Varroa feces, larval and pupal skins

I found a good description of what happens in the brood cell here: http://www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.ht…44&page=14

There are good pictures of different stages in the development of the bee and of mite reproduction.

There I also find the answer to my question and it’s yes. There are more remains of the bee development than just one piece of whitish/yellowish.

The first remain is from the larva when it becomes a pupa and the second is from the pupa when it becomes a fully grown bee.

Why this is important is because I have to take in consideration the age of the pupa/bee when I remove it. Do I find “extra” remains even if the pupa has not changed into a fully grown bee (but not hatched), the extra is varroa feces and there is a mite even if I don’t see it. That can happen when the mite doesn’t have progeny. i then don’t have to find the mite to know there is one.

Varroa defecation and pupa remains

I’m checking my, as I think, most promising colonies for the VSH trait. (http://www.elgon.es/diary/?p=146) After dragging out more than 1000 pupae I have learned a lot about analyzing what I see. But I understand it’s more to learn. And I’m becoming faster doing the VSH-test. I have tried a reading lens with a ring lamp + extra 2.5 reading glasses. Together 5 times enlarging. Works great.

HDRtist Pro Rendering - http://www.ohanaware.com/hdrtistpro/

All pupae leave some white remains at the bottom of the cell. Mites defecate and leaves more white stuff often little higher up on the cellwall. When there’s a whole varroa family you find quite a lot of white stuff, sometimes covering the bottom.

VSH Pupa remains

A mite without offspring leave most often just a little extra white, sometimes almost nothing (can be hard detecting such a mite, but if missed doesn’t result in too good figures). New white wax comb makes it easier to detect mites without offspring.

VSH defecation? VSH defecation2

Now some questions.

  1. Does an older pupa than a younger one (with just darkened eyes) give more whitish remains at the bottom of the cell? (Just from the pupa and not from a mite?)
  2. If you find pupa remains AND just above it a small whitish stuff, more compact like varroa defecation, (I know it could be varroa defecation) is that always varroa defecation or could it, in case with an old pupa just about to emerge by itself, be more pupa remains due to the older pupa?

This could be important questions as if it is varroa defecation there is a mite even if I can’t see it. Once I saw a mite popping out from a pupa after it had been laying for a while on the table, a pupa from such a cell. This was seen on a dark comb, where it’s more difficult to detect a single mite without offspring. Often such single mites also are not as movable as one in a cell with a whole varroa family.

Anyone out there that has detected pupae remains in the cells after dragging them out? Have you seen the varroa defecation? Differences between them, and compared to pupae remains? It would be interesting to know.

Blueberry and dandelion

Bi i blåbärsblom Bi i maskros

Spring has been chilly, but warms up when sun is shining, it brings out flowers like blueberries and dandelions, some tiny, some beautiful, all giving food and promises of future. I’m fascinated how tiny the blueberry flowers are in the forest, almost impossible to discern, but bees find their nectar and thus give a good nourishing crop for us. And I’m also curious how beautiful the dandelion flowers are and easy to spot for us, easily found as well by the bees. But how little we appreciate them, inventing special tools to get rid of them, though they are good for our health as well.

Aiming for a new season

In the beginning of March the bees had their main cleansing flight after winter. In the beginning of April most of them had more combs and boxes given. At the end of April another round checking food, need for thymol, collecting some dead outs and putting on supers took place.

Previous years winter losses were about 15 % with another 30 % were saved through thymol and queens shifted (no or little crop), This is the investment price for developing a more varroa resistant stock. I give some thymol when I see wingless bees.

Last year winterlosses were about 10 %. This winter losses are also about 10 %. A good development is that only another 10 % are saved with thymol and will have their queens shifted later. Also breeders have been treatmentfree longer and VSH value for the breeders are better. And bees are putting more honey closer to the broodnest for winter storage, thus there is more honey for winter food. The bees are shutting down brood already in August and waiting till January or February before starting again. Thus they use less food in winter and save it for brood when starting the new season, which is started even somewhat before the main cleansing flight. The bees know what’s coming.

Most colonies got a super above queen excluder in late April and those splits wintering on two boxes their third brood box. And those 10 % fighting varroa and virus and/or something else maybe a few drawn empty frames, some food frames and maybe a piece of dish cloth with thymol (4-5 gram).

Bästa samhället 2015-04w

The best colony so far

The best colony in April was the best producer last year, didn’t need any thymol last year, didn’t swarm and has a very good temper. It was wintered with 20 kg (44 pound) honey and 10 kg (22 pound) of sucrose sugar.

In beginning of April it had about 10 kg of food left and was full of bees. For safety reasons so the queen shouldn’t stop laying, it got a frame of food in the super from the storage.

In late April this box above the excluder was half full with willow honey and full of bees. So the colony got another super. I plan to check the infestation rate with the bee shaker (http://www.elgon.es/diary/?p=660) soon and also the VSH value (http://www.elgon.es/diary/?p=146). Of course I have to breed from it.