Hi. We have had a week of rain so I thought I would go and check the ray. It was full of water and a fibrous mould so I cleaned and dried it. I found more water and pollen again today and it made for a lovely palette. It seems a little strange that the tray is there to act like a bath. Is that part of the deal and, if so, should I aim to keep emptying it. We have quite a humid climate so I wonder if I should drill holes in the tray. I can see that the water seems to be coming mostly off the bodies of the bees when they return from foraging. Iberiansis
Well, I have a couple of thoughts.
- Your hive may be leaking (roof, box seams etc)
- The hive entrance may be facing into the prevailing rainy weather winds, allowing rain to blow into the hive
- Condensation may be draining into the tray
I would suggest that you could turn the tray upside down while the weather is still wet. That will allow water to drain off. I have gone a step further, and put some homemade perspex rain shields over the front of our hives, but you might not want to do that…
thanks Dawn. Well it is definitely not the roof because I made a lightweight roof that works like a charm., with a overhang which overhangs the wooden roof. The wind/rain is probably what it was (blowing against the front) and condensation…and I did turn the tray upside down for 1 night, which was better. I was just a bit worried that the top of the tray was right next to the metal grill so would still be like a wet floor, but I guess there is enough of a gap between the tray and the floor
I don’t know if you can see the little creature there but the photo was taken with a macro lense and I saw a few of these on the tray - orange in colour and about 1/3 the size of a pin head. Is that varroa? Anyway, I decided to treat the hive with oxalic acid (in a spray) and the bees were perfectly fine with it - 21 degrees outside. They were agitated for a short while, while I sprayed the frames but they calmed down as soon as I put the lid on (8 minutes later). I figured that, even though the nuc was treated for varroa 1 month ago I had 3 or 4 days of robbing and perhaps varroa could have been introduced. I don’t know - I’ll leave them alone but this product is seemingly a once a year item with rave reviews. I guess I could have another go in the next cycle when the mites would hatch but I am tempted to leave the ladies to it. The flow hive has gone from nuc size to all but one frame fully occupied. My guess is that the super will need to go on in a couple of weeks? I really like these foundation-less frames and the last frame was covered just with bees hanging on to each other - about to start building I guess
The one in the dead centre of the photo looks like a pollen mite to me. Not quite the same species as this one, but same concept and they are very common in honey bee hives:
Nothing much you can do about them, and they really don’t do much harm, just steal a tiny bit of food.
Lovely - glad I asked. I will just put on the super in a couple of weeks because they are expanding very quickly indeed! Thanks for the info, Dawn, as ever