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  • Hawaii and the Varroa Mite: A case study
    August 14, 2017 Scott Derrick

    Hawaii and the Varroa Mite: A case study

    An archipelago of volcanoes in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and the supposed birthplace of our old two-term president, the state of Hawaii is the most isolated population center in the world. For a heavenly stretch of years, it had miles and miles of virtually uninterrupted ocean to buffer it against the spread of pests and diseases swarming the planet elsewhere. Then came globalized man. Whether by accident (as with the coffee borer beetle) or the wayward good intent of conservationists (as with the mongoose), our bungling ways have since played havoc with the island’s natural biodiversity.

    As much can be said for the varroa mite – the feature pest of our weekly blog series this past fortnight, and the rampant terror laying low domestic and feral honey bee colonies worldwide.

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  • Varroa Destructor, Honey Bee Reaper: More than a mite concerning
    August 14, 2017 Scott Derrick

    Varroa Destructor, Honey Bee Reaper: More than a mite concerning

    It is the fear scuttling about in every beekeeper’s heart. It is the ruination of livelihoods, and the grief of families. It is disease. It is death. It has, in the last fifty years, come at a hair’s-breadth away from world domination.

    It is Varroa destructor, the mite of bee evil.

    There is no greater threat to honey bee colonies than varroa. Even nosema comes second-place (just). Reddish-brown and crab-like, this ectoparasitic hive invader was not too long ago a relatively innocuous critter, supping on the fluids of the Asian honeybee (Apis cerana) in its native territory of the east. In the mid-20th century however, returning west on the backs of honey bees originally imported to Hong Kong, the mite stole across the oceans through trade shipment routes. Across Europe, Africa, India and – first reported in Maryland in 1979, and, after an eight-year lull, Wisconsin – the United States, the mite not only spread at an alarming rate. It was found to have an incredibly pernicious affinity with the honey bee (Apis mellifera) – mankind’s sweetest friend.

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  • Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlemagne, and Bee Venom Masks
    August 14, 2017 Scott Derrick

    Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlemagne, and Bee Venom Masks

    Here’s a question: what do the first Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne and Gwyneth Paltrow have in common? Now here’s the answer: bee venom masks. Yeah. The founder of ‘find harmony by inserting a jade egg up your cooch’wellness brand Goop is into that too.

    “It’s a thousands of years old treatment called apitherapy,” said Paltrow in an interview with the New York Times last year. “People use it to get rid of inflammation and scarring. It’s actually pretty incredible if you research it.”

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  • Bacteria in flowers may boost honeybees’ healthy gut microbes
    August 14, 2017 Scott Derrick

    Bacteria in flowers may boost honeybees’ healthy gut microbes

    Honeybees were into probiotics way before they were cool, a new study suggests.

    The hipster insects serve up beneficial bacteria that may help baby bees develop a healthy blend of gut microbes,researchers report online August 7 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Without those thriving gut communities, the critical pollinators may have trouble digesting their plant-based food.

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  • USA- FLOWERS CAN ENDANGER BEES
    August 14, 2017 Scott Derrick

    USA- FLOWERS CAN ENDANGER BEES

    “Flowers are hotspots for parasite spread between and within pollinator populations,” said Peter Graystock, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside and a member of the research team. “Both the flower and bee species play a role in how likely parasite dispersal will occur.”Photo shows a honey bee (Apis mellifera) and a bumblebee (Bombus spp.) foraging on a purple coneflower.

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