We’ve been concerned about one of our hives on Connaught House for a few weeks now – the bees just seemed a bit lethargic, there were quite a few dead ones in the sugar water, and they weren’t drinking the sugar water or building up above the brood box at all. We also noticed quite a few wasps outside the hive (and even one inside).
Luke came up to check on the hives today and our suspicions were confirmed – the hive is under attack on not one, but two fronts.
First, we’ve got to deal with the wasps. We killed as many as we could get, although the guard bees (essentially acting as bouncers to the entrance of the hive – close up picture below) were doing a pretty good job on their own. I’m also going to make some wasp traps tonight and bring them up to the hives tomorrow.
Second, Luke is worried that the hive might also be suffering from deformed wing virus. This is an RNA virus and is pretty serious, particularly given that we basically can’t do anything about it (other than treat for varroa, who is the carrier). At the moment the bees don’t look massively affected, but some of their wings are definitely smaller than we would like, so we’re going to keep an eye on them and do everything we can to keep them healthy.
In other, more exciting news, we jarred up the honey on Tuesday – more about that in the next post!