Inspection/late winter
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    kooskia idaho Usa
    Posts
    11

    Exclamation Inspection/late winter

    Temperatures 52-58 day 36-42 at nite.

    Central idaho 2000 feet elevation Had 62 degrees today inspected hive. Did not notice any drone bees, some capped brood could not see any eggs. Lotsa of bees. Did not see the queen.
    I saw one frame that had white looking balls about 3/16 inch in diameter. What am I looking at? I did not see any queen cells. Been feeding sugar cakes and some syrup.

    Is it too early for the drones?
    The weather this year is colder than usual. It keeps vacillating back and forth.

    any help would bee appreciated.

    Firstpass:

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,534

    Default Re: Inspection/late winter

    I would ditch the syrup as it's still too cool, unless you are providing it warm in small batches that don't last long enough to cool off at night.

    They will makes drones when the resources are right, and in advance of when they might need them.

    The little white balls are a mystery, unless they are mite frass. What are you doing, or did last year, about mites?

    I'd check again in about 3-5 days for evidence of eggs/queen. You really don't want to go queenless for a long time at this stage. She's probably there, but lack of eggs is a little worrisome. Is this the first time you've inspected since winter? Meaning is there any chance you killed her during the previous inspection? With my beginning students I keep asking what's the significance of seeing eggs each time? Answer: you didn't kill the queen last time!

    Enj.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    kooskia idaho Usa
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Inspection/late winter

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    I would ditch the syrup as it's still too cool, unless you are providing it warm in small batches that don't last long enough to cool off at night.

    They will makes drones when the resources are right, and in advance of when they might need them.

    The little white balls are a mystery, unless they are mite frass. What are you doing, or did last year, about mites?

    I'd check again in about 3-5 days for evidence of eggs/queen. You really don't want to go queenless for a long time at this stage. She's probably there, but lack of eggs is a little worrisome. Is this the first time you've inspected since winter? Meaning is there any chance you killed her during the previous inspection? With my beginning students I keep asking what's the significance of seeing eggs each time? Answer: you didn't kill the queen last time!

    Enj.
    I have used Oxalic acid vaporizer for mites. I have not treated this season. This is the first opening of hive this season.
    As far as the vaporizer should I treat on a 21 day cycle. Or once in spring and fall. I read many opinions of when to treat.
    First pass

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,534

    Default Re: Inspection/late winter

    If you did a treatment during the broodless period late last year then they may not need any more for awhile.

    But as soon as you can do so, run a sugar roll or alcohol wash to get a read on the mite status now. Repeat monthly until close out. That will tell you if you need to treat this spring.

    I am not sure what you mean by a 21-day cycle of vaporizations. The current standard is three treatments, seven days apart, covering a period of 15 days from start to finish. When I've got a lot of brood in the colony (and therefore OAV is not at its most effective) I often do a fourth treatment on the 22nd day.

    But I usually don't have to treat again after my winter broodless treatment until the middle/end of the next summer. I do weekly sticky board checks all year round and monthly sugar rolls to verify the mite status, so nothing unexpected can sneak up on me.

    The treatment plan that works best for you (your bees in your location) can only be set-up, and safely maintained by diligent monitoring, especially post-treatment verifications that you got the knock-down you intended. It's a bigger mistake to skip testing afterward, than to omit testing routinely before treating, in my opinion.

    If this is the first time you've opened the hive this year, and there is some capped brood visible, then your queen likely is there and doing OK. Sometimes there is an uneven start up to the build-up. Check again in a week and you will likely see young brood, at least if your weather doesn't go downhill in the meantime.

    I find adding a small quantity (3" x 3") of a high-quality pollen sub product (I use Global 15% from Betterbee) is useful in the early stages. Although I don't want to ramp up the build-up too fast and increase swarm risks, I do want to make sure that a short pause in foraging weather doesn't leave the bees without pollen resources to keep feeding the brood they've already started. I am just trying to even out the natural ebb and flow of pollen availabilty. Even if they have some pollen in the lower box, if it turns cold they may not feel like going down to retrieve, so a small slab of pollen sub right on the top of the frames is really useful.

    Good luck with your bees this summer!

    Enjambres

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