A season of alcohol washes on a TF hive
The colony selected for testing was one started from a Bee Weaver package in June 2012 that over wintered well. The colony was fed sugar syrup during initial buildup but nothing since. No mite treatments or any other type of treatments. They did get a pollen patty around Labor Day this year.
5/18 - 1 mite
6/21 - 1 mite (colony swarmed sometime between 5/18 and 6/21)
7/19 - no mites
8/20 - 2 mites
9/20 - 5 mites
if it is warm enough in a few days I will do another mite count - it has been warm here for fall but we have had a few killing frosts. 47 degrees F here this morning.
Samples were half cup (roughly 300 bees) taken from the brood nest (or in the post swarm test, where the brood nest was)
This colony made almost two shallow supers of surplus and has gathered what I judge adequate pollen and nectar stores for the upcoming winter. Of the 8 colonies I started of BeeWeaver bees in 2012, 3 over wintered successfully. This summer I made up 3 nucs from the other two BeeWeaver Colonies using BeeWeaver Queens to get the yard count to six colonies. I plan to get this yard back to 8 in 2014. The nucs are now in two 5 frame over 5 frame boxes.
As I have previously said on this forum, BeeWeaver bees seem to be a work in progress - you get some great ones and some not quite ready for prime time ones. TF bees go queenless and sometimes fail to gather enough pollen and nectar for winter just like any other bees.
In temperament they are occasionally "testy;" I always wore gloves when doing the mite tests, and I was generally glad to have done so.
My definition for success in this yard is survival and production of surplus honey. The hive I tested has done that. I don't know if I will count mites on this hive next year.