Honeycomb

WHY ARE HONEY BEES DYING?

 

WHAT IS THE REAL PROBLEM?

There are several problems facing honey bees today.  Here are some of the main ones:

  1. The widespread use of pesticides containing neonicotinoids that alter the nervous system of bees. As the name suggests, they contain nicotine derivatives that have devastating effects on the nervous system of honey bees. While not all pesticides are "neonics", none are safe for bees. 

  2. Monoculture crops.  Without buffer zones containing meadows of pollen and nectar-producing flora, honey bees and other insects cannot find enough safe food to survive; causing poor nutrition.

  3. Parasites and disease.  Varroa destructor is a parasitic mite that feeds on the fat stores of honeybees while also injecting them with viruses.  Other diseases such as AFB, EFB, Nosema, tracheal mites and several others contribute to the collapse of a colony.

  4.  Close breeding and subsequent lack of genetic diversity perpetuates disease and deleterious mutations.  

  5.  The beekeeper's lack of knowledge and subsequent inability to recognize and diagnose problems in or around the colony before it is too late.  This includes mite loads, disease identification, food quality and quantity, queen laying patterns, swarming situations, predators, and winterizing colonies...to name a few.

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Any of the above factors combined could cause a colony to abscond, swarm or die.  It is up to the beekeeper to make sure these factors are mitigated by education (mentors, books, beekeeping course), practice, and due diligence to give our bees the best chance of survival.