It was a beautiful spring day today. I visited the hive on my allotment to check their temperature and to see what they were up to. They were very busy, bringing home loads of pollen of various colours, some bright orange, which I guess is crocus.
One pollen laden bee was on her back on the hive roof. Next to her was a scattered circle of pollen of the same orange colour as her load so I guess that she had shed some, maybe from her body hairs, in struggling to get up. I saw a movement! I got out my magnifying glass and was able to see among the shed pollen a tiny creature dashing about. It was of a similar colour to the pollen, maybe a bit pinker. It was moving fast so I couldn’t be too certain but I think it had 8 legs and maybe a few spines also. It was so small that at least 10 could have comfortably sat on a varroa mite.
Was it the cause of the bee’s poor landing? Was it deliberately hitching a lift from flower to flower or into the hive? Is it a predator of the flowers or of bees? I picked up the bee to apply the magnifying glass but it flew off, so it can’t have been too bad.
Does anybody know what this mite might be?