Scales? July 23, 2012 Hive Check

Catchy heading!  Read all the way to the end to find out more…or not, since I have no idea what I saw on the back of that little bee’s thorax.  Definitely looking for input here.  Hopefully it isn’t anything that will be the “straw on the camel’s back” for my colony!

I’m just about to give up on summer.  This morning the heat came on again in the house.  It was only about 59 degrees outside.  The rain and wind we’ve had are working against my bees and not making my first year of beekeeping a happy one.  It’s been too cool to open the hive and check to see if my virgin queen came back after making her appearance last week…hopefully mated.  This afternoon, when the sun came out, I decided to give it a shot and take a peek.

Things looked busy inside.  My frames are still more than a “bee space” apart and the gals are building comb, sticking them together.  I tried very carefully to pry two of the frames apart so I could take a look at them to check for new eggs.  Keeping my fingers crossed (well not really, since I had to hold the frame up to look), I examined as best I could for the presence of those tiny seed pearls floating in royal jelly.  Guess what?  I need to get my eyes checked.  I did see cells with clear-ish jelly inside though, and the workers were obviously tending something, but I couldn’t determine if there were eggs or not.  I even took off my veil and held the frame with the sun behind me to get a better view.  No luck.

The queen, if she was inside, was staying hidden.  Although I didn’t see her, it is possible she was under the excess comb that the bees have built.  I was hoping to spot her and since I didn’t, I’m inclined to check again tomorrow.  When I do, I am going to take a magnifying glass as well and look again for eggs.

I didn’t see any presence of varroa mites.  That’s good!  The Hopguard I used must have worked. The foragers were coming back with pollen in shades of cream, orange, and gray.  My only other concern was seeing one bee with some weird fungus-like growth on the back of her thorax and the yellow jacket that was trying to get into the hive.  I used the entrance reducer to help safeguard the entrance from the yellow-jacket.

Here are photos from today’s hive check.  I’ve included some of the bees with pollen and the one with the unidentified substance on her.  Definitely interested in finding out what it is, so if you or any fellow beekeepers have seen this before, write and let me know!

July 23, 2012 Hive Check

More orange pollen

gray pollen and orange pollen

Little bee with something on her thorax

more with the bee and the unidentified something on her thorax.

bee with fungus-like something on her thorax and another bee coming in with cream colored pollen

Not Welcome!


About "BUGGING" YOU FROM San Juan Island

I love beetles and keep bees! In my free time, I enjoy photography (mostly bugs) and documenting insect species found on San Juan Island. I have limited availability for local, onsite beekeeping consultation and hive inspection, honey bee removal/swarm collection as well as phone/skype consultation. Contact me at Member Washington State Beekeepers Association
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