Microscopes and beekeeping?

Microscopes can be used in connection with several areas of beekeeping.

Disease diagnosis

This is probably the best known use of microscopes in connection with beekeeping. Some bee diseases can only be positively diagnosed with the aid of a microscope. Both Acarine and Nosema need microscopy to be positively diagnosed. With training, the foul broods can also be diagnosed in this way.

Pollen analysis

A microscope can be used to identify pollen in honeybee pollen loads and in honey itself. This can help to identify what the bees are foraging on and the floral source of honey collected earlier in the season.

Honeybee anatomy

The in-depth study of honeybee anatomy reveals some amazing adaptations of the bee’s structure which have evolved to aid the bee in it’s daily tasks.

Types of microscope

Two types of optical microscope are commonly used in connection with beekeeping. The compound microscope provides magnifications typically in the range x40 – x1000 and is used for pollen analysis and diagnosis of nosema and the foul broods. The dissection microscope typically provides magnification in the range x10 to x40 and is used for investigation of honeybee anatomy and diagnosis of acarine disease.

Choosing a compound microscope

Choosing a dissection microscope

Adjusting the compound microscope

Graticule calibration