Joining the ReViVe project

BBKA News ran an article in June about a new project to study Deformed Wing Virus in untreated hives: the ReViVe project*. This is part of Professor S. Martin's research group in University of Salford.

I contacted the PhD student who is undertaking the study and offered my two new hives. These have come from a feral swarm and have not been treated or controlled for Varroa.

The two hives are now part of that study. I have sample tubes to fill with bees for testing. I'm wondering how to persuade the live bees into the tubes. It's going to be tricky.

C and D hives building comb; foraging. Confirmed Varroa in D hive

I visited C and D in central Oxford today. Both hives are building comb. They were both very calm so I didn't need smoke. I just gently opened each hive up and took a look.

Neither hive have any brood yet, so there's no way to be sure whether they have AFB.

I didn't see the queens in either hive.

C Hive

C was populated before D. The bees are building in the super, which is unwelcome but expected. There is lots of new comb partially filled with honey. They've building toward the front of the hive (shown by the wax drop on the hive floor).

First Varroa drop in my new apairy

I'd expected that the new bees would bring Varroa. Today I found a dead mite from the colony which I hived earlier this week. It was on the floor of their hive.

The feral colony from which both casts came has apparently been there for 3 years. Today I could see their entrance which had lots of activity. It would appear that they are very strong despite this infestation.