Saturday, October 06, 2007

Mighty Miteless Joseph

joseph returns sugar shake bees to hivePerhaps you know this already, but the brothers at the Monastery were kind enough to welcome three beekeepers this year: me, Joe (the president of the Monastery Garden Guild), and Joseph (a hapless dogwalker I snagged with bee tales last year). Both Joe and Joseph have been my "mentees" this year (a.k.a. I am their beekeeping mentor), but I have not been on top of them about their mite treatments.

So even though it is a little late, I have showed Joseph how to perform a sugar shake. This is a way to non-destructively (mostly) test your bee colony for the presence of mites. You can get pretty clear, short directions from Betterbee, but the upshot is that you cover a couple of hundred bees with powdered sugar, shake 'em until the varroa mites fall off, then count the mites. If you get a lot of mites, you have to treat, if you don't, you get to worry about whether you should treat.

Except for Joseph. We shook and shook, not one mite! So we pulled his bottom board. It had been in for WEEKS: maybe 2 mites.

Joseph does not have to treat for mites. Next year, however, Joseph does have to give me a daughter of the most hygienic queen I have ever seen.

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