The enemies of our bees

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The enemies of our bees

Knowing the enemies of bees is the best way to be able to deal with them. After reading this article, you will know how to identify them and take the necessary measures to eliminate them or at least limit their effects.

Pesticides

In my opinion, this is the main cause of the colony massive death. Chemicals used in agriculture and even in gardens are toxic to bees.

Either immediately by causing them to lose their sense of direction and the consequence is to prevent their return to the hive, which causes it to weaken on a large scale.

More insidiously, the bee can bring pollen contaminated by chemicals back to the hive and the consequence will manifest itself in the medium term when feeding the larvae which will be poisoned. This will stop the development of the hive in the spring with the damaging consequences that one can imagine. Weakened hive, no nurse to take over, fewer foragers and collapse of the colony.
This cause is the most difficult to fight. the possibilities are:

  • sign petitions against pesticides
  • stop their use in gardens
  • set up your apiary in a region where intensive agriculture is absent or little practiced. look for healthy environments (non-sprayed orchards, gardens...).

Varroa

This mite, which has been present in beehives since the 1980s, is the second big problem for beekeepers. It reproduces very quickly in the hives where the bees pupate. It was introduced to Europe from Asia where it lives on the Apis Cerana.



The mite feeds on the hemolymph (fluid similar to blood) of the bee. As a result, it weakens the insect and above all acts as a gateway for viruses present in the colony.

The fight against varroa is difficult. The use of acaricide is only possible after harvesting the honey to avoid contaminating it with the products used. Read this post to know how to get rid of Varroa

The Asian hornet

The Asian hornet is an invasive species. It consumes flies and bees especially in late summer and as such is a ruthless predator for bees which are unable to defend themselves.
The Asian hornet, scientifically named Vespa velutina nigrothorax, builds paper nests high in trees and is difficult to see and destroy. At the end of the season, the colony disappears. They are founding queens who start the cycle again the following spring.

The small hive beetle

Its scientific name is Aethina tumida. It is a dark colored beetle 5-7 mm long. It varies from dark brown to black. They lay eggs in the hive which give birth to 1 cm thick creamy white larvae that feed on honey, pollen and bee larvae. These larvae dig galleries in the wax and cause significant damage. The excrements left by the larvae cause fermentation.
The larvae leave the hive and bury themselves to form a chrysalis. Their movement can be several meters before finding a suitable ground to bury themselves up to 11 inches in the ground.
Adult beetles can fly for several miles and infect other apiaries.

Wax moth

There are two species: the lesser wax moth and the large one. It has the appearance of a butterfly with rather dull light brown wings.



The wax moth enters the hives where it lays eggs which will give birth to larvae which develop in the wax and dig tunnels. The larvae also weave a net. Normally, a healthy colony manages to get rid of the wax moth.

Mice

During the winter, it happens that a mouse enters the hive and makes its nest in the bottom. It doesn't do a lot of damage but it bothers the bees.

It is easy to guard against rodents by installing the entrance reduction on the hive during the bad season.

woodpeckers

This problem is more annoying because the woodpeckers make holes in the hive which is thus no longer isolated. Woodpeckers attack the hive to eat bees and larvae.


If you see this kind of attack, there is only one solution to prevent woodpeckers from reaching the hives. Either by means of a covered apiary or by protection by metal nets.


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