Fashionable Watches

Varroa Mites: Why Bees are Dying

Varroa Mites: Why Bees are Dying

Honey bees fly long distances in their
search for food. In their short lives, they cover some 1,200 kilometres. They
collect pollen and nectar for their hive and, while doing so, also pollinate many
crops. In this way, they help us produce sufficient quantities of food. But honey
bees are under threat from a number of different factors, including diseases,
pests, mistakes in the work of farmers and beekeepers and even the weather. One
tiny parasitic pest is a particularly major threat: the varroa mite. Once
infected with this parasite, a colony will die within one to three years if
the beekeeper does not look after it. Once it has penetrated the beehive, the varroa
mite multiplies in the brood cells where the queen has laid her eggs. Shortly
before the worker bees cap the brood cells, the female varroa mites slip in
and migrate to the floor of the cell. They use their mouth parts to suck a
blood-like fluid from the bee larvae and then lay their eggs in the brood cell.
The young varroa mites likewise feed on the bee larvae. By the
time the bee hatches, it is weakened, often infected with viruses and has a
shortened lifespan.The varroa mite can also be carried by the bee into other
bee hives, for example, if the bee gets lost or steals honey. To prevent this, the
parasites have to be combatted after the last honey harvest. For example, the
beekeeper can suspend plastic strips between the brood cells. These strips are
treated with a special active substance that sticks to the legs of the bees. In
this way, they distribute it throughout the hive. When Varroa mites come into
contact with the active substance, they die and drop off. The beekeeper can see
that the treatment was successful and the bees are well-prepared
for the next winter.

Reader Comments

  1. We might know if those varroa mites are flower defense mechanisms, however how the hives are treated with that flat-like substance that helps fight off this mites so that the bees feel more at ease, and helps the hive be less contaminated?
    Thanks so much for the video example.

  2. Any "active substance" isn't just hurtfull to varroa, it's also hurtfull to bees. Both are insects…. Only way to get rid of that problem is to create bee with hygienic instinct, self cleaning, and introduce natural varroa predators, who will eat excess of parasite.

  3. dirty little things. what we need is a specific archnicide that targets these little arachnids and leaves the buzzers unharmed…

    but, im sort of puzzled. apparently we dont have these in australia yet (thankfully!)

    a year or two back, i found a funnel web spider. it didnt look particularly happy, either.

    it had these tiny little mites all over it, all collected around its leg joints etc.

    im suspicious. ive never heard of a mite that attacks funnel web spiders.

    anyway. i hope theyre a spider attacking mite and not what i now suspect they may have actually been.

    check out my wild hive!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *