In this article I unveil some of the most common diseases & pests that can pose a threat to your colonies so that you can recognise and identify them quickly and be able to deal with them accordingly.
However, some can be much more toxic than the others which makes it important that an aspiring beekeeper must be knowledgeable to keep them at bay.
All good & excellent beekeepers inspect their beehives and colonies regularly for these factors and they don't just assume that the drop in honey production or a decline in bee population is attributed to the above factors only.
Pesticides and nutritional deficiency can be other contributing reasons, so it's essential that sufficient knowledge is attained to be able to differentiate which is what and how to deal with it.
Someone who's still new to beekeeping might have difficulty identifying diseases so it's highly advisable that a newbie is registered with a local beekeepers association so they can get help with diagnosis of diseases or pest problems if they encounter some.
The bee's lifecycle can be divided into two phases which is the larval phase and the adult phase and each phase is susceptible to its own set diseases.
Diseases European Foul Brood:-Is caused by bacterium melissococcus plutonius, what happens is that the bacteria feeds on food that's in the gut of the larval starving it to death.
This disease can be detected by unnatural position of the larval and color changes, which is from the pearly white (this indicates health) to a creamy or brown color.
American Foul Brood:- This disease is caused by spore forming bacterium larvae, whereby the brood food is contaminated.
Once contaminated they develop into a bacterium that penetrates the gut wall then multiply within the tissues of the larval causing the larvae to die from blood poisoning.
It affects the bee larvae only but highly contagious and deadly to the brood.
Chalk Brood:- Is a disease that is predominantly caused by the fungus ascophaera apis and it's apparent in spring.
This kind of disease is common with expanding colonies and it's still unclear what causes but it can be attributed to high Carbon dioxide levels in the nest if it's not properly ventilated or pollen deficiencies.
Nosima Apis:- It's a disease found in bees known as Nosema, a spore forming protozoa it able to multiply in the bees stomach, causing digestion of pollen to be impaired, the end result is dead bees.
Pests & Parasites There are various pests that can affect your hives from functioning optimally so in this article I'm going to touch base on a few.
Wax Moth:- These are not too much trouble for the honey bees but if during the destruction of the moth larvae the combs spill, they can contaminate stored honey and possibly kill bee larvae.
Most developed hives don't need treatment to control wax moths as the bees are able to kill & clean out the dead moth larvae and webs.
Hive Beetle:- They are small dark beetles that live in beehives, Should your hive be infested with these and they go unabated they can take over the colony and drive out your bees.
Tracheal Mite:- Are microscopic parasites that often occupy the bee's windpipe causing the bees to be exhausted most of the time.
The most obvious signs of this are an increased number in crawling bees outside the hive.
For effective control menthol crystals can be used, vegetable oil and sugar patties are also able to remedy the condition drastically reducing the parasites ability to reproduce.
Varroa Mites:- This parasite has reached epidemic levels and it's common in new colonies.
If an infected colony is not treated it will be wiped out within three years and delayed treatment of these parasites gives them the ability to build up resistance to any form of treatment that's applied in the future.
These are some of the challenges that a new colony can face, unfortunate I'm able to cover everything in a single article but if you click on the links below you can have access to more detailed information and get to download a step-by-step course to get you in your way to becoming a master beekeeper..