As beekeepers use antibiotics or chemicals in the fight against mites or viruses, the overall ability to fight off infection declines, entomologists say. Commercial beekeepers, particularly, may turn to antibiotics because they can't risk losing bees.
But hobbyists can. And that means the bees they raise - and that survive - are stronger and will withstand whatever is decimating commercial bees. These bees, known as "survivor bees," could prove to be the saviors, some bee experts believe.
"We need the smaller beekeepers, and it's a fascinating hobby," said Ken Kloepper, president of the St. Clair Beekeepers Association in Illinois. "They can provide a great service to their communities. We need new young blood to keep this thing going."
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
The most surprising sight in the hive was the presence of capped drone brood on my drone frame- although I did not see any hatched drones. Thinking like a bee for second, I am a little worried that they might decide to swarm. Although this is only a second year queen, they have a ton of food stored, so the queen might decide to establish a new colony (by swarming) since this one is doing so well. If that is the case, I will see some swarm cells in another month or so, in which case I’ll split the hive. That will really put a hurting on the honey crop I was hoping for this year, but I will have two hives instead of one. The beekeeper wants the bees to make honey, but the bees want to make new colonies of bees.
Here they are trucking in a whole lot of pollen:
Here are the capped drone cells:
Sunday, February 3, 2008
One of the tasks the bees were performing was bringing out the dead. I like to inspect the dead bees to make sure there are no obvious signs of disease. It is difficult to see in this photo, but one of the dead bees had a varroa mite on the underside of its abdomen.