Vermont State Apiculturalist Steve Parise passes along this interesting look at a new method of controlling Varroa mites.
Fungus Fights Varroa in a Two-Pronged Attack
(October 22, 2012) – Guelph, ON
A fungus normally used to control insect pests may help honey bees protect themselves from a destructive mite by both infecting the mites and preventing suppression of the bee immune system, says a team of bee researchers at the University of Guelph.
The Varroa mite is a devastating bee pathogen that, if left untreated, can kill an entire honey bee colony. Beekeepers typically treat their colonies with miticides to control the mites, but resistance to these chemicals has become widespread. The Varroa mite is believed to be a leading factor in the high winter mortality experienced in Canadian bee colonies in recent years. “Beekeepers have an urgent need for effective, bee-friendly Varroa treatments. Naturally-occurring entomopathogenic fungi could be an effective, biologically-based control method. They are non-toxic to humans and can be mass-cultured,” explains Mollah Md. Hamiduzzaman, a post-doctoral researcher in the School of Environmental Sciences and lead author of the study.