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
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!
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.
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.