Kathy, (aka "Bessie"), and I began our beekeeping experience in the fall of 2008, when we began a year-long course in beekeeping through the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We got our first package of bees in April of 2009. At the suggestion of our daughter, Jessica, we are logging our beekeeping experience. Hope you find it interesting. It has been interesting, rewarding and entertaining for us as well.
We went out yesterday to take a look at the hives since it was edging above 40 degrees. I wanted to see how many were flying and pull out the tray on each to check them. Bees were flying, more from the newer hive. In hive #1, though, when I pulled out the tray I noticed right away some small black particles. They appeared to be a couple millimeters long and segmented. They were located in the same part of the board as the cappings that have dropped through between several frames. Each time I examine the boards, the cappings are confined to a couple long strips from between several frames. The particles weren't located generally around on the board, and this is the first time I've seen this. My first thought was mouse droppings, but they appeared to be segmented in 3 or 4 segments. Then I considered eggs of some kind. Unfortunately, I cleaned off the boards and I didn't save them yesterday but did go out and take some photos and collect some today.
In the first photo, you see the dark specks on the tray. The rows are not clearly defined since I had just cleaned it.
This photo shows the size, between 2 and 3 mm. The object is sitting at the 5 cm mark.
This photo shows a view through our microscope at about 80 X power.
In this, you can see 3 segments, but it does not look as smooth and rounded on the ends as it looked with my unaided eye. I'm thinking droppings of some kind, probably roaches. If you look at this website page, you can scroll down and see some roach droppings. Seems very similar:
Post-note--A member of the Beesource.com forum suggested perhaps they are droppings from wax moth larvae. It might be possible, if the larvae emerged reicently from eggs, there are some occupying the lowest hive body, since most bees will be in the upper boxes. Unfortunately, the weather is not expected to get much above 40 degrees in the next 10 days so all I can really do is monitor the pullout tray and use a flashlight to look up into the hive for any signs of the larvae or webbing. Ironically, I'm hoping we have cockroaches!