The Oregon Grape (Mahonia) is an attractive evergreen shrub with holly like leaves is a native to the northwest. Different species of Mahonia can be found throughout North and Central America and in Asia, which are also planted around the city and may be hard to distinguish from our native varieties. The Oregon grape has clusters of long lasting yellow blooms in early spring that are very attractive to honey bees and other pollinators (especially bumble bees - if you are lucky you will likely see the queens flying). They do well in full sun to part shade and make good accent plants for gardens or even as hedges. They get their common name form the clumps of small "editable" bluish berries that form late summer.
It seems that Parasitic Mite Syndrome has taken on a new name and is being referred to as “Idiopathic Brood Disease Syndrome” (IBDS), which kills off bee larvae, and has been found as the largest risk factor for predicting the death of a bee colony. I'm quite sure this is what spread through the hives last summer and took out several of them into the fall. Sadly I hope not to run into this one again this year, but if nothing else at least it has a better acronym than PMS.
Hive checks (3/3/2012)
Checked both the Sand and Surf hives. The Surf hive appears to be doing good and there are a lot of bees eating the dry sugar, but the Sand hive didn't make it. It looks like the Sand hive died late fall.
It was another nice day and was able to get a little deeper into the hives to see how they were doing.
They had very little food around the cluster and moved several frames just before and after to give them some insurance in case the weather turns bad for a few days. Saw signs of brood. The cluster was across 3-4 frames. Found signs of a secondary cluster in the front that looks like it starved. I'm guessing they formed two clusters and the front cluster was too small to survive.
Icon Daughter Nuc
Similar to the Geeks but they actually seem like there were a little better off. Moved frames of honey closer to the cluster. They also had nice frames of capped brood.
I'm not as optimistic about these girls. I didn't see any signs of build up and the cluster seems to be be only across 2 frames. They were a little pissy as well and suspect they might be queenless.
This hive by far looks the best of them all. They didn't need any food moved closer and were still sitting on top of a lot of honey around the brood nest. The cluster size was also very healthy and they had strong activity at the entrance. This hive is in a warmer spot and gets 30-40% more sun over the other hives.