Jonathan Garaas has learned a few things in three seasons of backyard beekeeping: Bees are fascinating. They're complicated. And keeping them alive is not easy.
Every two weeks, the Fargo, N.D., attorney opens the hives to check the bees and search for varroa mites, pests that suck the bees' blood and can transmit disease. If he sees too many of the pinhead-sized parasites, he applies a chemical treatment.