Well, the effort to use screened top and bottom boards for mite control, along with Spearmint oil sugar patties and my other organic methods seem to be working!  I just checked the hives and they are all doing well, with no sign of Small Hive Beetle infestation or other problems.  I put a sticky board under Colony C to check for Varroa Mites.  After 24 hours, I removed the sticky board to do a mite count.  Anything less than 100 Varroa Mites stuck to the board is considered to be an “acceptable” level of infestation.  I had a count of five Varroa Mites!  Since bees travel and forage, they contract the mites from contact with other foraging bees, or pick up mites left on nectar and pollen sources by infested bees.  As such, you cannot avoid some level of infestation, you can merely attempt to control it.

Even after this severe drought and the late start for the bees, I’m considering the summer a success.  They are healthy and are being given plenty of sugar syrup for winter food.  There is some foraging activity, so I know they are collecting nectar and pollen…all essential to overwintering.  Now, I just have to wait for Spring and hope they come through as well as it now appears they will.