University of California
Beekeeping in San Diego County

Bee Health


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Photo Source: Ben DiAnna


Malnutrition and lack of water are frequent causes of apiary decline. Placing hives in locations near plentiful and diverse flowering plant resources will help bees naturally obtain the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Supplemental feeding of sugar and pollen substitutes may be necessary if natural floral resources are unavailable and may improve colony performance.

Ensure bees have plentiful and safe landing access to clean water sources, especially when temperatures are warmer and/or during periods of drought.


Pathogens and Pests

Honey bees can be attacked by numerous pathogens and pests (Genersch, 2010). The key to protect colonies from diseases and parasites is the ability to identify them correctly and treat them as early as possible to prevent their spread (Frazier et al., 2015).Brief descriptions of pests and diseases most commonly found to impact apiaries are provided on the Pathogens and Pests page.


Parasites and Pests


Photo Suorce: Ben DiAnna



Colony Collapse Disorder


Scientists have been studying the disappearance of honey bees, which is commonly called colony collapse disorder, and they have concluded that it is caused by a combination of factors (Barron 2015) including: virus diseases (Nosemaapis andNosemaceranae, and Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus), bacterial diseases (American and EuropeanFoulbrood), hive management practices, malnutrition, lack of genetic diversity,varroa mite (Varroadestructor) and tracheal mite (Acarapiswoodi) infections and the pesticides used to control mites, small hive beetles, and pesticide exposure (Staveley et al. 2013).

Many have implicated pesticides as the main cause of colony collapse disorder, particularly the neonicotinoid systemic insecticides, but malnutrition is emerging as one of the leading suspected culprits for declining bee populations, and for the plight of the honey bee in particular (Arien et al. 2015). Bees require nectar as a carbohydrate source, and pollen, which provides proteins, lipids, vitamins, and minerals. Malnutrition can be caused by low pollen quantity, quality, or diversity, which is common in agricultural monocultures. Malnourished bees have reduced queen and worker jelly, are more susceptible to virus infection (Alaux et al. 2010), are more vulnerable to pesticides, have a compromised immune system (Alaux et al. 2010), and have a shorter lifespan (Arien et al. 2015).

You can help!

Provide optimum nutrition by placing hives in locations with diverse floral resources nearby or by planting a pollinator attractive garden.


This site provides education and outreach to the public and beekeepers to protect public safety within San Diego County in response to the the new apiary ordinance. The site has been developed by the University of California Cooperative Extension - Farm and Home Advisers Office in San Diego County with support from the San Diego County - Agriculture, Weights, and Measures Office.

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