The European honey bees are crucial to our food systems, but they may soon be under threat from a microscopic pest. So what exactly is this threat?
To learn more about other types of bees, make sure to check out the documentary, “My Garden of a Thousand Bees,” streaming now on @Nature on PBS https://to.pbs.org/3DYTfpv.
It’s no secret, bees are super important. And it’s not just for food sources; bees also keep the health of wild ecosystems in check by pollinating wildflowers, which in turn maintains biodiversity and a thriving terrestrial biomes.
And while all bee species are helpful pollinators, honey bees are CRUCIAL to our own food supply, pollinating close to 90 commercially grown crops in the U.S. But bee populations have been under extreme stresses, from pesticides to the climate crisis, to parasites and diseases.
We are currently losing between 30% and close to 50% of our honeybee colonies every single year. What would be worse in a situation where the balance is already kind of teetering is to add a parasite that we know has a dramatic impact on honeybees.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly the situation all bees are facing. Dr. Sammy Ramsey, a scientist at the USDA, focuses on protecting bees from an emerging threat.
#bees #honeybees #entomology #BeeWeek #Seeker
US beekeepers continue to report high colony loss rates, no clear progression toward improvement
Beekeepers across the United States lost 45.5% of their managed honey bee colonies from April 2020 to April 2021, according to preliminary results of the 15th annual nationwide survey conducted by the nonprofit Bee Informed Partnership, or BIP.
Tropilaelaps mite: an emerging threat to European honey bee
These organisms are likely to emerge from Asia as it is the only region where all 10 honey bee species co-occur. Varroa destructor, an ectoparasitic mite, is a classic example of a pest that has shifted from A. cerana, a cavity-nesting Asian honey bee to A. mellifera, the European honey bee.
Lab Test Rapidly IDs Potential Mite Pest of Honey Bees
The mite also has invaded European honeybee hives where their habitats overlap, feeding on developing bees and killing them. They are considered a major economic threat to the beekeeping industry, and European and U.S. authorities are also preparing for an eventual invasive threat from the pest.
Photo credit for thumbnail: USDA-ARS Electron Confocal Microscopy Unit