So, my hives this year have been having a bit of trouble. I have 2 hives, one in an 8-frame Langstroth, with 2 deep brood boxes and the Flow super, and one in a long langstroth hive I built myself. This spring, I did a sugar shake to check for mites and saw none, so I didn’t treat. Mistake! They ended up with mites in the summer.
I caught the mites in the long hive because I was doing better inspections on it- I’m pregnant this year and was avoiding heavy lifting, and the stacked hive got skipped too many times My bad, I know. The long hive got Apivar strips put in in June, and out July 20. I noticed the stacked hive’s problems a little later, so it didn’t get addressed and Apivar put in until a couple of weeks after. I took the super off the stacked hive, had to re-queen, and borrow a few frames of brood from the long hive.
Now, in August, the stacked hive has been doing fine- plenty of good brood, seems to be recovering well, and they’re not putting away a lot of new food but they seem to be doing fine getting their numbers back up.
The long hive though… the queen was laying poorly for a while, and I was seeing dead brood here and there, and I saw a few workers with crumpled wings. She’s laying better now, but still patchier than I’d like, and it seems like the mid-age larvae are sparser/patchier than the eggs, which makes me think I’m losing brood as they go. I’m concerned that they got deformed wing virus problems after their stress with the mites, but I’m not sure what to do about it! The queen in that hive is older and no longer marked, so while I never saw them re-queen themselves, I can’t be 100% sure she’s still my original with the mark rubbed off vs. a new daughter.
Any suggestions? What else can I do for them? Should I re-queen, or should I just give them time to recover? They have plenty of food and they are still putting away a little new nectar, though they’re not really making harvestable amounts of honey right now (they have 3 full deep frames of honey stored between the brood nest and the Flow frames, so lots of honey, just not in the Flow area). I plan to treat with Apivar again in the fall, Sept-Oct. I’m in California, so the winter doesn’t get cold until at least November, and heat stress in the summer is a harder time for them than the winter. They also may have been stressed recently because we’re fairly close to some major wildfires and the smoke and air quality these past few weeks has been awful. Not sure how much that bothers bees. They do have good water sources and nectar sources though, as we’re right next to a creek and some residential areas with watered landscaping plants as well as star thistle and some other heat-tolerant wildflowers that keep going through the heat.
Thanks for any advice you can give! I feel like such a beginner still, even though this is my third year with bees.