The Roles Of Drifting And Robbing In Varroa Destructor Mite Infested Colonies

Catch the Buzz By David Thomas Peck & Thomas Dyer Seeley June 21, 2019

Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

PLoS One. 2019 Jun 21;14(6):e0218392. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0218392. eCollection 2019.

Varroa mites on honey be.jpg

When honey bee colonies collapse from high infestations of Varroa mites, neighboring colonies often experience surges in their mite populations. Collapsing colonies, often called “mite bombs”, seem to pass their mites to neighboring colonies. This can happen by mite-infested workers from the collapsing colonies drifting into the neighboring colonies, or by mite-free workers from the neighboring colonies robbing out the collapsing colonies, or both. To study inter-colony mite transmission, we positioned six nearly mite-free colonies of black-colored bees around a cluster of three mite-laden colonies of yellow-colored bees. We then monitored the movement of bees between the black-bee and yellow-bee colonies before, during, and after mite-induced collapse of the yellow-bee colonies. Throughout the experiment, we monitored each colony's mite level. We found that large numbers of mites spread to the black-bee colonies (in both nearby and distant hives) when the yellow-bee colonies collapsed from high mite infestations and became targets of robbing by the black-bee colonies. We conclude that “robber lures” is a better term than “mite bombs” for describing colonies that are succumbing to high mite loads and are exuding mites to neighboring colonies.

Read more: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0218392

Supermarket without Bees

Huffington Post   Producer: Jake Bieler  6/15/13

Supermarket Without Bees: What Would The Produce Section Look Like Without Pollinators

Have apples, carrots, lemons or watermelon on your grocery list? Bad news -- without bees, these foods could be much harder to find in the produce section, according to a new campaign from Whole Foods Market.

Bees are still having a rough time. The British Beekeepers Association said more than a third of colonies died in England this past winter, and U.S. populations suffered similar drops. Researchers have said an industry practice of feeding bees corn syrup may spur colony collapse disorder, which could affect the $30 billion crop industry dependent on bee pollination.

Europe instituted a temporary ban on a class of pesticides believed to be harmful to bees in April, and researchers at Washington State University have proposed a bee sperm bank to try and breed hardier colonies, but the insects are still dying in record numbers.

So what would a supermarket without bees look like? Whole Foods pulled all of the produce dependent on pollinators from the shelves of their University Heights store in Rhode Island -- a whopping 237 items, or 52 percent of the normal product mix.

Photos from Whole Foods Market/PRN News Photo

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/15/supermarket-without-bees_n_3442938.html