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Bee-eggs on the bottom drawer


I should start this by mentioning that the type of beehives that are used in western-Europe, always come with a screened bottom board AND a drawer underneath. I follow a bunch of beepeeking groups and blogs, within and beyond my own region. Watching these, I’ve noticed beekeepers in some warmer climates, or in places with less pest issues, don’t use the drawer underneath the screen. Perhaps this is done because of temperature regulation, I really don’t know. I think it might be a solution to chronic humidity problems. I live in a very temperate climate, at the moment we are having a mild winter (so far) and I love having the drawer underneath the screen installed at all times. During the winter, when it wouldn’t be wise to open the hive, we can all get curious to know what goes on inside the hive. The drawer allows us to see this.

You probably know and understand, as responsible adults, that everything you do leaves a trace. A mess to be cleaned up. Same goes for bees. When there are young bees, capable of generating new wax, you’ll see beautiful, little, oval, translucent flakes lying on the drawer. They’ll appear underneath the area where these bees are hanging out and building new comb. Activity from the brood nest shows up as rough, brown powder, ‘brood mulch‘ as you could call it, and sometimes you’ll see distinct parts of a cell-lid lying there. Of course, one of the main uses for these drawers is to monitor varroa. After a treatment, it will not take long before you see varroa mites fall out. This is good. Every dead mite is a good mite. Just be sure to remove the drawer before dripping oxalic acid/sugar water on the bees… I’ve had a lot of cleaning to do this summer.

Last Monday, I was at a meeting for the beekeeping course I’m enlisted in. We were all busy talking about bees, of course, and I mentioned that one of my hives has eggs on the drawer. To my surprise, everyone else reacted as if this was a very strange occurrence. The hive in question, my red one, has this almost all the time. All the way through summer I found eggs underneath the brood nest, and I noticed during inspections that some cells contained more than one egg. The red hive is the least developed, despite an equal start to my dark blue hive. I’m waiting for my teacher’s comments on this, but I’m afraid the red queen is scheduled for execution. I’ll try to raise a queen from the hives I’m happier about or get one from a source I trust.

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Categories: BeekeepingTags: , , , , , , , ,

7 comments

  1. Cool pictures! We use a bottom drawer in the winter months here too. Its helpful for sure. I think my husband removes it through the summer.

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    • Thanks! Does it get very hot or humid where you are? I’ve removed it when the weather was so extreme this summer, but Ive been told to let the bees do what they want… When they hang around the entrance ventilating I don’t feel like it’s bad to help them a bit though.

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      • In WA state we are quite mild all year but yes, we have a good amount of humidity because of how much rain we get. We remove it for summer….but for our wet winters we want to help them too. I feel like more and more, hives are dying off for the slightest things…..which are humans fault. So if we can minimally help them in some way we will. People don’t realize what problems we face with such a decline in bees.

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      • Last winter here, a LOT of beekeepers experienced terrible amounts of hives dying. One reason was the humidity in winter. Mild winters aren’t always good news. 😥 The main defence beekeeping associations here have adopted against the decline in hives, is to multiply and renew hives every year. We double our numbers yearly. Well, there is more to it, but that is one of the things we do.
        Wild pollinators are suffering terribly now! In Belgium bumblebees are said to almost be EXTINCT! Mainly because of pesticide use. Imagine that? Bumblebees extinct! We’ll do what we can to help them though.

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  2. I know it’s so incredibly sad to even think about that! We really try double on our own too as we can. Every little bit helps….so good for you! I hope you have a lot of success this year!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great article and pictures! It is really interesting to see what is in your bottom board. Do you have two hives so far? You can look me up at Ward Bros. Honey Co, I’m from South Carolina. We had a really warm winter.

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