Flash Treatment at McGill Hive

Today we applied a flash treatment of formic acid on our hive at McGill’s downtown campus. We have been applying the formic acid “Mite Wipe” products previously from the top. This time, the fluid was delivered from the bottom board. It is supposed to be a stronger treatment against varroa [Varroa destructor on Wikipedia], since the fumes from the acid rise upward through the hive in what seems to be a more concentrated distribution. Effects are supposed to last around six hours.

We found decomposing remains of previous “Mite Wipe” treatments inside of the hive. I would describe them as “aesthetically yucky” given the relative order and beauty elsewhere evident in the hive. The bees seemed to me to be in good humor, regardless of our continuing treatments. Some of them stuck their butts up at us in a ‘threatening’ posture which just seemed more funny than anything. Nice try though.

It was my first experience really looking *inside* as a participant in a (living) hive (picking apart an autopsied hive earlier in the season doesn’t really count), and I will admit that I was surprised to see so many different little social interactions between all the various bees… Like they all have their own little personalities and choices, but somehow operate together as this “thing” we call a hive. As humans, where do we fit into this “thing” that the bees form when they all come together into something greater? Like if we take us plus them, it’s more than a hive, it’s something else…

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One thought on “Flash Treatment at McGill Hive

  1. I had firmly in mind this notion of the “bien” of the hive, which I had heard about from the following:

    http://www.rootsimple.com/2012/09/radical-beekeeper-michael-thiele-ventures-into-new-territory/

    Thiele balances what we know from science about bees with an intuitive relationship with bees as a whole, and complex, organism.

    Thiele uses an old German word Steiner also used to describe a beehive: “bien”. On his website, Gaia Bees, Thiele defines bien as:

    “…an attempt to describe the oneness of the bee colony, [that] also recognizes its individual “personality”. The honey bee colony is one being in countless bodies. The biological term for this is super-organism. The bien is configured through the harmonious and functional relationships of all its parts. Every part depends on the other and all parts provide the necessary environment for their own existence. The colony is both a society of thousands of individuals as well as one super-organism, one bien.

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