Specialists recently released a number of surveys targeting the state of U.S. honeybees and their numbers after the winter. As a report found that this winter registered the lowest losses value in 10 years, another showed that bee colonies are still being affected by mites.
Considered the number 1 enemy of honeybees, this small parasite, the size of ticks, can carry and transmit 25 different viruses and diseases.
Among Mites, the Varroa Mite is the One Very Bad Enemy
Mites are very dangerous to bees, these pollinating insects, very much important for us all. The parasites are not the only enemies of the tiny pollinators as these also have to face weather conditions and human related problems. Nonetheless, the consensus places the varroa mite as the bee colonies’ main enemy.
The varroa mite is capable of biting all types of bees, from adult drones to worker bees, pupa, and even honeybee larvae. Through such bites, they can also transmit very many different kinds of diseases and viruses. In turn, this can come to affect and even kill whole honeybee colonies.
Mites and the varroa mite first appeared in the United States some three decades ago. Since then, they have been the underlying cause of the loss of many honeybee colonies.
The Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association is among those to release a 2017 Winter Loss Survey. This involved 831 beekeepers, which revealed a 52 percent colony loss throughout the 2016 – 2017 winter. Among the lost colonies, over a quarter of the losses were attributed to mites.
Also, they pointed out that 62 percent of the gone colonies were lost due to unknown causes, which led them to believe that such insects may also be to blame.
“Absolutely mites may have played a role. It’s agreed nationwide that varroa mites are the number one enemy for bee loss,” said Steve Repasky.
He is a beekeeper with 30 years of experience and the president of the Pennsylvania state beekeepers group.
Image Source: Wikimedia