Inspection Report - 10/06/2018
It’s time to catch the ladies up for fall. On the last inspection there were some troubling issues that may causing some problems. I wanted to get back as soon as possible to see how they were doing.
COLONY 1 - West Facing
The west facing colony seems to be doing a lot better. The reserves (honey and pollen) are in good numbers and the population seems to be stable. This means the new queen introduced a month ago was successful and she is producing. This is great news.
I added some pollen substitute to give them one last push for fall building (pollen encourages the queen to lay) as well as some sugar water with medicine in it. In addition, I added a time-release treatment for varroa mites. This will be left in the hive for the duration of October.
Last, I took a sample of bees for Nosema testing. Nosema is a single cell fungus that can significantly weaken a colony. Upon testing this colony, the infection level is within acceptable levels. Good news!!
Recommendation: No special care needed. Colony is strong. Prep hive on next inspection for winter conditions.
COLONY 2 - North Facing
The north facing colony has given me the most concern over the last few months. They have not been responding to treatments or increased feeding. Despite my efforts the colony size continues to dwindle.
Since the last inspection, the colony has not taken any of the sugar water added, and has not built any kind of reserves for the fall. This is very troubling.
I took a sample of bees from the north facing colony as well, and tested them. They had extremely high levels of nosema spores, despite my efforts to control and treat them. This is very bad news for this colony.
Below is an image of the necropsy analysis under 400x microscope. The RED circles indicate a nosema spore. In a healthy colony, there should be no more than 15 - 20 spores visible in the field of vision. As you can see, there are many more than that indicating a nosema infection
Recommendation: Apply thymol in hopes it clears some of the spore load.
The west facing colony is in good shape for winter. I feel good about the health and condition of the colony and they should enter the fall and winter in good shape.
The north facing colony is in trouble. In normal situation at this point you would combine this colony with the west facing, but due to the high spore count, I do not want to combine this colony with the west facing. As such, I will continue to treat them as best as possible for nosema and hope that they can overcome the infestation.