Happy Spring Everyone!
The Flow Hive Team isn't quite back in action yet, but I thought I'd give a quick update. As you can see, both hives survived the winter with flying colors and are now bringing in copious amounts of pollen. At a check about a week ago we took a quick peek at the bottom boards and fed the hives some winter patty and dry sugar bricks. A lot of what you can see on those bottom boards is sugar and debris, but if you look closely, we also spotted a small hive beetle carcass as well as a LOT of dead Varroa mites!
One reason for the tons of dead mites could be that any mites surviving the winter in the hive all dive into the first few brood cells in the spring and then starve to death because there are too many mites for the larva inside the cell to support. Unfortunately, too many mites per cell also kills the first brood of the spring, but our strong hives should recover fine. We also hadn't cleaned the bottom boards all winter so these could be mites that died over the winter as well. In any case, I'm not worried and we won't be treating or testing the hives until probably mid-May.
The first official Flow Hive Team check will be Saturday, April 15th at 11am in the A2B2 Teaching Apiary at the Campus Farm of Matthaei Botanical Gardens (next to the Project Grow Garden).
At this first check we will be de-winterizing the hives:
1. Removing hive winter black roof felting wraps.
2. Removing mouse guards.
3. Taking off the quilt boxes.
4. Feeding bees 1:1 sugar syrup in top feeders.
5. Placing extra boxes with some drawn comb and some bare foundation to add more space and prevent swarming.
Hope you can bee there!
What is a Flow Hive?
A Flow Hive is a Langstroth-style hive system with plastic frames which allow honey to be harvested directly from the hive. www.honeyflow.com/pages/how-flow-works