The more mites change, the more bees stay the same

In 1519, Spanish forces arrived in Mexico with weapons both seen and unseen. Between 1545 and 1550, up to 80 percent of the native Aztec population is believed to have been wiped out by disease, possibly a deadly form of salmonella.

In 1987, the varroa mite arrived in the United States with weapons both seen and unseen. In the most recent beekeeping season from 2015 to 2016, beekeepers lost an estimated 44 percent of their bees.

Coincidence? Maybe not. Some thoughts on the evolution of honey bees and varroa mites. Continue reading

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Song of the Queen Bee

Beekeeper Chris Hewitt

Chris Hewitt inspecting a frame in one of his many apiaries. This image is captured from an AT&T Real Stories video (click the image to see it).

I had the privileged of spending some time with beekeeper Chris Hewitt yesterday. Chris is in his 9th year of beekeeping, and one of 13 beekeepers in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Russian Breeders program. I have ordered two nucs from him for my Langstroth hives, and he invited me to visit his home apiary. We spoke and toured his house and yard for over two hours, and with his permission I thought I would share some of the highlights. Continue reading