Enemy Number One
In the last 15+ years beekeepers faced new pesticides, pathogens, parasites, and declining forage in agricultural landscapes. But there is one outsized contributor to honey bee decline: The invasive mite, Varroa destructor. Varroa mites have been declared enemy number one by beekeepers around the world for its role in annual colony collapse. These tiny mites, “like ticks for bees” spread devastating viruses while parasitizing developing pupae and adult bees. Varroa mites are the doom of many colonies weakened by pesticides or lack of adequate forage. Varroa mites are undoubtably the biggest problem in beekeeping. Thanks in large part to this invasive mite, annual colony losses in the US regularly exceeded 30%-40% and even the most knowledgeable beekeepers struggle to keep their colonies healthy. Beekeepers are desperately seeking a new, innovative solution to combat the honeybee’s enemy number one: Varroa.