Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Honeybee Sediment on Mite Board


This past weekend we had temps in the 60's and the bees were taking cleansing flights after about 2 weeks of cold weather.  I decided to peek at their mite board and see if there was any mouse poop in case there was a mouse in the hive since I didn't put a mouse guard up last fall.

This is the first winter that I didn't remove the mite board because I was told by locals that solid bottoms work best here.  I have a screened bottom so the mite board slips underneath the screen and acts as a substitute solid bottom board.  A mite board inspection can reveal a lot to a beekeeper.  Jon calls it an "x-ray" view because the heavy sediment areas reveal where the bees are most active; and what's in the sediment reveals varroa mite population levels, pollen, and other general pests the bees may be getting rid of such as earwigs.  This time I discovered a lot of what I believe are honeybee eggs.  I am taking a wild stab at why eggs are being deposited but if any readers have additional ideas, please post them in the comments section.

Awhile ago we had really warm temps and the bees were out gathering pollen (past blog post).  My guess is that with the warm temps that week, the queen started laying an abundant supply of eggs but when the cold weather hit again, a lot of the eggs didn't get incubated because the colony of honeybees was too small to cover the brood nursery.  My second guess is perhaps the queen is laying more than one egg in each cell and the bees are removing them.  I hope this isn't the case because the colony may decide to raise a new queen and therefore swarm this spring.  I'm really hoping I don't have a swarm because the colony is very small already.


Circled in red is one of the eggs deposited on the mite board (click picture to enlarge).


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A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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