Sunday, March 15


The ground is muddy, the trees are still bare and March has come in like a lion. I placed a brick on top of the hive earlier after I woke up from nightmares driven by a particularly gusty day outside my window several weeks ago. I had seen, in the dream, the hive blown open and all of my bees freezing. Literally jumped out of the bed and drove over to make sure things were okay... which, of course, they were.

At any rate, on one of the calmer days recently I took away the entrance reducer to sweep the bottom board of the hive out of curiosity. I found a pile of wax dust and brownish flecks crowded under the entrance reducer. I looked at it for a few seconds before I realized what the flecks actually were - Varroa Mites. These mites cause all sorts of problems in the hive and are suspected as a contributing factor to CCD, for causing deformities in the bees and for weakening hives in general. There are a few chemicals available to control Varroa mites, but nothing to completely wipe 'em out.

After discovering the mites, I realized that despite the warmth of that afternoon, I'd seen no signs of life. I held my breath and stared and stared at the hive, dread accumulating, before I finally saw one little bee fly into the hive. Within seconds, she - or a sister of hers - appeared at the hive entrance and tossed a small hive beetle off the landing board. I probably cheered out loud at that, for several reasons. It was an encouraging sight.

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