Q&A with Honey Bee Researcher Michelle Flenniken

August 23, 2016

From: PLOS Blogs

On the eve of National Honey Bee Day, PLOS’s Jose Mendez interviews researcher Dr. Michelle Flenniken, Ph.D of Montana State University to discuss the role of viruses on honey bee health and the importance of honey bee colony losses in her new PLOS Pathogens Pearls Article, The Buzz About Honey Bee Viruses.


One of the biggest challenges to maintaining healthy bee colonies is mitigating mite (Varroa destructor) infestations. What can beekeepers do to reduce mite infestations?

Mites feed on developing bees as well as transmit viruses; together these effects often result in the death of the honey bee colony. Beekeepers reduce mite infestation by monitoring mite levels and either removing heavily infested colonies from apiaries or using mite control strategies, which include both organic and synthetic chemical treatments, when necessary. Recently, the Honey Bee Health Coalition developed a guide to effective Varroa sampling and control (see: http://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/varroa/).

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