Honeybees – Mites

Bees – Mitesambience: hive bees buzzingHoneybees are in trouble, due in part to a parasitic mite introduced into this country in the 1980s. The question is, do we try to get of the mite with pesticides, or do we let the bees develop a natural resistance to the pest? I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Fell: When I first started keeping bees, we could expect winter losses on the order of maybe 5 percent. Today we’re seeing average losses of 30 percent of colonies in an apiary. Rick Fell is a Professor Emeritus in Entomology at Virginia Tech.Fell: Our biggest concern is called a Veroa mite. This mite is sort of like a tick in the fact that it feeds on the hemolymph, or blood of the bee. The mite raises its young inside of brood cells, and those developing mites feed on the developing bee. And they’re a problem, not only because of their feeding activity, but they’re also very good disease vectors. They stress bees. We know that there are impacts on the immune system of the bee. So, together, these have caused a tremendous amount of problems.One of the things that we’ve looked at is how mite treatments and beekeepers typically use what we call miticides that are placed in a colony to control might populations how these actually affect bees, and we’ve found a number of effects. One, it can affect brood production, but one that’s been of particular interest is that these miticides do such things as reduce sperm production in males and we feel that these could be contributing to some of the health problems that we see with colonies.One of the things that we’ve actually done in our apiaries is we’ve stopped treating our colonies, and what we’re trying to do is to encourage the development of natural resistance.So far our losses are no higher than what we see with beekeepers anywhere else, and, in fact oftentimes, they’re a little bit lower.We’ll hear more on bees in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner

Honeybees - Mites

Predatory insect mites are infecting honeybee hives, but pesticides used to control the mites just might be making things worse!
Air Date:09/02/2014
Scientist:
Transcript:

Bees - Mitesambience: hive bees buzzingHoneybees are in trouble, due in part to a parasitic mite introduced into this country in the 1980s. The question is, do we try to get of the mite with pesticides, or do we let the bees develop a natural resistance to the pest? I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Fell: When I first started keeping bees, we could expect winter losses on the order of maybe 5 percent. Today we're seeing average losses of 30 percent of colonies in an apiary. Rick Fell is a Professor Emeritus in Entomology at Virginia Tech.Fell: Our biggest concern is called a Veroa mite. This mite is sort of like a tick in the fact that it feeds on the hemolymph, or blood of the bee. The mite raises its young inside of brood cells, and those developing mites feed on the developing bee. And they're a problem, not only because of their feeding activity, but they're also very good disease vectors. They stress bees. We know that there are impacts on the immune system of the bee. So, together, these have caused a tremendous amount of problems.One of the things that we've looked at is how mite treatments and beekeepers typically use what we call miticides that are placed in a colony to control might populations how these actually affect bees, and we've found a number of effects. One, it can affect brood production, but one that's been of particular interest is that these miticides do such things as reduce sperm production in males and we feel that these could be contributing to some of the health problems that we see with colonies.One of the things that we've actually done in our apiaries is we've stopped treating our colonies, and what we're trying to do is to encourage the development of natural resistance.So far our losses are no higher than what we see with beekeepers anywhere else, and, in fact oftentimes, they're a little bit lower.We'll hear more on bees in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner