Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bee Log 55; March 8, 2011

Nosema Infected Hive

The hive pictured above is alive after a long and cold (for Seattle) winter. The bees have not been able to get out for a long time and on the first day nice enough to fly made the mess that you see on the front of the hive. Bee poop. The ground around the hives is also littered with yellow and brown spots. I do not know if this is normal because I have never seen so much spotting on the front of the hive before. The bees could have nosema or the bees could have just needed to get out and go. I need a microscope. I need to learn how to diagnose bee diseases or find someone who can. I need to learn to dissect a bee.

Many of our hives have died between the end of January and the beginning of March. We put granulated sugar on top of the inner cover for emergency feed when we took a peek in January but evidently that measure was not enough. We have 7 surviving hives out of 19 at the start of the winter. Ouch! Half of those hive deaths occurred this last month. I understand that this is the new normal in beekeeping. Bees are just not very robust. I do think that we closed down the hives for the winter too late last fall and we did not treat for any of the bee diseases. Our beekeeping needs to end by early September not early October. I don't know what out bees died of so I do not know what diseases to treat for. I imaging that treating for varroa mites would not have hurt the bees. There are some new safe treatments on the market and I need to investigate to see if they are compatible with our low tech, no pesticide philosophy.