Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Varroa mites and drone cells

In our hive, we have taken a number of precautions against Varroa mites. K. O. (the beekeeper) gave us a box that has a mesh bottom, so the mites will fall out.

The drones (which are created from unfertilized eggs) are more susceptible to Varroa mites because the development time of the drone brood matches that of the mite. The drones are larger in larval state than other bees. We have special frames that are open (pictured in the bottom two). Drone cells are larger than normal, so the bees choose these open frames to put the drone brood. Once the frame that is pictured is filled up, I will cut out the wax again. This may seem harsh, but it is important to get rid of the drone brood because that is where the mites tend to concentrate. You can also see some honey in the cells in the last image. Tasty!

The first picture shows a fresh frame that we had just put in. The bees will build the honeycomb on either side of the sheet (I’m sure they already have; they are incredibly fast workers).

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