American Agriculturist, 9/17/2009
Honey bees are now fighting back aggressively against Varroa mites, thanks to Agricultural Research Service efforts to develop bees with a genetic trait that allows them to more easily find the mites and toss them out of the broodnest.
The parasitic Varroa mite attacks the honey bee, Apis mellifera L., by feeding on its hemolymph, which is the combination of blood and fluid inside a bee. Colonies can be weakened or killed, depending on the severity of the infestation. Most colonies eventually die from varroa infestation if left untreated.
Varroa-sensitive hygiene (VSH) is a genetic trait of the honey bee that allows it to remove mite-infested pupae from the capped brood-developing bees that are sealed inside cells of the comb with a protective layer of wax. The mites are sometimes difficult for the bees to locate, since they attack the bee brood while these developing bees are inside the capped cells...