Researchers from the University of Udine (Italy) discover new findings indicating that varroa mites reduce the ability of bees to effectively thermo regulate their body temperature, making them more vulnerable to low temperatures.
In addition, they found that the sugar intake of parasitized bees was significantly reduced compared to uninfected bees, calling this phenomenon “varroa-induced anorexia”. This confirms that varroa infestation directly affects the metabolism of bees.
HOW CAN WE HELP THEM?
- Varroa control and treatment. As we always say, first of all, you have to see what level of varroa you have at all times to control the degree of infestation of the apiary. (look at our previous article about how to calculate Varoa levels)
- Nutrition. Watch out for seasonal changes to identify when there are periods of low intake – anticipate periods of lack of pollen and honey. Monitor your colonies, watch their activity and see what they are collecting. EG in the summer, if it’s been hot for several days and the bees are just congregating at the entrance, it could very well be a that it is too hot for plants to produce pollen or nectar (normally over 35 degrees C). Also, in Winter or cooling months, if the temperatures are consistently below 15 Degrees C, plants will stop producing vital nutrition for the Bees. So be aware of the stores that each colony has and be prepared to intervene and feed them. Remember, you have a responsibility to all animals and creatures in your care.
- Help hive thermo regulation. The more facilities and thermal insulation we provide to the hives, the less energy the bees will use to regulate the internal temperature of the hives.
For this we can provide additional thermal insulators for the lid and sides. (add extra layers of insulation)
In addition, consider, reducing the inner cavity of the hive if required (depends on colony size) since this allows the bees to manage their temperatures more easily, use less resources and provides them with a head start for the next season.
Related Bee Facts
What is thermoregulation in bees?
Thermoregulation is accomplished by balancing heat gain and heat loss via the following routes: convection, evaporation, and metabolic heat production. There appears to be a diversity of thermoregulatory mechanisms employed during flight among bee species
How much temperature is maintained in a bee colony?
Temperature is a critical factor in colony health and is actively managed by A. mellifera using heating and cooling behaviours to maintain a stable nest temperature close to the ideal of 35°C, and within the range 32–36°C
What is the body temperature of a bee?
Mean thorax temperature was 34.2–35.1°C during examination of bees but higher during fights with wasps (37°C) or attack of humans (38.6°C). They usually cooled down when examining bees whereas examinees often heated up during prolonged interceptions (maximum >47°C).