So today is a lovely winters day with the sun shining and it good enough just to make sure all is happy in the hive. Don on the vail, get the syrup to top up the feeders and have the smoker lit. Whistling away as I approach the hives as I have seen quite a few bees out enjoying the day. Crack the lids, puff of smoke and wait. Finish whistling my tune and cracked the hive. but wait whats this........

A very weak hive, with visible varroa running across the last of the sealed brood. Couldn't find a queen or any fresh eggs. Looks like this hive is not going tos survive the winter months despite having a truck load of stores. (Dam it!) Lots of dead bees lying on the floor, holy moly the varroa has demolished this hive really fast. As i am using a Hive Doctor bottom board I have found that dead bees tend to block up the vents, which i suspect also prevent the mites from falling out the bottom of the hive.

Hive number two: Well there are a lot more bees and some fresh brood, oh no, whats that little maroon looking thing doing running across the brood. (quickly apply a towel of formic acid)

Last hive: Well at least this hive is stronger and is looking good but again saw varroa in some of the brood. Another application of formic acid.

So all my plans for the spring of splitting hives, look like they have gone out the window. If I'm really lucky two of the three hive will survive and it will be back to square one.

And before you ask, yes i had been treating the hive with formic acid in recent weeks but due to the time of the year and the weather the cycle of treatment had been broken as it was either two wet or cold to open the hive.

I guess I had better post a question at the end of this, so using formic acid in the hive. initially i had been placing a soaked cloth at the top of the hive (this was on top of the winter stores) with the belief that the vapor would fall down through the hive and clean out the varroa. This year I have been placing it directly on top of the brood chambers and below the stores. is anyone able to tell me where the best place is the place the formic soaked cloth is please. On top of the stores or in the middle of the hive above the brood chamber.

Thanks for been such a good ear (and reading this rant).