Three weeks ago, I noticed that some of my bees had deformed wings. A random selection of three of the dying bees were collected in from the yard. All three of the bees had deformed wings and one had a varroa mite on it’s back. A hive inspection revealed that varroa mites were in the hives. The bees were first treated with a dusting of powered sugar in hopes that they would remove the mites as they licked the sugar off one another. I’ve watched the hives closely and haven’t seen any improvement. Today, I installed apistan strips in the bottom brood boxes of both of my hives and removed the supers. At this time both of the hives had lots of honey stores in the brood boxes. The supers that were removed had lots of nectar and some capped honey. In six to eight weeks, the apistan strips have to be removed and the supers put back on the hives.
Here are some photos of the entries I made into the Spokane County Fair this year. Three of the items I submitted received blue ribbons and one received a red ribbon.
7/30/12 Yesterday I checked on second hive and extracted honey. The new queen is doing well, I found brood in various stages of development.
Today, I checked on the first hive and found that there was no brood other than capped brood that were emerging. It appears the queen has been gone for 3 weeks or more. This hive may have a virgin queen or new queen that has mated but is not laying eggs yet. There were lots of queen cells in this hive 3 weeks ago and it is possible that one emerged at that time. The brood chambers are clear and the bees are not filling them with honey. This is a positive sign that they have a queen and are waiting for her to her eggs. Over the next couple of weeks I will watch to see if she starts laying.
8/3/12 I checked on the first hive in my backyard and found eggs and larva. It looks like the queen stopped laying for a while or she died/left and new queen has taken over.