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Reading the bottom board card


Hi all!

I’m new to beekeeping and started this summer roundabout six weeks ago with one flow hive and package bees. I just try to get them fit for the winter that they have a good start next year.

One week ago I put the bottom board card in the upper position to learn about my bees and look for varroa. Ants are blocked out with sticky " socks" round the stands of the hive ( works very well). The card looks like in the photo attached.

I have now three questions:

  1. how many bees will be in the hive round about? I started with a package with 1500 bees and a young queen from this year (buckfast F1). Seems they are living now on four to five frames. Breeding is obvious.

  2. these little black double strings on the second photo I can’t identify. Don’t find them in my books. Does anyone know what it is?

  3. I found four death adult varroa mites on the board (within one week), no young ones. Any reason to worry or treat?

Thanks a lot for your help!


Impossible to say, but why does it matter? If all frames are fully drawn and covered with bees, the colony is OK. If not, you may want to reduce it down to a 5 frame nucleus box over winter. Plus don’t forget to feed when needed.

Wax moth poo.

You can’t tell from looking at the board. The best way is a sugar roll test - Google will tell you how. The University of Minnesota developed the test and has instructions on how to use the results.


I agree. There appears to be only 4 seams of bees, so quite small and the queen will be reducing her lay rate by now. How many frames are drawn?


Thanks for your fast replies, Dawn and Dee,

I was just curious about the development and I thought there might be some standards like “1 drawn frame counts whatsoever amount of bees in Langstroth size”.

And yes - it’s a small folk. There are not more than five frames fully drawn. I started late in the year and that s why I’m little worried if they are big enough to survive the winter. But fortunaltely winter are neither strong nor long in my area. I fed them well and they take the food quite fast ( about 1 kg per week). Give them sugar syrup and a suger/pollen paste extra.

I don’t have a nuc box till now, but I will narrow the space when I see that they are not growing any more. In the moment I have the impression they do still grow.

I know about that powder sugar rolling method - and I’m already looking for the equipment to do it. Seems to be one of the most accurate methods. Beekeeping scientists here just recommend the card diagnose anyway as an easy method to get an overview. It is said that there is a relationship between the natural death fall of mites and the total amount of mites in the hive - depending on the time of the year. Doesn’t disturb the bees at all.


That is old thinking. Randy Oliver at Scientific Beekeeping has investigated it thoroughly and doesn’t use it any more as it is too unreliable. :worried:


The[quote=“bumblebee, post:1, topic:8341”]
little black double strings

look like anthers, part of the stamens from flowers, the part that holds the pollen


This time of year I would be working on getting them to build stores to get through winter. Seems to be a small hive but if you reduce the size of the hive and feed now and over winter then they should be OK.



That’s what I thought also in the end. Somebody suggested ash from the smoker - also possible. I use hemp stems (not the psychotropic one). I’ll take another sample (if it occurs again) and put it under the microscope. It’s not wax moth poo. To small for that and different.


Looking again with my glasses on, I agree. It really sucks getting older… :blush:


Wrong shape too :slight_smile:


Ha! same problem here. Have to use progessive lenses meanwhile. Glamour is gone :blush:
Still don´t know what is is, but bees are well. I let you know when I got it. I´ll show it to the people in the beekeepers club here at the next meeting.