Honeybees at the COC

 

The Canadian Opera Company is delighted to be part of the ever-growing support of honeybees, Currently we host seven hives onthe roof of our opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Follow the honeybees' progress on Parlando, with visits and posts from beekeeper Fred Davis!

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5/29/2010

Update from Fred

Beekeeper Fred Davis updates us on the honeybees' progress:

I removed one frame last weekend and examined it for varroa mites. This one frame (one of 10 in each of the bottom brood chambers) is unique because there is no (starter) foundation in it. Instead we let the bees build out the comb themselves. It takes a while for them to do this but the bees build naturally larger cells into which the queen typically lays unfertilized eggs. These drone/male eggs will hatch 24 days later. (It takes 21 days for a worker egg to hatch once the cell is capped). The varroa mites prefer to lay their eggs in the drone cells once the egg is laid because the gestation period for the males is longer than the female honeybees. So the mites get to produce more and eat more by sticking to the drone cells. Ok - enough of my borax. Drone larvae serve as a great indicator of how many mites have infested the hive. If we see a lot of mites on them we have to consider medicating right away. That would have a negative impact on how much honey we get that season because we don't eat honey that has been medicated but at least we could rescue the hive. I found one mite in my sample of over 300 drones. That's pretty good. I will continue to observe throughout the season and after harvest when the hive becomes weaker. 

I refreshed the water supply last Thursday and plan to put a larger container for water and maybe some peat moss in small containers because of its ability to retain moisture - and it's easy for the honeybees to walk on and drink from wet peat moss. This weekend I'll check the hives again and might put on the honey supers.

Posted by Gianna Wichelow / in Bee Update / comments (0) / permalink