We’ve been worried about Flora. Last week we did a 24 hour mite count. We found only 3 mites. Hooray! So the formic acid treatment worked.
But we were a little worried about what we did NOT find. We did not find a lot of hive trash.
Normally when you put the sticky board in the bottom of the hive to catch the falling mites, you also catch all the detritus of an active hive. Bits of wax, bits of bee, pollen, and other stuff I don’t wish to contemplate. It’s normal to have that dusting of stuff on the sticky boards. It means you have an active hive.
The weather last week was spectacularly warm and sunny, so even though we're already into the month of November, and we really shouldn’t be bothering them, we took a look into Flora's top box, just to see how she was doing.
We needn’t have worried. Flora looks just like she’s supposed to. She’s got 5 frames of honey and pollen in the top box, and she’s got two frames of capped brood off to one side (frames 6 and 7). We didn’t see any larvae, but I’m not sure they should have any at this time of year, since the queen should be slowing down laying eggs. According to Jeremy R. Rose, in Beekeeping in Coastal California, “Brood rearing apporaches its annual minimum (hives in northern California may become broodless.)”
We didn’t go into the bottom box. We didn’t want to completely bother them at this time of year. The bees were a little annoyed at us for opening them up, but calm enough we didn’t have to smoke them.
I gave her about .75 cup of the Honey-B-Healthy Drench. It was warm enough and she was able to get it cleaned up before evening. I also gave Aurora her last HBH drench. I didn’t pull any frames, but it looks like she’s pretty full, with bees on all the frames but the end ones. Too bad she’s got such a mite problem. She still has some of the LaFore patty, and it still is pretty smelly.
The girls are still bringing in plenty of pollen (you can see three colors of pollen on the bees' legs in the photo above). All the entrances to the hives have reducers, so they have to jockey a bit for entry.