by Cybil Preston, State Apiary Inspector, MDA November, 2018
What a crazy weather year! I was hearing about swarms all the way into September...WEIRD!!!!
Unfortunately I am again seeing a large number of “Fall Crash or “Fall Dwindle.” Without opening the beehive you’d think it is a fairly strong because robbing bees can make the hive look industrious. Some symptoms are more than a handful of dead bees in front of the hive with normal activity inside: upon inspection no bees at all meaning no brood no nothing. Some of these hives were treated for mites some were not. My diagnosis is that this is mite/viral load-related.
If you are treating for varroa mites, please do a mite count prior to and after use of your varroa control. There have been questions around concerning the efficacy of some of the varroa controls. This pre-count and after-count could also show that your control worked. But keep in mind that your strong colony could be bringing back varroa from robbing out a weaker colony. Also check the brood pattern before and after treatment to make sure the queen is still laying. After removal of or a varroa treatment check for eggs and young larvae to ensure that your colony is still queen right. Also please check the best use dates on your products make sure your product has not expired. ALSO make sure you use it PROPERLY. Misuse of varroa controls is part of this problem, also.
We have two newly hired inspectors: Micah Falcon for Southern Central Maryland including Anne Arundel, St. Mary’s, Calvert, Charles, and Matt Bechtel for Central Maryland including Carroll, and Frederick Counties. If you are in one of those counties, please introduce yourself to your new inspector!
Yellow Jackets and European hornets are plaguing beekeepers’ hives with more than a handful of calls from non-beekeepers, also. Make sure to reduce entrances, especially if feeding.
Clark the beagle decided he did not want to be a Working dog, or at least he did not want to work for me...LOL! He has retired to a life of hunting/COUCH sleeping on our farm. Clark was replaced with a Springer Spaniel named Tukka. Tukka, the new bee dog in training, will hopefully be certified soon. I hope to have him inspecting alongside Mack this winter. With cooler weather on the horizon, Mack will be back into his inspection routine. We will work on commercial beekeepers moving to California first.
If you are purchasing bees from another state PLEASE make sure they are inspected from the state of origin before shipping. Maryland Department of Agriculture MUST receive the Inspection report and permit from the state of origin before the bees are shipped, both Nucleus colonies and packaged bees. Packaged bees usually have a general blanket inspection permit so we know from where imported bees are coming.
If you are planning on selling Nucleus colonies in the spring, it is your job to have them inspected for out of state sale. It is the beekeeper/sellers’ job to know whether the hive will be crossing state lines. Don’t wait until the last minute notify your inspector early.