How the Varroa Mite Co-Opts Honey Bee Behaviors to Its Own Advantage

From: Entomology Today

While the Varroa destructor mite is not highly mobile on its own, it takes advantage of the behaviors of honey bees in managed beekeeping settings to spread. In particular, bee colonies in close proximity to each other and less swarming allow mite populations to grow, according to new research. (Photo credit: Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org)

As the managed honey bee industry continues to grapple with significant annual colony losses, the Varroa destructor mite is emerging as the leading culprit. And, it turns out, the very nature of modern beekeeping may be giving the parasite the exact conditions it needs to spread nearly beyond control.

Leave a Comment May 12, 2017

Rep. Rodney Davis gets a closer look at pollinators during Champaign County visit

From: FarmWeekNow.com

Chairman of a U.S. House Ag subcommittee learns about honey bee threats and their impact on the food supply at the home of the ‘World’s Best Tasting Honey.’


U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, learns about Curtis Orchard’s award-winning honey from beekeeper Rachel Coventry. (Photo by Catrina Rawson)

Davis, R-Taylorville, visited Curtis Orchard in Champaign County to learn about pollinators, their habitats and the pests and diseases leading to their demise. Davis serves as chairman of a U.S. House Agriculture Committee subcommittee, which addresses pollinator issues, among other things.

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Leave a Comment May 11, 2017

How beekeepers help deadly parasites thrive

From: Cosmos Magazine

Modern beekeeping practices are contributing to commercial bee colony collapse. Andrew Masterson reports.

Deadly mite infestations considered a leading cause of the continuing collapse of the global commercial honey-bee industry are being abetted by modern bee-keeping practices, new research suggests.

The research, published in the journal Environmental Entomology, points the finger at the practices of siting commercial hives too close to each other, and of thwarting the bees’ swarming behavior, for creating conditions ideal for the rapid growth and spread of the parasitic Varroa mite.

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Leave a Comment May 10, 2017

Scientists say agriculture is good for honeybees

From: Michigan Farm News

While recent media reports have condemned a commonly used class of agricultural pesticides as detrimental to honeybee health, scientists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have found that the overall health of honeybee hives actually improves in the presence of agricultural production.

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Results indicated that hive health was positively correlated to the presence of agriculture. According to the study, colonies in a non-agricultural area struggled to find adequate food resources and produced fewer offspring.

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Leave a Comment May 10, 2017

USDA/ARS Scientists Discover How Varroa Mites Take Advantage of Managed Beekeeping practices

From: Phys.org

How Varroa mites take advantage of managed beekeeping practices

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“Beekeepers need to rethink Varroa control and treat Varroa as a migratory pest,” says Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Ph.D., research leader and location coordinator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service’s Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona, and lead author of the research.

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Leave a Comment May 9, 2017

Scientists find positive correlation between bee health and presence of agriculture

From: FarmingUK

Scientists have found that the overall health of bees improves in the presence of agricultural production.

The study, “Agricultural Landscape and Pesticide Effects on Honey Bee Biological Traits” published in the Journal of Economic Entomology and by the University of Tennessee, evaluated the impacts of row-crop agriculture, including the traditional use of pesticides, on honey bee health.

Results indicated that hive health was positively correlated to the presence of agriculture.

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Leave a Comment May 8, 2017

This beekeeper is rescuing bees with deep learning and an iPhone

From: TechCrunch

by

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Varroa mites are a nightmare for bees and their keepers. They attach themselves to bees and quite literally suck the life out of them. Left unchecked, they can destroy entire colonies. The trick is that bees need continuous monitoring, and traditional methods of identifying Varroa are time-consuming. Varroa multiply exponentially and they can only be stopped if they’re caught early.

This is where the group’s machine learning proficiency comes into play. Because the red mites contrast strongly against the back of the bees, an object recognition algorithm can be used to quickly check batches of bee images for the pests.

Leave a Comment May 5, 2017

It’s the Varroa, not the Neonics: What Bell Nursery Learned About Bees While Keeping Beehives

From: Greenhouse Grower

Find Out What Bell Nursery Learned About Bees While Keeping Beehives

By:

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Over a two-year period, we had the hives tested for a wide array of chemicals. No neonicotinoids were found in any samples. Traces of two chemicals, not found at our facility, were found at such low levels at parts per billion there could be no impact.

Leave a Comment May 4, 2017

EPA is Developing Metrics to Measure to State/Tribal Managed Pollinator Protection Plans (MP3)

EPA officials stated that the agency will have metrics for its MP3 program. The agency has an intensive project underway to develop the metrics via its Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC). The PPDC established a Pollinator Protection Plan Metrics Workgroup in October 2016. The Workgroup, which has met monthly since its inception, presented its initial recommendations to the full PPDC today. The MP3 Metrics Workgroup is expected to present its final recommendation to the PPDC in November 2017.

Leave a Comment May 3, 2017

Scientists say agriculture is good for honey bees

Editor’s Note: The study, “Agricultural Landscape and Pesticide Effects on Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Biological Traits,” by Alburaki M1, Steckel SJ1, Williams MT1, Skinner JA2, Tarpy DR3, Meikle WG4, Adamczyk J5, Stewart SD1 is available here.

From: Phys.org

While recent media reports have condemned a commonly used agricultural pesticide as detrimental to honey bee health, scientists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have found that the overall health of honey bee hives actually improves in the presence of agricultural production.

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Leave a Comment May 2, 2017

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