Mites transmitting viruses that kill bee colonies

June 1, 2017

From: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Don Hopey

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“Absolutely mites may have played a role. It’s agreed nationwide that varroa mites are the number one enemy for bee loss,” said Steve Repasky, president of the state beekeepers group, who has 125 hives and has been a keeper for 30 years. “We had healthy bees before the mite arrived. They’re are transmitting 25 different diseases and viruses.”

Mite-related colony loss began 30 years ago when the varroa mite made its first appearance in the U.S. Over the next decade, the mite, along with a cocktail of viruses, nutritional deficiencies, agricultural and lawn pesticides and habitat loss, wiped out most of the wild bee colonies in much of the U.S., and contributed to the number of managed honey bee colonies in the state dropping from about 75,000 in 1988 to under 30,000 in 2002.

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