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Author Topic: The Queen is Dead and I'm Panicked - What should I do?  (Read 5636 times)
tillie
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« on: January 06, 2008, 04:12:15 PM »

I went out to look at the hives today because there was a lot of activity.  It is in the high 60s after a week of lows in the teens and highs in the 40s.  Lots of dead bees are scattered in the leaves on the deck.  I took pictures and brought them in to look at them on the computer.  With the computer, I suddenly recognized that my hive that barely made it through last winter had what looked like a dead queen in front of the hive:



So I ran out and brought the leaf in and turned the dead bee over and took her picture:



Most definitely my queen with a little of her white paint dot still on her back.  She appears to have no wings - is that significant?

What do I do?  It's January - no drones - how will the hive make it at this point?  If I could find a queen somewhere to purchase, can you put a queen in the hive in the winter?

Help!!!!!

Linda T panicked in Atlanta
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sean
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2008, 04:24:13 PM »

i am not the most knowledgeble but do you have another hive that you can merge it with assuming that the bees arent dying because of any pests/diseases. when it has  built up enough then you split it
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2008, 04:33:17 PM »

Wow Linda. I have no advice for you, but I feel for you. Best of luck with this hive.

Gail
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2008, 04:50:36 PM »

I wonder if there is another queen inside and this one has been ousted. Hence the missing wings?
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2008, 04:54:07 PM »

i don't think theres much you can do this time of year. if theres still a lot of bees in the hive and you can find a mated queen to install in early February they might make it. Not sure where you could find one though. Sorry you're having such a rough bee year.
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2008, 05:06:28 PM »

http://www.HawaiianQueen.com/    If you have at least five frames of bees -at this time and your location-give them a new queen -it is posible  cool
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2008, 05:13:36 PM »

http://www.HawaiianQueen.com/    If you have at least five frames of bees -at this time and your location-give them a new queen -it is posible  cool
sorry they have a minumum if they wont try these guys they will sell one                                                           http://www.konaqueen.com/order.html      RDY-B
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2008, 05:16:26 PM »

I would also say you could requeen now with no problem.  Sorry I don't have any of my queens from hawaii yet(couple of weeks away).
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2008, 05:17:56 PM »

It's quite likely they went into winter with two queens and have now decided to get rid of the older one.  That's actually more likely than them losing their only queen.  Of course it's possible that was their only queen.
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2008, 05:18:48 PM »

have you any brood in the hive?   have they made queen cells?  are you sure there is not another queen in there?  i don't know how long a virgin queen can stay unmated, but with your climate i'd think you'd have drones early?  
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2008, 05:20:42 PM »

The bees are bringing in pollen - about every 10th bee or so has full pollen baskets - full of what I don't know although perhaps the red maple is starting to bloom.  Doesn't that indicate that there are probably baby bees in there?

The lack of wings probably means she's been dead a while, wouldn't you think?

I'm going to put a ziploc feeder bag on the hive to keep their spirits up.  Because of work I can't look into the hive until next weekend provided we continue to have warming weather.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2008, 06:44:25 PM »

>Doesn't that indicate that there are probably baby bees in there?

I've seen them haul plenty of pollen when they were queenless.  I wouldn't consider it proof of anything.
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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2008, 08:21:20 PM »

Linda, 
  I just wanted to say how sad I feel for you and your bees.
 I dont know enough to offer any advice on whats happening...Sorry..
 But Maybe there still IS a queen in there, like Michael said.
 Good luck.
your friend,
john
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2008, 10:16:32 PM »

If they are bringing in pollen, is it warm enough to look inside?
I would look for eggs or very young larvae and queen cells.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2008, 10:21:11 PM »

I just have to bring up the possibility of a take over swarm.  I seen swarms of bees take over the hive of a weak colony.  These were Italians, in a AHB area It would be more likely, and the missing wings is a way of insuring that an ousted queen can't return to the hive.
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« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2008, 10:28:19 PM »

Linda

When I looked at that queen bee, my heart just sank for you. I feel your pain. This is a tough hobby for sure. There are more experienced beekeepers here, so listen and see what you should do. Also, please keep us posted.

Yours
Annette

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« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2008, 11:37:21 PM »

OK, so I guess from what I've now gotten from you all, I'm going to hope that Michael's thought that maybe they went into the winter with two queens and the old one is now dead may be the way it is until I prove otherwise.  So here's my current plan:

1.  I'm going to put food on the hive tomorrow morning.
2.  This coming weekend, weather permitting, I'm going to look into this hive to see what's what
3.  If there's no evidence of a queen, I'll order one from Hawaii or
4.  I'll combine this hive with my other hive

Let's say the queen that died is the only queen and the hive is now queenless.  I guess I should have requeened in the fall.  This queen was a 2006 queen that I got with a nuc in April 2006.  Given that I didn't raise her and she didn't come from the Purvis Brothers or another hygienic queen group, I could assume that she would not have a long life and should have addressed this preventively by replacing her in the fall of 2007.

I had trouble picking up the body of this queen - I don't mean I was squeamish - I mean it was difficult to pick her up.  I have no idea how I could do that if she were alive.  I believe to requeen, you have to find the queen, pick her up and take her out of the hive and pinch off her head.  When I can't pick up a lifeless body, how in the world will I pick up one that's on the run in the hive?Huh  Is there some product sold to make this easier?

So do you all agree, that I probably should have requeened in the fall of 2007?

Linda T trying to learn from this and all my many bee catastrophes!
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« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2008, 12:07:56 AM »

Linda, such a bummer, you have had a tough year this one eh?  But think of all the learning curves.  I feel sorry for you and my heart goes out (thank goodness for us woman bleeding hearts eh? hee, hee).  I think that if you had the queens in 06 that you should have requeened in the fall of 07.  But that is what I would have done.  Some keep queens longer.  But a young strong, prolific queen going into wintertime to begin with massive brooding in the spring is the way to go.  That is how I will always look at things.  Not to say that I am 100% correct, but it makes sense to me.

You are a busy woman.  I hear your lifestyle and you are a hard working soul.  You do as much as you can for your bees, we know that.  But sometimes work and the bees just don't coincide that well.  Just keep on doing what you are doing.  You are still doing a great job, you may not think so, but I do and I am sure others do too.

When you said to try and catch the queen to pinch off her head.  I think that is an expression.  I remember once some time ago asking why someone would pinch of the queen's head to kill her, and they just said that it was an expression.  When I kill queens, I catch them (they are not that hard, you should try practising this, like on drones, the lazy boys of the colony, ooops, I am gonna get blasted for this one, hee, hee) and I place the queen into a little jar of rubbing alcohol.  She dies immediately, right now, and I don't have to feel bad about squishing her.  I don't really think that I would pinch off her head though.  If I had to something right away without the rubbing alcohol nearby, I would probably step on her and cover her up quickly with some earth or something.  I don't know, but that sounded good to me. 

When you have time next weekend.  Focus on this hive if you can and the weather is permissable.  Look really closely for any eggs and/or brood, that would be your sure sign this queen was one that was ousted from the hive.  That makes sense to me.  I think that the workers bit off her wings to get her out of the colony so the other queen could reign.  My thoughts on your situation.

Keep your chin up, remember, you are doing all that you can, and that is a good thing.  Now go and have a good day, Cindi
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« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2008, 02:57:45 PM »

When I had 20 minutes to be at the hive today I drove home and opened it up.  (ridiculous - I drive home 24 minutes and back to the office 24 more minutes for 20 minutes at the hive!!)  Inside there were tons of bees.  I have pictures on my blog.  There were plenty of honey stores and they had hardly touched the sugar syrup I put on before Christmas.  If the hive is queenless, at least there are plenty of bees to last for a while until I can
1.  Determine if there is a queen
2.  And then decide (if queenless) to
     a.  Order and get another queen
       or
     b.  Combine this hive with my other hive.

The bees in the possibly queenless hive are mostly Russian - the queen was from Russian stock. 

I also opened my other hive for comparison.  They have much fewer bees and also had not eaten the syrup from before Christmas.  I could see lots of stores in that hive as well.  It's mostly an Italian hive - the queen is about twice as big as the Russian queen who died.  Since that hive doesn't seem to be thriving as well as the hive which lost its queen, I am concerned about it as well.

Linda T with something always to worry about when it comes to bees!
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« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2008, 03:16:41 PM »

Did you get a chance to see any brood?

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2008, 04:05:26 PM »

No, I didn't have time to go down in the hive and feel confident I could put it all together to get back to the office in time.  My only goal today was to put food in, if needed.  I wish I could have checked for brood, but I can't really look at stuff until the weekend, if then, given the weather constraint possibilities.

Linda T
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« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2008, 09:56:19 AM »

Linda, the life of a working woman.  This a tough one, working outside of the home and trying to runs things as you do.  I take my hat off to you, yeah!!!  Good that you got a moment to check the hive quickly.  I can see you driving like a mad demon to home, look at the hive, drive back to the office, and would one have ever known what you had done!!!  Gone home to look at the bees.  Now that paints a funny picture in my mind, and it made me smile.  Yeah, good for you.  I am anxious of what you will see this weekend, if you get a chance to look.  Have a wonderful day, girl.  Cindi
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« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2008, 11:51:03 AM »

Oh golly, I do feel for you Linda.  Sure hope it al works out best for the bees...Work gets in the way of my playing ALL the time rolleyes
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« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2008, 12:53:38 PM »

What gets me is that it was so random.  I just glanced out on the deck and thought the bees are flying and I haven't had much to put on the blog, I'll go take some pictures. 

Then it turns out that in one of the pictures is the dead queen.  A wren was making quick work of the many dead bee bodies as a result of the warm weather housekeeping in the hive, and it is even more remarkable that when I returned to the hive, the leaf and the dead queen were still there undisturbed. 

To look at this extremely active hive full of bees, one would not see reason to worry - I find it amazing that I just happened to see her.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2008, 02:31:59 PM »

I ask b/c I don't know, but how do you know if theres a queen(unless spotted) in winter when no egg laying is occurring?

Last year I found my queen on the ground w/ almost no wings and a few attendants. Initially, in my inexperience, I thought it was the beginning of a swarm, but instead its was her funeral.
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« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2008, 03:23:24 PM »

There is some very limited brood production in winter, apparently.  Both Michael and others on this forum and on Beesource say that I should find brood/eggs in the hive if the queen is indeed still alive (or in this case, if there were two queens going into winter).

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2008, 10:07:42 AM »

Linda, I can't wait for this weekend when you tell us what is going on.  I hope the weather is good enough that you can take a peek and see if there are any eggs in this hive that you think the queen came from.  I know that you say that you take pictures and then go inside to look at them because you have difficulty to find eggs.  You will get better at spotting eggs you know.  Practice, but for now, the computer works wonders.  Good luck, keep us posted (I know that you will, hee, hee).  Have a great and wonderful day, Cindi
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« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2008, 10:17:17 AM »

cindi, that camera advice that you and linda have given is the best.  in fact, this year i intend to set up a tripod and just take pictures of each frame as i pull the hive apart.  i miss so much trying to look as i work.

yes linda, please let us know what you find!
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« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2008, 11:01:26 AM »

I really can't see eggs very definitely in a hive inspection.  I can see them when I do the hold up the frame with the sun at my back but only with my reading glasses not sliding down my nose and with foundationless frames, not wired, it's more difficult because if the comb isn't anchored well at the bottom, the whole comb can break out and fall off of the frame turned at a slant like that for the sun view.  So I always take pictures and am deeply disappointed when they are out of focus or there is some other camera failure.

Linda T in Atlanta hoping for good weather (temps) for the weekend
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« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2008, 11:12:31 AM »

Take a bright flashlight with you. Instant sun... and you dont have to tilt them at an angle. Just let the light shine thru grin
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« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2008, 01:47:43 PM »

I really can't see eggs very definitely in a hive inspection.  I can see them when I do the hold up the frame with the sun at my back but only with my reading glasses not sliding down my nose and with foundationless frames, not wired, it's more difficult because if the comb isn't anchored well at the bottom, the whole comb can break out and fall off of the frame turned at a slant like that for the sun view.  So I always take pictures and am deeply disappointed when they are out of focus or there is some other camera failure.

Linda T in Atlanta hoping for good weather (temps) for the weekend

I always take my 9 year old son with me. His young eyes can pick out brood and eggs from 3 feet away!
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« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2008, 08:34:40 AM »

Bennetoid.  What a great idea.  I know the kids have eyes like the hawks!!!! (wonder where that ol' expression came from anyways, hee, hee, they should have said chickens ((or turkeys)) eeks, can they see well).  Maybe Linda could find some kids to come and look at frames for her, hee, hee  Smiley Smiley

That thing about using a light to see the eggs has been mentioned before in our forum, I think it is a great and wonderful idea for sure.  I have this light that that I can hook onto my hat (should I ever wear a hat), it works pretty good, but is very cumbersome though.  I think that I should go and get that light hat thing that I saw at Canadian Tire.  It reminded me of a miners hat with a light on it, hee, hee.  That would be the best in the west.  Yes, still, get the eyes of the children, hee, hee.  Have a wonderful and greatest of days.  Cindi
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« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2008, 03:54:34 PM »

Oh, joy!  There is a queen.  Today was the first warm, sunny day when I could open the hive.  Tomorrow it will be cold again, so I had to find evidence today or continue my panic.  I looked through the first four frames in the box and only saw honey and empty space from brood rearing.  Then in the fifth frame, I didn't see the queen, but I did see new eggs!  I am so thrilled. 

Michael, you were right - I guess the hive went into the winter with a mother and daughter and now has gotten rid of the daughter.

Here are pictures of what I saw - new eggs, new brood, etc.







So hopefully she'll keep going at least until the warmer weather gets here.  The red maple is already blooming in Georgia - which is the beginning of our spring.  I'm so HAPPY  grin grin grin grin grin grin grin grin grin grin grin grin

Linda T celebrating in Atlanta

PS I do see the Varroa mite on the bee in the bottom right of the last picture.  I took lots of close-ups and this is the only mite I saw, but it certainly means powdered sugar shakes as spring arrives.
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« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2008, 04:03:52 PM »

I looked through the first four frames in the box and only saw honey and empty space from brood rearing.  Then in the fifth box,

That is suppose to be "fifth frame" not "box" right. I figure some folks will jump in and tell you something about having too much room  shocked
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« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2008, 04:06:29 PM »

Thanks, Jerry - it's the fifth frame - the hive has a deep and a medium on it, I think - anyway there are two boxes and an empty third box surrounding my feeding apparatus.  I'll go modify my statement as well so as to stop confusion, but isn't it great about the queen!!!!

LT in Atlanta

Note:  I just looked again out on the deck - this is a hive that is wintered in 2 1/2 mediums.  The top medium is half frames and half open for a feeding jar.  I have a fourth empty box over the whole thing to accommodate the height of the feeding jar.  The eggs, etc. were in the second box (really the top full box) just to be perfectly clear!
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« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2008, 04:51:09 PM »

Congratulations Linda about the queen ! Now you need to find her and mark her !
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« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2008, 04:54:23 PM »

good for you, and great pictures!!  how do you get pictures without getting your camera all dirty??
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« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2008, 05:14:03 PM »

Yahoo!  Happy fer ya!
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« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2008, 09:59:15 PM »

Quote
I guess the hive went into the winter with a mother and daughter and now has gotten rid of the daughter.

More likely they commited matricide, keeping the younger queen.
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« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2008, 10:10:16 PM »

Hi Brian,
I was so excited that I posted without really re-reading what I had written - obviously they killed the mother - she even had the remnants of the white dot that had been painted on her back when she arrived -

Given the fact that one of my hives died over the 2006 -2007 winter (my first beekeeping year) - that means that she was my most ancient bee - the only original bee from my very first hive.  I'm sad that she's gone - she was a good queen - when her hive barely limped through last winter and were sick with Varroa problems, she kept laying and they all went through powdered sugar shake after powdered sugar shake.  She rebuilt the hive to huge proportions and now she's dead.  Let's hope she left behind a daughter as capable as she was

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2008, 09:00:46 AM »

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how do you get pictures without getting your camera all dirty??

I keep my camera on a strap around my neck (and around my zip-on veil) and then I tuck it in the top pocket of my beesuit.   It's then available any time I want to take a picture.  Sometimes I do get propolis on the camera body from my gloves, but if I wipe it off right away then it is not a problem. 

My problem with the camera was dropping it - thus the strap.  I ruined a good camera dropping it and when I bought the replacement I said, never again - and took the strap that I used to keep my quilting scissors on and attached the camera wrist strap to that.

I'm too cheap to buy one of the digital cameras that doesn't pause before the actual shot.  I stay frustrated by the time between what I want to photograph and the camera actually going off.

Chances are if I ever see Princess Honey, the new queen in this hive, I won't get her picture tongue tongue

Linda T in Atlanta, still relieved and celebrating
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« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2008, 12:49:18 PM »

Great news Linda. I am so happy and relieved for you. Enjoy the warmer weather.

I am going into the hives today to check on food. We have a warm day today.

Annette
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« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2008, 02:14:12 PM »

Check out the bottom right hand corner of the bottom most picture.  I see a mite  shocked   Cry   Sad
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« Reply #43 on: January 14, 2008, 02:43:18 PM »


We know  grin

I do see the Varroa mite on the bee in the bottom right of the last picture.  I took lots of close-ups and this is the only mite I saw, but it certainly means powdered sugar shakes as spring arrives.
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« Reply #44 on: January 14, 2008, 11:19:41 PM »

Linda, cool.  I haven't been able to get on the forum for a few days because of issues with my router and computer.  I did think about you a few times over the weekend and wondered if you were able to get into your colony to have a look.   Yea!!!! Beautiful eggs and larvae and capped brood.  The queen is alive and well.  I can feel your excitement.  I would be feeling the same way, so, good, off to the new season with a new queen that is just happy as can be, laying her little head right off.  Yea!!!  This was a good day for you.  Have another wonderful day, Cindi
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« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2008, 11:26:42 PM »

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We know

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« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2008, 11:44:57 PM »

Check out the bottom right hand corner of the bottom most picture.  I see a mite  shocked   Cry   Sad
                                   look at the bee in the center (bottom picture) see its stunted abdomen and its damaged wings that is a sighn of mite damage -look at the wings of the bee in the top pic -they are damaged also -these are sighns to look for when you are inspecting your bees -now you have more mite to bee ratio because laying queens have slowed down -in the spring a good queen will out lay the mites-RDY-B
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« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2008, 11:51:21 PM »

Thank you, rdy-b - I tell you, it's a hard battle against the mites when you don't want to use poison. 

My bees last winter almost didn't make it through because of mite issues in this same hive.  I did weekly powdered sugar shakes in October and that was the last time. 

I do appreciate looking for that kind of stuff and mostly can only see it when I get back indoors at the computer, but it's certainly an issue in my hives where I don't treat and am trying to get them down to natural cell size.....crossed fingers and hoping for the best....

Linda T hopeful in Atlanta
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« Reply #48 on: January 14, 2008, 11:56:15 PM »

 Wink cool
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