Have you given your bees a health check lately? If you have removed spring honey it is an easier task to inspect the brood. 

But despite it being a pain to remove supers to check the brood, if you have any concerns it is well worth the effort.

When removing the roof does the hive smell of beautiful honey or is there an odd smell? If you are concerned, take a close look at all the larvae. Are they all pearly white and nicely segmented? If they aren’t and appear very watery, ask your local bee inspector to pay you a visit. You can learn so much from them and if the cause is one of the foulbroods the sooner it is detected and dealt with the better.  It may be nothing at all and will save you hours of worry. 

A little late in the year now, but for future reference if your bees are foraging on wild garlic this can give the hive a much less than pleasant smell!

Are there signs of a heavy varroa infestation? Do you have some bees with deformed wings (Deformed Wing Virus), or can you see mites on the backs of your bees? You can also check by uncapping some drone brood (the mites favourite cells as they are larger) to get an indication of varroa levels. If treatment is needed then the majority of the proprietary treatments cannot be used while supers are on the hive, so check very carefully before using any of these at this time.

Other methods of varroa control are covered in our Apiary Guide, or in our IPM pack (Integrated Pest Management) as well as on the National Bee Unit site


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