Jason & I went into the hive on Sunday after a weekend in Charlotte. It had been rainy and cold but Sunday afternoon it was just cold. The plan was to mix a gallon of sugar syrup for a Fumagilin-B treatment (like bee pepto for nosema prevention over winter) and investigate Evangeline’s status. Also we were going to swap the screened bottom board for the solid one (better warmth) but the solid one needs painting and I didn’t get it done (yet again my scheduling affects the bees adversely).
SO HERE IS WHAT I DID TO MAKE MY FIRST BATCH OF FUMAGILIN:
1. Dump two 4lb. bags of sugar in your biggest pot (I should start buying sugar at Sam’s).
2. Add 8 cups of water.
3. Simmer ‘til the sugar dissolves. (What is that white stuff floating at the top?)
4. Let cool to below 86ºF.
5. That will take forever which is equal to approx 2 hours sitting outside with 10 ice cubes added too.
6. Add half a heaping tablespoon (I think this is like 1 1/2 teaspoons, heaping).
7. Dump in top feeder without spilling.
HERE IS WHAT I SHOULDA DONE:
1. Get 8c water warm.
2. Mix in sugar which should dissolve.
3. By that time it has cooled down and you can add the Fumagilin-B.
I only did the amount called for a one-deep hive because my hive is pretty underweight due to the recent queenlessness. I’ll check later today to see if they’ve taken it all by now and if so tomorrow I’ll give another 1-gallon treatment just to be safe.
SO even though it was a little colder than it should have been because we waited so long on the syrup to cool we got into the hive and the first frame or so that I pulled didn’t have any eggs. I was pretty resigned to the fact that the colony was going to go into winter queenless. I was about to close everything up when I thought maybe I’ll just look at one more frame, a few frames over from the one or two I’d already looked at. I saw a little flash of white and totally double-took Merry Melodies style. I was so focused on looking for eggs and I guess so long since I’d actually SEEN a larva I completely wasn’t expecting it.
I probably only had my eyes on the things for 10 seconds. I couldn’t believe it. We closed up the hive and then poured in the syrup (successfully without spilling) and as we started to go in I had a terrible thought. What if those were actually the larva of laying workers? I hadn’t seen the telltale sign of bunches of eggs in one cell but then again I hadn’t checked every single frame for the last few inspections. I hadn’t paid close enough attention to remember if the capped pupae I’d seen were drone or worker. Worker larvae supposedly get capped on the 9th day. I installed Evan on Thursday, the 2oth and it was Sunday, the 30th. That would mean she would have had to have been released from the cage that Friday (if they had JUST capped those pupae that same day. And I HAD seen drones even this late in the season in my hive that day. I’d say the odds are against me but geez don’t I deserve a break?
So probably, maybe, we hope our queen woes are over. We still have to switch the bottom boards so hopefully we’ll have a warm day and when we do that I’ll pull a frame or two to confirm our fate.
Of course even with a queen they still might die this winter. So it goes.