The single greatest threat to honey bee populations worldwide is the invasive mite, Varroa destructor. The life cycle of the varroa mites is tightly adapted to the development of honey bees. Varroa mites are serious and devastating ectoparasites of the honey bee. During the phoretic phase, the varroa mites live on the bodies of honey bees and feed on their hemolymph. The symptoms arising out of heavy mite infestation is referred to as varrosis. The reproductive phase of varroa mites happens exclusively in the capped cells of developing bee pupae. This page is a collection of information and resources we have been assembling.
Various Articles for winter and rainy day reading
- Why did my honey bees die? Learning to identify a common cause of winter death in northern climates - Beekeepers in northern climates have already lost a lot of colonies this winter. While official counts won’t be recorded for a few months, some trends are starting to emerge. One of these trends is a specific type of colony death.
- Dwight Wells left us a great slide deck at the March 2016 SIBA Meeting - Read and download this one for future reference.
- Behavioral Defenses of the Honey Bee Ecotype - Two behaviours of honey bees, hygienic and grooming, are
mechanisms of defense against brood diseases and parasitic mites, including Varroa destructor...
- Regular dorsal dimples and damaged mites of Varroa destructor in some Iranian honey bees - The frequency of damaged Varroa destructor Anderson and Trueman (Mesostigmata: Varroidae) found on the bottom board of hives of the honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) has been used as an indicator of the degree of tolerance or resistance of honey bee colonies against mites...
- Varroosis - a disease due to them ite Varroa jacobsoni Oudemans (Mesostigmata: Acarina). This ectoparasitic mite is haemophagous on both the adult and immatureb ee. Endemic on its natural host, Apis cerana, it causes an epizooty on its new host, Apis mellifera, after its recent transfer in the 1960's...
- Transcript of a talk given by Dr. Dennis VanEnglesdrop talk at Medina Ohio on Varroa Mites, tools to control, etc.
- For the technical-minded, Here's a rather technical public-domain paper called 'Varroa-Virus Interaction in Collapsing Honey Bee Colonies' and it shows the interaction between the mites and the bees that eventually kills the hive.
Measuring and Managing Mites
Here's an easy-to-read and understand PDF from the Honey Bee Health Coalition on options for testing for mites, and treatments. It also describes the mite life-cycle during the season and how mite levels go up and down based on the amount of brood in the hive. During peak season, the mites are at their highest.