Wednesday, November 10, 2010

6. Varroa Destructor

Don't know too much about these little parasites but I can tell you right now that they're most likely in the serious decline of our fuzzy honey making little friends.

Wikipedia has alot of information on these ( DO EXTRA RESEARCH! ):

Varroa destructor is an external parasitic mite that attacks honey bees Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. The disease caused by the mites is called varroatosis.

Varroa destructor can only replicate in a honey bee colony. It attaches at the body of the bee and weakens the bee by sucking hemolymph. In this process the mite spreads RNA viruses like wing virus (DWV) to the bee.

A significant mite infestation will lead to the death of a honey bee colony, usually in the late autumn through early spring. The Varroa mite is the parasite with the most pronounced economic impact on the beekeeping industry. It may be a contributing factor to colony collapse disorder (CCD), as research shows it is the main factor for collapsed colonies in Ontario, Canada.

The rest of the article can be found here. And AOL Small Business's entry on the little suckers:

What businesses they threaten:
The beekeeping industry -- a $12 billion industry in the United States alone.

Modus operandi:
The varroa destructor is a blood sucking parasite, attacking both adults and kids. The juvenile honeybees born under the influence of a varroa destructor often are deformed, missing legs or wings. It's a very bad situation for the bees and not a great one for the honeybee industry, and considering how we depend on bees to pollinate flowers and crops, it's a bad situation for the world at large.

Fun fact:
The varroa destructor was first discovered in Southeast Asia in 1904. They first turned up in the United States in 1987.

- AOL Small Business

Fascinating and evil at the same time. I wonder if there's an effective way to get rid of them for good in development or something?

Something has to be done because we need our honey bees!

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