Like most beekeepers in my area, this year I noticed a decline in honey production. All those rainy days made the bees stay home from work, loaf about inside and consume their groceries. Much like my own response to the inclemency! (And when it wasn't raining, mosquito hordes also drove me to seek shelter.) Now that the sun is keeping us steady company, the bees are busily harvesting sedum, hollyhocks, golden rod and wild asters.
|A bee covered in sticky grains of hollyhock pollen.|
A week ago I was horrified at the high level of varroa mites during a hive sugar-shake mite count. A quick application of formic acid pads produced a rain of dead mites. Left untreated, my bees would certainly have died this winter. Now a worldwide pest, this mite is a devastating threat to honey bees and must be diligently controlled to prevent colony losses.
|Honey bees forming beards after an application of formic acid mite treatment.|
|Amid dead varroa mites, a yellow jacket wasp and an ant compete for a drone body.|
|Air traffic getting busy at a hive's bottom board entrance.|
|Hunched over and fanning like mad to cool their hive on this hot September day.|