Queen honeybees with VSH trait aid in varroa control

February 14, 2014

From: Otago Daily Times

By Yvonne OHara

Queen honeybees with a spring-cleaning genetic trait are being used as a tool to control varroa mite rather than using miticides.

Plant and Food Research (PFR) scientists Michelle Taylor and Warren Yorston, of Ruakura, have been involved in the varroa¬†sensitive hygiene (VSH) honeybee breeding programme since 2003, in association with the National Beekeepers’ Association and with funding from the then Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s (now Ministry for Primary Industries) Sustainable Farming Fund.

Bees with the VSH trait are able to detect reproductive mites in brood cells and uncap the cells and remove the pest before recapping them.

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