Spring 2019 Mite Check

In April, we did a mite check. A spring mite check is important because it tells the beekeeper if he needs to treat his bees for varroa mites in April to May. Because we have struggled with mite checks in the past, we researched a different way to check.

We lit our smoker because we knew the bees would be annoyed after we shook them from their frame.

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Mom helped Bethany as she inspected her hive, Bamarre. Bamarre appeared to be queenless at this point so we gave them a couple frames from Maylyn, Mom’s hive.

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Mom inspecting a frame of honey and nectar.

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Bethany inspecting a frame in her hive and not finding any brood.

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To do the mite check, Abigail found a brood frame with lots of bees on it. She double and tripled checked the frame to make sure the queen was not on it.

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Next, she shook the frame over a dish tub. All the forager bees flew out of the tub and the nurse bees remained behind. The nurse bees stay behind because they do not fly.

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Abigail then scooped half a cup of bees into a jar that had rubbing alcohol in it. She then shook it vigorously and poured out the bees and alcohol. Next, we counted the mites. Abigail’s hive, Green Gables had zero mites.

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All the foragers rushed to get back in their hive.

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Because Green Gables had no mites, we did a mite check on Maylyn as well. In this picture, Abigail is shaking a brood frame without the queen on it into the tub.

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Abigail put the frame back while Bethany scooped up half a cup of bees.

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Here is Bethany shaking the bees.

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A close up picture of what the jar looks like. All the bees sunk to the bottom.

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Maylyn had two mites in the sample. We decided not to treat for varroa mites because the results of the mite check was so low. We think the mite counts were so low because we treated with oxalic acid in January.

Abigail

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