The girls are out and busy.. Time for some SMC. Check out Werner Gysi for a full description, it's a brilliant way to help control Varroa mites without antibiotic use. We're really pushing for organic beekeeping, so we're trying to help the bees help themselves rather then trying to control them or the diseases they're dealing with.
Switching out the bottom boards
I love the activity in this picture. They aren't happy!
They're all staring at us, wondering what we're doing.
Ready for frame removal.
Gotta find the queen! She stays in the original hive.
Where the hell is she?
Oops... Too much spacing in this hive.
It was pretty cool to check out though. The queen was hiding under one of these chunks.
This is how bees will build their comb if they don't have foundation to build on. We're hoping for this for the foundationless hive!
Three hives. The first two (painted) have had all covered brood removed, and placed in the baby (unpainted) hive that you see in the background. Removing all of the covered brood from the two hives that still have a queen breaks up the mating cycle of the Varroa mite. The hive in the background has frames from two separate hives, full of covered brood, and no queen. They'll raise a new one, which also helps break the mating cycle of the Varroa.
I did notice one Varroa in the hives, but it was the only one that I saw. They're pretty obvious! Now that we know what to keep an eye out for, I'm not even worried.