Exactly three days after installing the sticky board underneath the hive, I pulled it out. Fascinating what’s all on that sticky board: dropped pollen, nectar, honey and propolis, dirt and dust, little insects and… varroa mites.
Yes, there were mites, tiny fat disks a dark reddish brown, all of them stuck to the board and some of them still alive, little legs squirming. Too bad, suckers!
Using our magnifying glass I counted and Amie kept score. Thirty of them. I was alarmed. Maybe I had even thought my bees wouldn’t have mites, even though I knew that all bees in most parts of the world have mites.
But my bee books told me that the threshold – the point at which you need to consider treatment – is a “mite fall” (the amount of mites that fall onto the sticky board as the bees grooms themselves) of 40-50 a day. What a relief!
I’ll do another mite count in the middle of Summer, when the mite population is at its highest. In the meantime I didn’t put the sliding board back in, so now the hive is open at the bottom except for the screen. We are getting some more hot and humid weather and the bees will welcome the extra ventilation.
The bad news is that my camera seems to be on the fritz. Everything works but it will no longer focus – a severe handicap. Maybe I pressed some button that I don’t know about. I wish I could take a picture of the sticky board for you, and of my kale substitute for sauerkraut (so yummy and much easier to grow than cabbage), and of Amie’s latest drawings. I am so dependent on my camera, not in the least for blogging inspiration…