Friday September 4
Overall, the bees have seemed to flourish. Weather has been very cool, a record in fact for the month of July. Rain continued throughout the summer, which the bees didn't particularly care for. Since it was cool and pretty damp, we tried to interfere with the bees' activities as little as possible. We did open the hive to check for progress, mostly to see if they were filling out frames and if they needed to be given more space as they continued to grow in population. We did place the third hive body and followed that up with the queen excluder and one super.
Bees had a haydey with the white clover. In late summer, we noticed them in large numbers around the cup plants. Even today, they continue to move in and out of the hive in large numbers.
As late August brought the first real spells of warmer, humid air, we found the bees congregating in large numbers around the opening of the hive. A check of the super found plenty of room. They eventually began to create comb. One thing that impressed me was the change in weight of the hive bodies, particularly the top of the three. It is chock full of capped honey and really quite heavy.
I built a new bottom which had a screen with a pull-out board in the back so we could check for mites. Unfortunately, I made it from screen that was too fine. I will ultimately replace it with the correct size 8 screen we purchased from Dadant. At first we could find no evidence of mites and I assumed it was due to the size of the screen. Last week, though, I pulled the board out from under the screen and did find several dozen mites on the board. We looked at one under the microscope. Definitely a varroa mite, with the legs on one side. We placed the strips in the hive and hopefully will get a warm day mid-October to pull them out.
We will have no honey from the hive this year. We have decided to add a second hive next season but will need to decide if we want to try to split this hive or order a second box of bees. We have the winter to decide.