Chance Discovery Can Destroy The Honeybee’s Worst Enemy


V. destructor on a honeybee hostUSDA

❝ It isn’t just pesticides and the destruction of habitat that’s making the world’s honeybees very unhappy. One of the biggest threats is Varroa destructor, a disease-spreading parasite that is just as villainous as its name suggests.

❝ Through a chance discovery, scientists from the University of Hohenheim have stumbled on a new method of wiping out this parasitic pest without harming the bees.

The US Department of Agriculture views the Varroa mite as “the major factor underlying colony loss in the US and other countries.” After infiltrating a colony, the mites begin to feed on the bodily fluids of honeybees and their larvae. Along with weakening the bees, the mites also spread viruses, such as deformed wing virus, and can quickly wipe out entire colonies…

❝ “Lithium chloride can be used to feed bees in sugar water. In our experiments, even small amounts of saline solution were enough to kill the mites sitting on the bees within a few days – without side effects for the bees,” Dr Peter Rosenkranz, head of the German State Institute of Apiculture…

RTFA for hope and diligence, science applied to sensible ends.

Thanks, smartalix

3 thoughts on “Chance Discovery Can Destroy The Honeybee’s Worst Enemy

  1. Mike says:

    New Mexico is losing honeybees at an alarming rate, and this winter has local beekeepers even more worried. Since it’s been warmer than usual, the bees have remained active, which makes them eat more. However, when they go out foraging, there isn’t any food and they’re dying.
    “The bees were eating food, the honey in their hives too fast so local beekeepers are very worried about their hives this winter,” said Jessie Brown, President of the New Mexico Beekeepers Association. Brown says the United States lost one-third of its honeybees last winter, and so did New Mexico. http://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/a-lot-to-worry-about-bees/4760304/
    “Native bees: In the wilds of Taos, scientific discoveries abound” http://www.taosnews.com/stories/native-bees-taos-scientific-discoveries-abound,43041 New Mexico has about a fourth of the bees found on the continent, or 1,000 species. And Taos County — though official databases list fewer than 40 species — is likely home to at least 400 species of bees. We know next to nothing about them,” however, said Lillis Urban, a botanist and ecologist with the Bureau of Land Management, the agency behind Olivia Messinger Carrila’s ongoing foundational survey of native bees in the Río Grande del Norte National Monument, which is the first major survey of native bees in Northern New Mexico.

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