bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The effects of varroa

Yesterday (see previous post), I discovered that varroa was on its way to decimating one of my colonies. I'm hot on the trail of discovering why this happened despite my annual treatment for varroa. More news in the next day or two. Meanwhile, here's the evidence. (If you are of a sensitive disposition, look away now.)

A bee whose development has been completely destroyed by varroa. This was one of the emaciated bees I had just pulled out of a cell. Dead sisters still in their cells surround this poor creature. Posted by Picasa

And here's the whole frame:

A frame of what should be maturing brood which has been affected by what I believe to be varroa -- note all the cells which have already been cleaned out. Posted by Picasa

Here's a worker with the daunting task of cleaning out cells in which brood affected by varroa has died. Note the surrounding cells with sacbrood, dead malformed adult bees and holes in the cappings indicating dead brood. Posted by Picasa

A worker emaciated by varroa tries to join in the work of the colony. Posted by Picasa

Labels: ,


Blogger Rufus said...

Do you think it's just one "genetically weak" colony? Seeing as it's just one from many colonies, you could hope that the demise of this colony will lead to overall improvement in local varroa resistance.

8:51 am  
Blogger Turlough said...

You may be right -- although the three hives at this apiary should have similar genetic stock. And only time will tell if this hive is the only rather than the first to succumb.

Alternative possibilities (under investigation):
the arrival of resistant varroa (I'm testing for this later in the week);
the movement of other colonies into the area (I've just heard that at least one beekeeper brought in hives for the local borage);
feral colonies may be on the increase;
this year's relatively high number of swarms may have been the result of bees running away from varroa-infested hives.

9:40 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home