Living With Varroa Mite

Hives boxes

Bee Hive boxes

Modern beekeeping developed in the absence of Varroa Mite, a parasite of honey bees that invaded North America in the late 20th century. Varroa mites are widespread and are an important factor in loss of bee colonies. The parasites feed on the fluids of larvae, pupae and adults, weakening the bees and are vectors for viruses and other pathogens. Clustering of hives, as is the modern practice, facilitates the spread of Varroa mites among hives. Suppressing swarming allows mite populations to increase. In the wild, mite free swarms of bees can establish new colonies that can stay mite free in isolation of other honey bee colonies. Moving bees from around North America to a single region in California for almond pollination can facilitate spread of both mites and disease across the continent. These practices are all problematic for the maintenance of colony health. Preventing colony loss will not be easy if practices to maintain colony health are not economical. A new model needs to evolve.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Invasive Species, Pest Management, Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Varroa Mite

  1. Pingback: Living With Varroa Mite – Entomo Planet

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