Thursday, May 31, 2012

Annual Inspection Report

I contacted the bee inspector and asked him to check the hives. I've been seeing chalk brood in the hives lately which is normal here in this area in the spring. Unfortunately  the chalk brood is getting worse not better. And it has advanced to a serious level.

Chalk brood, what is that? I hear you say.

It is a nasty little infection in hives that kills the larva. If it is bad enough, more babies die than become adults and a hive dies. And we are in a bad way here.

Now some bees - or I should say some hives - just seem to deal with it and keep it at bay. My girls are having trouble doing this. Could be there just aren't enough hive-keeping bees or mortician bees to remove the corpses. Some hives just are better at getting rid of dead bees than others.

It is important to get the bodies out quickly so they are less likely to continue to give off the disease. However it is still in the wax.

Soo what can I do?  Truthfully, not a lot. The bees need to knock this out themselves. I have heard of a folk remedy which I am going to try tomorrow. But regardless, if you have a moment, wish the bees well and hope that a good nectar flow starts here soon. The stronger the bees are, the better they can fight this infection. Time will tell and in the next few months the story will fully unfold.

Other than wicked bad chalk brood, the hives look fine. The inspector and I found two of the queens. And I got to not only see Serenity but I held her. It was a huge moment for me. She is soo beautiful. She looks exactly like the honeybee queen from all the books.

Sunshine showed herself too and she is still just as golden red as always. She's clearly getting older and I expect the bees will supercede her soon. Her laying pattern is still good but not as good as it was last year. She is starting to leave a few holes every now and again. This could be due to chalk brood or her age. Not sure yet what is going to happen, but something is going to happen.

Very mixed report this year and lots to watch. I learned so much this year. I really felt ready and open to all the knowledge that the inspector had to offer. Go bees!

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