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Varroa Mites

Varroa mite is a problem for bee colonies and something bee keepers all become aware of really fast. Their actual name is Varroa Destructor which gives you a bit of an idea of just how devastating having Varroa can be. Everywhere in the world, except Australia, has Varroa, and it first appeared in Devon, UK. If colonies have Varroa they will die if you don't treat it.  The mites hide in an uncapped cell and then feed on the brood food and then begin to nibble the larvae itself transferring disease and causing defects. The defects caused are most commonly deformed wings but could also be stunted growth and other problems.
Varroa mites emerge with the new bee, hanging on to its back. The mites then  begin the cycle again by entering a new cell and laying eggs there. 



This is Varroa Mite on a larvae.



This is Varroa Mite on a bee. They look pretty obvious and easy to spot.














I haven't seen any on our bees. However we have bees with deformed wings. This is really worrying so despite …

They are here!! 🐝 🐝

Good news, we have a NUC! It arrived on Sunday at 9am at the apiary after the bees had been asked to come back earlier Saturday night for capture. Or at least that's how I understand it.

There are 10,000 of them, I've not counted, but seems that this is a pretty good estimate. They are beautiful, and noisy. When we got them out of Andy's car (our apiary manager) they were vibrating the box, and they sounded angry. Apparently though they were just keen to get back out. It was very hot Sunday so putting on the suits was a challenge. I was keen to get out of that so I can understand the bees mighty have been keen to exit the box.

We transferred the frames from the NUC into our hive, gently mind, as my gloves are only marigolds and I can feel the bees walking in my hands. then we checked for the queen, eggs, nectar and larvae. Everything was there, so clean and healthy looking, even the queen.

I've not seen a lot of queens but ours is beautiful, she is not that big but she's sleek and active.

We are going up to feed them tomorrow (it's the June gap, don't you know) with sugar solution, since apparently only blackberries, clover and limes are providing forage so they need a top up. Luckily Tesco delivered tonight and the sugar came for us to make it, unlike the rocket lollies which would have been useful too.

Anyway, get these pics!

The green box is the NUC before we opened it


Our bees!

There is so many of them

So this shows the bees starting to find the entrance, they started to use this after a few of them popped out the bottom. `they do this little dance, waving their tails in the air and emitting a signal to the others basically saying 'this is us, we are living here, make sure you know your way around'.

More news soon!

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Looking good!

Pouring with rain today for 10 mins or so I know not best timing but that when we delivered our hive to the apiary. Moving from our lounge to the apiary is certain to increase our chances of bees taking up residence.

Note the hubby standing in the dry patch under the trees.






We left the super on, realise thats a mistake but since its currently empty not sure it matters yet.

Deadlines, deadlines

We should have visited the bees today, just to check all is well, they have enough to eat, they are settling in, checking any problems with the neighbours etc etc, but we didn't. Work got in the way today, plus it really is too hot to be wearing the kit!


We got this - see below -  from the National Bee Unit, we've got the sugar in and we are making up the solution tomorrow, we don't want to be responsible for starvation!

Beekeepers may wish to monitor their colony food levels closely, particularly in any splits, nucleus colonies or colonies where the entire spring honey crop was removed. In some areas of the UK, our Inspectors are concerned at finding colonies that are starving.Feed can be prepared from refined white sugar and water mixed at a 2:1 ratio or one of the proprietary ready mixed syrups available from Beekeeping equipment suppliers.