Bee Health

A healthy hive is a happy hive.

Honey bees and CCD have been all over the news for several years now, leading to increased concern across the country about honey bees and pollination.  Like humans, bees are susceptible to disease and must deal with pests.  Like mothers and doctors, beekeepers are challenged with tough decisions about how to treat these ailments.

Researchers, commercial beekeepers, and hobbyists are all experimenting with non-chemical methods to prevent and treat the disease that are detrimental to the health of our honeybees.  Keeping a healthy queen and removing drone brood at the appropriate time are two methods that reduce the vulnerability to varroa mites.  Varroa and tracheal mites, foulbrood, and nosema are some of the major disease concerns inside beehives in Wisconsin.  Bears and skunks are large pests that are known to attack bee hives from outside.

Varroa mites weaken bees in the developmental stage and make the hive more susceptible to other disease.  This fall, preventative measures were not enough, and the bees were faced with more varroa mites than they could tolerate on their own accord.  First, I harvested the surplus honey; then, I treated for mites.  I used Mite Away II, which is approved for use in organic honey production, to reduce the mite population before the bees enter a long, cold winter.  Below is the product information, as listed in the Mann Lake beekeeping supply catalog.

I won’t treat for disease unnecessarily, but at the same time, I won’t stand by and watch my bees die when there is something I could do to prevent it.