Sunday, January 3, 2010
Varroa Vector Viruses
While parasitic mites present a true health problem for the beekeeper, choosing a method of treating the mites is quite challenging. In less than two decades of aggressive treatment with “harsh” chemical miticides, the Varroa became largely resistant to the chemicals. Left untreated, honey bee colonies often weaken and die in a year or two. Breeding in genetically-passed behaviors is proving successful. Honey bees that can detect Varroa reproducing and growing inside capped brood cells remove the bee pupae along with the mites. Using a series of integrated pest management practices may reduce the number of Varroa in the colony. The use of “softer” mite treatments is proving promising. Viruses remain a strong suspect in the deadly mix of factors leading to Colony Collapse Disorder. Beekeepers need to periodically check colonies and measure Varroa levels.