Put Your Eyes and Nose on Your Hives

Author: Meera, September 25, 2015

As a beekeepeer, I sniff my hives as well as visually examine them for signs of hive health. A healthy hive smells pleasant but an unhealthy one can emit a foul odor.



meera in beekeeper suit lg em



This time of year, honeybee hives should be checked for populations of mites. Especially destructive is the Varroa destructor mite and the tracheal mite. Mite populations can rapidly increase and decimate a hive.



The Varroa destructor mites are true “blood suckers” and feed on adult bees (especially drones or males) and baby bee larvae.



I inspect for deformed bees (like wings missing), red or brown spots on bee larvae, or pinpoint-size mites (looking like ticks) clinging behind a bee’s head or between its abdominal sections.  It’s best to treat immediately when the signs are clear that there’s a problem in the hive. If it smells foul, there could be an infection.



In fact, beekeepers need to stay vigilant for all kinds of illnesses that can harm their hives: mites, bacterial infections, and/or even predators placing hive’s health at risk.



The scent of honey and the hum of bees busily working inside the hives can be reassuring to a beekeeper, but doesn’t eliminate the need for regular inspections, especially in autumn. You want your hives to be healthy enough to make it through whatever conditions winter brings.


For bee tips, recipes, and a killer cozy mystery, check out my newest offering: A BEELINE TO MURDER. See, http://tinyurl.com/ptegs9g




Tags: , , , , , , ,


2 Responses to “Put Your Eyes and Nose on Your Hives”

  1. Denis Mortenson Says:

    Hi, wow you got my attention, when I saw you in the beekeeper’s suit (on Facebook).

    It has been an interest of mine for a number of years. When did you first become involved. I would probably find that answer here, but it’s late, so I’m going to come back another time. Rebekah Dawson/Cahoon and Rich Dawson (and Sandy) have been friends for many years. Feel free to say hello.


  2. Meera Says:

    I live near a world-class beekeeper whose father kept bees. I read a lot of bee books and helped him a couple of years before establishing my own hives.

Leave a Reply