Researchers at the University of Warwick are examining naturally occurring fungi that kill the varroa mite. They are also exploring a range of ways to deliver the killer fungus throughout the hives from bee fungal foot baths to powder sprays.
It well known that bees world wide are suffering serious declines and one of the causes of that decline is the varroa mite, Varroa destructor. Varroa mites feed on the circulatory fluid of honey bee pupae and adult bees, and in so doing they activate and transmit diseases which reduce the life expectancy of the bees and cause the colony to decline.
Varroa has had a major impact in all countries where it has become established, for example it has caused losses of 30–50% of honey bee colonies when it first arrived in the UK and is now endemic. The loss of honey bees on this scale is affecting the pollination of commercial crops and wild plants. It originates in Asia, but has extended its range world-wide.
At present, the management of varroa is based on the use of chemical pesticides, but the mites are developing resistance. Biological control technologies (the use of one organism to control another) could offer a way of moving pest management strategies away from a reliance on these synthetic pesticides but no natural insect or other enemies of varroa species have been identified on the varroa or on their bee hosts.
Now Defra-funded studies by researchers at the University of Warwick’s plant research group Warwick HRI, and Rothamsted Research has found some new natural enemies of varroa from other hosts.
University of Warwick researcher Dr Dave Chandler said:
"We examined 50 different types of fungi that afflict other insects (known as entomopathogenic fungi) to see if they would kill varroa. We needed to find fungi that were effective killers of varroa, had a low impact on the bees, and worked in the warm and dry conditions typically found in bee hives. Of the original 50 fungi we are now focusing on four that best match those three requirements."
The team now hope to secure additional funding to further examine the effectiveness of these four fungi and to begin to consider the best ways of applying this weapon across the hive. A number of approaches are being considered including having fungal footbaths at the main entrances to hives. However the complex environment within bee hives means that more devious means of application may be needed.
Dr Chandler will be hosting the Society for Invertebrate Pathology international conference at the University of Warwick, starting 4th August, where a special session is being held on honey bee health. The session will bring together some the world’s leading experts in bee colony collapse disorder to discuss the full range of its possible underlying causes.
Richard Fern | alfa
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
20.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences