It seems that a great deal of US beekeepers is not aware of the fact that bee mite infestation can kill entire hives, eradicating the colony with no great effort.
Jonathan Garaas, Fargo attorney, and beekeeper has been taking care of his hives for years. Garaas checks his honey-makers every two weeks. The insects are searched for traces of the varroa mites, tiny pesky pests that feed on the blood of bees and carry various lethal diseases.
In the case in which he finds more pinhead-sized parasites than he wishes, the attorney sprays a chemical treatment in his hives, thus protecting his bees from being eradicated by the bug.
Garaas recounts that in his first two years of beekeeping he lost plenty of hives to the varroa mites. However, after taking some bee classes at Minnesota University and building nine different bee hives near his home, the beekeeper attorney is more confident in his activities.
“You can get the book learning. You can see the YouTube videos. Others can tell you. However, you have to have hands-on experience. When you start putting it all together, it starts making sense,” he declared.
Scientists hope that every bee aficionado is like Garaas. While they are pleased by the rising interest in beekeeping as a pastime, they are concerned with the improper care that the novices show their hives.
If a hive is not treated for bee mite infestation, both that colony and all of the surrounding ones are put at risk.
A bee expert from Minnesota University, Marla Spivak, declared that many hobbyists prefer a more natural approach to chemical treatments. However, what is natural is not always better for the insects. Spivak declared that natural treatments that are advertised in hobby stores are usually deadly for the honey-makers.
According to the Bee Informed Partnership, backyard beekeepers are registering the greatest losses on a national level. These significant losses are generally caused by varroa mites, a problem that can be easily resolved with proper chemical treatment.
Varroa mites are a rather new problem for American beekeepers. The parasites first appeared thirty years ago and only recently began affecting hives on a large scale. Experts are desperately trying to raise awareness on the bee mite infestation issue.
“It’s important enough to really try to get every backyard beekeeper in the country to at least be aware of it.”
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