Re: Leaving Them Alone
Yes I had a case maybe 6 weeks ago, giving my small cell TF nucs a pre winter check plus feeding if need be. Mite wise, most were OK ish, 3 or 4 not. One was really bad, all brood dead from PMS, plenty sick bees with DWV, and bee cluster not much bigger than my fist.
However in keeping with the bond method I didn't do anything for it. Hardly had any honey but I didn't feed it as I didn't want it to get robbed when it died.
Went back to that yard a few days ago, and went to throw that nuc on the truck to take home to protect the comb from moths, but noticed a bee fly in. Opened it, amazing. all dead brood removed, and a healthy little patch of good brood being raised. All sickly and DWV bees gone, and the fistful of bees in the hive were acting healthy and happy. It's definitely going to make the winter, so I fed it.
I've heard of this kind of thing happening to others, but just never thought it would happen to me, so glad I have seen this. The other varroa overun nucs though, well, they are dead, or so few bees there is no way they will make it.
So. How to know with a sick hive, if they will be able to pull this survival trick? That is the million dollar question I would like to know.
In any case, I'll be watching this nuc with interest next season. I am torn whether to breed from it. Yes, they survived being overrun by mites. But it's a slightly more aggressive bee, I could not sell such a bee.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).