Saturday 19 May 2012: Man & Bees & Mites
Duffy is one of the bee keepers at The Woodlands Apiary, on the grounds of the cemetery of the same name, in my neighborhood. This is Community Supported Agriculture (I have a share in this year's honey). The buzzing creatures are Italian and Carniolan honey bees, as well as some mutts --all being suspecies of the Western honey bee.
Today I biked over there to see how the hives are doing, and he happened to be involved in trapping mites.
Varroa Destructor is a mite that preys only on honey bees, and trapping them, according to Wikipedia, involves
"...an advanced method that removes capped brood from the hive, where the Varroa mites breed. The queen is confined to comb A using a comb cage. After nine days the queen is confined to a new comb-comb B-and the brood in comb A is left to be reared. Nine days later the brood in comb A-now capped and infested with Varroa mites-is removed. The queen is then removed from comb B and placed on to comb C, with the brood in comb B left to be reared. Nine days later comb B is removed and the queen is excluded from comb B. Nine days later comb C is removed. This complex method can remove up to 80% of Varroa mites in the hive."
I enjoyed learning this, and being shown a bee with a mite on its back (which Duffy is doing in the picture). I may be going back to learn more!