Enemies of the Honeybee

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During the last year, we lost 50% of the honeybees across the United States. The honeybee’s life is surely not an easy one. There are many problems that the honeybee faces on a daily bases.


The number one killer of the honeybee, are mites. There are two kinds of mites, the Varroa Mite and the Tracheal Mite.

Varroa Mite

The Varroa mite is a small, red, parasite that attaches itself to the honeybee feeding on it very much in the same way a tick does to a dog. Once in the beehive, some off these mites detach themselves from the bee and begin to breed within the hive where their young attach themselves to the honeybee larvae forming in the cells of the honeycomb. Once overcome with theses mites a hive will become too weak to survive.

Tracheal Mite

The Tracheal mite is another small parasite that uses the honeybee as its host. The tracheal mite does not attach itself to the honeybee like the varroa mite does but instead, gets into the bee’s trachea where it breeds. As more of these mites are born they begin to clog the trachea of the bee which eventually dies of suffocation.


As we all know, bears love honey. There’s something else in a beehive that they love as well and that’s the brood. The brood is the larvae of the bees which are forming in the cells of the honeycomb. These larvae are high in protein and make quite a tasty snack for the bear. Because bears have no dining etiquette, they will just tear a hive, leaving it totally destroyed. They will usually destroy several hives in a bee yard in one evening.


Another animal that loves to invade beehives, are skunks. Skunks approach the situation in a different manner though. Skunks actually like to eat the bees themselves. During the night, a skunk will paw at the entrance of a beehive. As the bees come out of the hive to see what’s going on, the skunk eats them.


Spiders also love to eat honeybees. Spiders will often build their webs on or around beehives and as the bees are flying in they become trapped in the web. The spider then runs down and wraps up the poor bee to have as a future dinner.

Wax Moths & Wax Worms

Wax moths fly into a beehive to lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the moth larvae which are known as wax worms begin to eat through the honeycomb leaving a trail of webbing. This destroys the honeycomb and eventually kills off the colony of bees.

Hive beetles

Hive beetles will get into a beehive where they too will begin to breed. Before long, the hive becomes overrun with these beetles and the honeybees die off or are forced to leave their hive in search of a new home.


As with most of nature, humans are always an enemy. Many honeybees die from insecticides. People are also destroying the habitat of the honeybee by destroying the flowers, fields, and forests that the honeybees depend on for their nectar.