Beekeeping Threats

Tracheal Mites
Tracheal mites live in the breathing or tracheal tubes of adult honey bees and only move outside the host to infest other bees. Honey bee tracheal mites preferentially disperse to adult worker honey bees younger than three days of age (Gary et al. 1989) with female mites primarily dispersing at night (Pettis et al. 1992). In short-lived summer bees only one generation per host is possible but in the winter multiple generations may be reared in each bee (Pettis & Wilson 1996). Tracheal mites are associated with the death of honey bee colonies in the winter when greater than 30% of the bees within a colony are infested.
Varroa Mites
The Varroa Mite is a parasitic mite that can cause serious trouble to the beekeeper and their bees alike. This tick like mite, around the sized of a pinhead, does its damage by feeding on the bee's hemolymph fluid (akin to bee blood). Mites attach themselves to foraging workers in order to spread themselves from one hive to another. This mite can severally weaken a hive through vampirism like action and through the spread of disease and bacteria. An unchecked mite population will almost certainly lead to the premature death of a honeybee colony. Within the United States, Varroa Mites have the most pronounce impact when compared to other pests within the beekeeping industry. The Varroa Mite is also nearly completely responsible for the decimation and loss of feral honeybee colonies.
Small Hive Beetle
Wax moth
Beekeepers are on the watch for various diseases unique to honeybees, and harmless to humans. The following links will help you learn more about them:
Black Bears are a very common and pervasive threat to anyone trying to keep honeybees in our area. They are a problem in rural and urban settings. They adapt very well and we must also. A good bear fence is essential in order to maintain a successful bee yard. If not, your hard work and the bees work will just become a midnight snack for your friendly neighborhood black bear. You may find these links useful:
The spread of housing into formerly agricultural land and changes in farming practices have cut the amount of forage available to our bees. Urbanization has also increased public awareness. We must be good neighbors. The placement of hives in relation to property lines and right of ways and zoning ordinances must be considered. Water supplies must be provided where necessary so bees are not using your neighbors swimming pool, etc. Being a good neighbor is a great marketing tool. Share a bit of honey and a lot of education with your neighbors. Just as the bees share pollination with their gardens and flowers.
Africanized Bees
The so-called "killer bees" have created a sensationalism in the media. In some areas of the country, this negative publicity has stimulated local restrictions and ordinances on the hobbyist beekeeper. These bees or hybrids of them are being worked extensively in Central America and Mexico, but must be recognized for their highly aggressive nature. They also have other traits that are quite different from our European Bees. And as responsible beekeepers we must educate ourselves and be ready and willing to educate the public about them.