Yard Visit May 2013

April’s weather has been terrible. Basically a snow storm about every 3 days. It’s brought desperately needed moisture to this land of extreme drought. But I still haven’t had a chance to pull a few frames and take a close look.

Yet, it was time to refill the feeders on those lighter weight hives. So, I basically did a repeat of my March Inspection.

  • hives were opened by separating the two deeps
  • feeders were filled
  • a quick visual look at brood combs from the bottom of the box
  • and a closer examination of mostly drone brood exposed between the top and bottom frames

The Good News

  • not a varroa mite seen
  • hives have consumed feed as expected

Bad News?

While looking at brood that were exposed when the boxed were eparated, I found a few young to young, grayish, off colored worker larva.

I’ve seen them like that before. And I hope:

  • they’re chilled larva.>
  • nutritionally starved larva
  • larva killed during my last inspection
  • even European foulbrood
  • I’m wrong!

Last Time

The last time I saw this, it turned into a 3 year disaster. Those larva were the precursor to slow motion CCD.

  • a few larva like these appeared
  • the bees stopped feeding/foraging
  • hives dwindled to about 5 frames
  • colony organization was lost
  • all colonies perished

Those hives were put in brand new equipment. And I re-used it.

  • all the frames were tossed and replaced with new frames
  • wax and propolis were scraped from the wooden ware
  • all interior surfaces were scorched and bleached

It was a gamble. Maybe contaminated equipment can’t be re-used without radiation treatments.

As a hobby beekeeper, I never thought I’d have the same kinds of cost/benefit thoughts that were so common during my commercial beekeeping days. Maybe they are holdover from that time. But I’ve got them none the less.

If I have to toss all my equipment, restarting again won’t be an option.

Ifs

Lots of ifs. I know what I saw. But I don’t know why. I desperately want to get inside those hives and take a closer look at the brood nest.

But now, it will do more harm than good. The few hours of great pollen foraging weather are too valuable to disrupt.Besides, I couldn’t do anything to help them if they are in the initial stages of slow motion CCD.

Time will tell.

-bW

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