Varroa destructor: research avenues towards sustainable control

publication date: Feb 1, 2012
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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 51 (1) pp. 125 - 132
DOI
10.3896/IBRA.1.51.1.15
Date
February 2012
Article Title

Varroa destructor: research avenues towards sustainable control


Author(s)

Vincent Dietemann, Jochen Pflugfelder, Denis Anderson, Jean-Daniel Charrière, Nor Chejanovsky, Benjamin Dainat, Joachim de Miranda, Keith Delaplane, Franz-Xaver Dillier, Stefan Fuch, Peter Gallmann, Laurent Gauthier, Anton Imdorf, Nikolaus Koeniger, Jasna Kralj, William Meikle, Jeff Pettis, Peter Rosenkranz, Diana Sammataro, Deborah Smith, Orlando Yañez, Peter Neumann.


Abstract

Pollination by honey bees plays a key role in the functioning of ecosystems and optimisation of agricultural yields. Severe honey bee colony losses worldwide have raised concerns about the sustainability of these pollination services. In many cases, bee mortality appears to be the product of many interacting factors, but there is a growing consensus that the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor plays the role of the major predisposing liability. We argue that the fight against this mite should be a priority for future honey bee health research. We highlight the lack of efficient control methods currently available against the parasite and discuss the need for new approaches. Gaps in our knowledge of the biology and epidemiology of the mite are identified and a research road map towards sustainable control is drawn. Innovative and challenging approaches are suggested in order to stimulate research efforts and ensure that honey bees will be able to sustainably fulfil their role in the ecosystem.

Keywords

honey bee, Apis mellifera, pollination, colony losses, Varroa destructor, sustainable control, future perspectives


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