Queen Pest, our Serene Consort

The bees are tucked in for the winter, taking the occasional cleansing flight when the weather breaks. My biggest concern is the moisture in the hive. Days of rain turn into weeks of rain, and then the damp settles in, bringing mold, fungus, and their ilk. Bees can handle a good deal of cold weather, but the moisture is terrible. It’s enough to make me move to California.

Last weekend, I had a scare with the hive, though. I thought there were small hive beetles taking over! SHB have not been seen in Washington yet, but it seems like a matter of time since they can hitchhike with migratory bees. Anyway, I read up on SHB and looked at a few hundred gross beetle photos. I was just being paranoid. The beetles I found are nothing like SHB. These are beetles and they are on a hive, but they are larger than SHB and they look completely different.

Our beetles:

Small Hive Beetle:

I spotted a few varroa mites in the varroa drawer of the hive. I haven’t seen any adult mites in months on these bees, so that was a nasty surprise. It’s not an ideal time to treat the bees or do much in the hive, so I’m going to be patient for now, and plan to be super proactive about the mites when the weather is more favorable. My beekeeping goal for the year is to successfully overwinter my hive. That’s my main focus. I didn’t take any honey from the bees in the fall, so hopefully they will have plenty of food to see them through to the first spring blossoms. Please send good, hopeful, strong, healthy thoughts for the ladies!

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5 Comments

Filed under bees, urban farming, winter

5 responses to “Queen Pest, our Serene Consort

  1. Sending good thoughts for your bees. Feel free to send some healthy thoughts down this way, too… I’m going out to do the first inspection in a few weeks–today is our first non-rain day. (Yes, I know we live in an arid desert compared to you!) Our formerly thriving colony has lost many, many bees. Our new colony seems ok, but I’ll know soon. I’m adding pollen patties–hopefully that’ll give them a boost. I’m quite attached to these little ones.

  2. Margot Tenenchop

    Is there any way to put a tarp or something over the hive to protect it? Not sure if that might help keep some water off the hive, or just distract the bees.

  3. Shelley

    Is your hive angled slightly forward, so that any water runs out the entrance? I’ve found that that really helps.

  4. Love your Blog! I’m a new blogger and also a brand new beginner honey beekeeper. :-) I’ve subscribed to your blog as you’ve got some great information. I especially like your pics! We have bought our hives, but we still need to build them. We hope to get our first nucs in the spring.

    Here’s sending your bees lots of good wishes and hope they fair well through the winter. Good luck to you, too!

    Cheers,
    Hobbit Queen
    URL to my blog: honeybeesandme.wordpress.com

    • jess s

      Welcome to our manic & crazed sister/brotherhood of beekeepers! Many you harvest many gallons of honey and have very prolific queens!

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