It's oh so quiet
We did have Spring. It was on Tuesday 5 March, the last time I came to see the bees. The weather has just gone downhill since then and we've basically been plunged back into winter.
My plan was to leave the inspection tray in for one week at which point I'd be back to monitor what's been dropped onto the tray. What you don't want to see are varroa mites – tiny little black mites that attach to the bees and get into the brood causing all sorts of problems. But I did treat with Apiguard as well as oxalic acid last year so I was hopeful they'd be relatively mite free.
I didn't come back to check the following week as it didn't stop raining. Also, I'm restricted as I need to get the car off my husband and he was out and about. So, the plan was to go over after my Warwick half marathon on Sunday. Well, to be honest after a battle with, what felt like, a thousand hills as well as sleet I was totally knackered and in no fit state to hobble over to the Beehaus. Although, I did manage to prop up the bar at the pub and have a few celebratory drinks :)
So, after nearly two weeks with the inspection tray in and the rain abating slightly, I went over to check on Monday and this is what I saw when I took it out:
And here's a closer look:
I don't have a well trained eye for Varroa mite but I reckon I only spotted a few. Of course, I did my usual thing of turning to twitter (twitter.com/tanya_weaver) and asking my beekeeping followers what they reckoned. All said that it looks pretty normal and just the usual debris and cappings that you'd expect. One beekeeper did warn me that this is the time of year when the colony can starve as it's too cold for them to fly out and they may run out of honey stores. But my fondant is still on top of the cover board so they shouldn't go hungry.
I am now jetting off to sunny South Africa for two weeks but at least I know the bees are ok (although I didn't see any of them flying out in this horrible weather). When I'm back, hopefully Spring will decide to come back too and I can do my first full inspection and see what my ladies have been up too.
I'm also looking forward to the BBKA Spring Convention on weekend of 13/14 April. That reminds me, I should book some talks and workshops..... yes, I know I'm a bee geek. Or make that beek ;)