Stressors

While the Varroa mite is the number one enemy to honey bees, we know that many factors can affect a hive’s health. A lack of adequate forage, parasites and diseases, and overwintering are all stressors to colonies.

Apiculture in Transition

Apiculture in Transition

Apiculture in Transition

Every winter, a handful of honey bees across the United States pack their bags in search of warmer weather. Those who opt-out of taking the trip take a cue from the chill in the air and spend the winter huddled in their hives.

Varroa Mites

Varroa Mites

Varroa Mites

One of the honey bee's worst enemies is a tiny mite called Varroa destructor. It is small and yet highly dangerous: the Varroa destructor mite is the most destructive enemy of the Western honey bee (Apis mellifera). The parasite has now spread to almost all parts of the world – except for Australia – and is a serious threat to bee health.

Forage

Bee Foraging

Forage

Most experts agree the top two stressors affecting honey bees are enemy #1, the Varroa mite, and lack of adequate nutrition and forage. Due to a variety of factors, pollinator forage areas in the U.S. are shrinking, and the habitat that does exist often doesn’t have the diversity pollinators need to thrive.

Mites and Diseases

Mites and Diseases

Mites and Diseases

Anyone who knows me will not be shocked to learn that I am not a gambler. Just the thought of placing a bet on a high stakes game in Las Vegas is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. This probably has less to do with my being a spendthrift (although some might wish to argue that point) and more to do with my discomfort in being unable to predict the unpredictable. After all, relying on random chance is not a good prerequisite for any scientist, particularly one involved in honey bee research.