Diagnose Honey Bee Disease
The report is in from the USDA Beltsville bee research lab. Honey Bee Hive – A was apparently over run by the Varroa Destructor. I thought I had this parasite under control but I did not treat the hive with chemicals. I only did some occasional dusitng with powdered sugar. Obviously I was not doing it right or often enough. Especially as fall was turning into winter. I will review my videos of the inspections I conducted on these bees but that my earlier dead honey bee videos should have been clue enough for me to have taken stronger action in October.The deformed wing disease and mites on other bees I noticed were such that only those filmed were the sick ones.
What should I have done? Use the chemicals I swore I wouldn’t use again? If I decide to continue to not prevent for foulbrood shall I continue with Nosema protection? Both of those were not detected in the diagnosis. Should I only consider the Varroa Destructor as the enemy to be be over powered? Can I do with more regular dusting of powdered sugar or must I resort to the hard chemicals? The case is strong for powdered sugar because it is a non biological approach to control versus the biological chemical treatment of something like Apivar. The destructor can adapt to that and other chemicals over time. Do I then alternate the chemicals to trip up the mites? No. It’s about balance and when nature gets out of balance then destruction must occur until extension or evolution occurs.
What about the small hive beetle, wax moths and a host of other pests? I cannot incubate the bees but only be satisfied that I am providing a shelter, if only temporary to help propagate the species. Why do honey bees seem so much more difficult to understand than humans? Well for starters honey bees have about 100 million year head start on homo sapiens.
Too many questions to determine lasting answers. I cannot control nature but I can observe and interact in ways that adhere to Phil Chandlers The Barefoot Beekeeper’s recommended three principles for honey bee management.
1. Interference in the natural lives of the bees is kept to a minimum.
2. Nothing is put into the hive that is known to be, or likely to be harmful either to the bees, to us or
to the wider environment, and nothing is taken out that the bees cannot afford to lose.
3. The bees know what they are doing: our job is to listen to them and provide the optimum
conditions for their well-being, both inside and outside the hive. Biobees.com
Maybe better adherence to these principles combined with adherence to the 12 principles of permaculture will lead to better bees and less interference from me the beekeeper. We’ll see. At least the honey from Hive A is safe to use in the other hives and on my toast. If you would like some honey send an e-mail to TonyTeolis at todolisthome dot com. The 5th request received will be supplied with a nice sample of pure Virginia honey.