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Web officer - Louise Ryan
Varroa Mite
Varroa destructor is an external parasitic mite that attacks the honey bees Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. The disease caused by the mites is called varroatosis. Varroa destructor can only reproduce in a honey bee colony. It attaches to the body of the bee and weakens the bee by sucking hemolymph. In this process, RNA viruses such as the deformed wing virus (DWV) spread to bees. More here 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. What are its effects? Varroa mites spread naturally between bee colonies by travelling on the bees. Modern beekeeping practices of moving hives and equipment between apiary sites have the potential to spread mites quickly over long distances. One or sometimes more female mites enter a brood cell in the bee hive laying about five or six eggs each. Newly hatched (nymph) mites feed on the growing bee larva. Once mites reach maturity they mate, the males die; the females attach themselves to adult bees and feed by sucking their blood. A heavily infested colony may have mites on a third or more of adult bees or brood. Attack by varroa mite weakens bees, shortens their lives, or causes death from virus infections that would otherwise cause little harm. In severely attacked colonies bees may have stunted wings, missing legs or other deformities. Unless urgent action is taken, the vitality of bees in the colony declines until all are dead. Varroa mites can remain undetected for up to two years, by which time it is too late to prevent spread to other hives. How to control a Varroa Mite problem in your Beehive  A number of products and techniques are available that help reduce or even eliminate Varroa mites populations. This mite, which looks a lot like a tick, is about the size of a pinhead and is visible to the naked eye. The adult female Varroa attaches herself to a bee and feeds on its blood (hemolymph fluid). To be continued...
Sources: Wikipedia - BBC - Australian Government - Dummies.com -
* West Glamorgan Beekeepers