Well folks, after having only seen 1 mite on our previous mite counts, our last mite test on Saturday revealed 20 mites per 300 bees in the Flow Hive and 30 mites per 300 bees in the split hive!!!
Sad, sad news friends, and a warning to all! YOU MUST CONTINUE TO MITE CHECK THROUGHOUT THE FALL!!!
Why? This is the time of the year when 2 things happen: 1. Mite levels are peaking whilst bee numbers are declining, and 2. Other hives overrun with mites (not yours I'm sure), that are owned by beekeepers who have done nothing for or about mites other than "let the strong, mite resistant hives survive and the mite susceptible hives die," have become mite bombs.
What is a mite bomb? When a hive succumbs to Varroa destructor infection, it does not go quietly and take the mites down with it. Oh no. It explodes and bees carrying multiple mites fly to all the surrounding hives and infect them.
So? So, this means that your hives, which you have been diligently testing all summer and have had low mite counts, will now have skyrocketing mite levels that will weaken and perhaps kill them if you don't catch it and treat.
Also, you are running out of time to use many mite treatments which require certain temperatures to work properly.
What can you do? Keep checking and treat with the appropriate mite treatments as dictated by the weather, amount of brood present, and whether or not you still have honey supers on.
We treated both hives with FormicPro strips and will treat again in a few weeks with an Oxalic Acid drip, still I worry that the damage from the mites (weakening the bees physically, viruses, etc.) may already have been done.
Our next check will be this Sunday, October 10th at 11:00am.
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