The Compound microscope can magnify between 40 and 400 times (some even go to 1000 times). This is much more complicated as the object has to be prepared and set on a glass slide so that light can be shone through it.
A beekeeper uses it to see anatomical parts of a bee in much more detail. The most usual use is to check for ‘nosema’ which is a very small fungal microbe that lives in a bee’s gut and can weaken the bee and cause dysentery. Some very keen people use this microscope to examine pollen grains.
My Limited usage:
I attended a two day course on microscopy which covered the general uses for a beekeeper.
Since then I have used the compound one and built up a collection of pollen samples from the usual forage plants and trees and occasionally looked at pollen that the bees are bringing onto the hive. Pollen is very difficult to identify. I have checked samples of bee’s guts for nosema and I am now confident of my ability to do this.
I find the dissecting microscope much more interesting for general use and have often shown my grandchildren the magic of insects. I know how to dissect a bee, but do not have much experience. The main use for a beekeeper is the checking of the trachea for acarine mites. These now tend to be eliminated by the treatments we use for varroa and, consequently I have never found acarine in any of the samples I have examined.
I am expecting a quiet month to come, but who knows? We have a lecture on the 'Barrier Management System' by Julian Parker. New to me, so should be interesting. There is a good explanation of it on our programme.
Go to John's Blog main page