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To Save Honey Bees We Need to Design A New Type of Hive

Honey bees are under extreme pressure. The number of honey bee colonies in the US has been declining at an average rate of almost 40% since 2010. The biggest contributor to this decline is viruses spread by a parasite, Varroa Destructor. But this isn’t a natural situation. The parasite is spread by beekeeping practices, including keeping the bees in conditions that are very different from their natural abode of tree hollows.  A few years ago, I demonstrated that the heat losses in man-made honey bee hives are many times greater than those in natural nests. Now, using engineering techniques more commonly found probing industrial problems, I’ve shown that the current design of man-made hives also creates lower humidity levels that favour the Varroa parasite.  Natural nests inside tree cavities create high humidity levels in which honey bees thrive and which prevent Varroa from breeding. So if we can redesign beekeeper hives to recreate these conditions, we could help stop the parasite and give honey bees a chance to recover.  Read more.....

 

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