Bee careful out there – a parasitic marauder is nearly at our shores

September 2, 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.

The biggest pest threat is from a pinhead-sized parasite, Varroa destructor, an oval-shaped, reddish-brown mite that sucks the blood from bees and inflicts upon them a suite of virulent diseases, such as deformed-wing virus.

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