Bee Pest and Diseases: The Beekeepers Enemies
As a beekeeper, your worst enemies are the pests and disease organisms that take residence in
the beehives. Many unsuspecting beekeepers have risked losing bees and consequently honey crop to these enemies.
You don't want to be like any of them. As with anything, it is best to take on preventive measures, and it starts
with knowing what exactly these enemies are.
Following are some of the most common pests and bee diseases. Regularly inspect your beehives and notice if the
bees show any symptom of pest infestation or diseases.
American Foulbrood (AFB)
AFB, a bacterial disease, affects larvae and pupae and causes them to turn from white to dark brown. AFB-infected
larvae don't recover from the disease and eventually die after they are capped. When they die, the blood becomes
sinewy and the cappings are pushed inwardly. The AFB-causing bacteria create spores and are spread by bees and
infected beekeeping equipment. AFB can be prevented by medicating the bees with TerramycinÝ.
European Foulbrood (EFB)
EFB is another bacterial disease affecting the larvae. When infected, the larvae turn into creamy white and sink
into the depth of the cell. Unlike those with AFB, EFB-infected larvae don't die and usually recover. TerramycinÝ
also effectively prevents EFB.
These microscopic mites usually infest the young bees. Infested bees are noticeably weak and are seen crawling
around the hive entrance. Tracheal mites are deadly because when they get into the trachea, they suck blood out of
the trachea wall and cause air blockage. Infestation can be treated with MiticurÝ.
Adult bees and the brood alike fall prey to varroa mites. Female mites suck blood from adult bees and get into the
blood cells where they produce young mites that eventually suck blood from the brood. Varroa mites are also fatal
to the colony. Within three to four years of infestation, bees die if left untreated. ApistanÝ is used to treat
These moths are common in combs. Although they don't cause death, they prove to be a big nuisance to the colony.
Their larvae cause great damage by entering into the combs, allowing them to feed on cell debris and leaving feces.
Bees can fend their colony from moths, so if there is an infestation, it could be caused by something more serious.
Usually, queen loss encourages moth infestation. Inspect the hives to see what the trigger could be.