This is probably a clickbait title. This title should probably be reserved for bears ripping open hives or death-by-bees. But it was devastating to me and I write the titles so THERE.
I’ve been meaning to go into the hives and check to see if they need more empty bars. The weather turned rainy so I hadn’t gotten a chance but today when we returned home from church IT WAS MAYHEM out back. I couldn’t tell if the whole world was robbing my hives or if just, EVERYONE had hatched and shoved the next batch out to do their orientation flights, or WHAT. So, I had Devin suit up and we opened up the hives.
Devin is not super comfortable with bees. That’s too gracious. Devin is 95% terrified of bees but he loves me VERY MUCH. But still, considering how ACTIVE and NUMEROUS the bees were, this was a major test of love.
The smoker WOULD. NOT. START. which I should’ve just given up because I basically didn’t use it anyway. Ah well. Practice.
I opened up the hives, with fuzzy (at best) goals. See if they need more bars. See if there is obvious robbing. See if there are even food stores to ROB? See if there are drone brood, maybe pop one open to look for varroa mites.
Varroa mites. I meant to write a blog post about them but I thought “I have time.” In short, they are probably The Biggest Nemesis. (There are many but this one is winning.) The short version is, they’re like the ticks of bees, if ticks were half the size of our face. Think headcrab. But on bees.
Like ticks, varroa mites (also called varroa destructors) carry a plethora of Bad Things. Bad Things like viruses which cause bees to hatch with deformed wings as one tiny example. Needless to say, they can wreak havoc and double their population in one month.
I’m scared of varroa. I don’t want to treat, but I don’t want my bees (my very expensive and loved bees) to die. I am still formulating what methodology I want to adopt in dealing with that type of issue.
Which is why it was devastating when today I watched one of the brood bees drag a pupae body out of the hive and see a varroa mite scrambling to get back in after clearly having laid an egg with that pupae causing it to get tossed out.
I had a lot of feelings. One of those stomach dropping, assume my hives are basically all dead, I killed my bees feelings. I don’t like it. My more reasonable side says, “Hey now shhhhhh. They aren’t dead YET. Yes, you found a bomb in the hive, you don’t know how to diffuse it, BUT you have probably enough time to read some bomb manuals and TRY to diffuse it!” Thanks, reasonable me. I feel sooooo much better.
So now, I have to figure out what to do. Oh, and bonus points because also the “tree hive” had TONS of water in it again??? HOW??? WHY??? I checked the roof and it’s not a leak. Unless it’s coming in through the sides or something, or just bee-living condensation, I don’t get it. I also DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT.
In lieu of not knowing what to do about THAT EITHER, I scattered a few pine pellets in the bottom so at least it’d be getting soaked up by something. Seriously, what a crap day.
With regards to my goals, I think I identified some drone brood. Of course, now that I know THERE ARE MITES (though other hive), this is NOT GOOD.
All and all, a crap day in the bee yard and a lot of problems to solve. SIGH.
I did manage to take a bad selfie though, sooooo