The global decrease in bee populations has been in the news for several years now. During the past fifteen years experts all around the world have been in a panic over the dwindling global bee population. Once data became available that confirmed the population decrease, researchers scrambled to find the cause. After a period of investigation, the dwindling bee population crisis was labeled as a “colony collapse disorder” by experts. However, the causes of colony collapse disorder cannot be determined with certainty in this case. Many experts now believe that the crisis occured due to many factors working together. One significant factor that has been driving down bee populations is disease. Bees commonly contract diseases through the mites that infest their bodies. These mites also weaken the immune systems of bees. Luckily, researchers may have developed a new method that keeps mites off of bees.
Any beekeeper can tell you that varroa mites pose serious problems during the process of raising bees. Not only do these mites weaken the bees’ immune systems and transmit diseases, but they also rob bees of their nutrients. Of course there does exists a few treatments that are supposed to keep mites off of bees, but these treatments are typically only effective for three days and the treatments only kill varroa mites on adult bees. Also, most bees live in broods that are sealed off by a wax cap. These bees never even come into contact with the mite treatments, which causes bees to hatch while already afflicted with mites. The solution to all of this involves the miracle of refrigeration.
Researchers found that keeping bees refrigerated increases the efficacy of mite treatments. Last August researchers placed two hundred bees into a refrigerator. When bee colonies are refrigerated the queen stops producing eggs, which means the brood remains uncapped when the colonies are removed from refrigeration. Since the cap to the brood remained open, researchers were able to apply mite treatments that reached every member of the brood. After just one single mite treatment, the refrigerated bee colony sprung back to life with a significantly decreased rate of mite infection.
Do you think that more beekeepers will attempt this refrigeration method?
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