What We Expected
We gave the hives a couple weeks to get used to their smaller homes and to get some end of season work done.
What We Saw
Going through the hives, we were looking for signs of continued laying, good populations, and honey stores for the winter. Sadly, we saw many tiny red dots of the dreaded Varroa destructor. It appeared as those each hive had some degree of infestation.
Though, to some bit of interest, it seems that the Witch Hive as well as its direct queen descendant, the Swarm Hive, have little to no mites that we could detect. It’s hard to say without a more thorough count, but just by eye, it was clear there was a marked difference between the other two hives.
What We Did
There wasn’t much that could be done for the mites at the moment, but we did go through each hive, locate, and mark the queens. As they head into winter, it will be helpful to have them marked so we can determine their longevity as well as limit the amount of time we’d need to look for them in colder weather.
What We’ll Do
Caitlin and I have determined that mite treatment is necessary before closing up for winter. Our previous treatment of the quick strips was very hard on the hives, resulting in a lot of die-off, and some dead queens. We’ll proceed with an alternate treatment of oxalic acid vaporization. It’s trickier and more dangerous, but effective without bee casualties. This will then mean, however, we will not be able to take any more honey for the season.