Parasites rely on another organism for aspects of their feeding and/or reproduction. Whilst parasitism is a complex subject, the relationship between Western Honey Bees and Varroa mites is relatively simple. The mites live entirely with and on the bees. Food, reproduction and transport is all provided by bees. In this case, if the host dies so does the parasite.
Two out of the three established colonies in my roof top apiary are big and vigorous. Meanwhile Hive B has stayed small since it was caught as a swarm a year ago. Why?
I've been told that some colonies are smaller than others. The bees like it that way. I'm willing to trust the bees to right-size their colony but I'd like to understand what causes the differences. I wonder whether Varroa and its diseases might be an explanation.
Our bee group was alerted to a swarm in Golden Cross square right in the heart of Oxford yesterday. The swarm had mustered under an umbrella at eye level. We scrambled to find somebody to collect but someone from outside our group attended before we could get organised.