Well it’s back to that time of year where things are slowing down again. It’s nice to have this cyclical transition in my life and I’m thankful to both of my veterinary jobs for allowing me to have a little break during the winter (equine medicine and honey bee medicine take a little pause during the chillier months). Summer and even fall have flown by!!
I have a couple of updates on my hives. I transported them all back to my house in Northfield at the end of Sept/Oct where I’d be able to do a little supplemental feeding as needed. Mite counts where quite low at the end of August, and unfortunately, I didn’t check them diligently enough in September. By the end of October mite levels had risen and I treated all of my hives with oxalic acid dribble after there was no more brood. I placed sticky boards under 2 colonies and observed the mite drop. Wow!! Again, I wished I’d monitored them a little more in September as I’m a little concerned about the quality of the bees produced during that month due to mite predation. All hives did well at putting up honey and even my smallest colony continued to take some supplemental sugar into the middle of November. I increased ventilation with a moisture system and insulated each hive. I’ve checked them frequently through the ventilation hole with a stethoscope, and they appear to be doing well in their clusters. I’ll continue to check each colony throughout the winter.
In other exciting news, I was invited to give a presentation at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine on honey bee medicine. It was quite an honor, and it was a wonderful opportunity to be able to pass on some of the knowledge I’ve gained to current veterinary students. I was impressed with the number of interested students who attended the lecture (about 70 in total). The lecture included the basics of honey bees from an anatomy/physiology standpoint, a little about diseases of honey bees and how to perform field evaluations of apiaries. I’m offering some limited field experience using my bees in the spring so students can come out and get familiar with handling bees.
If you’re reading this and would like to volunteer to have students out to your apiary, please send me an email and we can arrange something for the spring/early summer months if you live within an hour of the Metro.
I hope honey bee medicine continues to be an area of interest at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine!! If we were able to establish a program, possibly in conjunction with the UMN Bee Lab it would be one of just a few within veterinary schools in the US and would help give our pollinators a helping hand. A win-win for students and ecosystem health!
Best Holiday Wishes,