Apiary Diary March 2022

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3,496
6,519
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
It's wet and muggy here. We had a reasonable season but the bees have done nothing in the last six weeks. I am now seeing hives collapsing from deformed wings virus when they have little or no varoa and are five weeks into the treatment. Many hives are not laying at all. A few have already died.
Even with the bees have not been badly affected by viruses they are lacking in something and the only thing they are interested in doing is robbing. I don't think I can remember seeing bees as keen to rob as they are at the moment. I am currently feeding sugar because if I don't get them breeding they will all fail survive the winter but even with every precaution I know to prevent robbing getting out of hand I know that I will lose some hives.
It's a bit depressing but is not as bad as it is further north and we can in general still access our hives.
 
364
273
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
It all sounds fairly soul destroying in John B territory.

Oddly enough haven't seen robbing yet, which is going to be incredibly later this year. Do see the bees sniffing though, so it's not far away. Obviously the bees are still getting a lick of something, the hives look really good, pollen still coming in, and the queen is still churning out slabs of brood! Not seen drone eviction yet. I think I saw a frame 2nd in the other day that they were being corralled to. So haven't put on mouseguards yet either, cos i don't want the entraces eventually blocked with dead drones.

We have had a lot of rain & drizzle this season, and a lot less sunshine hours than norm in Feb. What I have seen that concerns me, is a giant wax moth and one larvae about 30 mm long, and it reared up at me! Quite spectacular really! Couldn't see any other larvae or eggs.

Last week in the vege garden I banked a queen in a poly nuc, and a few days later while trying to weed, the workers from that poly kept attacking me. Couldn't work out why. The poly was full of giant wax moth larvae. Since banking the queen, they had consumed all the wax, the remaining workers had taken shelter in a foil lined feeder, and the larvae had drilled down into the walls of the poly. I had to get the tweezers and pull them out! First time I have ever put a poly in the freezer for 48 hours. The banked queen was quite alright, they hadn't started munching on the banking cage! My thoughts are, with all the humidity that we have had, these blighters could be a real prob this winter; particularly with stored frames.
 
3,496
6,519
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
Perhaps I have too much experience and just got a bit complacent. I had thought that the big losses in the Waikato last you are because of resistance and I think some of them probably were but I now wonder if it wasn't virus load. I knew that I would have to go to treating three times a year at some stage, but was just hoping it wouldn't be this season which will be my last as a commercial beekeeper. I will be retiring at the end of what has been a pretty good season with a terrible finish.
 
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