Varroa mites – a blind eight-legged parasite – are smaller than a pinhead, but can kill an entire bee colony. New bee species must fight back bravely.
Both groups of bees in the wild and large and small groups raised by humans suffer. About 30 percent of colonies do not survive due to pesticides, poor food supplies, and disease. One of beekeepers’ biggest concerns is a tiny red parasite.
Chemicals are often used against this animal. Not ideal and non-functional, since most parasites become immune to these agents. What is also possible: beekeepers who know how to deal with such a parasite.
Here’s what the researchers did: They crossed bees to get a strain that’s very good at pollinating, making honey, and harassing parasites. This bee is very good in itself and our fellow residents check the presence of the parasite and its eggs. Then get her out of the way.
The new species of bees are not yet available to beekeepers, firstly – and rightly so – more research is needed to make sure this doesn’t secretly have negative consequences.