I checked the hives on the Community Gardens and Orchard on the Incline at Portland (6 zigs and 7 zags up from the roundabouts) this evening. One of them, a National, not only has a resident lizard, but also has the spottiest brood I have ever seen! There were lots of sealed cells with holes. I did the ‘matchstick test’ on a number of them but there was no roping so it probably isn’t AFB. There were some bees ready to emerge but dead in cell. Possibly it could be something to do with Varroa.
In the failing light (it was almost 8pm) some of the unsealed brood looked definitely unwell. It might be EFB or maybe one of the other things that look like EFB. As I am not able to say that it wasn’t foulbrood, I immediately rang Kevin Pope, the Bee Inspector, and left a message on his answerphone and am awaiting his response.
Kevin wants to make a visitation to Portland in any case and see as many hives on the Island as possible in order to check for Tropilaelaps that may have arrived by sea. He was waiting for the Limb Picks to finish and I think that they have now. They were the main reason why I hadn’t been to Portland to check the bees for ages as I was told that Portland would be out of bounds to normal people.
I suggest that you take a peek at your brood to see if there are any problems, ringing Kevin (01305 854838) if you have any suspicions. You might also leave him a message if you’re willing for him to include you in his Tropilaelaps visitation.
In the meantime, my hive tools are soaking in washing soda solution.