Preparing for Varroa – Preparing for Varroa – How susceptible are Australian honey bee stocks? Project summary

2 pages
25 Jun 2012
Prof Ben Oldroyd

One of the greatest threats to Australian honeybees is the exotic mite Varroa destructor. The mite infests the brood cells of bees, weakening the pupae and making it susceptible to viral diseases. Varroa is present in all beekeeping countries world wide, with the single exception of Australia. Where Varroa is present, it devastates hives, and requires intensive treatment with miticides to manage mite populations. What level of resistance do Australian bees have to Varroa?

As part of this project, seven lines of Australian and three lines of American honeybees were evaluated for their resistance to the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. The evaluation shows that Australian stocks lack resistance to Varroa, and that an incursion of Varroa would have catastrophic effects.