Friday, January 1, 2010
Healthy Honey Bees in 2010
While the results of the studies have not been published, the main factors that seem to be combining to form a lethal mix are being identified. First, there are numerous chemicals in the beeswax comb of the hive. The principal miticides used to control parasitic mites are highly soluble in beeswax, and they remain for a long period of time. There are also other insecticides and chemicals used in abundance in agriculture, lawn care, and beekeeping being found in the honey bee’s nest. Second, it is known that Varroa mites vector numerous viral diseases of honey bees; and some new viruses have been identified. Third, a new strain of the fungal disease, Nosema, seems to have replaced the previous, seldom deadly strain. It appears that when these three factors, certain chemicals, viruses, and Nosema are combined, they overtake the highly vulnerable immune system of the bees. A background item in the die-offs seems to be nutrition issues. Beekeepers in 2010 will need to address each of these factors to maintain healthy bees. There’s a healthy bee on granddaughter, Erin Underhill’s, cheek.