The Arctic Blast and Snow Storm known as Elliott has come and gone. It brought below zero temperatures along with snow for a few days. Prior to the blast I installed three Govee temperature and humidity sensors. They were placed in hives with smaller colonies. The sensors are near the cluster in the medium super above the single deep. (Currently most of my hives are singles with a medium on top). The sensors are not in the center of the cluster. They are merely reading the ambient temperature inside the top of the hive. You can image my surprise when the outside temperature was reading 0 F while the ambient temperature inside the hives was 32-35 F! In the center of the cluster the queen is kept at a cozy 90 degrees. Amazing.
With the break in the weather comes the opportunity to get my colonies treated for phoretic (adult) varroa mites. My set up isn’t fancy and takes roughly 15 minutes per hive to do an OAV treatment.
Treating this time of year maintains low levels of mites so come late February-March, when the queen begins to lay eggs again, there will not be adult female mites to crawl into the cells where the developing honeybee eggs are and reproduce and fed on the honeybee larvae.
Since varroa mites are very small the phoretic mites can be hidden from our eyes. One can have a false sense of confidence thinking there are no varroa mites in the colony. Varroa mites bring with their parasitic nature disease and viruses with debilitating affects. Varroa can totally decimate a colony of bees and some to abscond. A prudent beekeeper tries to stay one step ahead of the varroa mite life cycle within their colonies. This Spring alcohol washes will be done to test and monitor the colonies for mite levels and treat accordingly.
May we all have a blessed 2023!