Archives – April, 2017

Mite-Resistant Russian Honey Bees Might Not Prevent Varroa Infestations

From: Entomology Today

By Meredith Swett Walker


A study published in March in the Journal of Economic Entomology examines whether honey bees specially bred to be “mite-resistant” might be the solution to Varroa infestations. Researchers at the USDA’s Carl Hayden Bee Research Center compared Varroa mite populations in hives of the Russian honey bee, a stock of the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) that has been selected (or bred) for its resistance to Varroa, with mite populations in hives of honey bees that have not been selected for mite-resistance. Previous studies have shown that Russian bees have lower levels of Varroa infestation than do unselected lines of European honey bees. This study measured mite populations in the hives, but it also measured the numbers of foraging worker bees with mites on them that went in and out of hives—a variable that proved to be crucial.

Leave a Comment April 14, 2017

Hobbyist beekeeping practices and rejection of chemical treatments major driver of bee-killing Varroa mites and disease

From: Genetic Literacy Project

Hobby beekeeping is very common. A European Bee Health Report found that in many countries, the majority of beekeepers pursue the activity as a hobby. … They note that improving expertise and education are likely good ways to improve honey bee health.

They may be on to something. In fact, in the past months two scientific publications – a large European surveillance study, and an essay in Journal of Economic Entomology – turn the spotlight on bee management, holding handling factors, like the lack of appropriate treatment, largely accountable for the spread of bee mites and diseases.

Leave a Comment April 13, 2017

Want to keep Newfoundland and Labrador bees healthy? Stop imports, says beekeepers group

From: Yahoo News


“P.E.I. was Varroa Mite-free up until a few years ago when a cottager who had a place in Ontario bought his bees from Ontario,” she said.

“Within a year they had Varroa Mite across the entire province.”

Read Complete Article


Leave a Comment April 12, 2017

Why Human Behavior is Hurting Honey Bees

From: Entomology Today
The Varroa destructor mite (shown above attached to bee) is a widespread parasite of European honey bees (Apis mellifera). Poor management practices have enabled the spread of V. destructor and other bee pathogens, an Australian bee researcher argues. (Photo credit: Stephen Ausmus, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

In the search for answers to the complex health problems and colony losses experienced by honey bees in recent years, it may be time for professionals and hobbyists in the beekeeping industry to look in the mirror.

Leave a Comment April 11, 2017

Local bee population continues to decline as problems with mites mount (Montgomery County, MD)

From: The Sentinel

Suzanne Pollak


When mites go undetected, they can destroy a whole colony, and a backyard beekeeper may not even know what happened. And, because these mites can travel up to 2 miles, beekeepers may eradicate the mite from their yards, only to find them right back there again, van Engelsdorp said.

After someone treats a hive, “a month later, they are through the roof,” he said of the number of mites.

Read Complete Article

Leave a Comment April 10, 2017

Randy Oliver’s Scientific Beekeeping Newsletter

From: Newsletter

By Randy Oliver


I’ve posted four new articles.  The first is about moving forward on breeding for mite resistant bees–it’s been 30 years since varroa arrived, and most beekeepers are still dealing with it with “flyswatters and bandaids.”
Striking a Deal with Varroa

I then move on to how beekeepers can help move us toward using naturally mite-resistant stock.  The first article is geared for larger-scale producers; the second to sideliners and recreational beekeepers.
Bee Breeding for Dummies


Sign Up for Scientific Beekeeping Newsletter


Leave a Comment April 7, 2017

Hope for native bees blooms as Varroa mite looms (Australia)

From: Good Fruit & Vegetables

Mike Foley

A BIG threat to the profitability of pollination dependent crops is heading Down Under, but a there’s a potential fix on hand which could deliver wins all round for farmers, the environment and the community.

Feral European honey bees donate no paltry amount of pollination to Australian growers, and all at no cost. Now, Varroa mite, a deadly international invader threatens to derail the free service.

Read Complete Article

Leave a Comment April 6, 2017

Montana State University scientist investigates what’s killing bees

Editor’s Note: For more information on the crucial role of scientists in saving bees and supporting agriculture, see here, here and here.

From: Bozeman Daily Chronicle


A parasitic mite with the apt name “varroa destructor” came to North America from Asia in the 1980s and decimated bee populations, she said. Like a tick, the mite sucks the bees’ equivalent of blood and spreads viruses.


The National Science Foundation just awarded Flenniken, 41, a five-year Career Grant of more than $500,000 to support her research on the “Honey Bee Antiviral Defense Network.”

Leave a Comment April 5, 2017

Scientists challenge Center for Biological Diversity report claiming wild bees near extinction

From: Genetic Literacy Project


Part of what made the report so unusual was that it was not written by a team of bee specialists or by independent entomologists, and it excluded any input or even a review from wild bee experts. Instead, this “comprehensive review of all literature” was written by a single author with no training or background in entomology.


“This assessment does not state methods or data sources; not currently credible,” noted Emily May, a pollinator conservation specialist at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the country’s premier bee research institution.

Leave a Comment April 4, 2017

York County [PA] bee hives sweetened by STEM experiment


York Daily Record

A team of Harrisburg-area students brought powdered sugar and an infrared camera to a York County beekeeper’s hives in hopes of dislodging and counting varroa mites. Chris Dunn, York Daily Record


The students, ranging from fourth through ninth grades, are competing in FIRST LEGO League, a STEM-driven challenge for which they identify and try to solve a real-world problem involving animals. After researching varroa mites, which plague bee colonies, the team hypothesized that forcing powdered sugar into a bee hive would irritate the mites off the honeybees and that they could use an infrared camera to detect displaced mites on the bee hive’s bottom board.

Leave a Comment April 3, 2017

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