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Beekeeping, Honey Bees, Varroa etc

Well, we’ve gone over them with the nit comb…

this is the 17th nit comb i've bought this year!

this is the 17th nit comb i’ve bought this year! (Photo credit: A_of_DooM)

No, we have started keeping monkeys (although certain people around here resemble them).  It’s that time of year again.  Ah, I love the smell of APiguard when I go to the water butts in the morning.  Of course, we finished our treatment for mites (of the bees, not us) in September, but we are still finding little bits of egg carton in the hive and on the ground.

Egg Carton, You Say?

Well, yes, egg carton although in the past we have used cereal box.  Why, you say, are you serving them breakfast with an Apiguard chaser?  No, but it does sound like that.  What it is is that when I was on my beekeeping course, lo those many moons ago, it was recommended to us that we put the little Apiguard jellies (the kind we buy) on card-type squares because the bees can easily pull the card apart and transport it out of the hive.  This method, as opposed to leaving the jelly in its little foil tray which would be quite a challenge for the bees and their meticulous housekeeping.  And, as opposed to simply plopping the jelly directly on top of the frame (which quite messy and difficult to achieve as it’s not really a jelly consistency, more like jam).  So, breakfast it is, and they graciously do the dishes (in other words, duly dispose of the card).

Controversial, You Say?

I met up with a refreshingly different group of beekeepers from my area back at the beginning of September, few to none of whom seem to believe in APiguard jellies (don’t know how they feel about breakfast).  And they are not alone, although I don’t think I have come across anyone who has experienced such an extreme reaction on the part of bees to Apiguard as is depicted in the photo below.

For now, suffice it to say that we were not greeted with a sight similar to the one in the photo after the treatment.  And they seemed pretty happy, all things considered this season, when last time we dismantled their homes (which was this past Sunday, which with photos is the subject of the next post).

English: Black bees (Apis mellifera mellifera)...

Maybe they are just that violently opposed to having their photos taken.  After all, they are lazy like us.  So, maybe they hate having their photos taken, like us, as well.


11 thoughts on “Well, we’ve gone over them with the nit comb…

  1. I’m very interested in your Apiguard method. Quite often my bees still have some Apiguard left in the foil trays after two weeks. So you scrape the Apiguard out from the foil trays and put it on lots of cardboard squares?

    Posted by Emily Heath | October 10, 2012, 7:00 pm
    • I know I was pretty flip about the approach in the grossly unproofed post, but it actually makes a lot of sense. By being fastidious about getting rid of the card (and smell), they spread all the Apiguard about. And the bits of card tossed out of the hive is a sign to you that they are doing what they should be doing. So that next time you go into the hive not a trace of anything should be left.

      I cut out one piece of card just a little bit bigger than the Apiguard pat and then place it directly on top of the excluder in one corner of the hive. No need to divide it up into multiple pieces; that’s their job!

      Posted by mylatinnotebook | October 11, 2012, 1:12 pm
  2. I can see why they’d go for the smartphone with a 3G signal, but odd for a camera – as you say perhaps they all ‘wanna be a star’…or perhaps they are all shielding one that is violently opposed. Given by their penchant for freestyling comb they aren’t too lazy and neither are their custodians!

    Posted by Jo | October 11, 2012, 12:41 pm
    • Ah, you are just being kind as you above all should have the measure of our laziness. Maybe both kinds of equipment give off some kind of thermal heat? All I know is that as soon as I have the camera in the position to point and click, they are all over it.

      Posted by mylatinnotebook | October 11, 2012, 1:14 pm
  3. I am sooo glad you commented on my blog post because it gave me an opportunity to find your hive. 🙂 I know nothing about beekeeping but I have a swarm of honeybees that insist on residing in the floor of my bay house in South Texas. I will post a blog hoping for suggestions on dealing with the little darlings. Any advice you might have would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Posted by janna hill | October 11, 2012, 7:32 pm
    • Thanks so much for reading! I’m from Massachusetts, a state not a little in the news these days… I am happy to try to recommend solutions for your bee problem (you do know they are honeybees and not any other kind of bee?), but I must warn you this is one of the more difficult places from which to dislodge them. I have a friend here who has the same problem, and the first place to check are outpipes, or any place else you think they can enter. I have a few other questions to ask, but maybe I should just wait for your post! Good luck!

      Posted by mylatinnotebook | October 12, 2012, 3:17 pm
      • Yes! that is exactly where we found them. We plugged an opening around a pipe coming into the kitchen after seeing them crawl through. Thanks. I feel hopeful with the info you shared.

        Posted by janna hill | October 12, 2012, 10:36 pm
  4. P.S. Regarding “you do know they are honeybees and not any other kind of bee?” No. I only know they look like a honeybee and I can walk among the swarm without being attacked.

    Posted by janna hill | October 12, 2012, 10:46 pm
  5. I’ve had bees for 36 hours now and I love the little guys already. Of course I’m on easy street living in Sydney. The local experts tell me even if I ignore my bees they’ll produce kilos of the goodness every year – pretty much all year. And no varroa mite means I’ve got it so much better than beekeepers in every other country. We have hive beetles, but they are manageable. Wish me luck!

    Posted by Laura Rittenhouse | October 18, 2012, 9:11 pm
  6. We used Apiguard on our bees again this year although the varroa drop was low. This may be because our colony swarmed and had several breaks in brood this year or it may be because the mites are getting resistant to Apiguard, but I do know our bees do not love it!

    Posted by Emma Sarah Tennant | October 26, 2012, 11:44 pm

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