Last week I alluded to a couple of set backs here on the urban homestead.
After 10 years of urban beekeeping (and near 30 years beekeeping experience), we’ve had it pretty easy peasey . But just as our hive count was expanding (and we were counting our honey flow) this month our hives suffered a terrible setback. Hmm, somehow this rings of a Biblical parable.
The dreaded varroa mite was spotted – not good! The stealthy and deadly mite somehow slipped in and the bees are fighting for their lives. These buggers are the vampires of death. They attach themselves to the bees, suck their blood, transmit disease, and damage the baby bees in their cells. Horrid, horrid things!
Unfortunately, it’s late in the season and not sure if we can save them all. It’s heartbreaking to watch but we aren’t going to concede without a fight. We’ve given the bees some internal and external arsenal to hopefully combat the infestation. We’ve made the hard decision not treat with the nasty formic acid. I made batches of sugar drench water, tacky strips and grease patties all with a potent mixture of essential oils. It’s an experiment and knowing natural treatments they may not always work. Still doing research for natural solutions and right now looking into juniper berries to combat the vampire mites.
But as of now, all we can do now is work and pray.
Hopefully the bees will pull through!
After a decade or more of carefree beekeeping, now that we know that the V mites are present, next year we’ll be prepared! Armed and ready with essential oils and preventative sugar dustings. And a lesson in our hearts not to count our honey jars!
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