The plight of the honeybee is real. The statistics are grim. Dr. Jamie Ellis takes a deeper look at what’s killing bees and what we can do about it.
Dr Murali Nayudu is an Adjunct Associate Professor with the Faculty of Science & Technology at the University of Canberra in Australia. He has spent more than a decade investigating the microbiome of honey bees. Since October 2018, Dr Nayudu has collected monthly gut bacteria samples from honey bee colonies in order to understand what the normal diversity and concentration of gut bacteria should be. He plans on using this information to help identify and treat diseased hives.
Dr. Ramsey fundamentally changed our understanding of Varroa mites in his most recent publication Varroa destructor feeds primarily on honey bee fat body tissue and not hemolymph. He has since uncovered a pest potentially more dangerous than Varroa – Tropilaelaps.
Much of the knowledge about Varroa was derived from closely related parasitic and predatory mites. Assumption that Varroa mites were blood-sucking was propagated by “chain citing” an English-language study referring to rudimentary Russian-language Varroa publications. However, there are some important differences that prompted Dr. Ramsey to investigate this assumption and conclude that Varroa destructor feeds primarily on honey bee fat tissue and not hemolymph.