Right, back on track with a lovely sunny day on October 2nd! The mild, sunny weather was the good news. The bad news was the 5%+ mite infestation in both hives! (Around 5 mites/100 bees.)
Fortunately, temps were still within range to use Formic Pro, so we treated both hives with 2 strips between deeps 2 & 3. Sadly, because we had to treat, we also had to take off the top feeders which were empty anyway. Why did we have to take off the feeders? According to research, simultaneous in- hive feeding of sugar syrup and formic acid treatment has caused high rates of bee mortality. Also, the label for Formic Pro says not to feed while treating and the label is the law!
We also placed mouse guards on the hives as the weather is turning chilly and mice love the coziness of a hive in the winter. Additionally, we placed ridged foam insulation boards that are black on top over the outer covers for added insulation and to create an awning that protects the hives from rain and snow.
The final team check for the season will be held on Saturday, November 5th at 11am in the A2B2 Teaching Apiary at the Campus Farm of Matthaei Botanical Gardens (next to the Project Grow Garden)!
We will be winterizing the hives:
1. Treating the hives with an Oxalic Acid dribble.
2. Wrapping the hives with black roofing felt.
3. Supplying the hives with dry sugar insurance.
4. Placing quilt boxes at the top of the hives.
5. Closing up the screened bottom boards.
6. Placing rigid foam insulation boards between the inner and outer covers.
Hope you can bee there!
P.S. We removed the Formic Pro strips 2 weeks after placing them in the hives (per the label) using wedges and wood spacers to avoid fully opening the hives and exposing the bee cluster to the wind and forty-degree temperatures.
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