Master Beekeeper – Dr Caroline Beardsmore

I have always enjoyed natural history from
being a small child, and I have enjoyed watching bees.
And one I just thought “Yes I would really like to find out more about bees and bee keeping”.
It is a wonderful hobby. How a colony of bees operates is absolutely
fascinating. How they build the wax, how they prepare to
swarm if they are planning to do that. and about 2-3 years ago I decided to incorporate
my bee keeping hobby in my professional role. I offer final year undergraduate students
an analytical project. The question that I posed them was, ‘Why is
Varroa such a threat to honey bees?’ now varroa is a parasitic mite, it’s native
target is an Asian bee, but it jumped to work with or to parasitises our European honey
bees. Varroa is a nasty little thing. As well as
parasitising the bees and the brood, they will weaken the whole colony, so the colony
is much more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections, and a combination of all
that can lead to the death of the colony. So it is important as bee keepers that we
have strategies for keeping those mite levels really low so that we can keep strong health
colonies even though we will never totally eradicate the mite.

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