Anne has been keeping bees for a few years now.
In our first year we got two hives - a crazy, productive hive and a more sedate, ordered hive - we dubbed the crazy hive "The Loony Lefties" and the ordered hive "The Righteous Sisters" based on their behaviour and location.
The Righteous Sisters didn't survive the first winter and we lost both hives in the second winter - we believe because they were weakened by a parasite that has infected bees in Europe and America. It is like a bees' tick, the Varroa mite.
Last year, bee colonies began to mysteriously decline - they described it as honey bee colony depopulation syndrome and it seems that this, too, is the work of a parasite.
ScienceDaily (2009-04-14) have published an article on a discovery and cure in Europe that offers some hope: For the first time, scientists have isolated a parasite from professional apiaries suffering from honey bee colony depopulation syndrome. They then went on to treat the infection with complete success.
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