Don Coats – DVM, is devoting much study and personal resource to using cost friendly light-microscopes for exploring the hidden world of the honey bee – and specifically, to certain diagnostics. Applying methods and concepts used in clinical practice of small animal medicine, he hopes to build on the existing knowledge base for evaluating honey bee health and survival. Introducing other beekeepers to the exciting, often basic, discoveries provided through microscopy has also been a rewarding activity over the past three years. Don and several associates have accumulated a substantial number of images and book material on pollen and bloom dissection, exploring the forage links to honey production. Nosema monitoring and its enigmatic relationship to hive health and performance has been his major focus this year. He and other beekeepers have developed a standardized assessment protocol that applies number values to measure hive health. Using this protocol, he has organized a “field seminar” program with other beekeepers, monitoring these key health indicators on a monthly schedule. Many of these ideas and methods are featured in his workshop presentations.
Native bee monitoring and creation of meadows with abundant forage and protective habitat has also become a major project with the help of many volunteers, Delaware Nature Society and Xerces Society.