Finding new and environmentally friendly ways to control pests is both challenging and exciting.
Finding new and environmentally friendly ways to control pests is both challenging and exciting. This is even more true when it involves developing a tool to address one of the greatest threats to honeybee colonies.
Honeybees are extremely important insects because they pollinate much of the food we eat and other crops we rely upon. But the essential services they provide are in danger since massive honeybee losses are continually reported in many countries.
The main cause of these colony losses is the Varroa mite. Also called Varroa destructor, Varroa mites are tiny red-brown external parasites that feed and live on honeybees. Like tiny vampires, they weaken the bees by sucking up their hemolymph — the blood of insects — and their fat bodies. The parasitic mites also transmit bee diseases that can ultimately wipe out entire bee colonies.
As part of my master’s degree research led by Drs. Valérie Fournier and Pierre Giovenazzo at the Université Laval, we showed that a promising biological candidate to control the deadly parasite is unfortunately ineffective. Our new research underlines why it’s so difficult to sustainably control the pest.
Continue reading at University of Guelph.
Image via Pixabay.