Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Grease is the Word

last meds plus grease pattyToday was the appointed time for placing the last round of autumn medications on the bee colonies. Just to recap, I chose to use medications for tracheal mites, nosema, and varroa mites, and the remedy I chose for the latter required that I open up the hives three times, at intervals of a little more than a week, and place wafers impregnated with essential oils right over where the bees are hatched.

Since my last visit, I did some reading about the use of "grease patties" to help with mite infestations. The patties are a one-to-one (by volume) mix of granulated sugar and vegetable shortening (like Crisco). You mix up a lump of about 1/4 cup and then place it on a slip of wax paper inside the colony. It seems that the tracheal mites in particular, but perhaps the varroa , also, have a hard time hanging onto greased up bees. It's also a way to feed them sugar at the end of the season, when they are less inclined to take syrup.

The picture above shows you the patties on a paper plate, along with my ziploc bags of ApiLife Var wafers-to-go.

Just like last time, I did the Wilde colony first, and things seem to be OK in there. The bees in both colonies have been nibbling at their winter honey stores, so I think I may bring a last blast of 2:1 sugar syrup on my next visit. Mystery of mysteries, though: when I left the roof I could not find the old, spent wafers from Wilde. My guess is that they somehow got stuck to something, and may have ended up back inside a colony, probably Twain. This did not seem enough cause to break the colonies down again, though it really makes me wonder where my brain is.

The picture from Twain below shows its grease patty in place with the last round of ant-varroa wafers. The bees seem pretty relaxed in there, and there are still quite a few of them. I took some more pictures while I was in this colony, because the girls were in a good mood and the light seemed to make everything look beautiful. You can see those supplementary shots via the link on the right.

meds in place on Twain colonyBecause I could not resist, I pulled a frame from the deep honey super inside Twain, and they had emptied one side of the first frame. That's 4.5 pounds of honey, an amount that they can (more than) replace if they take another feeding of syrup from me in 12 days — the time I am scheduled to return and remove all my packets, and begin the long quiet winter time.

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