Today’s Clermont visit provided encouraging queen status data and reassuring mite infestation level information.
We inspected the colonies looking for brood in all three stages (eggs, larva, and capped) and found that brood has not been noticeably impacted by the Formic Pro™ mite treatment. The second ten-day treatment was added on April 28th and will be completed on May 8th. All but one colony had brood in at least in the larva and capped stages. We were able to see eggs in most colonies. The one hive without brood was supplemented by adding brood and queen cells removed from a stronger colony. This allowed for demonstration of queen cell manipulation. Because the receiving colony did not appear to have eggs or small larva, we possibly returned it to a queen-right condition. It is conceivable that the queen was lost or damaged in that hive when the nucs were built on April 11th. Eggs from April 11th should now be capped brood as it has been 19 days since nuc production. The next inspection will determine what will be the follow-up intervention plan. One likely solution would be to combine a queen-right nuc into this colony.
We also looked for mites in drone cells and checked drop boards for mite debris from the formic acid treatment. It appears that current mite numbers are low. One frame had drone brood in burr comb built off the foundation that was easily removed for close examination. There was some evidence of mite damage and possible deformed wing virus infection on several drone pupa. Spring mite control during cooler temperatures using formic acid helps keep mite counts below treatment levels during the main honey flow when higher daytime temperatures prevent formic acid use. The current plan is for a second treatment (possibly using Apivar) in August, after the honey supers have been removed.
Nectar was being stored in reasonable amounts although there was very little capped honey in the supers. Nectar flow should rapidly increase as the days continue to warm and the locust trees bloom.