Margo, our One-Block Diet editor, told me to write something morecheerful about bees. Something cheerful because, well, it seems likeit's just always bad news in the apiary. Ants, mites, small hivebeetles. We've battled them all. And now we’ve lost our top bar hiveCalifia to what appears to be American Foul Brood (AFB), poor ventilation, and a bad case of mites.

American foul brood is an awful,horrible bacterial disease that infectsbee larvae, and kills them in their cells. It’s such an infectiousdisease that, when found in the hive, all the comb, foundation, andframes have to be destroyed, and the inside of the hive“toasted” with a torch.

So here is something happier. I got to play with a propanetorch. That was fun.

It was NOT fun learning about AFB. It’s like a plague, killing baby bees in their cells, andis often spread from hive to hive by robbing bees and drifting bees (evidently beessometimes get confused, or decide to explore other hives, and often manage tosneak past guard bees.)

We’ve yet to examine Veronica; the weather’s been too rainy.So we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t discover any foulbrood inher. Treatment is complicated, and involves antibiotics, which make the honeyinedible to humans, and we’re right on the verge of a nectar flow (if it everstops raining.)

We’ve got a new package of bees coming soon to rehive one of the emptyhives. Now there’s a really cheerful thought.

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