Blog – bees, beekeeping & other sticky subjects
Varroa does have a heart
The heart of Varroa destructor has been discovered by Alexandros Papachristoforou and Evgenia Koutouvela in a project part-funded by Vita Bee Health.
The heart is tiny — measuring just 165 μm by 60 μm — and it beats with an average duration of just over 7.39 seconds at an average frequency of 0.13 Hz.
Surprisingly, until now there has been no mention in the literature as to whether varroa had a heart or not! Because of its size, physiological study of varroa has been difficult. (Ticks, which are slightly bigger, are easier to study.)
The heart was eventually found quite near to the brain and is quite like that of ticks. But unlike other mites, varroa has two ventricula (chambers) and six rather than four ostia (openings).
The discovery of the heart is expected to help in developing a new bioassay to measure the effect of varroa control treatments.
For the full paper, see: https://www.biotaxa.org/saa/article/view/saa.24.4.9
The bees in observation hive have survived the winter and are now frantically building up their reserves. This is the queue at the protruding plastic tube leading through the wall to their hive. They are loaded up with bright yellow pollen.
The first batch of young bees has emerged and a lot more are on the way. Soon, I suspect they will have to be moved to a nucleus before graduating to a full size hive.
Cleaning and repositioning Bee Gyms
As a follow-up to last week’s post by Bee Gym inventor Stuart Roweth on Using and trialing the Bee Gym, here are Stuart’s suggestions for cleaning and repositioning the Bee Gym.
Download Stuart’s pdf here: Cleaning and Repositioning The Bee Gym
We liked this in a newsletter from Betterbee, a Vita distributor in the USA:
We put out a call to staff to bring in their own smokers so we could find the best ways to remove layers of creosote. After blocking off the parking lot and setting up fire extinguishers, we had a ball playing with fire. And we identified the two best methods for removing varying degrees of gunk…
My own smoker turned out to be the one most in need of cleaning. Perhaps one reason is that I’ve been using mostly use cedar shavings as fuel, which are very convenient and easy to light. But clearly, they are clogging up my smoker with thick residues and making it harder to use. My smoker is now clean as whistle, so I’ve decided to try some other fuels, particularly the Betterbee Cotton Smoker Fuel. Remnants of that fuel were found in the cleanest, least gunked-up, of all the staff smokers.
What are your own experiences?
Using and trialing the Bee Gym
Stuart Roweth, inventor of the Bee Gym has just released this pdf file about using and trialing the bee gym: