Beekeepers have some unique traits. One of those unique traits is our obsession with examining dead bees especially after an entire colony dies. We take pictures of our dead bees and post them in beekeeper groups on social media. I spent a significant portion of time one day this week examining photos of dead bees from a hive in Alabama trying to figure out why the bees died. It occurred to me after the fact, that many people may not consider this behavior normal.
Have you noticed that whenever things don’t work out the way people want people frequently say, “Well, at least I learned a lot.” “I learned a lot,” is a nice code phrase that lets people know that things didn’t go well at all but you are either choosing to be optimistic or you don’t want to share your problems with the world. In Part I, I discussed how Doug and I were treating our bees with formic acid to lower the varroa mite levels. In case you were wondering how things went with the treatment, all I can say is: “Well, at least we learned a lot.” Continue reading
You can’t believe how many different ways there are for a honey bee to die. Beekeeping is a life affirming activity that is often filled with death. Skunks and wild turkeys view bees as flying pieces of candy and will happily eat your bees as they fly from the hives. Mice and snakes try to make homes inside your hives, and the bees don’t care for this. Infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi abound. One particularly nasty bacterial infection called American Foulbrood is so deadly that a beekeeper must immediately destroy the diseased hive and burn the all their equipment so the infection doesn’t spread. As nasty as American Foulbrood is, it doesn’t top the list of threats to honey bees. Ask any beekeeper what enemy #1 is, and they will all say varroa mites. Continue reading