seeing a lot of posts about mite loads and seeing deformed wing bees crawling around on the ground. But I haven't seen any in a while and I was wondering if anybody else had the same experience.
I've been having the best year ever, which aside from last year has been the norm for a while. No signs of disease and even the hive which was crawling with mites in November is doing well. Including that one, I have three five frame nucs which will be heading into winter remaining as five frame nucs as an experiment. With only one round 1.5" entrance, they all beard pretty heavily, the beards even joining pretty regularly with the ones sitting adjacent.
I trapped one swarm, they seem just a little feisty for my tastes, slightly darker queen, like my Zia stock. We'll see how they do.
Harvested 17 gallons of honey. Quit using my double wide hive. It had a number of downfalls, first being that it is hard to work a long hive from side and you can't work it from the ends very well either. Secondly, they hardly seemed capable of filling a whole frame with any single thing. There are massive amounts of honey still in that hive, but every frame is half pollen or brood. After harvesting two boxes off it, it's still six boxes high. Its original queen is sitting in one of those five frame nucs next to it. Interestingly enough, it seems that some hives to better on five frames, performing well, drawing comb, and some do well only in large hives which is the case with this queen.
I sold off three queens and two nucs. I really gotta stop selling the good PF-105s, I kicked myself for that.
As I've mentioned before, I grafted 28 or so queens. The ones grafted from the hive I've had for nine years all did pretty well, the ones grafted from a Zia daughter have not all been good, even to the point where I have not sold any of them. I don't know if that is because of the source of the brood used in the nucs or not because they were done half and half that way. However, I would have thought they should have recovered by now.
The effort to move to mediums has borne fruit. I have one standard hive on straight mediums, I have two cube hives which are mediums, one three boxes, one just one. A fourth has not taken off yet. My eight frame hive has yielded fantastic drawn mediums on PF-120's. As time goes on with continued relocation and homogenization, things are looking well.
I've got a bead on a new location for a couple pallets of hives, but haven't been able to make the move yet. I have 20 hives at my home yard which is too many.