Winter Frame Building
Building nuc boxes
I finished assembling 25 nuc boxes this afternoon as I've expanded my nuc production this year (and almost sold out even so). Now for the boring part - painting. These boxes last years; the old box in the top left is 3 years old (with a mismatched lid) and has no serious issues. I use exterior grade plywood (not pressure treated), with prime and paint. The red painted line is actually a sideways letter I. To keep track of the nucs and also to create a unique front to assist with orientation flights I cycle through the alphabet painted on using a template. If like to build some of these yourself, I have the cut template in the Build it yourself area.
Spring has arrived!
Well, not here in Virginia, but it has in parts of the United States. The National Phenology Network tracks the coming of spring based upon synthetic measures of early season events in plants, based on recent temperature conditions. These models allow them to track the progression of spring onset across the country. Check on the status of spring at their website.
I attended a presentation by Samuel Ramsey a while back on his research before it was published. It has finally become available and for beekeepers it makes an interesting and informative read for the winter. I’m certain companies are paying close attention as it has direct implications on how to control Varroa destructor. It will be years before a new product comes to market to control Varroa, but this research certainly advances our understanding and will put treatment in a new direction.
Summarized from the abstract and conclusion:
The parasitic mite Varroa destructor is the greatest single driver of the global honey bee health decline. It is not consuming hemolymph, as has been the accepted view, but damages host bees by consuming fat body, a tissue roughly analogous to the mammalian liver. The lack of success in developing effective systemic pesticides likely is because of the same issue of tissue misidentification. The development of tools, both chemical and nonchemical, to manage this pest is particularly likely to be affected by these findings. "Our study reflects a need to reexamine even the fundamentals of our knowledge of Varroa as we work to diminish its impact...Our work provides a path forward for the development of novel treatment strategies for Varroa.”
Published article title:Varroa destructor feeds primarily on honey bee fat body tissue and not hemolymph
Available at: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/01/08/1818371116
In this video, the timeline for the Virginia Beehive Grant Program from application to receiving the hives is discussed. We also open the shipment and take a look at what is included. This hive setup is an 8-frame, medium hive body. The state contracted manufacturer is Dadant, so this is their equipment that is shown.
Dry Sugar Feeding
I put dry sugar on the inner cover as reserve feed; it also absorbs excess moisture. These two hives have eaten through quite a bit of sugar, although they still have honey reserves. Both hives were checked today, given the warm weather.