Varroa mites

‘Murder hornet’ nest is found in Northwest for second time

State wildlife officials expect to destroy a nest of the Asian giant hornets in the northwestern corner of Washington State this week, and say "there may still be more" nests of the so-called murder hornet in the area near the Canadian border. It was the second time within a year that a nest of the hornets, a threat to honeybees, was found in Whatcom County.

Colony collapse surges among honeybees

After a sharp drop in 2017, colony collapse disorder hit more U.S. honeybee operators this year, said USDA on Wednesday. The annual Honey Bee Colonies report said 77,800 colonies were lost to the disorder during the first quarter of this year, a 15-percent increase from 2017 for operations with five or more colonies. January through March is traditionally the period with the highest losses.

Lithium chloride may be tool against honeybee parasite

German researchers report that lithium chloride “is highly effective” in killing Varroa mites, a parasite commonly listed as one of the major reasons for high mortality among the pollinating insects.

The varroa mite might have a vulnerability

Researchers have found “genetic holes” in the armor of the varroa mite, a parasite that is a leading culprit in the decimation of honeybees, that could lead to strategies for controlling or even eliminating the mite, reports Science Daily.

Beekeepers’ practices may help parasitic Varroa mite to spread

Among the afflictions that drive down honeybee populations, the blood-sucking Varroa mite, which weakens and shortens the life of bees, usually is at the top of the list. A paper in the journal Environmental Entomology says the mite takes advantage of bee industry practices, such as placing colonies near each other and preventing colonies from dividing, to multiply in a hive and to spread to other hives, reports Growing Produce, a specialty crop publication.

Losses of honeybee colonies are lowest in five years

Beekeepers lost one-third of their colonies in the year ending in March, down 6 percent from the previous year and the lowest loss rate since 2011-12, when less than 29 percent of colonies were lost, says the Bee Informed Partnership of university researchers. Assistant entomology professor Dennis vanEngelsdorp, of the University of Maryland, said the decline in losses was encouraging but added, "It's hard to imagine any other agricultural sector being able to stay in business with such consistently high losses."

Beekeepers, veterinarians face problems with FDA’s new ABX rules

Starting this month, U.S. beekeepers will need a veterinarian for certain bee medications. Under the FDA’s new Veterinary Feed Directive rules, which took effect January 1, vets oversee the use of most antimicrobials in beehives — and both beekeepers and veterinarians are confused.

Study finds new threat to honeybees

Pesticides applied to honeybee hives to kill Varroa mites and other parasites may actually be hurting the bees by damaging bacteria in their guts, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

Honeybee colonies heavily affected by Varroa mites

During spring and summer, four of 10 honeybee colonies will be under stress from Varroa mites, beekeepers said in the first issue of USDA's Honey Bee Colonies report. By far, the parasitic insects are a greater problem than other pests, diseases, pesticides, bad weather and poor nutrition, according to the survey of beekeepers.

Honeybee colony losses highest since 2013

Beekeepers across the United States lost 44 percent of their honeybee colonies in the past year, nearly as bad as losses sustained in 2012-13, according to a survey by researchers. Losses were more than twice the economically acceptable rate for owners of the pollinators that add an estimated $15 billion to U.S. agriculture through higher yields.

Climate change is turning pollen into ‘junk food’ for bees

More carbon dioxide in the air is decreasing the amount of protein in pollen and may be contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder, says Yale Environment 360. Researchers compared samples of the plant goldenrod – a staple for wild honeybees – collected from 1842 to 2014 and found that protein levels in the most recent goldenrod samples were lower by 30 percent.

Varroa mite more prevalent than thought among honeybees

A five-year survey of parasites and diseases affecting honeybee colonies found the varroa mite, regarded as a major factor in population declines, "is far more abundant than previous estimates indicated and is closely linked to several damaging viruses," says Feedstuffs.

Deadly bee disease spread by global pollinator trade

A devastating virus that has infected bees worldwide spread through global trade in pollinators used in commercial farming, a study in the journal Science finds. “Deformed wing virus,” spread by the Varroa mite, leads to significant mortality in overwintering colonies of honeybees, which pollinate fruits, nuts and other crops.

Breeding honeybees that bite back

Parasites such as the varroa mite are high on the list of suspects for the high mortality rate of honeybees, vital in pollinating a third of the food eaten by people.

Varroa mite count suggests hard winter for bees

An evaluation of bee hives found a dangerously high level of Varroa mites, a honeybee pest that is blamed in part for calamitous declines in the bee population, says Agri-Pulse, citing a blog by a Bayer scientist.

Researchers seek ways to boost honeybee numbers

Federal and private-sector scientists are looking at a variety of steps to help the honeybee population recover from a startling drop off in population. Winter losses average more than 30 pct, double the rate a quarter-century ago. There were 3 mln colonies in 1987 and 2.5 mln colonies now with a shorter avg lifespan.