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  • itty bitty bee
    sitting on my knee
    wouldn’t you rather be
    up in the avocado tree?

    orange blossoms and freesia
    cry sweetly to you
    as upon the fallen leaf
    you slow the sting of passing.

    • • • • •

    Varroa mites, originally parasites of Asian honey bee, Apis cerana, were first discovered in the U.S. in Wisconsin in 1987. The European honey bees we use in the U.S. have little resistance to this pest. The larger asian bees have developed a grooming behavior that helps them to control the parasite population.

    The mites breed on the bee larva and cause disfiguration of the development of wings. The mites burrow into the blood of the bee and from one burrow as many as 12 mites can feed and survive. Although the mites on the backs of bees are large enough to see with the naked eye they are easily overlooked. Varroa mites have nearly wiped out the wild honey bee populations that live in hollow trees and other cavities, and unless beekeepers hives are treated to control mites they too will eventually weaken and die.

    A home solution, found on the web, involves dousing the bees with powdered sugar through a sifter. It’s said that the powdered sugar prevents the mites larva and mites from being able to attach to the bee.
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