Page 10 - Discover Summer 2022
P. 10


      he advises. “You could spend hundreds of               putting them into a container of some sort.
      dollars, and wind up with nothing to show              They would then release a single bee, which
      for it”. Even for the hobbyist, success can            would immediately begin flying in elliptical
      be elusive. Jim has a hive that has produced           patterns until it got its bearings, and then

      no surplus honey, and now appears to be in             fly off in one direction. Following the bee
      crisis.                                                would bring them closer to the hive, until
                                                             eventually they would lose sight of it. At that
         To make matters worse, Bill explains that
                                                             point, another bee would be released, and the
      there is an epidemic across the U.S., called
                                                             procedure would be repeated until the hive
      “Hive Collapse Syndrome”. It seems to be
                                                                                 was finally located. Fire
      affecting some 30
                                                                                  and other methods would
      percent of all hives
                                                                                  then be used to extract the
      in Virginia, and the
                                                                                  honey, destroying the hive
      root cause is not
                                                                                  in the process.
      yet clear. There is a
      strong suspicion that                                                          Eventually, people
      a combination of                                                            learned that once a hive
      diseases, parasites, and                                                    reaches a certain size, the
      pesticides is to blame.                                                     bees will split the colony,

      One theory suggests                                                         creating a new queen, and
      that an insecticide may                                                     sending the old queen out
      be causing the bees                                                         to establish a new hive,
      to lose their ability to                                                    taking about half of the
      navigate back to the                                                        colony along with her.
      hive, and thus they                                                         They learned to spot these
      never return home.                                                          large swarms of bees in
                                                                                  search of a new home, and
         Bees navigate using
                                                                                 capture them. They would
      infrared rays from the sun. Their innate
                                                             construct wooden hives, and introduce the
      sense of position is extremely accurate, to
                                                             bees into them. Nowadays, supply companies
      the point where if the hive were to be moved
                                                             sell bees, including new queens, along with
      more than just a few feet all at once, the bees
                                                             everything else that is needed to start and
      would not be able to find their way home.
                                                             maintain your hive.
      Move the hive a distance of more than
      about 5 miles overnight, and in the morning,              Typically, one would order 3 pounds of
      they will instinctively know that there has            bees (don’t ask), and a queen. She will be a

      been a change in position, and they will               new queen, and therefore unfamiliar to the
      automatically adjust.                                  other bees. A new queen hatches, and takes
                                                             a few “mating flights”, during which she may
         This knowledge was used by native
                                                             mate with as many as 10 to 15 male drones.
      Americans, who would go into a large field of
                                                             This enables her to store the necessary DNA
      flowers and catch as many bees as they could,

      8      Discover Smith Mountain Lake  SUMMER 2022
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