U.S. Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture for Valdosta Today:
For those in agriculture, harvest season is a busy time. Farmers nurture their fields all year, which leads to feeding our families and much of the world. Most growers involved in horticulture production know that their long hours are matched by the non-stop effort of bees, which remain a critical component of our nation’s food supply. The harvest of fruits, nuts, vegetables, ornamentals, and greenhouse crops are dependent upon the bee colonies in the United States.
September 12, 2014
by Bob Yirka
A small team of researchers with members from several countries has identified the oldest known instance of a type of mite fossil. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the team describes how they obtained a piece of amber with an ant embedded inside of it along with a mite that was attached to the ant’s head, and what their work revealed.
September 10, 2014
From: Crestville News Bulletin
By SHEILA DUNNING / University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension
Watch for changes on pesticide labels that contain pollinator-protection language.
Language to protect pollinators has always been on the label, but now the verbiage specifically prohibits foliar applications while bees or flowers are present, or until all petals have fallen off. Presence of all blooming plants, including weeds such as clover and Spanish needle, must be evaluated before treating with certain pesticides.
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September 8, 2014
From: The Journal of Experiemental Biology
R. Cervo1,*,C. Bruschini1,2,F. Cappa1,S. Meconcelli1,G. Pieraccini2,D. Pradella3 andS. Turillazzi1,2
Honeybee disappearance is one of the major environmental and economic challenges this century has to face. The ecto-parasitic mite Varroa destructor represents one of the main causes of the worldwide beehive losses. Although halting mite transmission among beehives is of primary importance to save honeybee colonies from further decline, the natural route used by mites to abandon a collapsing colony has not been extensively investigated so far. Here, we explored whether, with increasing mite abundance within the colony, mites change their behaviour to maximize the chances of leaving a highly infested colony. We show that, at low mite abundance, mites remain within the colony and promote their reproduction by riding nurses that they distinguish from foragers by different chemical cuticular signatures. When mite abundance increases, the chemical profile of nurses and foragers tends to overlap, promoting mite departure from exploited colonies by riding pollen foragers.
September 5, 2014
From: Entomology Today
by Entomology Today
Although they are really tiny, the Varroa mite has the potential to bring large parts of western agriculture to its knees by infesting and destroying honey bee hives. Varroa mites are the “single most detrimental pest of honey bees,” according to the USDA National Honey Bee Health Stakeholder Conference Steering Committee. In addition to attaching to and feeding on the bees, Varroa mites can spread harmful viruses and reduce bee immunity.
September 4, 2014
From: The Sydney Morning Herald
Honeybees lead something of a charmed life, as they flit about collecting nectar and pollen and producing oodles of honey and wax. But now, it seems, their carefree days might soon be numbered.
Populations of the four-winged insects, which pollinate the flowers of at least one-third of wild and farmed plants that humans eat, have decreased over the past three decades in the US and Britain. In part, this has been due to the prevalence of crop pesticides, the destruction of flower-rich habitats and pests.
September 2, 2014
From: University of Minnesota
By Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist, May 23, 2014
New research about bees and pesticides from Harvard University was recently published by Lu et al. in the Bulletin of Insectology. This research examined honey bee colonies that were fed high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contaminated with two common neonicotinoids (imidacloprid or clothianidin) during late summer and then observed in the following spring. Both the control colonies and the insecticide exposed colonies did well going into fall. While both sets of colonies then declined, the control colony numbers rebounded while the insecticide exposed colonies suffered large losses. The authors’ conclusions are that insecticides are the leading explanation for colony collapse disorder (CCD).
August 29, 2014
From: Asian Scientist
A study documents the spread of bee-killing viruses through New Zealand via the parasitic mite Varroa destructor.
AsianScientist (Aug. 27, 2014) – Honeybee colonies are dying at alarming rates worldwide. A variety of factors have been proposed to explain their decline, but the exact cause—and how bees can be saved—remains unclear. An article published in PLOS Pathogens examines the viral landscape in honeybee colonies in New Zealand after the recent arrival of the parasitic Varroa destructor mite.
August 27, 2014
From: Business Insider Australia
The Varroa mite, the main suspect behind the collapse of bee populations around the world, has landed in New Zealand.
And scientists are using the opportunity to monitor the effects of early infestation on bees and their viruses.
So far, they’ve found seven different bee virus species which have responded in a unique way to the arrival, establishment and persistence of the mite.
Varroa feeds on the blood of pupae and adult bees and can transmit several honeybee viruses with high efficiency.
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August 25, 2014
From: Australian Broadcasting Corporation/News
By Selina Bryan
The Tasmanian Government, CSIRO and beekeepers have teamed up to fight a pest that could threaten Australian food production.
The varroa destructor is a parasitic mite that attacks honey bees.
Around the world it has already reduced honey bee numbers and affected food crop pollination.
“Estimates from a report released last year have put [the potential cost] to at least about $1.3 billion over the next 30 years,” said Stephen Quarrell, an entomologist from the University of Tasmania.
August 21, 2014